Month: November 2009
The greatest school we must attend to make lasting impact in our world is the school of God’s presence.Those who attend the school of His Presence gain wisdom and authority that makes them an astonishment to their world.
In His Presence our weakness is turned into strength.You may live in one of the poorest nations of the world,no educational qualification to give you an edge in life,no financial resources to fulfill your dreams.But if you will attend the school of God’s Presence you are educated beyond the natural mind, making you a complete marvel to those around you.
The Goal of Learning
The goal of learning is to know and love God.Every intellectual accomplishment that is not crowned with God Presence will lead us to become arrogant and prideful.
A professor who has studied in the four walls of the seminary but never educated by the Lord’s Presence will accomplish very little compared to one man,with no theological training never attended the seminary but spent his entire time in the school of God’s Presence.
The seminary can teach us principles for ministry in the classroom but the Presence can only be discovered in our closet.Its the difference between theory and experience,professionalism and Divine Encounter.
Brother Lawrence will always be remembered for the intimacy he expressed concerning his relationship to God as recorded in a book compiled after his death, the classic Christian text,The Practice of God’s Presence
As a young man, Herman’s poverty forced him into joining the army, which guaranteed him meals and a small stipend. During this period, Herman claimed an experience that set him on a unique spiritual journey. He considered it a supernatural clarity into a common sight, more so than as a supernatural vision.
During the winter, Herman looked at a barren tree, stripped of leaves and fruit, and realized it awaited the sure hope of a springtime revival and summer abundance. Gazing at the tree, Herman grasped deeply the extravagance of God’s grace and the unfailing sovereignty of divine providence. Like the tree, he felt seemingly dead, but held hope that God had life waiting for him, and the turn of seasons would bring fullness. At that moment, he said, that leafless tree “first flashed in upon my soul the fact of God,” and a love for God that never ceased. Shortly after, an injury forced his retirement from the army, and after a stint as a footman, he sought a place where he could suffer for his failures. He thus entered the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Paris as Brother Lawrence.
He was assigned to the monastery kitchen where, amidst the tedious chores of cooking and cleaning at the constant bidding of his superiors, he developed his rule of spirituality and work. In his Maxims, Lawrence writes, “Men invent means and methods of coming at God’s love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love, and it seems like a world of trouble to bring oneself into the consciousness of God’s presence. Yet it might be so simple. Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for the love of him?”
For Brother Lawrence, “common business,” no matter how mundane or routine, could be a medium of God’s love. The sacredness or worldly status of a task mattered less than motivation behind it. “Nor is it needful that we should have great things to do. . . We can do little things for God; I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of him, and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before him, who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king. It is enough for me to pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God.”
Brother Lawrence felt having a proper heart about tasks made every detail of his life possess surpassing value. “I began to live as if there were no one save God and me in the world.” Brother Lawrence felt that he cooked meals, ran errands, scrubbed pots, and endured the scorn of the world alongside God.
He admitted the path to this union was difficult. He spent years disciplining his heart and mind to yield to God’s presence. “As often as I could, I placed myself as a worshiper before him, fixing my mind upon his holy presence, recalling it when I found it wandering from him. This proved to be an exercise frequently painful, yet I persisted through all difficulties.”
He found a peace in reconciling himself to the thought that this struggle and longing was his destiny. He said his soul “had come to its own home and place of rest.” His death in 1691 occurred in relative obscurity, but his teachings lived on in the compilation of his words
Being in the presence of the Lord could arguably be considered the single most important part of our lives. While in a sense, it is always with us and we cannot live without it, we find ourselves hungering for it more and more.
The Life Of Brother Klaus
Brother Klaus, who is the patron saint of Switzerland, was born in Flueli in 1417. For fifty years, he lived ‘in the world’, worked as a peasant, served as a soldier, and was happily married. He was father of ten children, carried out the functions of an alderman and judge who stood up for right and peace.
But in the heart of this esteemed man there was a restlessness that urged him away from his worldly task into a lonliness and nearness to God. Heimann Am Grund, the parish priest from Kriens, was his advisor and the helper on his way. In 1467 Klaus left his family and possessions and became a hermit. Even then he did not cease to be counsellor and peacemaker for his fellow countrymen. Above all is know his interference by the ‘Tagessatzung’ (council of the Swiss counties) in Stans in December 1481.
As for the rest he lived in his cell in the Ranft, a secluded glen of the Melcha valley. Nearly twenty years he lived there without food. The power of his prayer, his deep ties with god, and his theological clarity have been a miracle for his contemporaries by which they were attracted and at the same time terrified.
Brother Klaus died on March 21th 1487. He is still the quiet warning voice that cannot be ignored.
After a deep spiritual crisis he withdraws from public life and spends the remaining 20 years as a hermit, praying and fasting. Men from near and far come to him seeking counsel. They call him lovingly Brother Claus. The mystic becomes more and more a political adviser and his fame spreads over all Europe.
