Archive for August, 2011

v347 Beware of the False Light

From my reading this morning by Johann Tauler:

Beware of the False Light
Some people never advance beyond their lower faculties. Their lives are guided solely by natural reason, and the depths of their souls are empty and idle and not formed anew by God. Such people cling to the operations of their own reason as if these were God’s workings in them, but in fact there is nothing in their souls but natural activity. The right exercise of our natural faculties can afford greater joy than all sensual pleasures put together; but if people cling possessively to this joy, they can become most evil and most pernicious.

Here are the signs by which such people can be distinguished; they have not come up along the way of virtue, and they neglect the practices which lead to holiness of life and the extermination of vice. They are filled with love for their own false passivity, false because it is not combined with an active charity, interior or exterior; and they have tried to free their minds of all images before they are ready for this.

So the devil comes and inspires them with sweetness and light which is all deception, and he seduces them so that they are lost forever. He discovers whatever natural inclinations they may have, to unchastity or avarice or pride, and he leads them into such sins. They say that it is God, and not the devil, who has put all this into their hearts, and nothing will persuade them to the contrary; and so the next step in their corruption is “freedom of the spirit,” a false freedom in which they follow whatever their natural inclinations may be.

We should avoid such people more than we fear the devil, because in what they are and what they do, it is very difficult to distinguish them from God’s true lovers.

Listen v4.47 Quotes

Quote Title Quotation Source
In Heaven the Shadows of Earth are Gone The person who has made all the objects of his work divine and heavenly, and turns his back completely on all temporal things such a person s work becomes divine. That noble dear soul of our Lord Jesus Christ in its highest powers was directed unceasingly toward the Godhead as its object, and it was as blessed and enjoyable as it now is… Those who are now following him most closely in being turned toward divine objects, where work and enjoyment become one, shall in the hereafter be most like him in the essential enjoyment eternally. John Tauler – Sermon 39, circa 1340; excerpted from The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism by Bernard McGuinn copyright 2006 by Random House, Inc.
A Doctor in Diapers What are the characteristics of the fleshly? Foremost among them is remaining long as babes. The duration of babyhood should not exceed a few years. When one is born anew by believing that the Son of God atoned for his sins on the cross, he simultaneously ought to believe that he has been crucified with Christ in order that the Holy Spirit may release him from the power of the flesh. Ignorance of this naturally will keep him in the flesh for many years.
The second characteristic of the fleshly is that they are unfit to absorb spiritual teaching.
I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not ready. The Corinthian’s grossly prided themselves of their knowledge and wisdom. Of all the churches in that period, that at Corinth was probably the most informed one. Paul early in his letter thanked God for their rich knowledge (1.5). Should Paul deliver spiritual sermons to them they could understand every word; however, all their understandings were in the mind. Although they knew everything, these Corinthians did not have the power to express in life that which they knew. Most likely there are many fleshly believers today who grasp so much so well that they can even preach to others but who are themselves yet unspiritual. Genuine spiritual knowledge lies not in wonderful and mysterious thoughts but in actual spiritual experience through union of the believer s life with truth. Cleverness is useless here, while eagerness for truth is insufficient too; the sine qua non is a path of perfect obedience to the Holy Spirit Who alone truly teaches us. All else is merely the transmission of knowledge from one mind to another. Such data will not render a fleshly person spiritual; on the contrary, his carnal walk actually will turn all his spiritual knowledge into that which is fleshly. What he needs is not increased spiritual teaching but an obedient heart which is willing to yield his life to the Holy Spirit and go the way of the cross according to the Spirit s command. Increased spiritual teaching will only strengthen his carnality and serve to deceive him into conceiving himself as spiritual.
