Once we have come into the light, are we light? Or does a bit of darkness linger here and there?
Let's not rush in for a quick answer, but let it linger out here and see if some new thoughts do not come onto the scene, okay?
We are going to peel this topic like an onion folks. We are going move slower than most and not attempt to do it any way other as the layers present themselves to us.
Today, simply read this passage from a new translation of our bible,John 3, The Voice:
John the Baptist:27 Apart from the gifts that come from heaven, no one can receive anything at all. 28 I have said it many times, and you have heard me—I am not the Anointed One; I am the one who comes before Him. 29 If you are confused, consider this: the groom is the one with the bride. The best man takes his place close by and listens for him. When he hears the voice of the groom, he is swept up in the joy of the moment. So hear me. My joy could not be more complete. 30 He, the groom, must take center stage; and I, the best man, must step to His side.
31 If someone comes from heaven above, he ranks above it all and speaks of heavenly things. If someone comes from earth, he speaks of earthly things. The One from the heavens is superior; He is over all. 32 He reveals the mysteries seen and realities heard of the heavens above, but no one below is listening. 33 Those who are listening and accept His witness to these truths have gone on record. They acknowledge the fact that God is true! 34 The One sent from God speaks with the very words of God and abounds with the very Spirit and essence of God. 35 The Father loves the Son and withholds nothing from Him. 36 Those who believe in the Son will bask in eternal life, but those who disobey the Son will never experience life. They will know only God’s lingering wrath.
This I know for sure: God saw that there was utter darkness and He gave into it light, saying that now there was a new thing, it was good. Likewise, again, He looked out and saw utter darkness; He sent in His son, who is light, created a new thing, and it is definitely good.
Some days I really get a good laugh at myself. Anyone that knows me very well can vouch for this statement: Not just anybody could deal with being inside my head. What lead me to such a random opening for our topic, you might ask? Thanks for the lead in......
I was doing my morning thing: reading emails, drinking coffee and making notes for work all while conversing with God, really praying in my head as I went about and making more notes. Suddenly, I stopped dead in my tracks as if I had an epiphany.
Putting everything down, I walked out onto our screened-in-porch asking, how can I hear you, that just does not even make sense. And yet...I know I do. Of course, I did not wait for an answer; we all know I talk way too much. Continuing on I asked, "does everyone hear you like this( itty bitty pause) and if not why?" Seems like a reasonable question, right?
He very quickly spoke up, I'm sure for obvious reasons. And now I know how Peter might have felt after addressing a few of his great questions to Christ. What He said was this:
"That is really no concern of yours, now is it?" " What do you think you would do with that answer?" " Do you think I would want you to be able to tell another person exactly what "their relationship" with me should look like?" " It is personal" "If they want to know, they will simply have to do the same and ask me their self; won't they."
It was as if I felt him pat me on the head and grin sweetly, letting me know He was not disturbed by my questions, nor did He want to make me feel as if I should not ask another. Instead, I felt as if He prompted it for another "teachable moment".
In the past, I hid the fact that I conversed with Him as if I was "just thinking to myself". But then I realized, how wise it was to no lean on my own thoughts. Heavens knows where the originating source of some of THAT came. After all God does strongly warn us not to lean on our own understanding - to cast down high thoughts which come against His truth and many other things. (search the archives if you want to go down that rabbit hole)
Anyway, what I think is most important to take away from all this is not exactly what He said; but I assume knowing me well, He knew me and my many words would say this to you:
Do not allow anyone else to determine your relationship with the Lord, or tell you what His love feels like to you. Do not allow anyone elses experience limit what the Holy Spirit has going inside of your life. Instead, tell everyone what is real to you, where God shows up and says I am here for you. Believe instead that He is thrilled, delighted and knows exactly what is being developed. After all it is personal; He created you and perfectly formed you to relate with Him, based on His designs. And He will carry on that relationship in the way that best fits who and how YOU are - He does not expect you to understand how to perfectly relate with Him.
