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Posts Tagged ‘simple church’

Sunset on the Savannah

Check out part three here!

Love, Cindy

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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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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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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 had a dream a couple of weeks ago. Because it is controversial and a bit harsher than I really feel comfortable with, I’ve hesitated to post it here, but God has been prodding me. Please feel free to give me your impressions on this. Don’t bother giving your purely intellectual ideas. I’ve found that mine are nearly always wrong. Please–if you’d like to offer insight–pray over it and ask God. I’d love to hear what you believe He is saying to you.

In the dream, I saw a red-haired, fairly young woman. I understood her to be my sister (though I have no biological sister). Something bad had happened to her. She was dead, but alive and walking around. Not evil, but just not “there.” Not like a zombie, though. In the flesh, she was healthy looking. I knew that she had been pregnant and that the baby had died with her. I felt that her insides had all been taken out with the baby. She had a twin who was also pregnant. The twin was also emotionally flat, but not dead. I knew that I loved them, but that something was wrong with both of them.

So here is the interpretation, as I believe I heard it:

The women are two versions of My church. One is dead all together and her children are dead. This is not, as it seems, a harmless though powerless shell. The insides are gone (My Spirit), and her appearance is now animated by tradition, but soon by evil. The living woman is just like her dead sister in that all she has and is are leaving her–flowing out of her into a new life. The first twin failed to deliver her child. The second will deliver, but will not nurture her offspring. Everything in her that is alive will go into the child and she will merge with her sister. That which is left behind of the two women is not themselves–the shell, the appearance is still lovely–still alive after the flesh, but the life of My Spirit has gone with the child. Do not mourn the woman. Her life–all she is that is true and good, lives personally and sentiently in the child bride. The old shell, which contains no personality or consciousness of herself, will be used by another, but she is not dead. She is perfected in the child.

Her shell, still lovely, must not be mistaken for My church. She has not yet been completely delivered, but this process is ongoing. Yet, like a birth, it will be completed and the child, placenta and all will be delivered, and it will be done. There will then be nothing in her of Me or of herself. The remnant will be out and the life will have its new home in the child. She–all that is true and lovely and chaste and good, is now the child. She–the child being born of her–is My bride to be. They are one–the refined essence of the mother and the new life of the child–are one.

—-I asked: Why the red hair?—-

To show that she is different–rejected, yet beautiful–and to signify the blood that purchased her.

—-Why two women? Who are they?—-

To show that the “high” church and the protestant church are one. The women are one woman in two parts, just as identical twins arise from a single fertilized egg, the women are two parts of a single person. Nothing has been lost. All is in the child that is of Me.

My church is My body. There are believers yet in the high church, but all governance of that church is given over to men. My Spirit has not ruled there for a very, very long time. The church as it is, is dead. There are a few live people hanging about, but soon it will smell too bad, and they too will leave.

Like the deeds of Jerusalem became worse even than the deeds of her sister, Samaria, the deeds of the protestant “church” will continue to grow colder and more worldly until the true children will have to leave. I will plant them where they are, and they will learn to go in and out and find pasture. They will sink down deep into the soil, becoming one with it. I will raise them up to newness of life and My hand will reap a mighty harvest in that hour. Do not reject days of toil without apparent reward. Soon the day will see the glorious crop brought forth by the Son. Soon the blooms will open to the sky and will produce fruits, luscious and ripe. You will pluck them and put them in a bag and carry them with you into My storehouse. This will happen in the final hour and then night will fall and all who hear My voice will heed the call to come home.

So that’s it. This is a post for the church, and if you are in the church, you probably understand the symbolism here, so I’m not going to explain it. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I may not know the answer, but you’re welcome to ask anyway. 😉

Love in Jesus, Cindy

I’d like to add an update to this post. Reading over it, I realize it may look like I’ve got it in for and don’t appreciate the historical church. Granted the institutional church has a lot of problems, but it’s still been used of God to do a lot of His will. It would be a lie to say that God hasn’t used and isn’t still using the institutional church. He obviously is. So why would its members leave something so undeniably good?