Watchman Nee – The Spiritual Man, circa 1920, copyright 1968 Christian Fellowship Publishers, Inc.
Talk is Cheap, Life is Priceless It is not what we say that tells, but what we are. It is easy enough to say a great many beautiful things about God being the God of all comfort; but unless we know what it is to be really and truly comforted ourselves, we might as well talk to the winds. Hannah Whitall Smith – The God of All Comfort, circa 1890 – 1956 Edition Moody Publishers
He is the Power to Will and To Act The birth of Jesus throws a striking light on our regeneration. Our new birth is the birth of the Son of God into our human nature, and our human nature has to be transfigured by the indwelling life of the Son of God. We have the power now to sacrifice the life of nature to the will of God, keeping our minds dependent on Jesus Christ as He was dependent on God. To-day the characteristic is spiritual insubordination; we will not bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
Religion Has Done Away with the Law Whereas God had provided the Law to be a schoolmaster to teach us of our utter inability to keep the law and thus lead us to Christ. The church has now done away with the same Law by teaching us that anything we do for God, even our acts of obedience, are of works and therefore. we need not measure to any standard at all. In effect, Religion has nullified the Law. Even the coming of Christ could not do that. Even the passing of Time could not do that. But Religion has succeeded to do what Christ could not and would not do. Religious grace has provided nothing less than a means of increasing sin. God forbid! Tom Van Hoogen
Death (i.e Separation) By Neglect or Suicide Your natural life is derived from your parents; that does not mean it will stay there if you do nothing about it. You can lose it by neglect, or you can drive it away by committing suicide. You have to feed it and look after it: but always remember you are not making it, you are only keeping up a life you got from someone else. In the same way a Christian can lose the Christ-life which has been put into him, and he has to make efforts to keep it. But even the best Christian that ever lived is not acting on his own steam — he is only nourishing or protecting the life he could never have acquired by his own efforts. And that has practical consequences. As long as the natural life is in your body, it will do a lot towards repairing that body. Cut it, and up to a point it will heal, as a dead body would not. A live body is not one that never gets hurt, but one that can to some extent repair itself. In the same way a Christian is not a man who never goes wrong, but a man who is enabled to repent and pick himself up and begin over again after each stumble — because the Christ-life is inside him, repairing him all the time, enabling him to repeat (in some degree) the kind of voluntary death which Christ Himself carried out. C. S. Lewis – Mere Christianity, copyright 1952, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd.
Cleaning Up Your Act(s) There are many Christians who know of no other nourishment for their inward life than the moldy bread of long past experience. But no true peace results from this. Inward religion does not consist in a life of morbid security, arising from the recollection of having once received the forgiveness of sins. Where a real spiritual life exists, there is also constant activity, unceasing striving against sin, repeated humiliation before God, and renewed experience of His favor. Were it otherwise, why should the Lord put into His children’s lips the daily petition, “Forgive us our trespasses!” He that is washed need not be again entirely washed, but only his feet, and that continually. F. W. Krummacher – The Suffering Saviour, Meditations on the Last Days of Christ, Wipf and Stock Publishers