Maybe it was not just me He wanted to talk to about that - if it was, as always now the whole world knows my silly questions.
We cannot really state that the opposite of love is hate. It would be accurate to say it is the most extreme opposing emotion toward love. I am sure you have heard it said, you cannot hate someone you do not care about. This is because you must feel something good or bad. So what would be the opposite of a loving emotion?
If you did not read the segment from the 5th, referencing the movie "Face/Off, click here before continuing. All these pieces will complete our full view on wisdom and discernment (at some point, anyway).
To help us think this through, we will be looking at a snippet on indifference, written by Leslie Vernick :a biblical author and counselor whom I really appreciate.
The opposite of Love isn't hate; it is indifference. Indifference says I don't care enough about you to give you my time, my energy, or other resources to show interest, care or love toward you. Indifference says how you feel or what you want doesn't matter to me. Indifference says you are not a person to love, but an object to use. Indifference saysI don't need to change anything to make our relationship better for you if it's okay for me. Indifference says you exist for my benefit and when you don't please me or benefit me anymore, you are replaceable or disposable.
Leslie goes on to correlate what is, in her opinion,one of the most horrific abusive marital indifference stories in the bible:
A Levite and his concubine wife were traveling home when they stopped in the town of Gibeah for the evening. Expecting the typical Jewish hospitality, they waited in the open square of the city, hoping someone would invite them to spend the night in his or her home. As evening descended, an old man spotted the couple and graciously took them in. While the two men were enjoying getting aquatinted, vile men of the city surrounded the home, beat on the door, and demanded the old man bring his quest outside so they might ravish him.
The old man pleaded, "No, my friends, don't be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don't do this disgraceful thing". (Judges 19:23) What he said next shocks us to our core. He said, "Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But to this man, don't do such a disgraceful thing." (verse 24)
The men of the town refused to listen to the old man, so the Levite grabbed his concubine wife and shoved her out the door. All night long the men of the town raped her, taking turns until dawn. Broken and bleeding, she stumbled back to the doorstep where her husband slept and there she collapsed.
The Scriptures say that when her husband opened the door to leave, there lay his concubine with her hands on the threshold. He coldly said, "Get up; let's go" (verse 28) But there was no answer. He tossed her lifeless body on his donkey and took her home. Later on, he cut her up into twelve pieces and sent on piece to each of the twelve tribes of Israel, portraying himself (not his poor wife) as the victim of a horrible injustice.
To sum up Leslie Vernick closing statements:
The husbands focus was to gain his own security. While the traumatic event she experienced that night was dreadful Leslie wonders if this womans greater suffering wasn't her own husbands indifference toward her.
Obviously, this man looked differently face to face, on the outside, than what was real in the depths of his heart and mind. What if God stripped off our faces and replaced them with what we really are on the inside??
Isn't that a terrible, horrible, hideously frightening thought. Take a few days and read back through the past information. Allow God to search your heart and test your mind. God willing, we will all have another day to allow a little more of His character to mend our fatally torn identities.
Book Quoted: by Leslie Vernick _The Emotionally Destructive Marriage
I am not an advocate of guns, but the scene from Face Off really does help tie together some of our topic pieces. We are continuing to study discerning what is in our midst, as God expects us to do:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1
As a boundary for this, we are leaning on these verses from our studies:
Jeremiah 17:9, 10 The heart is deceitful above all else and desperately sick, who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and test the mind to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds."
As we have discussed many times: everything we exert any emotion, time, energies toward, we are attempting to gain something. What we do not always do is take pause to get a heart beat....a pulse..on what our hope is...what we hope to gain.
