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The Shepherd

Again on the healing of the man born blind (John 9), this is what I heard from God.

The people of this world are ALL born blind. The children know this and depend on others for sustenance, guidance, wisdom–but they too contend with the nature of Adam. You are all born blind, but such as the children, who know their need, who see their utter helplessness, who cling to Me, shall see.

My ways look circuitous and ill-kept and dangerous to you. Remember the Beruna Crossing, though. (In CS Lewis’ “Prince Caspian,” Lucy is asked to follow Aslan (Christ figure) alone though no one else believes she is seeing and following Him.) Though you must follow Me alone, yet follow. I know what lies ahead and I know the best and most direct way is not often the shortest or easiest.

Come with Me and I will take you by paths you will never find alone. You must learn to hear Me. It is imperative that you learn to hear Me. I will honor the one who hears and listens to My voice and follows, with life. ALL who come to Me I will receive. DO NOT follow an impostor. DO NOT be deceived. There is no more time for that.

Value those things that are of genuine worth, not the things deemed valuable by the world, but the things truly worthy of being valued. Value My Son. Value loyalty and obedience to Him. Value your brothers and sisters, whom you see. Value the pleasure of your bridegroom. All the things you see around you–all of them–will return to Him who made them and gave them. Nothing will be lost, but all will return to Him, and He will re-make them. If you have life within you, then you will remain. The soul that sins (by refusing Him) will die and its life will return to its maker.

I saw in my mind a landscape of hazy mountains, so I asked what it meant.

That is the future, and it is smoke, not mist. Into that you must go, but you will not long remain. You are light, for light dwells in you, yet a little time you must remain, and I will be in you and guide you and at the right moment, pluck you out. Do not remain in the toxic places, but go to the places where you find air. There remain until I send for you, and I will send My own Son at the right moment, and pluck you out–you and those you have acquired in that place–the children which the Lord shall give you. You will lead them out as freed captives rescued from the poisoned land. With their little ones and their goods you shall rescue them, and I will bring you home.

This is what I received the next day:

You are My chosen, and to you I have bequeathed light. To you, My children–to you, My bride, to you, My anointed ones, have I given light. Your eyes, which once were darkness, now are light. Your thoughts, which once were muddled and confused, now follow and come into conjunction with Mine. Your part, which has been obscure to you, you now begin to see.

Out of darkness, which you once were, the light is sparked; the flax begins to smolder. Light comes when its time is right. It will not be sanctioned before its time because the power to sustain it is not there, but as I lay the fire for lighting, so you must place things in order for the One who kindles.

Believe Me when I say that you shall not walk much longer in secret. The time for revealing shall not wait much longer, but it now stands just beyond the door. Will you be ready? Pray for the brethren that they may be prepared, that they know how to walk with godly intent, that they know My ways, My countenance, My expression, that they may be guided by My eye.

I will make you all what I want you to be, both as a body and as individual members. See that you all prepare yourselves in fasting and in prayer to receive My words to you as you walk in the way and as you sleep and as you wake. Look to Me moment by moment and hour by hour as you travel with one another, as you rest, and as you journey. Seek Me day and night and you will find I am always where you need Me.

If you do these things on a consistent basis, your eyes, will be opened (though you were born spiritually blind). But now, blessed are your eyes, for they see–and your ears, for they hear. Listen, then. Look and you will see. Don’t neglect to walk apart with Me so that you may be refreshed. In this time I will supply you with My strength and I will fill your spirit with the joy you will require for the day’s needs. Surrender to Me and I will fill you with My life.

Previous posts on this vein:
Light Breaks Through
The Light of Men
Blind Eyes Seeing and Seeing Eyes Blind

Olive Branch

On the third day I sought Him regarding the sixth miracle in the gospel of John, the healing of the man born blind, Jesus gave me the following:

I asked: Lord, about light, and blind eyes seeing and seeing eyes blind–what was so important about this sign that a man was born blind so that you could open his eyes?

Your eyes–physical eyes–are so limited. You can see only that which is before you in your immediate surroundings. The eyes of your imagination see many things both here and there, past and present–even things your physical eyes have not seen you can imagine, though without much clarity. Spiritual eyes are different.

Lord, I want to see with spiritual eyes. I really, truly want to see actual visions from You and dream dreams from You.