Listen v4.46 Quotes

Quote Title Quotation Source
Ever Hungry, Ever Thirsty, Ever Desiring Yet through the burden, so to speak, of our infirmity, we sink back to our usual level and relapse to our ordinary state. And just as there we found cause for rejoicing, so here there will not be lacking an occasion for sorrow. For that deer that “made its tears its bread day and night,” carried along “by longing for the water-brooks” (that is, to the spiritual delights of God), “pouring forth his soul above himself” that he might attain to what is above his own soul, walking toward “the place of the wonderful tabernacle even unto the house of God,” and led on by the sweetness of that inward spiritual sound to feel contempt for outward things and be ravished by interior things, is still just a mortal man. He is still groaning here, still bearing about the frailty of the flesh, still in danger in the midst of the offenses of this world. He therefore looks back at himself, as if he were coming from the other world, and says to himself, now placed in the midst of the sorrows, comparing these with the things to see which he had entered in there, and after seeing which he had come out of there, says, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why do you disturb me?” (Psalm 41:6). See, we have just now been gladdened by certain inward delights; with the mind’s eye we have been able to behold, even though with only a momentary glance, something not susceptible to change. Why do you still disturb me, why are you still cast down? For you do not doubt your God. For now you are not without something to say to yourself in answer to those who say, “Where is your God?” I have now had the perception of something that is unchangeable, so why do you still disturb me? “Hope in God”. Just as if his soul was silently replying to him, “I disturb me because I am not yet there where that delight is to which I was rapt as it were in passing. Augistine of Hippo – Sermon on Psalm 41 – circa 390; excerpted from The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism by Bernard McGuinn copyright 2006 by Random House, Inc.
There is Deception, Not Safety, In Numbers Many of the religious phases of to-day do not touch reality, but only the Pharisaic insistence on a certain form of sound doctrine, and the man who is up against things finds nothing but chaff. Every denominationalist is certain that the crowd who does not agree with what we call our sound principles must be wrong; he never imagines that the Job type of man can be right with God. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
Faith with Obedience Penetrates the Veil It is only in nature that we meet with God under a veil, while in His revelation, all veils and coverings are removed. Only seclude your selves for time, for the purpose of biblical study, and send up repeated and heartfelt aspirations for divine enlightenment, and you will unceasingly observe infallible traces of Jehovah, and there will be no end to the discoveries you will make of all that is wonderful and glorious. F. W. Krummacher – The Suffering Saviour, Meditations on the Last Days of Christ, Wipf and Stock Publishers
Self Contented, Self Deceived He has not been anything like long enough with the Enemy to have any real humility yet. What he says, even on his knees, about his own sinfulness is all parrot talk. At bottom, he still believes he has run up a very favorable credit-balance in the Enemy’s ledger by allowing himself to be converted, and thinks that he is showing great humility and condescension in going to church with these “smug”, commonplace neighbors. Keep him in that state of mind as long as you can — Screwtape. C. S. Lewis – The Screwtape Letters, copyright 1942, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd.
Why Grope In Darkness When There is Light David, in order to pray aright, reposes himself on the Word and promise of God; and the import of his exercise is this: Lord, I am not led by ambition or foolish, headstrong passion, or depraved desire, inconsiderately to ask from Thee whatever is pleasing to my flesh; but it is the clear light of Thy Word which directs me, and upon it I securely depend. –John Calvin Charles H. Spurgeon – The Treasury of David abridged by David Otis Fuller, circa 1880, © 1968 by David Otis Fuller, Published by Kregel Publications
Only Trust Him, Trust Him Only If you are an uncomfortable Christian, then the only thing to give you a thoroughly comfortable religious life is to know God. The psalmist says that they that know God’s name will put their trust in Him, and it is, I am convinced, impossible for anyone really to know Him and not to trust Him. A trustworthy person commands trust; not in the sense of ordering people to trust him, but by irresistibly winning their trust by his trustworthiness. Hannah Whitall Smith – The God of All Comfort, circa 1890 – 1956 Edition Moody Publishers
Be Doers, Not Hearers Only To paraphrase Thomas a Kempis, “I had rather exercise faith than know the definition thereof.” A. W. Tozer – The Pursuit of God
Identity Crisis Your outcome in eternity is squarely dependent upon the exercise of free will in the face of crises, the greatest and most critical of which is believing the truth about yourself as revealed in God’s Word. Tom Van Hoogen
The Glory of Wormliness False humility belong to those who avoid esteems and who avoid all honor so that they may be taken as being humble. They go out of their way to speak often of just how very evil they are. (They do this so that they may be thought of as good.) Inside, they really do know their own misery yet they utterly despise the thought that anyone else would know. This is feigned humility; this is secret and hidden pride, nothing more. Michael Molinos – The Spiritual Guide – circa 1675, copyright 1982 by Seed Sowers

Unlocking Strongholds and Being Set Free

In Acts 10 the Spirit, by way of men, tells the events which led to the breaking down of old paradigms and mindsets that had formerly kept a partition between the God of Israel and the Gentiles. These walls within the mind are very real and concrete to the mind, they trap and hold and confine the man just as effectively as a prison wall and bars. Jesus has come to set the captives free. Men were not made for the law but the law for men. We must realize that when you know the truth, that is, when you experience the life-giving freedom of the Truth that is Christ in you, the hope of glory, you are free indeed.

So, in Acts 10 we are introduced to an Italian man named Cornelius, a centurion, “a devout man and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people and prayed to God alway.” So whether you can receive it or not this man knew the Truth, for he sought God and feared Him with awe and reverence. This same Cornelius was spoken to in a vision while he was praying and told to go to Joppa and seek out Simon (Peter) and he would tell him what to do.

