Have you ever been frightened by the sudden awareness that you were in the presence of something very holy? This happened to me recently while reading one of the letters of the apostle Paul. A certain fear came unexpectedly upon me; I suddenly became aware of the deep love for the saints that dwelt in this man.
Paul, it seems, was always thinking about the saints of the Lord that he knew in various places. Like a parent whose children are scattered far and wide, they were always on his mind… and continually in his prayers.
For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers… (Rom. 1.9).
Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers… (Eph. 1.15,16).
…Praying always for you… (Col. 1.3).
I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day… (2 Tim. 1.3).
I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers… (Phm. 4).
We (Paul and Silvanus and Timothy) give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers… (1 Thes. 1.2).
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you making request with joy… (Phil. 1.4).
If you will take your New Testament and (when you have time) read the last two passages I quoted—Philippians Chapter 1 verses 3-11, and the first three chapters of 1 Thessalonians—I think you will come away from your reading the same way I have, awed by the depths of the love you have touched in this man. His prayers to God on the behalf of the saints were the consequence of the love in his heart for them. He loved the saints. He loved them deeply. And so he couldn’t help it, he had to be on his knees for them.
One thing more—did you notice this in the verses quoted above? Paul is always thanking God for the saints. Why would he be thanking God for them? It was because of their faith (Rom. 1.8, Col. 1.3) and their growing love for God and for one another (1 Thes. 1.2, 2 Thes. 1.3), that is to say, for their fellowship in the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1.3). How it comforted Paul’s heart in this dark and wicked world to know that some here and there had turned from darkness to walk in light. Paul was in fellowship with these ones.
It’s a word that has lost much of its strength these days—fellowship. It means, simply, sharing together, or commonness; but what Paul and these other saints shared and held in common was an uncommon cause, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They were vastly outnumbered in this cause, were persecuted and despised and hated in this cause. So when they came together it was something very precious, and tender. They were brothers and sisters who loved one another and were ready to die for one another. And so they were greatly thankful for one another.
This got me thinking. It hadn’t really occurred to me. Am I thankful for my brothers and sisters? Yes, I pray for them, but how often do I get on my knees and thank God for them? I mean, really thank God for them! They are my comrades in battle. They are my fellow pilgrims on a dangerous journey. They are an oasis of green in the waste and howling wilderness of this world. They love the Lord Jesus with all their hearts, and they want to do His will. Many there are who love darkness rather than light, but these have turned from darkness to light, and with the help of the Lord’s grace they are determined to be faithful. At the cost of their lives if need be. This caused great thankfulness to well up in Paul. He thanked God for these ones. And prayed continually for them. It is far from an easy walk; it is fraught with peril in this present evil age. And so Paul found these saints continually on his heart, and continually in his prayers.
Do we want to be like Paul? It will mean coming into a love that, in its continual preoccupation with others, loses sight of itself. But let’s not stop at the desire to be like Paul. There’s another reason why Paul prayed so continually for the saints. Paul was like Jesus. And Jesus is preoccupied with the saints. Jesus at the right hand of God is continually praying for the saints.
He ever liveth to make intercession for us (Heb. 7.25).
It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us (Rom. 8.34).
And so if Christ at the right hand of God is continually praying for the saints, this is what Paul found himself doing also. He prayed continually for the saints because the Holy Spirit of the ascended Christ dwelt in Him—and so the same love that burned in Christ burned in him also, continually firing his prayers with the fire of the Spirit.
Are we short of this, brothers and sisters? Does the same love that dwelt in Paul dwell in you and me? Oh how we need this more and more in the body of Christ in this difficult hour—the love of Christ. We could not help but pray for one another, then. I mean, fervently. It’s the only way we would find release from the burden of love in us.
Release, I say… yet like a fire, this love grows when you feed it. If just now it’s not much of a fire, let’s feed it then! It will grow. And grow. And grow…
Let there arise in our hearts a new appreciation—Paul’s appreciation, the Lord’s own appreciation—for our fellow saints. We need one another. Let us be praying for one another.
And thanking God for one another.
Love the brethren… oh that is some message , Allan! 🙂
I’m reminded of 2Peter 1:5-8 (Amplified Bible) which says:
5 For this very reason, adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence),
6 And in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety),
7 And in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection, and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love.
8 For as these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you, they will keep [you] from being idle or unfruitful unto the [full personal] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
Seems to Peter that brotherly affection is one step away from walking in Christian love, the love Jesus loved the world with… I do need to be reminded, for when it is tested, the reaction sometimes is to fall back on the defense mechanisms of the old ways…
Hi Andre, the Bible does seem to differentiate, as in this passage in 2 Peter, between those two kinds of love– philadelphia (love of the brethren) and agape. Yet in other places I find it hard to see the difference. Jesus said, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love (agape) one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love (agape) one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love (agape) one to another” (Jn. 15.34,35). In any case, I can relate to what you are saying about “the defense mechanisms of the old ways.” I am learning more and more that if I don’t abide in Christ I am a sitting duck in situations that call for and require love. I am just fooling myself if I think that, okay, I’m a fairly decent guy, I can handle this provocation. And before you know it you have implemented those “defense mechanisms,” you have reacted (retaliated) in a very un-Christlike way. We MUST abide in Christ; that is the ONLY way we can bring forth the reaction of love.
Agreed! Happened to me yesterday… What strikes me with the passage in 2Peter, is the suggested progression: we learn to love like Christ through practicing loving one another. We learn to love one another as we practice holiness, etc.