You are My daughter. You will see visions and dream dreams, but you MUST declare them. Are you prepared to do that?

To whom, Lord?

To this generation, thoughtless and perverse, you will declare that which you see and hear in the Spirit.

Why me, Lord?

Ha! You are a funny child. Because in asking you have declared your willingness to hear, but I do not give these things for the sake of satisfying curiosity. They are strategic data, given strategically, to be used and disseminated as I direct.

Fill me with Your fire, Lord, and with Your visions that You will direct me in declaring. I do not want to have lived an ordinary life, but a life in You.

My light is My life and My life is light. When I withdraw My light from them, they die and return to their dust. Those who do not have My life have not the light.

Bring me an olive branch.

I haven’t got one, Lord. They don’t grow here.

But you would if you could.

Yes.

Bring it in the Spirit, then.

What size?

Bring a small one.

In my imagination, my spirit, I did this.

Remember Aaron’s rod that budded?

Yes, Lord.

Can I give this olive branch, severed from its tree, life?

No, Lord. Not without grafting it into a new tree.

But Aaron’s rod?

It budded, but it didn’t make a tree. It bore blossoms and almonds, but I suppose it’s dead now.

Why would you suppose that?

It’s not part of a tree, Lord.

Yet it budded and bore blossoms.

That was a special sign, Lord. It didn’t become a tree.

You are right. I gave it life for a time, but only to show My people their need of Me. Aaron’s rod had some life in it. Enough to bud, blossom, and even produce a little fruit, but without a source of flowing life, it finally withered and died. On the day I would have grafted it into My Tree of Life, Aaron withdrew it and refused, and now it is dead.

Will You graft it back in, Lord?

No. The Aaronic priesthood is dead. For a time I ordained it, but not for an eternity. But I have said to My Son, ‘You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.’ The time of the Aaronic priesthood is dead. The time of Melchizedek will never end.

I will have My kingdom of priests, but you must first lay down the mortal, natural caste system of priesthood and take up, each of you, the spiritual raiment of your order, offering true and spiritual worship, which is acceptable to Me.

How do we do that, Lord?

Come, each of you, and seek Me with your whole heart, and I will consecrate you daily. I will give you the oil and the wine and the bread of life. The oil is to make your light a burning and a shining light to fill the room, the holy place, with light, but when you enter the most holy place, you are in Me and do not need to bring a light. There you will know true light.

The wine–the blood of redemption, is for you–to make your face to shine and to cause you to rejoice before Me–to take you out of your imprisonment within yourselves and into My Son.

The bread is true bread, to give you strength and life. My bread is sufficient for you, and more than sufficient–it is the tree into which you have been grafted–it is root and trunk to bring life continually.

After this, I had to go. I’ll tell you more later.

Blessings, Cindy

Previous posts on this subject:

Light Breaks Through

The Light of Men

The Light of Men

And the Life was the Light of Men

In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. God equates life with light. We see only the symbols of these forces; life and light, but God, who knows all things, has chosen to reveal them to us through His Son. If you haven’t read my last post, please take the time to check it out so you’ll have a foundation to understand this one better. God wasn’t done talking to me about the subject of light and the meaning of the  miracle Jesus performed when He healed the man blind from birth. Here’s what I received from Him a few days later:

Stay under My pavilion. You will still feel the weather, but I will keep the worst of it off you. My church that is founded on Me will not/cannot be shaken. If anything can be shaken, let it go. It is not of Me. I know how to keep My own, and I know how to purify My house. Some may go out and come back in, yet others will remain within. He who goes out will suffer because of it, but will not be lost. Some, however, who are not of you, will be shaken out, and they will not come back. I have the words of eternal life, and that is precisely what they are avoiding.

The light exposes that which they are unwilling to let go, yet which they need to leave behind. In the shadows, they can and do hide those things they know will not and cannot be approved. They can pretend they are citizens of the Kingdom, benefit from its fellowship, prestige, make themselves feel they are accepted in the beloved–all while maintaining the laws of their native land in their hearts.