Here’s my theory about this. Keep in mind, it’s my theory, not a prophecy or anything, but it makes sense to me. Of course, God is always surprising and it’s quite possible things will play out differently. I see future persecution playing a large part in the demise of the current church structure. To over-simplify things, it seems to me the scenario could be something like this:

What if, as Christianity becomes less and less accepted, prominent churches are forced to compromise in order to keep their doors open? As government censorship and regulations become too oppressive and dictatorial, they’ll have to choose: either close or compromise. If they close, the God-fearing among their membership will go underground and the false brethren will either join a compromising church or leave the church all together. If they compromise, eventually they will compromise too much and the God-fearing among the membership will go underground and the false brethren will either stay or leave the church all together.

If this happens, the only thing that will be left will be the lifeless shell of what was once a church. The people of God will all have left the building and it will be occupied by false brethren who still consider themselves to be the church. What will be left would most likely be used by the enemy to further his object of persecuting the church and deceiving the nations.

So that’s my idea of how the dream I’ve shared could play out. Again, it’s my take and nothing more, but it sure seems to me it could happen that way. Let me know what you think.

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Debs has gotten quite a lot of response to her simple question (below).

Simple question….

Posted by: Debs on: July 22, 2009

Do you believe the church is intended for the believer or non-believer…and why? Think about it, it’s not as simple as you may think…. 😉

I had already responded once, giving an answer that wasn’t precisely what she was asking. The church is for Jesus. But as to my thoughts on the question she was really addressing, they’re too long for a polite response on anyone else’s blog, so I’m posting them here.

Hi, Debs

I’ve been reading through the dialogue on your post, and I think I know what you’re saying, but maybe not. What is a church “service?” What does that mean? For me, a year ago, that meant sitting through some horrible music and listing to a good sermon, smiling at a few people, shaking hands, then heading out for breakfast.

We no longer do “services.” Soon I’ll get the house tidied up. The church will meet here this afternoon. We’ll play with the kids, have a meal, spend some time worshiping, discussing, praying, prophesying, etc.–whatever the Holy Spirit leads us to do. Counting everything, it will go on for five hours or so.

Tomorrow morning, two of us will visit a lady who can’t join us on Sundays, do a bible study with her, then another two will visit a lady whose husband is antagonistic to the gospel, provide some moral support, pray, do some more bible study, have a snack. In the evening, some more ladies will be getting together for a study on Esther. That’s church, too.

To the traditional church environment, no matter how good the show, I would not bring an unbeliever even if I could find one willing to go (which is not easy). No one would notice she was there; if I introduced her, people would politely welcome her, nothing like true friendship; she would not understand the language nor the concepts taught in that strange language, and would feel uncomfortable (as indeed I do, too).

To the simple church environment, I would willingly bring an unbeliever, and I would not worry about the music or the pastor’s sermon or about whether she would feel intimately welcomed. No problem. The music is just us singing together; there is no sermon; and no person of reasonable good will could ever feel unwelcome.

To the visiting environment, I would be even more comfortable bringing an unbeliever. It seems that the smaller the group, the less threatening and the more appropriate it can be for friendship and eventual discipleship. In that way, I would say that yes, the church is an appropriate place to bring unbelievers. It all depends on what “church” means and is.

What I’m looking for right now, however, is the man/woman/family of peace. Someone receptive to Jesus, someone who knows people and has a circle of influence, and is open to bringing those friends/family together to explore spiritual things. That may happen at table 10 in a cafe, or in a crowded apartment, or even under a bridge at the city park. This is what I see Jesus doing in the gospels–bringing the good news to the world, rather than the world to the sanctuary of the four walls.

I don’t know about GB, but in the US, bringing people to the church in the four walls is not an attractive option to said people. They feel they’re “in the cross-hairs,” rather than being sought out for friendship. Our traditional churches try all sorts of things to get people to come. The youth pastor of our old church gave out prizes–expensive prizes–to the lucky winners of the evening’s drawing. He got a lot of kids, but only as long as he continued offering the prizes, etc. The thought of Jesus saying to the crowd after the feeding of the 5,000, “You seek me because you ate of the loaves and were filled” comes to mind.

Other churches try to invoke a pub/coffee shop/entertainment type of environment, tasteful decor, spectacular music, stellar sermons complete with special effects. They train greeters, offer targeted ministries for every conceivable special needs group, and even have great coffee. Yes, they’re trying very, very hard to appeal to unbelievers, and yet the church as a whole is shrinking in the US almost as fast as it is growing in China, where becoming a believer can get you beaten, thrown in jail, and even executed (unofficially–but still . . . ).