It took four days for Cornelius‘ his little band to reach Joppa. Meanwhile as they were arriving and standing at the entrance to the house of Simon the tanner, Peter was on the rooftop of the house praying and fell into a trance. God showed Peter a great vessel like a sheet full of all types of animals and birds (of the non-kosher type) coming down from heaven and spoke to Peter and said, “Rise Peter; kill and eat.” Peter being in the prison of his former thinking answered God, “Not so, Lord for I have never eaten anything that is common [e.g. unsanctified, or not kosher] or unclean.” You would think Peter would have learned when he had a discussion with the Lord about what he was going to do and not do in the case of forsaking him. It is hard to kick against the goads, right?

Peter was really stuck in this mindset of not eating things that the old teaching (e.g. Judaism) forbid. God may not change, but the way He works can and does a times. That law was useful at the time in the desert teaching that certain animals and birds were subject to disease and thus it was not good to eat them. Now Peter is not in the desert, new place, new truth. The law was meant to serve man not man serve the law. The law is good, that is why we keep the law. When the law is not necessary or has been superseded by a greater law (i.e. the law of good hygiene) the former law is made of no effect. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Rom. 8:2.

Peter received the law of the Spirit and was set free, now God wants to demonstrate the full extent of His love in that the Gentiles too are brought in through this new and living way, even Christ. So Peter has a great struggle with this concept of eating forbidden foods. God puts it plainly, “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” And Peter was so hardheaded that this was done three times. God had to hammer on the wall in Peter’s mind to break through and get the Truth to penetrate his prison cell. God will make a way where there is no way. God is saying in the modern vernacular, “Peter, dude, I made the law and it serves Me and My purpose, let it go. I can change it, I AM.”

So eventually Peter submits to the Word and obeys Him. Whew! we can be so difficult to teach at times. These old thinking patterns are a bear and we hibernate in them and won’t come out into the Light when the season changes. It’s springtime man, come out! Your winter has passed. Remove the grave clothes! Whom the Son sets free, is free indeed.

Now I want to show you something that God used to speak to me. I do not think it a coincidence that on the heals of this telling of the event of Peter being set free from the mindset (a type of prison and stronghold for the soul with a door closed by wrong thinking, e.g. unbelief) regarding the salvation of the Gentiles and their acceptance by God through faith in Christ. God turns immediately (Acts 12) to a real prison cell in which Peter is held and Peter must walk out of it as well.

You know, don’t you, that the authorities are established by God? The men who placed Peter in that cell were given a place of authority which God allowed them to have. Even the authorities that captured Jesus, wrongfully accused Him, tried Him with a mock trial and killed Him were not in their position accidentally. Jesus stated, I could call a legion of angels and be set free but He realized that He was in that place by the Sovereignty of His Father and that He must stay there to complete the will of His Father.

Sometimes we are in a prison and we need to stay there, and sometimes we need to leave there. The key is the Father’s will in the matter.
Think of Joseph in prison, the Israelites in Egypt, in Babylon, in the Wilderness. Think of Paul in the desert, Moses in the desert. Think of the new disciples in Jerusalem for 50 days. Sometimes we tarry because God needs to finish the project He began. But when the project is over (e.g. 40 years in the Wilderness) then you can leave and move forward in the purpose for which you suffered that prison-like sentence.

Peter was brought into a prison cell in Acts 12. “Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.  And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.  And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)  And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison…” vv.1-4. Now it is obvious that Peter was put in prison wrongfully, unrighteously. He was in prison so that Herod could gain a favorable standing with the Jews, the enemies of Christ. This is exactly the kind of prison we need to be broken free from. This is exactly the scenario that we must overcome our mindset concerning the law.

Do not stay in the prison of your mind once God has opened the door and shown you the door. You were definitely in there because it was God’s sovereign will that you suffer in there, that way so that you might grow up. James put it this way, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;  Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:2-4. Definitely stay there so that the trial can complete the work in you for which it was sent. But on the other hand, when the work is done and the door is opened walk out and don’t question the authority of the unrighteous judge who placed you there. God will deal with him. You are free.

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Gal. 5:1.

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