That is why I said that, as the light of the world, I came to make blind eyes see and seeing eyes blind. It is not enough to say, “I see” whilst keeping your eyes tight shut. Open your eyes. You will see things you don’t like–things that shame you. Yet you must open them if there is ever to be a deliverance for you from darkness. It has been given to Me to have life in Myself, and that life is the light of men. You have no life of your own. What you have that you so desperately cling to is a mere image–like a photograph–of life. If you have a desire, as you behold that image–a desire for more–a deep longing–know that is Me you desire and long for, for I am life.

More later . . .

Blessings, Cindy

I received this letter today from China Aid and wanted to pass it on to you all. Please take time to read and to visit FREE Alim.com to learn more about how to pray for Alim and his family, as well as to sign the petition and learn how to write to him and his family.

Imagine that your son has been sentenced to 15  years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Alimujiang Yimiti’s mother Wushuerhan faced this harsh reality in the summer of 2009, when her son was forced to undergo two secret trials before being charged with leaking state secrets to foreigners, and condemned to the maximum prison sentence by the Xinjiang Courts.

Alimujiang Yimiti is a Uyghur Christian, who converted from Islam in 1995. He and his wife Gulinuer led a house church ministry in Kashgar, Xinjiang, spreading messages of hope and peace in a region riddled with ethnic conflict and violence. Targeted for his minority faith and ethnicity, Alim has been persecuted unjustly in what his lawyer, Dr. Li Baiguang calls “the worst case of religious persecution in the past decade.”

Authorities seized Alimujiang from his home in January 11, 2008, holding him illegally for over one year on unfounded charges of illegally spreading religion in his hometown of Kashgar. Later, the charges were changed to “divulging state secrets to foreign individuals” based on a private conversation the Uyghur Christian pastor held with an American Christian friend.

For the past two years, Wushueran and Alim’s wife Gulinuer have petitioned police officers, government officials, and state agencies. But the officers refused to see them, even barring Alimujiang’s lawyers from visiting him in prison. Wushueran would travel miles from her hometown to stand at the gates of Alimujiang’s detention center, crying aloud for his release, before guards could force her to leave.

On April 20, 2010, Wushueran, Gulinuer, and Alim’s two sons saw him for the first time in over two years. Barely recognizing his father, Alim’s four-year-old boy could only stare at the strange man, separated from him by a wall of glass. Wushueran encouraged her son to be strong, and Alim in turn comforted his family, not knowing when he would see them again.

Enraged by the injustice, Wushueran and Gulinuer now urge the international community to demand Alimujiang’s release. Hear their appeal for Alimujiang Yimiti, an innocent Uyghur Christian imprisoned for his faith at the Free Alim website.

Alimujiang faces a long and torturous separation from his family, simply for his profession of Christian faith. In partnership with other concerned organizations around the world, ChinaAid urges you to Sign the Petition to Free Alim!

By raising our voices in petition for Alimujiang Yimiti, we the international community can build a brighter, more peaceful future for China and for the world. Add your voice to the thousands around the globe calling for justice today!


Light Breaks Through

Light Breaks Through

Jesus’ day at the temple started with a bunch of Pharisees wanting to stone a woman caught in the act of adultery. I can only assume her male consort ran faster than she did, since Moses commanded both to be stoned–but never mind that. It wasn’t enough that Jesus spoiled the party by refusing to cooperate. He then proceeded to needle and irritate the Jews who hadn’t left in shame after the would-be stoning incident. And as if that were insufficient, He topped it all off by as much as saying that He was God. It was too much. The law dogs would have their stoning, and it was Jesus they were aiming for. But He “hid Himself and went out of the Temple, going through the midst of them.” My interpretation: He walked right out through the middle of the crowd of angry Pharisees and they didn’t even see Him go.

As Jesus passed by, He saw a man who had been blind since birth. You might think, given the situation, that Jesus would be in a bit of a rush to get back to the Mount of Olives, but no. He made some cryptic remarks to His disciples about working in the daytime, then proceeded to violate the Sabbath, as was His custom. He made clay. Making clay on the Sabbath was specifically forbidden because everyone (particularly me) knows that making clay is hard work. But Jesus just spat on the ground and mixed up a batch of clay anyhow and rubbed onto the blind man’s eyes. I’m going to make you read the rest of the story for yourselves. Of course you know the blind man is healed and the Pharisees are ticked about the clay, but go ahead and read it here anyhow so you’ll know everything that’s going on.