People in the US are leaving the traditional church in record numbers. Many are leaving because they’ve never been a part of us, and many more are leaving because they’ve lost their faith. But there’s a third group–people who are leaving because they wish to preserve their faith. Some of these people end up “doing church” at home, with their own families, and some of them band together in groups like the one coming to our house this afternoon. God is doing a new thing (well, maybe not so new–maybe God is bringing back a very old thing–a foundational thing). We need more of the next stage, where the church spills completely out of the building and into the world, and I believe that is coming, too.

The church is for Jesus. The church is for a display of God’s Son to the spiritual forces of wickedness at work in the world. The church is for the training up of the saints to the work of service to Jesus, to one another and (this is where unbelievers come in) to the world. The church is to be the city set on a hill; not the lamp hidden under a basket (or inside a special building). In order to give light to the world, we need to go out into the world. Inviting the world to come in and enjoy our light is fine, but isn’t it even better to go out into the highways and gathering places of the world and shine there?

Grace and Peace, Cindy

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This is a dream which I believe is from God, and the interpretation He gave me. Please feel free to share honestly whether you feel the Holy Spirit telling you I am mistaken or that I’ve heard rightly. God’s words are pure, but I’m practicing and it’s possible for me to hear wrong. This is somewhat long–sorry. I’ll try to shorten up at least my description of the dream. This message is for the church. Feel free to read if you are not yet a believer, but keep in mind that you’re not being addressed or censured in any way. Note: the house appears to refer first to the traditional church structure, and later, to the worldly portion of the lives of Christians.

Setting: An old Victorian style house decorated in black & white–attractive at one time, but now cluttered with mounds and mounds of stuff (not stinking garbage, but things which are, or have been, useful and valuable). There’s so much stuff that movement in the house is impeded and there’s no place to sit or even lean against a wall. There is no wiring, though people have made some attempt at installing outlets. There is no power source. There is no food.

Caste: At first there are lots of people in the house–fellow believers–then people begin to leave to find food. Soon it is only my husband and me, and then he leaves, too. I am expecting the others back, but I’ve been left to establish that this is our house. Kind of like saving a picnic table, I suppose. It was raining outside.

Impression: I was unsure that we were even supposed to be in this house, and whether God wanted us to take it over, or how we should go about establishing ownership if He wanted us to.

I asked: Lord, what does this mean?

You’ve been brought into this house by your common experience. The old house was made of the materials available at the time–it is empty and I have no desire to occupy it. As you see, there are piles and piles of things made by man. There is no room for Me and no provision for My power to flow through these old walls. There is no nourishment–no sustenance here. You will have to leave the house to find that. No place to sit down and rest, because of all the piles and piles of old things–things lovingly created by men. All things made by men–not at My command–end up this way–wood, hay, and stubble. Take this body out of this old house. This has never been My house, although I occupied it for a time as a visitor, a stranger, a guest at times wanted, other times ignored or rejected.

You are to BE the house, not dwell in it. Get rid of all the stuff by leaving it behind. Go out of the house and be soaked by the rain.

Come together in the open field and BE the house–My temple. This is not a house made with hands, but a house unlike any you are familiar with. Come together and let me build you up. Let go of your own plans and notions and all–ALL–of your precious stuff, and I will build you up, a covenant people–saturated with My love. This will be a house like none you have ever seen–a house that is really a body, through which My power flows, and which I will sustain with My blood that will course through each of you as you each perform the function for which I designed you. Wait on Me, and I will empower you and knit you together in love. As a body–My body, you will express Me. As a bride–My bride, you will delight Me and be delighted by Me and be one with Me. As a house, My house, you will contain Me and be My dwelling place–the place of rest and repose–the seat of My creativity, the place where My heart finds peace.

You are My people. Leave this old, dead house and come out into My rain. Don’t seek shelter on your own, or I will not be your shelter.

Seek Me, and I will begin to build you together into shelter for one another and for My Holy Spirit. Then you will be one as We are one. You will be one with Us, and the knowledge of the glory of the Lord will go forth and cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

I said: Lord, I don’t understand how to do this. What is “our precious stuff”? How do we let go of it? I thought we had done this already. Please help me–I don’t understand what it is we’re supposed to let go of.

