Tag Archive | Spiritual growth

View from the Mountaintop


th5NBSTMYG  mountaqintop iiThe view that one gets as they gaze the panoramic scene from the top of a mountain is somewhat breathtaking to say the least.  Miles and miles of a picturesque images filter into the mind as one takes in the vast scope of sightings available through the tapestry of reality that lays before them.  Not withstanding, this scenario cannot compare to the visual one gets after coming up out of an horrible pit.

We all have had those mountaintop experiences when the Lord has blessed us, sometimes beyond measure, after we have gone through a time of testing.  How wonderful it is when our spiritual eyes gaze upon the reality of new lessons learned.  For many this is a time of spiritual growth, drawing us closer to the Lord.  Sightings of new opened doors of opportunity to serve, witness and minister bring joy and anticipation into our heart. It is indeed a welcome relief from the valley of despair from whence we just came.  Unfortunately this is a time when we are often most vulnerable to attacks from the Devil.  With a humble heart it is good for us to take a quick look down into the valley from whence we came to remind us of God’s hand in delivering us from our hour of testing.

Although is it not good to dwell on past sins, testing, and disappointments, we need to keep in mind that those very things were the instruments by which we were chiseled into becoming more Christ-like.  Once the abrasiveness of sin is tempered with the soothing lotion of forgiveness, our fellowship with the Heavenly Father is restored and it becomes easier for us to see that all testing comes from above and is meant for our good.  Those disappointments were roadblocks preventing us from turning away from the will of God our life.  Perhaps the most humbling site that pricks our soul is the evidence of God’s working in our life while floundering in the valley.

th6OI4QTPI  cool springAs we look closer into the pit we can see dredged into the sinking sand are drag marks from the time when the Lord had to literally drag us away from temptation and sin.  Further down the path can be seen only one set of footprints when we were being carried by our Savior.  There at the cool spring waters, Christ refreshed us, providing us with the strength to keep going. As our eyes look upon the side of the mountain we can see Jesus climbing upward carrying someone upon his back…………….  Oh, how he loves us.

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Out of an Horrible Pit


“I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.”—Psalm 40:1-3.

thJ31WTDLF  bottomless pitThere are times in a Christian walk when the Believer finds himself deep down in an horrible pit. Whether it happens because of sin, illness, financial woes,  the condition of the world or a multitude of other reasons, the person suffers from a myriad of spiritual and emotional turmoil.  Perhaps it is a combination of these culprits or even all of them, nevertheless  it leaves one with the feeling of desolation to the point that they feel forsaken by God.

Plagued by self pity, depression and sorrow, one of the first things that tempts the flailing soul is whether to trust in self NazarethBrowOfHill1  hillsor to trust in God.  Sadly many choose the former.  Prayer and Scripture reading is forgotten and even church attendance suffers because of the circumstances thrust upon the backslidden saint.  Floundering around in the mire and dirt, the bruised Christian neglects to look up to the hills from whence cometh their help.  Psalm 121 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help

Sadly, the tendency exists to blame God for the sad state of affairs that one finds themselves in.  Psalm 10:1  Why standest thou afar off, O Lord? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble  Granted, God does allow testing to come into ones life, but it is up to the Believer as to the proper way to respond.  
All the while that the Saint is wallowing in the mire of their afflictions, the Holy Spirit is wooing them back into the fold and prompting them to cry unto the Lord in their distress to deliver them out of their troubles.  God never gives up on His sheep even if they give up on Him.  He knows their foolishness and their sins are not hid from Him.  Without calling upon the Heavenly Father to deliver them from their troublesome circumstances they continue to plunge deeper and deeper into despair.
Thankfully the Lord is patient and longsuffering and has promised that He will never leave of forsake His own.  He continues to woo them until the day that they call upon Him to “turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted.  The troubles of my heart are enlarged………..bring me out of my distresses and look upon my affliction and pain and forgive all my sins.  And hide not thy face from thy servant, for I am in trouble.  Thou knowest my foolishness and my sins are not hid from thee:

As was the Apostle Paul, will it be with your Pastor?


wjpas0565  Paul in prisonIt has been said of  the Apostle Paul that when he entered into a new city he checked out the prison facilities for he knew that he would more than likely be residing there for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This civil incarceration was intended for his punishment, however, it was a testimony of blessing and  spiritual growth.    Paul knew that the Lord had allowed his imprisonment for a reason and that his Savior would never leave him or forsake him.  His faith in his Heavenly Father drove away all fear.  He was so secure in the Lord that he was able to sing praises to the God of the Universe.  Sadly, we have in many of the pulpits today, men who would not be a threat to evil and definitely would not be arrested for preaching Christ.  These are the wolves in sheep’s clothing, the anti-Christs of today.