This is what I believe God said to me about this sign:

This sign says more about Me than all the other signs so far. By light, all is revealed and made manifest. Without light, you may as well be born blind, for though you have the facility to do it, you see nothing without light. This is the light that came into the world: The Father in Me. Without the Father and the Son, there is no Spirit–there can be no light. Light, the light you see around you, is just a picture, an image of the Holy Spirit–only slow and dingy compared to the Spirit–but for now, this image is the most you can bear to see.

Imagine if I were to suddenly reveal Myself as I truly am to the world. Those blind for lack of light will see, and those groping around in the dark with their eyes tight shut will be blind still–though they will deny it, for in their experience, nothing has changed. Thus the “seeing” will be made blind–that is, everyone will now realize their blindness–everyone save themselves.

You made the mistake of seeking Me in the pathways of logic, though the logic was fatally flawed in that it was earthly, sensual, devilish. You who seek Me in these places find cobwebs, dust, and drought. This is a dry and thirsty place where no water flows. Get out of there lest you choke to death on the dust, become entangled in the webs, and shrivel up for lack of water. This is not My place of learning, but only a place for the dead. Soon I will penetrate it with light and rescue those captives who truly seek Me.

For judgment I came–that those who say, “We see” may be shown as they are, that is to say, blind. And those who were blind but knew it, those who love the light at its appearing, may no longer stumble, but walk by the light of life.

I came to bring light to a land of great darkness that those who see the light, and love the light, may be saved from the night, turn from death, and walk in the day.

As with all of these signs, I’ve found it a battle to listen to God regarding this. I can only conclude that where there’s battle, there’s a victory to be won; a mystery to be uncovered; a stronghold to be vanquished. In ourselves we are nothing, but in Him, we are always victorious–provided we don’t surrender. More in a couple of days, so stay tuned. 😉

Blessings, Cindy

Together One

Harebells

Together One

To the tune of It Could Happen to You: Young at Heart

In the quiet of night,
When You whisper our names
May we hear Your voice.
In the midst of the day
When you woo us away,
May we heed your voice.
Lord, You know what we need.
May we joyfully cede
Unto You our hearts’ throne
May we follow Your lead.
You know the right time;
You make our lives shine.
You know how to fill
Your children’s hearts with joy.

When we gather together
To worship You, Lord,
And to share Your life,
And rejoice in Your love,
For Your joy is our strength,
As we share Your life,
You will build us all into
Your very own home
Where the King of all kings
Shall establish His throne.
Love ever after
Mouths full of laughter
We in You and You in us,
Together: One.

It’s fun to write new songs to the Lord. Usually He gives me songs, but sometimes I like to write songs back to Him, too, and I especially like this one. Often, He’ll give me a tune, but it’s really easier for the church if there’s an established tune that they already know. I particularly like Young at Heart, and had it rattling around in my head for several days before I wrote these lyrics. I’m not sure I have the tune dead-on, as I wrote from my memory of it, but hopefully you can make it work.

The Pond Next Door

Sometimes, when it’s warm, I sit by this pond and listen to God. It’s a great blessing to have so much peace around me, but the real peace needs to come from within or it can never last.

I got the title to this post from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a man of the organized church of Germany at the time of the rise of the Third Reich, and later a martyr for the Lord Jesus Christ. He said,

“If the train is going the wrong way, it does no good to run down the hall in the opposite direction.”

He was speaking of the established church of Germany, which was becoming more and more dominated by the administration of Adolph Hitler. We are a long way from that, but so was the German church at one time. When Bonhoeffer began to raise the alarm, most thought him, well, an alarmist. I suppose he was, but the thing is . . . he was right.

The situation in the USA is different from the situation in pre-WWII Germany, but we could, in time, see more parallels than one might anticipate. The church is being expected to mold itself into an image acceptable to the world. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t.

A cleric in Great Britain was recently arrested for including homosexuality in this list of sins compiled by Paul in 1Co 6:9-10 “Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: no sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, revilers, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom.” The man was quoting the bible and he was arrested for it! If this is happening in GB, it can’t be far away in the USA, particularly under the current administration. Granted the church has brought some of this on itself by fighting against sin in the world when she should have confined her battle to snatching people from the fire and seeing that she herself and all her members were undefiled.

