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Life From the Hand of God

Life From the Hand of God

I just posted this to my new URL. To read the post, click here!

Love, Cindy

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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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This artwork is entitled: To Chain the Beast (available here)

One of the men of our church asked about spiritual warfare last week. We were reading about Daniel, how he fasted and prayed for weeks until Gabriel (an angel) made it through to answer a question Daniel had asked. Gabriel had been fighting with the Prince of Persia until Michael came to help him so he could get to Daniel. (Daniel 10 if you want to read it.) So anyway, my brother asked how Daniel fasting could have ever helped in this spiritual warfare. I can identify with that question as I’ve wondered the same thing many times myself. I asked God about it, and this is what I said:

“Lord, do we truly contribute anything in spiritual warfare? Why do we pray about these things at all? Can we have an impact? Are we necessary?”

And this is what I believe He said to me:

Not only are you necessary; you are the reason for this warfare. You do participate by refusing this world’s prince. You are the object of the hostilities. If you will not leave, then you cannot be rescued, for I will not drag you out by main force. I will not govern those who hate Me. Only the willing may come. So you determine the outcome of this war. Will you come? Will you choose to live?

When you refuse this world’s prince, then My forces fight for you. If you call on Me, I will come in through you and affect changes. But you must be a submitted vessel for Me to do that. If I come, I will come to do My will, not yours. Unless my will and yours coincide, do not expect Me to act. Are you wise enough to command Me? Do you see the whole scenario as I do? Only when you are fully committed can you be strong and wise. I will not empower the double-minded man. I cannot simply hand you My power to do with as you will. Not even to make you feel good or to demonstrate My trust in you.

You must remember; It is I who have made you, and I AM who I AM. It is you who must demonstrate your trust in Me. Follow, obey, implement My commands even when I don’t tell you why. This is the way of the cross and I have made no other way.

When you pray and fast and call on My name, it is yourself you are changing. You provide a portal for Me with your desire. You weaken your flesh and in doing this, break bonds you have with the world through your flesh. This is the way you separate yourself from the desires, the lusts and longings of your old man, your carnal nature. I have made the way, opened the door, but you must step out of the prison and into the light.

The darker the darkness, the more separated you must be from the world. Do you think it would be easy? The enemy has a hold on you as long as you cling to anything of the flesh. You pray in order to focus on Me. Thus the door opens; the portal is cleared between realms. You are the portal. And the more there is at stake, the fiercer the battle must be.

Satan’s resources are limited. He must deploy them strategically and cannot fight every battle as fiercely as every other. Keep that door open and we will walk together. Only know there are times when the enemy considers it worth his while to fight much harder. It is then that the additional warfare measures become necessary. Prayer and fasting–separating yourself even from good things–necessary things such as food–this focuses your spirit to a fine point–focuses you on Me. Then, when you have turned away from all encumbrances and rejected all distractions, I myself will cleave a path through all the demons of Hell to join Myself more fully to you. And I will not give back that ground, either. Men may give it back by turning away, but keep pressing in, and you will see My glory.

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I was praying several days ago, asking Jesus to do all these things for us (the church); prepare us, empower us, perfect us, etc., and when I finally stopped talking, this is what I believe I heard from Him. I understood what He meant, but maybe it bears a little explaining here . . . it was as if He was saying, “Yes, I can and will do these things for you, but you need to keep in mind that . . .”

this goes both ways. I bought you. I paid the price required to purchase you out of bondage. You agreed. You took the cup and agreed to become Mine. My bride. My beloved. Now remember whose you are and reject the demands of that old master, the flesh, the world, the devil.*

For I am now your good Lord; I Who am your maker. As I live by My Father, so you now: Live by Me. I have chosen you, purchased you, redeemed you, liberated you and yes, enslaved you again to Myself. You are Mine, and I am a jealous husband. I demand your full attention, your absolute worship, your undivided devotion.

Hear O Daughter and listen to Me. Forget your people and your father’s house, and the King will greatly desire your beauty. (Ps 45:10)**

This is My commandment to you. Turn your back to the old things. Turn away and stop flirting with, toying with, desiring them. Do you say, ‘This is nothing. I can still enjoy these things and also be a part of the separated people?’ No! Friendship with the world is enmity with Me. A bride–a true bride–does not flirt with old lovers. The true bride has eyes only for her bridegroom.

You have taken the cup. Now eat the bread daily–nourish yourselves on Me alone and be Mine wholly. Because My bride is Mine, and has eyes only for me, no one else may know her.

*A quick note here. The concept of the bride of Christ is a metaphor for the church. Drinking from the cup denotes acceptance of the marriage proposal. In this case, the wine is also symbolic of the price Jesus paid to redeem His bride–His own blood, shed for the redemption of the sins of the world. Likewise the bread symbolizes the body of Christ, by whom the church is to live.

