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Taki’s adventures continue. Please check out the story here on my brand new WordPress site!

Lioness Hunting

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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

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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?

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As I sat quietly, hoping to hear something from God, a picture of a wild rose opened wide with the pollen exposed came into my mind. This is what I believe I heard:

As the blossom clothes and glorifies and helps to identify the rose bush, so I have clothed you with beauty, My saints. The rose bush without the blossom remains a rose bush. It does not become more or less a rose bush because it bears or does not bear blossoms, but beauty and fruitfulness (which is produced by beauty) are the whole point of a rose bush. Oh yes, the bush is delicate and lacy and lovely on its own. Its leaves are unsurpassed for intricacy of design and even its thorns are a treat to behold. Yet without bright blossoms, who notices a rose bush amongst the aspens? Only those seeking it. But everyone sees the blossoms.

Therefore, whoever seeks the rose bush will find it, but even he who does not seek will notice the bright pink roses. There is a time for blossoms and a time for buds. There is a time for root and branch to grow, and for the bursting forth of new leaves.

A new, small rose bush may have a few blossoms in its first year, but its strength must be reserved for growing. Unless conditions are harsh and the bush senses it will die soon. Then it must mature quickly and produce fruit if it can, with seed.

But if the bush will live, it is best for it to grown and allow blossoms to come forth as they come.

The blossoms that clothe the bush are the righteous deeds of the saints–they are the fine, snowy linen worn by My bride, the beauty of the flowers that attracts insects and bees and birds–all of which feed on the flowers and cause them to produce fruit.

And the fruit is good for eating and for the sowing of new seed. The seed is produced by being and by drawing nourishment from the stalk and the root.

Artificial roses can be beautiful, but they do not produce pollen and nectar, nor do they have a fragrance to attract. They may attract some less-discerning with their intense colors, but they have nothing to offer for the hungry. There is no food, no fragrance, no feeding the spirit, and no fruit and no seed.

Cultivated roses are a little better. They have life, of sorts, though it must be supported by all kinds of outside intervention; sprays and pruning and fertilizers and work. Wild roses grow of themselves. All who are around them see, and marvel that such beauty can spring forth in unusual and unexpected places. Wild roses know the seasons and the times; when to bloom and when to fruit. Cultivated roses that survive in uncultivated times do so by going wild. Some can and some can’t. Some survive and some do not, and some are better gone. But the seed–the seed knows its way back to the wild.

All that you need is within you. Do not fail to listen to the voice of My Spirit within you. My seed is in you. Let it lead you back to the forest glen–to the sunlit hollows where the wild roses thrive.

This is a message to the organic church. If it makes no sense to you and you want to understand, please feel free to ask any questions you’d like.

Blessings, Cindy

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Some time ago I had a dream about a river, and I never felt I got the full interpretation of it. A week or so ago, I was thinking about it again and I asked God to tell me more. I won’t recount the dream except to say that it concerns a river running across our driveway. It’s a long dream and this will make sense without it. Here’s what I believe I heard God saying:

It (the rest of the interpretation) has to do with foundations. My word in you must be your base, but you, in experiencing life, have filled in rubble that buries the Word in piles of things “set in stone” that the river must then erode and wash away. The natural course of a river contradicts this picture. In a natural river, silt builds up; the banks recede; the river spreads out and slows down. That is what happens to a natural river under the curse.

You don’t need all that silt and clutter in your life. You need newness and fresh, clear, pure water to wash away the things that choke the flow of the Spirit in your life. You need a constant influx of My healing, cleansing waters flowing swiftly. The river is your life, or a picture of it.

The river also denotes My church. All summer long and through the winter, streams have been melting a little here and a little there, flowing together, gathering. They can’t pause their flowing when once they have begun. I have been gathering them in preparation since long before you were even aware of the need or of My intent. I have been gathering them to prepare a fountain head for My new expression in you all. (Note: not a different expression, but an expression made new in newness of life.)

Don’t feel badly that things don’t seem to be moving–a trickle now and again that immediately seeps into the ground . . . This is not My beginning–not yet. This is My pre-beginning in you. Preparation work for the ground level of My sanctuary built not with human hands, but in My own way and time.

I know how to both build you together and deconstruct you and make of you a new thing–many new things, for as living stones, you reproduce.

The way of the lively water is deep. The way of the white water is swift. The way of the still water is deep, deep–deep and cold and pure. Yet all of these ways have their time and place in the river. No one but I alone can direct you down this most ancient of rivers, yet ever and always new. You will seek and find Me in the secret places where the river is gathered in hidden places, awaiting My timing and My command to flow.

The gathering of the river is secret. The quickening of the river is in My hand. The releasing of the river is imminent.

Do not attempt to tame or control or direct My river, for I alone have its reigns. I alone will command its floods and its turnings. But let My river run deep in you. Allow Me to wash away the rubble, the silt, the uncleanness in your lives. If you cling to it, you will turn your life into a swamp. Rubble collects yet more rubble until what should be a live river becomes a treacherous wetland. While it still sustains life, it has lost its distinctness from the world.