The problem is, if we are disguising our intent we become like that character; it makes for a stronger cover. This is why God must search our hearts and test our minds. He must expose things so that we have an opportunity to come to our senses. At first, He will sit us down for a private screening, just between Him and us. When we continue for too long, we can be certain that in time there will a very public exposure. The longer we refuse Him, the deeper the Holy Spirit grieves within us; remember He lives within us and never leaves, even when we ignore His presence. The more the spirit grieves, the more grief we become burdened with. Satan takes this opportunity to fuel our fear and we become tormented by things which are not real. If we believe the words of Christ, His peace will bring us back to our senses. This is what Christ meant when He said not to fear because He had over come the world. John explained to us in 1 John, when He said we are not of the world, we are of Christ - He (Christ) is our confidence. It is not that we love God so much, or believe perfectly: it is because He loved us before we ever had opportunity to reject Him and He sent Christ on ahead to be the only appropriate sacrifice for our rejection: By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We fear because we do not want to be exposed for what we really intend to gain. It is our intent to be victorious, ergo we strive.....and seek out ways to get it. Overtime, it just becomes habit and those habits become dark layers, veils, curtaining off His glorious light shining our way. These are not new things we are discussing; but a continuation and a preface to what we will be studying. I will let Paul close out and set up where we are going: Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? and you know what restrains him now....so that in his time...he may be revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed......whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is ...the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan..with all power and signs and false wonders and the deceptions of wickedness for those who perish.....because they did not receive the love of the truth....so as to be saved. And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, (who are those, the ones) that took pleasure in what God disapproves of. So what do we do, since we live around a bunch of delusionionalists? Most of the people close to us should have heard the truth if we are serving well. We are warned about chasing after a rebellious person and how they will turn to ravage us when we get in their path. But do not fear....if it be God's will to keep me here we will surely continue on :) Because He love us! Kisses, Candace
As I was studying the letter Paul wrote to the followers in Corinth, 2 Corinthians, one verse specifically begged me to slow down and explore its depths: You are not restrained by us, but you are restrained in your own affections ~ 2 Corinthians 6:12
Paul was speaking from his heart to people he cared a great deal about. He was appealing to their renewed conscience, asking them to pause and really think beyond what they felt. Just as Christ did when he said, "if you have ear, hear".
Recently we studied situations where God told His children to stop focusing on the threats, as if they were really going to happen. He did not say to be passive either. When I first studied this, immediately a movie scene popped to mind. Many of you may not have been old enough to remember the movie "When a Stranger Calls". It was one of the last psychological thrillers I watched on the big screen.
In my mind was the scene where Carol Kane was receiving a call from Sargent Quinn revealing that they were able to trace the location of the person threatening her was enough to make me question if I ever wanted to even answer a phone when I was alone again. What made it so terrifying was the fact that when it was traced they found out the call was not coming from outside her locked doors, but from within the very house she was in. Paul was stating: the threat is not outside, here where I am, it is inside, with you....inside you.
God said we are "His House" and He abides in us. We are not alone in our house, but God is not the enemy. His heart is opened wide to us and He implores us to realize exactly what Paul was stating. For us to be able to fully understand the content, I felt it behooving to study the original Greek words translated into English. The word restrained was translated from stenochoreo, meaning: to hem in closely - cramp, distress. And splagehnon was translated to affections; which is defined as: an intestine, bowel, inward affection, pity or sympathy.
I began this study back in April, and today as I was reading my notes, it was not the movie scene which popped to mind: While on vacation I had a stomach bug which was excruciating, no doubt the experience must still be fresh in my mind. Immediately upon reviewing this I vividly imagined a severe intestinal virus. It is something inside of us, even though it came from our environment; then it wreaks havoc on our whole body - hopefully not on those near us.
I believe this is a large enough bit for one day - think and pray about this. We will move on soon enough.
Have a wonderful weekend; my prayers are that we each realize: in Christ we have a new mind and are able to be transformed now. Please pray for understanding and the ability to change the way you act to align with the Holy Spirit indwelling you. Or to have the Spirit of God come in and make a home with you.
I pray this for all who believe and trust in the Lord,