Lets Pray Brother Klaus Prayer Together:
My Lord and my God,
take everything from me
that keeps me from Thee.
My Lord and my God,
give everything to me
that brings me near to Thee.
My Lord and my God,
take me away from myself
and give me completely to Thee.
What Matters Most In Life?
What do you think matters most in life? I will tell you,its God’s Presence.While God is omnipresent, and His presence is always with us, we continue to long for an encounter with the Presence of God. When we talk about experiencing the presence of the Lord, we are talking about the realization of God’s presence – of perceiving His presence and being conscious of Him. Practicing His presence is one of the most valuable things we can do. God has promised that as we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us and we will experience His presence in ever increasing measures.
WHATS WISDOM IS THIS?
The wisdom of Jesus was such that raise such a great acclamation in his home town.Those who knew him discovered that a rapid change has suddenly happened in his life.They told themselves,”We know who he is, we know his brothers and sisters,he never attended school.”His wisdom and mighty works were so shocking to them.He was taught by God.Being taught by divine encounter with God’s Presence gives you such an amazing edge in life.
MARY AND MARTHA
Luke 10:41-42,” And Jesus answered and said unto her,Martha,Martha,thou art careful and troubled about many things:But one thing is needful:and Mary hath chosen that good part,which shall not be taken away from her.”
Nothing is worthy of much importance more than God’s presence.If what I do for God becomes more important than what He does in me,in the shortest time I wear out.While many Martha ministries are wearing out of energy,resources and life, Mary ministries are waxing strong daily because of the impact of God’s Presence.
Acts 4:13,”When they perceived that they were uneducated, ignorant men they realized what being with Jesus has done for them.”
When the world looks at the church who do they say we have been with? I will tell you-RELIGION and DENOMINATION.
The world must see Jesus to be awestruck.
The Apostles had no great learning from the conventional institution of their day, but they had the greatest institution in the universe educate them.Those who attend the class of Jesus become first class in life.
After every great learning I gain from the library and books if I do not strive to be taught by God’s Presence, at best I end up a parrot re-echoing what other men have said.
WHERE WE RUN TO WHEN WE HAVE NO WHERE ELSE TO GO IS THE STRONGEST PLACE IN OUR LIVES.
By Charllote Gambill Scanlon
Unless you can lift the level of your thinking to be somewhere in the proximity of God’s, there’s a good chance you are going to miss some of his answers for your life. That’s because he is also the God of ‘zero gravity answers’.
How many of us have cried out to God for an answer, yet at the same time have decided what that answer is probably going to look like? We ‘best guess’ how and through whom it is going to arrive in our world. Yet the bible clearly teaches us that God’s thoughts and ways are higher than ours.1 I sometimes meet people who feel disappointed that God doesn’t answer their prayers; they are convinced that heaven is silent when they call out. But in reality, heaven is not silent, it is more often the case that they are listening on the wrong frequency. They need to ‘tune in’ to God’s higher thoughts and ways.
I believe that if we can lift the level of our thinking and open our minds to receiving a ‘God answer’ rather than a preconceived one, many more of us would feel answered by heaven. God is not into withholding answers. But he is committed to his will being done in our lives rather than our own.
Where are you looking?
A while ago my little girl, Hope, had a fascination with mummy’s car keys. In fact, anyone’s keys would do. She loved to play with them. Over the course of several weeks the same situation kept happening in our home: I would make a mad dash for the door, running late again! I would go to grab my car keys, which I always leave in the same place, and to frantically search the drawer, only to discover they had vanished into thin air again! Over the course of several weeks we had lost my main set of keys, the spare keys, my husband’s set of keys, and we were now on the spare-spare set! I searched all over the house, madly looking on top of the drawers, on top of the sideboard, on the sofa, on the shelf in the porch. Then it dawned on me, I stopped for a moment and had a thought, ‘Hope couldn’t reach the sideboard, she wasn’t high enough to even see over the top of the sofa, never mind put keys there. So why am I looking there!’
Enlightened, I restarted my search but this time I looked at a whole new level for an answer to the drama of the missing keys. I got into the mind of my daughter and started to lower my eye line to the places she would be drawn to. I began to look in places a lot more in keeping with the answer I sought. Within a few moments of changing my view, I found not only one set of keys but five, all hidden away in the seat of her favourite toy car!
This story illustrates where many of us get it wrong on our journey through life. We pray to God almighty, the all powerful, all knowing, King of Kings and then go and look in the predictable, safe, comfortable places for our answer. Yet it says in Ephesians 3:20 that God can do ‘immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine’. So why reduce God to a ‘band aid’ of an answer; a short-term, temporary fix? We pray about our financial problem and expect the answer to be money or, a cheque in the post. But what if God doesn’t want to answer that way? What if he has another answer beyond where you are currently looking? Are you open to such a ‘zero gravity answer’?