Still, the time is coming when it will no longer be permissible to speak truth in the visible church. Those who follow The Truth will be forced to go underground. Those who do not follow the truth will betray those who do. As in Germany, it will seem that believers are leaving the church when in fact, they are at last finding the true church.

Here are a few posts I’ve found around WordPress that talk about this. You should read them–you’ll be amazed and blessed. Read them prayerfully and see what God might say to you through these brothers and sisters. If you’ve seen other similar words anywhere, I’d like to hear about them.

First, Nathan’s: Jesus is Our Priest
and About Authority (I just added this one–it’s excellent, but I’d forgotten where I saw it and now here it is!)

Next Rachel’s: Breaking the Bondage

And Frank’s: God is Calling the Remnant out of the Established Church

And a bonus: The Latter Rain (The Remnants’ Journey to the Valley of Acacias)

And on The Age to Come The State of the Nation–just posted, regarding the increasing persecution of the church in Great Britain

M’Kayla’s post on the Wheat and the Tares: The Result of Sleeping Workers

And finally, my own, which I reposted a couple of days ago:
A New Word from an Ancient Prophecy: Isaiah 32

Streams of Water in the Wilderness

In the first part of June, 2009, I was sitting out by the pond, and God whispered to my heart to read Isaiah 32. Yeah–pretty obscure. I didn’t know what it said. I looked it up, and it still didn’t make a lot of sense to me. I went back later and looked over it a little bit closer, with the help of the Holy Spirit, and I began to understand why God had put this particular reference in my mind.

First, you really will have to read along with me in the bible. If you use the link above, you’ll have the same translation I’m using, but pretty much any other translation you like will work as well.

The text starts out talking about how righteous leaders become a shelter from wind and sun, and allow careless minds to learn, stammering tongues to speak fluently, and keep fools and scoundrels from gaining the applause they so often garner in our world. I asked God how I could possibly become such a leader. (Please realize that in context of house churches, a leader isn’t a preacher or a manager, but merely a servant.) Here is what He spoke to my heart:

“Roll yourself up in Me, child. You are to walk in Me, speak in Me, do in Me. By this thing alone, you are sheltered from every wind of doctrine (diverse and sometimes false teachings), which would seek to trap you. By refusing to be buffeted by these winds, you become a shelter to others as well.”

The next few verses tell what fools and scoundrels do. According to these definitions, a fool is not just someone who is easy to use and abuse, as we so often define the term. The attributes of a fool are listed here. The last two, depriving the hungry and thirsty of food and drink, probably should be taken metaphorically as well as literally. Food and drink often symbolize relationship with God through Jesus Christ His Son. Fools don’t want a relationship with Jesus themselves, and they don’t want anyone else to have one, either.

Scoundrels are worse, as they actively seek to use and abuse those less powerful than they.

Noble people are also described as *planning noble things and *standing up for noble causes.

Following this, Isaiah begins addressing his target audience, whom he calls “complacent women.” Dictionary.com defines complacent as: pleased, especially with oneself, one’s merits, advantages, situation, etc., often without awareness of some potential danger or defect; self-satisfied. Isaiah is using the symbolic “complacent women” to reference the people of Jerusalem. However, scripture can have many applications, and I sense God speaking to me through this scripture, and warning me not to be one of these “complacent women,” who, in this application to our times, symbolize the complacent among modern church-goers.

Isaiah adjures the complacent women to “stand up” for noble causes (hence displaying nobility.) They are not currently doing this, but are going about their own little lives, focused principally on themselves. They are not fools or scoundrels, but neither are they noble.

He advises them to strip themselves bare (my interpretation: put off the man-made trappings of modern church life which tend to stifle the power and lordship of Jesus in their lives), cover themselves with sackcloth and beat their breasts in mourning for the delightful fields, vineyards, joyous houses, palace, busy city, and watch tower, which will all be abandoned. My interpretation is that these will be abandoned by both God and by those who are actively following Him.