**Again, this is a metaphor. The bride (the church) must not long for nor participate in her old life in the kingdom of this world, but must forget those things which are past and look only to her Betrothed Husband, that is, Jesus.

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9/16/09: This word has some history. I’m reading a book right now that, while I’m sure it has a lot of good stuff in it, is a bit discouraging at the start. The book asserts that no one can do organic church without a trainer and/or personal experience. Since that’s exactly what we’re doing, you may understand that I found this discouraging. There is, so far as I know, no help available for a small group of believers in a small town, so what are we supposed to do?

Anyway, I was trying to meditate on John 4, which is what the church is reading just now, but God knew what I truly needed to hear. As always, eat the grain; throw out the stubble (that part–the stubble–is the bits of me I failed to see and toss out).

I AM, and the things I do, I do in My own way. You no longer have that endless expanse of years stretching out before you. Behold; I do a new work and all who see will marvel. Can a nation be born in a day? And yet it (Israel) is. Let this be a sign to you. Can a church spontaneously spring up of its own volition? I say to you that I do not require a human agency to bring this about. No one but I can build My church. I will send to you whom I will send, and you do not need or require a human agency to springboard you into effectiveness. My word to you is this: Send your desires into My harvest and I will fulfill them. No other than I Myself will guide you, yet you will walk in My paths.

The time is short, and human agency (or lack of it) must not stand in the way of those who would work in the harvest. I Myself am sufficient to guide you, and I will guide you in My paths. Only see that you do not neglect to walk in those ways I point out to you. I will be waiting there for you and we will go on together. Always it must be so: I call; you come. So we will make our journey. The closer to Me you are willing to come, the better and faster we will go on. Do not hang back, enthralled by the things of interest along the trail, or you will neglect My company. Do not leave My path; do not lose sight of Me, or you will wander in darkness and never bear fruit to life eternal.

Too much of My church will straggle along, never knowing the richness of My company on the journey because they lag back and do not obey My commands to draw near. Like children, I must gather them again and again and urge them on. Do not remain so, but grow up into My mature sons and daughters to whom I can entrust My work–My important jobs–to whom I can say, “Do this,” and know it will be done. Delayed obedience is like smoke in My eyes–an irritant and a painful nuisance. Just do what I say when I say it–not three weeks later. Then we will be walking side by side, arm in arm, and the way will pass so much more sweetly.

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I got this from Debs’ blog, Stirred not Shaken. Thanks, Debs!

Buttprints in the Sand

One night I had a wondrous dream,
One set of footprints there was seen,
The footprints of my precious Lord,
But mine were not along the shore.

But then some stranger prints appeared,
And I asked the Lord, “What have we here?”
Those prints are large and round and neat,
“But Lord they are too big for feet.”

“My child,” He said in somber tones,
“For miles I carried you alone.
I challenged you to walk in faith,
But you refused and made me wait.”

“You disobeyed, you would not grow,
The walk of faith, you would not know.
So I got tired, I got fed up,
and there I dropped you on your butt.”

“Because in life, there comes a time,
when one must fight, and one must climb.
When one must rise and take a stand,
or leave their butt prints in the sand.”

How perfect is this? And to top it off, God has been prodding me to get off mine and get moving. He is so patient to keep calling us like so many inattentive children. At some point, though, He does mean for us to grow up. He’s been giving me some things in this vein lately. Here’s one:

9/11/09 The verse: “Your word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You” came to my mind.

Hide My words in your heart. Tuck them into all the secret places where you secret your great and lovely treasures.

Lord, what treasures could I have but You? What could please me above Your love?

See to it you remember this, My beloved. Kindness does not call rubbish by any other name. Rid yourself of all that weighs you down and holds you back. You need nothing beside Me, and as you go, your needs–all of them–will be met as they come up.

(I got a picture in my mind of a scene from Romancing the Stone in which the heroine is carrying two huge suitcases down a muddy road in Columbia, wearing high-heeled shoes, fuming because the hero does not offer to carry the cases for her. When he does take the suitcases, it is only to throw them off the road, down into the jungle below.)

(I also got a picture of myself wandering through a huge cave with lots of nice tall passages and rooms. In every nook was some kind of an ornament. Some of them were really cheesy and some were beautiful works of art or gemstones, etc. I had a beautiful gem, flashing light, and I couldn’t find a place to put it. I had to throw out one of the horrible, cheesy ornaments to find a spot for it. I couldn’t believe I had ever wanted the thing in the first place. I saw this as a picture of me wandering through my own heart.)

Continue to seek Me–you must not grow weary in this. I sustain you with Myself, and though you may feel unable to go on, yet a few more steps and you will find you can go a few more. There are times for struggling and pressing through, just as there are seasons of refreshment, and I am with you in all these things. You are more than victorious in My victory. Come.

There’s more, but I’ll get back to you on that in a day or two. For now, abide in Him and in love for one another.

Love, Cindy

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