Many Bible Believing churches today have on their Pastoral staff men (and some women; UGH!) who do preach the message of salvation.  These pulpit messages do provide a type of “Fire” escape insurance , but neglect the whole counsel of God.  Carnality runs rampant within the flock and most converts remain as babes- in- Christ.  The tendency to dance with the world in order to bring folk into the services causes dissention and strife.  These preachers would be on the bottom of the list to be arrested for their belief.

The better choice is to find a church that has ‘come out from among them’  and separated themselves from the influence of the world.  The whole council of God is preached, saints are discipled, and the flock is admonished about sinful practices in the lives of believers.   Only Christ-honoring music is used and the men dress like men and the women wear modest attire.

Unfortunately some of these fellowships are so separated that they are ‘starchy’, absolutely no flexibility; compassion is muted and sects or ‘Spiritual clicks’ are prevalent.  Believers are not encouraged to be informed in the current events let alone involved in stemming the tide of wickedness in government.  These people know the Scriptures as they are good students of the Bible.  In fact, I know of one church where the preacher’s goal is to teach through the Bible in 10 years.  It is more of a Bible Institute rather than a church.  An invitation to get saved is rarely given from the pulpit because the preacher assumes that everyone is saved.  One never hears an “Amen”, for fear of acting like an emotional-based religion.  But yet. they really are knowledgable in the Scriptures.  The men who fill the pulpits of these churches will probably find themselves in the middle of the list of Christian rabble-rousers.

There will never be a perfect church until the Lord Jesus Christ returns.   Each of us will readily agree that even our own individual churches have faults.  Perhaps your church, like mine has the proverbial pew-duster, who will not budge out of their comfort zone and use their God-given talents for the Lord’s service.  Or maybe there are the SMO’s – Sunday morning only crowd.  Perhaps your Pastor like mine will firmly address these issues from the pulpit, without apology.  Recently my Pastor rebuked the ladies in the congregation for not volunteering for nursery duty; sound familiar to you?   In addition not only do our Pastors preach against the sins of the congregation but also against the abominable sins of the world and wickedness in high places of government.

Our Nations pulpits should be hot against the abominable sins of abortion, immorality and sodomy!  Pastors need to keep their flock informed about the events taking place in their local and state governments as well as at the National level.   Fellowships of believers need to be admonished to contact their elected officials regarding suggested legislation which is contrary to Scripture.  It is absolutely inexcusable for a Believer in Christ not to exercise their right to vote in any election.  In the 2012 election in the United States, it is estimated that there was such a significant amount of Christians who did not vote, that had they voted, we would not have the President that we now have!  We have no one to blame but our own complacent selves.

The-Black-Robe-RegimentWe are now faced with tremendous civil unrest in the United States.  Citizen militias are forming all around the Nation.  Concealed carry permits are being issued as never before.  The majority of the ladies in my church own and carry.  It is promoted from our pulpit by our Pastor.  Think that is going to far?  Check into the Black Robe Regiment!  These Pastors wore their military uniform underneath their Pastoral cloak.  In fact, there is a statue of one of these Political-preaching Pastors in the United States Capitol!

With the advent of government deemed ‘hate’ preaching,  it is now becoming a crime to preach against sodomy, abortion, and even tyranny of the nations leadership.  One Pastor was arrested for teaching the spanking of children.  Yet the Lord commands the Man of God to do just that!  It comes down to whether a Pastor will obey God or man.  If he obeys man, he is not a Pastor, but a preacher, or maybe a religious leader.  For sure, one who obeys man will not need to worry about being imprisoned.

Pastor-Sentenced-To-2-Years-In-Prison-For-Teaching-That-Parents-Should-Spank-Their-ChildrenPerhaps like mine, your Pastor knows that he is at the top of the list of those marked by the unfruitful works of darkness, to be arrested for obeying the Word of the Lord, perhaps even martyred.  Laymen are already designated to assume the pulpit ministry.  It you are not blessed with such a man of God, may I lovingly recommend that you find a Church that does have such a man at the helm.