I asked God: Lord, do you want to illuminate this further for me? Are my guesses right? (My guesses are in parentheses above.) This is what I heard in my heart:

“Complacent women are chiefly concerned with themselves and how they look to others. The religious structure that has grown up around My glory has concealed who I truly am, so that no one can easily find Me. Beautiful buildings and Papal palaces are not My home. For a time I supplied them, but the wine (Holy Spirit) and the bread (Jesus) have now gone. The little they have left will trickle out until all who are truly Mine will finally abandon them. My Spirit has left and is leaving the traditional church. I will dwell in the desert and will cause it to bloom. I will raise up the waste places and make them fruitful.”

I want to make clear that I have no personal anger toward traditional churches. I have found them disappointing, but I’ve not endured anything I would call abuse or misuse from this institution. I honestly don’t have a prejudice against them that I’m aware of. This is simply what I heard in my spirit regarding this portion of Isaiah 32. Really, I wish I could say nicer things, as I’ve seen traditional churches doing a lot of good things, but God moves where He moves, and it’s up to us to follow. Please don’t just automatically assume I have to be wrong about this. I may be, but ask God before you make a decision. There’s a lot more of this sort of thing coming up. Truly, I’d rather say consoling things, but I would be lying if I did.

So, on to verse 15 and the rest of the chapter: The above state of affairs lasts “until the Spirit from Heaven is poured out on us. Then, the desert will become an orchard and unfruitful places will become blessed and lavishly fruitful.

If I were going solely by my intellect, I would say this refers to the spread of the gospel to non-Jewish people while it was rejected by Israel, and it probably does refer to this, but that was a long time ago, and that’s not what God led me to this prophecy for. Prophecies have layers, and they’re often re-usable. God does this all the time. So, for today, here’s what He said to me about this:

“Our love is like an orchard. wherever you gather to seek after Me because of your extreme desire for me shall become an orchard, be it ever so barren before. Seek after Me truly and I will meet you there and the streams of water (symbolic of the Holy Spirit) will flow abundantly, flooding the land with My mercy and grace. No one can be fruitful alone. The apple tree needs other apple trees to bear fruit–more trees equal better and more fruit on each individual tree. The complacent women think principally of themselves. The trees of My orchard are never self-pollinating. All require one another for fruitfulness and health. None stand alone. I am the Orchardist who plants the trees and nurtures them to good health. I prune out the unhealthy and diseased and evil branches to make room for the good branches to flourish and bear fruit.

“Many will be astonished that I have not chosen the fertile plains of the traditional church to grow my fruit gardens, but I can no longer bear the clumsy interference of inept and well-meaning, but bossy men. The vapid exterior and famine-ravaged interior of the complacent women grates on Me.”

(At this point, I thought: But I’ve met lots of people in the traditional church who had impressive knowledge of the things of God, good doctrine, study diligently, etc. God responded to my thought . . . )

Knowledge is not enough! I WILL HAVE PASSION! Don’t speak to Me of the surprising knowledge of these servants. They do not have passion. They do not need Me.

“Many have quietly left the traditional church because of hunger and thirst. These I will gather. I will water them with abundant waters and feed them with Myself. Wine shall flow from their lips when they speak in Me, and healing and great power shall be in their fingertips because I have sustained them with Myself.”

–Lord, I love You. Please empower me to love You more. Please–I want to be lost in You. I want to lose myself completely in You–

“It is these lost places to which I go, Dearest. Find Me where the wild roses bloom in flagrant disregard to usefulness. Their extravagant beauty has no purpose but joy. Come away with Me, My Love, to the hidden places–to the forgotten wastelands where I shall bring up wild and wanton beauty for beauty’s sake alone. Not vapid and empty beauty such as you have often desired in yourself, My Love, but beauty such as delights My soul, and you shall learn to delight in it as I do. There you will see the fruit of My passion–the (spiritual) children you long for, the community of love. There, in the hidden and barren places I have sought My love and have drawn her to Me.”

(One of the metaphors in the bible often used to describe the church is that of the bride of Jesus, and it is to this metaphor that the passage above speaks.)

“The beautiful buildings shall be empty when the remnant of My people has gone out to come to Me. I will leave the abomination barren. No longer will I inhabit out of mercy for the youth, who know nothing else, for the elderly, who have sought Me there all their days (and found Me), for the careless, but well-meaning daughters. Come out, children. You will find there nothing but barrenness of soul.”