Come together to celebrate beauty. Come together to behold My Son. Come together to heal one another’s wounds–for if one is wounded, all are. (And you do not have the right to hide your hurts from one another, because your wounds are not yours alone–they drain and deplete the whole body. Would it be right to conceal a hemorrhage that will eventually drain the body of blood? Wounds must be bound up and healed. It is NOT loving to spare your brothers and sisters by concealing your pain. Your pain is theirs as their pain is also yours.)

I said: Okay, so one thing we need to let go of is our precious self-sufficiency–our pride in not burdening each other with our troubles–our image that we present to the world–our public persona?

Yes–you need to surrender “your space.” You also need to confess your sins–your besetting and continual sins–to one another.

(note: besetting sins are sins that you can’t seem to stop doing–everyone has these weaknesses, though they will differ from person to person)

A virus cannot be contained in one body part. It will spread. What is more, no individual body part has the power to heal itself. This is another pride issue. You do not want to confess that you cannot overcome your own weaknesses, or that you are not perfect in yourselves.

Beyond this, you need to surrender your expectations. You come together expecting certain things–most particularly a sense of My presence. I may test you for a time–to strengthen you–with a famine of the senses. You may eat and not feel nourished. Be assured that I am always among you whether you sense Me or not. Thus it is essential that you know Me. I am teaching you to trust Me, like a parent teaching a baby by playing peek-a-boo shows the baby that closing her eyes doesn’t mean the parent has gone away. Trust is not based on the senses, but on true knowledge of and oneness with Me.

Surrender also your “shyness,” your tendency to hold back–almost always–again–out of pride. Fear of being wrong; fear of being rejected; fear of being perceived as a show-off; fear of being perceived as a threat; fear of being perceived as anything unfavorable. If you remain silent, it is often fear of exposing yourself to the hurt of some form of rejection–or it is because you have nothing to offer.

You need to let go of the stuff that clutters your day to day life and leaves no room for Me. You need to step out of that house into My rain. Die to your old life. No one can travel to a new place without leaving the old place behind. No one can follow Me unless He is continually forsaking all of his own stuff to make room for Me to fill all in all. When My light comes in, it illuminates every corner with the clutter and piles of precious stuff. Just leave. Open the door and leave–I am the door. Leave all this behind and don’t look back. Shut the door and come out of that dusty old house into My green pastures, bright sunlight, healing rain, morning dew, and evening splendor.

No man, clinging to his own, old stuff, can ever come into posession of all that I have for him. Let go, child, and take My hand instead. Then you will have living water and bread of life to share when you come together in My name.

What more can I say? God is calling us clearly to separate from not only the world, but also from the worldly practices in our own lives and in our churches. I’m for dancing in the rain of His amazing Holy Spirit.

Love, Cindy

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Hi, Guys

At the beginning of this month, 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 (ancient mourning practices) 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

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As it happens, our house church meets on Sundays. It just works out for us better that day. I so love getting together with everyone. The ladies see one another through the week from time to time, but it’s so great to see everyone and all the kids all at once. Such a blessed, glorious, noisy, messy, joyous celebration of life and love in Jesus!

We started out with communion, and many of us shared; we sang together, particularly kid songs. It was funny–all the adults doing the silly motions and the kids too dignified to join in. 😆 We had some new friends this evening, which is always a blessing. Our gatherings aren’t everything we want them to be yet, but we’re learning to hear from the Holy Spirit, and learning to trust and confide in one another. I think God had fun–we did. Meanwhile, the kids were outside with a couple of the parents, jumping up and down outside one of the windows. 😆 Not a bit distracting.

I wonder whether the shared meal isn’t the best time of all, but I’m definitely going to have to get my husband out to the shop to help me build a bigger table. Soon we’ll need to birth a new church. This doesn’t see quite as scary a notion to me now as it did a week ago. In fact, I can see us birthing a couple of new churches in the next month or so. There’s another family that would like to meet if only we could meet on Saturdays–only quite a few of us can’t make it on Saturdays, so I think we’ll have to start a new fellowship around them. And other things . . . lots of them–engineered by God, not us. He’s so good. And only six months ago I was fretting about finding someone to meet with when once we had decided that institutional church just wasn’t working for us any longer. Now I have more house church than I know what to do with, and the Holy Spirit to guide us. I am so excited and happy and pleased and, most of all, grateful.

Thanks, Lord–we adore You!

Cindy

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