It destroys places to dwell in and attracts vile things–insects, predators of every kind. The weary are well-advised to stay clear of such places lest they stumble and do not rise again.

Do not fail to keep your banks–your separateness from the world. Let go of your rubble. Keep yourself connected to the source–My Son–who gives you all things and causes My Holy Spirit to flow deeply through you. Then you will not overflow your banks, but the flood, when it comes, will go deep instead, washing away those things unneeded, down to the true foundations–all the way to the bedrock which is Jesus Christ. There you are joined to all the other rivers, becoming one river that covers the whole earth.

This is My commandment–that you love one another–embrace one another in a display of true affection. Become one with the whole distribution of brethren over the earth so that My glory may cover the earth. If anyone does not join this flow, I say to you that he will dry up and no longer be a river, but only a dying pool–a breeding ground for unclean and undesirable things. This you have witnessed over and over. These have an appearance of life, but are dead. From such turn away lest you become like them.

My Word is pure. His bride is pure. Dress her in purest snowy linen; grant her gold of Ophir–hints of My glory within her, peeking out from the folds of her garments and the fastenings in her hair. Let her drink of the undiluted river of My Spirit–strength to look upon the mightiest King and, because she is undefiled with the world, not only to live in My presence, but to dance before Me in joyous innocence and love.

If you don’t understand something and would like to, ask. This is for the church (in particular, those involved in the organic expression of the church), and isn’t going to make sense to anyone else. If you’re of the church and don’t know the symbolism, ask and I’ll do my best to explain it. Some of it, though, I don’t fully understand myself.

Love in Him, Cindy

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Ladybug on Leaf

Frank Viola posted an excellent blog today addressing this question, and you should read it–with all of its accompanying links. However, I’d like to summarize just a bit here, since it’s a long blog, and it may take you a day or two to find a quiet hour to study it. I’d like to note, though, that Franks’ entire article is well worth reading, especially if you haven’t read his books. You’ll get a lot of good information from it.

In our western SD community, the term Organic Church tends to pull up images of “all my friends and my old lady sitting, passing the pipe around” (John Denver; paraphrased slightly). Very funny, not true. We don’t pass the pipe around at all–we’ve never passed a pipe around, nor even discussed the possibility. But we do sit around in front of the fire sometimes, if it’s cold. And we do share our portions of Jesus Christ with one another.

In the “house church movement,” the name Organic Church has been used to refer to any non-traditional gathering of God’s people, whether it fits the original intent of the term or not. Here’s a quote from T. Austin Sparks that more accurately defines the meaning of the term Organic Church:

God’s way and law of fullness is that of organic life. In the Divine order, life produces its own organism, whether it be a vegetable, animal, human or spiritual. This means that everything comes from the inside. Function, order and fruit issue from this law of life within. It was solely on this principle that what we have in the New Testament came into being. Organized Christianity has entirely reversed this order.

And here it is in Frank Viola’s words:

By “organic church,” I mean a non-traditional church that is born out of spiritual life instead of constructed by human institutions and held together by religious programs. Organic church life is a grass roots experience that is marked by face-to-face community, every-member functioning, open-participatory meetings (opposed to pastor-to-pew services), non-hierarchical leadership, and the centrality and supremacy of Jesus Christ as the functional Leader and Head of the gathering.

Put another way, organic church life is the “experience” of the Body of Christ. In its purest form, it’s the fellowship of the Triune God brought to earth and experienced by human beings. . . . Organic church is not a theater with a script. It’s a lifestyle-a spontaneous journey with the Lord Jesus and His disciples in close-knit community.

House churches are not all alike. I believe that God does work through all kinds of churches, whether they meet in a “church” building, a living room, a coffee shop, or the break room of a business. That said, simply meeting outside a traditional church setting does not mean that a church is accurately described as “organic.” I really do encourage you to read Frank’s whole article, as he describes this a lot more thoroughly than I have here.

Frank Viola works with a number of brothers and sisters in planting and helping organic churches around the world. Two of his brothers, Milt Rodriguez and Gary Welter, have agreed to come here to Rapid City, SD to help us. To start out, they’ll be doing a conference for us on the last weekend of February. I know, I know–that does sound a little institutionalized, but I can explain . . . really! This event has a number of purposes: to draw people together in our area so we can get to know one another and perhaps learn of others nearby who also want to meet in an organic way; to give us all some new insights into the ways God (the Father, Son, Spirit) IS community, and how He wants us to be community not only with one another, but also with Him; and to pave the way for possible future help from these brothers, who are a treasure trove of practical experience in living organic church.

If you live in the “five state region,” (you know who you are 😉 ), or even if you don’t but would like to learn more about how to learn to meet and live life together in an organic way, you’re welcome to join us, whether for the conference or for one of our regular/irregular meetings. We’d love to have you come and to have the opportunity to get to know you.

Love Always, Cindy

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My highly gifted daughter, Cheri, made this poster for our upcoming Organic Church Conference. I’ll say more about this later, but I wanted to get the news out. To learn more and/or to register, you can click this link.

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