–But Lord . . . there are still lots of good traditional churches doing good things. Obviously You are still there. And what about the mega churches that are hybrids? (They have large “services” as well as active small groups.)–

“A hybrid is an abomination to Me. Please do all My will. Don’t mingle My church with the practices of the world. I have begun to leave. At the right time, I pulled you out. Others have gone and still others will go.The trickle has become a roar. Soon it will go back to being a trickle until at last the lake has given all its overflowing abundance and very little remains. Nothing fresh, nothing moving, will remain. The great lake will become a stagnant puddle and at last the sun will dry it up completely and the mud at the bottom will crack. Thorns will grow there, and poisonous plants. I will gather My sweet fragrant water in a thousand sparkling pools to feed the hungry and satisfy the thirsty and water the whole land. The waste places will bloom and the thriving cities and the showy gardens will sink and be seen no more.

“The donkeys and oxen (beasts of burden–symbolic of those who carry the weight for the traditional church–teachers, hosts/hostesses, cleaners, support people, etc.) will delight in the land freely. Blessed is the pastor who unties his donkey and his ox and opens his hand to let them go with his blessings. Him I will bless with peace and he shall find a pleasant place in My new, yet ancient idyll. No one will take it from him, and I will cause him to rejoice and to rest.”

Next day, I was reading over all the above, and God placed a picture in my mind. It was the inside of a concrete cistern (A cistern is a holding tank for rain water–like a big, usually rectangular, man-made pool.) The last little bits of water were flowing out through a hole in the bottom. The rim of the cistern was grassy and broken down so that it looked more like a squarish pond than a man-made structure, but of course, without the water, you could clearly see what it really was. The sky was a fierce, hot, cloudless blue.

I asked, What does this mean, Lord?

“You see this? You thought it was a pond, didn’t you? Everyone did. (The cistern symbolizes the traditional church, which we all believed was designed by God, but in fact, was fashioned by human history and ideas.) I love you, so I went ahead and filled it for you. But now the water is draining away. I will no longer keep it filled. The managers of the cistern don’t really want My interference with their “pond,” so I have left it to their management. It will be difficult to pass off an empty cistern for a full pond. I have other places for My water to flow. Places where it will not be constrained to a man-made shape, or confined by concrete walls. Places where it will better give life without the interference of self-appointed managers.

“My waters are free, and they flow where I send them. My pure and living waters have the power to cleanse the seas (symbolic of the masses of people of the world). Everything they touch is reborn. Beauty follows My waters and life springs up everywhere they touch. My waters soak into the ground and cause the seeds (God’s word) planted long ago to spring to life. Rejoicing is in the sound of many waters flowing and sparkling in the Son of My love.

“My waters are fragrant and transparent. They bubble and laugh. No man shall tame them with bridges and dams and spillways. They shall flood at My will and hold back at My will. He who crosses them must do so on foot, and none who so cross can remain unaffected.

“The water is alive! The water is joy. The water will enter your being and make you one with it. Drink and never thirst again. The water is quick and pure. Drink! Drink joy. Drink pure joy into your spirit and become one with your Lord–your Betrothed.”

Be blessed!

Cindy

Here are some links that might be of interest.

To learn how to hear from God: Rachel’s blog, “Stirring the Deep,” also linked in my blogroll:
Lesson One
Lesson Two
Lesson Three
Lesson Four
Lesson Five
Lesson Six
Lesson Seven

And one by Frank Viola on non-traditional churches:
What is the Organic Church?

Think on These Things

Twisted Tree at the Grand Canyon

As Paul and Timothy close thier letter to the brethren at Phillipa, they give the church there a last bit of advice. It’s good for us today, too. While we can’t live this way on our own, it is no longer we who live, but Christ in us. It helps, though, to have some idea of what that looks like so we can see whether we’re yielding to the Holy Spirit or not. Paul and Timothy give us a picture in Php 4:4-9 of walking in the Spirit:

  1. Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

    How often do we follow this advice? When things are going well? Following it when we don’t feel so great is a supernatural thing.

  2. Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.

    Graciousness? What does that mean? The Greek is epieikes, and Strongs says it means: appropriate, that is, (by implication) mild: – gentle, moderation, patient. Thayers says: seemly, suitable, equitable, fair, mild, gentle.