It  was pointed out to me, and I concur: the problem is equally that of the pew as it is the pulpit. Christians have the kind of pastors they want. Look around you. There are many terrific patriot pastors across America. Granted, they are not a majority, but there are many. But do the vast majority of Christians attend their churches? NO! They go to the big-steeple churches, most of which are led by politically correct, sheepish pastors. Why? Because that’s the kind of pastor and church they want. The vast majority of these wonderfully courageous patriot-pastors are left to pastor relatively small churches. When there is an issue that concerned Christians want a minister to lead a charge for or against, they will contact the patriot pastor, of course. But where do they attend? Where do the tithe? – the uninvolved,  say-nothing, stand-for-nothing church.  Christians have the kind of pastor they want. If you want a pastor that will take a stand, then, bless God, SUPPORT a pastor that will take a stand!

May the Lord give you the wisdom to discern where he wants you to worship and serve Him.

In the Valley


In the Valley.

jesus-hugging-2_1629038576

http://faithful4him.wordpress.com.

There are those times in our Christian walk when we need a “hug from Heaven.”  These are those scenarios when only one set of footprints are in the sand.  May you be encouraged as you read this article on being in the Valley of discouragement.

What does it mean to “put off the old man?”


What does it mean to “put off the old man?”.

http://rickroehm.wordpress.com.

Before we were saved many of us were likened unto an old tire.  Our lives were lived that the tread was worn away by sinful living.  082312-tire1  beforeOnce saved, God was able to take our thread bare lives and turn them into something useful.  The Master-craftsman may have had to clean us up and remove the tar of worldliness that had accumulated over a lifespan;  He definitely gave us a new covering – His robe of righteousness;  and we became a new creation, fit for the Master’s use.  Perhaps the following visual illustration can best exemplify the ‘putting off of the old man and letting Christ don us with the garment of a new man.

2012tireottoman3

 

What a Mess!


JunkAs I sit here and look around my living room I scan a smattering of ‘junk’ here and there that has accumulated on the floor in my determined effort to declutter my home.  Getting rid of larger no-longer-needed items was a cinch, but sifting through drawers of papers, supplies and who knows what is not only wearisome, but also time-consuming.  Yet it is this ‘little’ stuff which makes my life much more complicated because I never remember where I placed what!   My daughter has offered to help me, but her method of trash bagging my treasures (she calls it junk) is not conducive to an amiable Mother/daughter relationship.  With this challenge before me I am determined to accomplish this task prior to January 1, 2013.  There is much to be said about getting ones house in order, however, it has been a recent conviction that I also need to declutter my mind and my heart.

The world has become so infested with immorality that it has become a challenge in preventing ungodly images, thoughts and sounds from permeating ones mind.  Even the godliest of Christians can be listening intently to an inspired message by the Pastor and then all of a sudden, out of the blue comes a thought from Satan that makes the poor soul cringe and immediately seek forgiveness.  The only weapon that we have at our disposal is the Living Word of God which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of our hearts!  Men, being creatures aroused by sight,  have an extremely difficult time keeping their minds pure.  Sadly, it is just not the worlds women that tempt the men of today, even those who name the name of Jesus come to church in low cut garments and other apparel which accentuates the bosom.  Care must be taken in protecting what goes into our brain by keeping oneself from environs that promote ungodly activity whether is be visual, vocal or voluptuous in nature.  Memorizing scripture and the old time hymns of the faith is the healthy diet which promotes Christ honoring thoughts and actions.  So, in determining to unclutter what has been ingrained in my aging gray matter I set forth on a course of preventative treatment from the Great Physician.

Now decluttering the heart is a more delicate matter.  It is God that worketh in me both to will and to do of His own good pleasure.  I cannot declutter my heart on my own.  It has to be a work of the Holy Spirit and my willingness to not only be sensitive to His leading but also submissive to His conviction in order to further the process of my sanctification.   We have often heard that from out of our mouth comes what is in our heart.  Remember what the lass said to Peter? (Thy speech betrayeth thee)?  Not only our speech but also our behavior proves to the world what is in our heart.  Having a meek and quiet spirit allows us the opportunity to listen to the still small voice of God.  Unfortunatley we often put our mouth in gear before listening and our mind controls what we say or do rather than the Lord.  The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked unless under the influence of the Spirit of God.   When our brain controls our heart we are no less than carnal in our spiritual life.   It takes daily feeding upon the Living Word of God to give us the nutrition we need for a heaven healthy heart.   Nutritionist will attest to the fact that once a body is subjected to healthy foods it begins to reject those foods which are not conducive to healthy functioning.   This was realized in my own life several years ago in my effort to quit smoking.  I was addicted to nicotine and a friend encouraged me to begin taking bee pollen.  My lungs became more healthy and in the process rejected the nicotine and I was freed from my addiction.  So, as mentioned aforehand,  I set forth on a goal of purging my heart from the garbage of this world from my heart by fervently feeding upon the Living Word of God