The people of Israel came to believe that the provision of a king would solve all their dysfunction as a nation. They were adamant that it was the answer they needed and insisted on this ‘band aid’ quick fix solution. Even when the prophet Samuel made them aware of the trouble this would ultimately cause them, they still wanted their answer.2 They had made up their minds and were closed to any other answers from God. I don’t want a ‘band aid’ answer when God has something far more awesome for my life and destiny. Why settle for Saul when David is on the horizon?
God’s Answer Makes a Demand
In 1 Kings 17:7-24 we read about Elijah and the widow at Zarephath, both of whom were facing famine and looking for God’s provision in their time of need. I am sure that of all the places Elijah may have thought could be his place of provision, Zarephath was way down the list. It was a small town a long way from his home. Then, once there, the last home he would have asked for help from was that of a widow who was so desperate, she was planning a last meal for herself and her son, after which they expected to die. Yet God’s choice sees what we cannot see.
Equally, I am sure the widow didn’t expect the answer to her need to come in the form of another mouth to feed! This was a multiplication of her problem; she moved from having two hungry mouths to feed to three. This was worsening her situation. Or was it? The widow certainly saw it this way initially. Remember, God’s answers don’t necessarily come how you think they should.
Yet, what she did next is where I want us to look and learn. As she decided to let go of her preconceived ideas and help the prophet out, she pushed past her fear of the unknown and the demand this placed on her, and gave God something to work with. She stopped looking for a quick fix and trusted Elijah’s words that God knew what they needed and would provide. Likewise, I have found that God’s answers always demand something from me first. They come with a bigger ‘ask’ from my life.
Some years ago when my husband and I were struggling with our infertility battle, one Sunday God instructed me to pray for another couple who I didn’t even know about their desire to conceive a child. I would love to say I obeyed instantly and thought this was a great idea! But for a while I felt misunderstood by God. I thought, why should I pray for them about the very thing I am desperate for? After years of infertility I felt that any miracle should be in my world before theirs. I was struggling with the demand God placed on me to help someone else. Yet I obeyed, the lady conceived and I didn’t until much later. But I learned something that day. God’s answers make a demand on you; they ask something of you; they are never just about you getting your needs met.
When Jesus was on his way to heal Jairus’ daughter, he delayed in order to heal the woman with the issue of blood.3 I believe that delay was a great test for Jairus. Could he let what he needed for his daughter be delayed so that someone else got their miracle too? For me the question was whether I could give away my prayers so that others were helped, not just me.
And what about Noah? Why not just build a canoe for himself and his wife! No. God didn’t want Noah’s answer to stop at Noah, he wanted him to be open to building an ark sized answer for more than just his immediate personal needs.
The Bigger Picture
Returning to Elijah and the widow. God’s answer demanded that she be willing to give the little she had and this took her closer to a long-lasting answer, not a short-term quick fix. And it is the same for us too. The demand within God’s answer takes us closer to those ‘missing keys’; closer to the neighbourhood where God’s true answer resides. That day she opened her home and their immediate needs were met, but what happened next is what excites me the most. We read that sometime later her son died. Distraught, she turned to Elijah who helped her by raising him from the dead.
God’s answer is always about the bigger picture. We ask for what we think we need now, but God answers based on what he knows we need for both now and the future. That day God didn’t just want to give the woman and her son food to live on, he wanted to place the seed of a future miracle in their lives, a miracle they didn’t even know at that point they were going to need; the miracle of her son being brought back from the dead. Who knows how long the boy had been sick with a life threatening illness that would require more than food to cure. It was going to take the miracle power of heaven which the prophet could access on the widow’s behalf. Her answer was in the relationship with Elijah that she could have ignored had she not been willing to go with God’s zero gravity answer and feed him in the first place.
What are you willing to do in order to receive the ‘God answer’ you seek? I don’t want to just have bread when I am going to need a far greater miracle later on. God gave that widow a long term answer; it wasn’t bread – that would have been a ‘band aid’ quick fix – instead she was now able to call on the prophet because of her responsiveness in his time of need.
We must examine afresh where we look for God’s answers to our church, ministry and family situations. We need to lift the level of where we are looking and stop settling for quick fix solutions. God wants us to be a people big enough to build an ark, big enough to wait for David, and big enough to feed a prophet in our time of famine so that he can get his zero gravity answers from heaven to earth. So today, I challenge you. What are you asking God for and have you opened your mind for some zero gravity answers? They are out there. So change where you’re looking, and don’t be afraid, because God’s answers are always far better than anything we can come up with. What have you got to lose!
1 Isaiah 55:9
2 1 Samuel 8
3 Luke 8:41-56
I SEE THE NATIONS UNDER ONE VOICE WORSHIP AND PRAISE THE KINGS OF KINGS
I SEE THE NATIONS BROUGHT UNDER CONVICTION BY THE MANY INFALLIBLE PROOFS GIVEN BY THE CHURCH