  3. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Easy to say, not so easy to do. This is where it comes in handy to KNOW Him–I mean really, really know Him, that He is good, and that He will answer our requests in His own way, according to His goodness and His love toward us. Not like a parent who’ll do anything to spare his/her children pain, but like an all-knowing, all-loving God who does the truly best thing for His beloved–even if it hurts sometimes.
  4. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

    To me, that word “and” says: Do this AND that will happen. “Come to me, AND I will give you rest.” Scripture is full of these conditional clauses. If we, in the strength of the One who indwells us, do 1,2, & 3, then the peace of God will come and guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

  5. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable–if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise–dwell on these things.

    How easy to think about lies, dishonorable behavior, the injustice we see daily, the impurity, the ugliness, the inexcusable, the immorality and the shame of this world. These things were there in abundance in the days of the early church–in many ways more so than now. Yet Paul doesn’t admonish the brethren to protest the moral decay or spend every spare moment fighting it. He tells them to think on/dwell on good things.

    To me this is a HUGE relief. (Even if it does cut down on the movie and TV time!) It’s also a challenge, because the negative loudly clamors, while the beautiful and lovely things just hang around being quietly beautiful, waiting to be noticed. Notice them. You’ll be so happy you did.

  6. Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

    Can you say this to your children? Your friends? Can I? Do we really want them to do what they’ve seen in us? If we’ve been following the advice of 1-5 above, we can say a confident “Yes!”

Father, help us to live in such a way that we can say with Paul and Timothy, “Do what you’ve seen me do.”

Blessings, Cindy

Reagan the Goldador

We just got a new puppy! He’s a little bigger now than in this photo, and it’s time for him to learn some manners. It’s important to dogs to know where they stand in the family pack. A dog who thinks he’s dominant over other family members can be dangerous though he may have a naturally gentle temperament.

Dogs don’t mind not being the top dog. They just need to know. One big indicator of pack order to a dog is who goes through the door first. And puppies want to go everywhere first. I’m not sure they’re trying to assert their dominance at this stage–they’re just excited to be going somewhere. Still, it’s the beginning of training for our little guy (well, second to knowing where not to piddle).

So Reagan is having to learn how to wait. Ouch! Poor Reagan. I tell him to sit. Sometimes he does. Then I give him a wee tiny treat. (Reagan is a BIG chow hound.) He gets all excited about his treat and jumps up and down–then he has to sit again. This time I might not give him a treat because it almost seems counter-productive–but then sometimes I do, because he’s so cute and funny. After awhile, he’ll sit for a few moments and I’ll slowly and (I hope) authoritatively say s-t-a-y as I reach behind me to unlatch the door. As soon as he hears the hinges start to squeak, he jumps up and lunges toward the door, all bounces and floppiness. “No, Reagan. Sit!” And we start all over again. (We don’t go through this routine first thing in the morning when he has to go r-e-a-l bad.) It’s a big deal, doing this every time the puppy needs to go out. I hope he gets it soon.

Our older dog is good about this. I tell her, “Back,” and she steps back and waits. Sometimes I let her just follow me since she knows not to go first, and sometimes I make her wait until I call her to come out with me. It makes sense when you think about it. The pack leader needs to go first. What if there are dangers out there? How will he/she protect the weaker members of the pack if they always insist on going first? And what if the leader has other plans for the day beyond the usual? How will the pack know if they’re all running off in their own directions? I’m sure you can see where this is going.

It’s our natural (fallen) instinct to run out of that door and do whatever we want to do. The Master can follow and bless whatever it may be we’ve gotten involved in. Sometimes He does, but if He really wants us doing something else, or if He’s decided we’re “big enough” to learn some manners, He may decide not to.

If you look back, you might see Him waiting at the door for you to come back and let Him go first. That’s a hard thing for all of us ‘self-made’ men and women to do. We’re used to taking charge, making it happen, if it is to be, it’s up to me. We think that’s virtuous. But is Jesus rolling His eyes and saying inwardly, “Puppies!”? Don’t be a puppy–don’t be a weak and weary lost sheep. Come back to the door and let the Shepherd lead you out into green pastures by still waters. He has plans for us, but if we insist on running out ahead of Him, we’ll never know what they are.

The one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. The doorkeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought all his own outside, he goes ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they recognize his voice.”
(John 10:2-5 HCSB)