Hi Andre. I think you are right– it is a progression, a “learning curve.” And I think Peter has this same progression in mind when he concludes his letter by saying, “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Pt. 3.18). So, moving from faith to virtue to knowledge to temperance, etc. is growth in grace. Till we arrive at the end of it all– love. It’s interesting that Peter mentions “knowledge” as one of the early developments. Yet he concludes by saying that, “If these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1.8). In other words, one might have a lot of Christian “knowledge,” but it’s these virtues: …temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, love… that are evidence one is growing in grace, and coming to know the Lord Jesus Christ. Ultimately that’s the full knowledge of the Lord– love.
Very well said, Allan! Eternal life is to know God, and the One He sent, Jesus-Christ, a compatibility of character (Christ) which the Holy Spirit forms in us… 🙂
Amen, Andre. …I thank the Lord for you!
Amen brother. I have a knowing in regard to this awe and love for the saints from the heart of Christ. I have been considering the life and feelings of Paul. How he feels this love yet exasperation at times. What a calling this was. Yet the love shone through.
Yes, Martin, that’s what it was in Paul– the very love of Christ being manifested. As John says, (and I am paraphrasing) …If we love one another, it’s because God dwelleth in us and His love is coming to full maturity in us (1 Jn. 4.12). Meaning that it is not only His love, but ours as well now.
This is a wonderful work of the Spirit indeed. I have been reading parts of a book called “Rees Howells; Intercessor” and also one of the George Warnock books (still so deeply appreciated as a gift) regarding the journey of the Bride. In the book on intercession it highlights the issue of identification. Simply put, that we are drawn into closer communion with one another and as we stand together, through identification. I do believe there is a real transitioning going on for some within the Body of Christ. Today I had a thought come to me that the new move of the Holy Spirit in these critical days is going to be a very real and deep work amongst the brethren who yearn for the deeper reality of the Kingdom and the manifestation of it, and our place as brethren within it. A wondrous and true unity of a deeper kind will show forth. As you have pointed out yourself, I deeply sense that this is going involve our Lord coming to us in such closeness. This new closeness will emerge from the knitting of hearts. From this there will indeed be seen miracles and healing and supernatural works of provision. But more, true 1Cor 13 love shall be manifested to the world and this is ultimately the deepest testimony of all to the fallen world of Christ as a living reality. It will be a distinct move, outside the walls of the current church systems. It will stem from those joinings in the Spirit, which in themselves are the Lord’s response to His people’s inward groanings for the deeper reality of being found in Him and being part of His true Body. It will in no way be man-made.
Hi Martin, a couple of verses came to mind as I read your comment. One: that when the body of Christ has the “unity” of a loaf of bread, and then is broken in the Lord’s hands, He Himself will be manifested. (I am thinking of the experience of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.) Two: (And I am sure you had this verse in mind when you mentioned that 1 Corinthians 13 love shall be “the deepest testimony of all to the fallen world of Christ as a living reality.”) “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” I noticed a while ago that this verse more literally reads, “…that you are disciples unto Me.” (And not unto a mere creed or doctrine.)
As to the “move” we long to see, this thought of yours also resonates deeply within me: “It will stem from those joinings in the Spirit, which in themselves are the Lord’s response to His people’s inward groanings for the deeper reality of being found in Him and being part of His true Body.” Amen, Martin. Amen.
…Steven also mentioned the Rees Howell’s book the other day. I have it on my book shelf and will have to read it again.
Amen. Indeed these are the verses which highlight what we speak of. The interpretation “…disciples unto me” really gives new dimension to this. Everything begins in the Lord. He is our centre. How the church must get back to the centre I feel. Not only fix our eyes but all our affections on Jesus. Everything is in Him and flows from Him. How His heart must yearn for those who are willing to allow themselves to be conquered by Him through the natural outflow of love we have for Him. The yearning and groaning we feel is for this place of being found fully in Him, abiding in Him alone. It is such a powerful revelation that the Bride will make herself ready out of the natural flow of love for the Bridegroom. This will be the natural action of a heart captivated by the lover of our souls. It is not in any way man made or contrived but it is from a love response. I think our daily exhortation is that we should return to our first love. Continually return to Him. There is neither fault nor flaw to be found anywhere in the character or person of the Good Shepherd. He is perfection made manifest to the world. How I feel the heart of the Good Shepherd pulsates with passion in these days for His sheep. His sheep will hear His voice and hearken unto Him. We were married to Him first, in covenant. This is where man made systems will always fail. Something that flows from the heart cannot be manufactured. This is why Jesus is always the best example. There will be a grassroots reality to the movement of the Spirit in the days to come, not imposed from structures and trickle down theories of importing the blessing. It will be a revolution birthed from hungry hearts, off the radar of the institutionalised settings of “church”. It will be a church outside the man made walls. It will be supernatural but have such an “in the earth but not of it” dimension to it. It will not be in the glitz and glamour of the church systems. It will be in the inter-relationships of those hearts set on pilgrimage. Those who have known trials and brokenness will explore the new realities of this place in the Spirit. I see more clearly from your words the necessity of this breaking. Our use to Him, our place in His hands as valuable tools of service to accomplish His Kingdom works only comes through the breaking. And who is the best example of this; only Jesus Himself. I marvel that He who cut through time and space, left the very realms of glory – where there was the option of eternal security and comfort – to enter this sin sick world, was born in a stable and placed in a manger. He manifested to the world the true supernatural; a life of service and humility and submission to the will of the Father. All accomplished within the very real and tangible earthly realms. Yet, He manifested a Kingdom that was entirely separate. This is the possibility He leaves with us. This is His challenge to us in this generation.
Hi Martin, you said: “Those who have known trials and brokenness will explore the new realities of this place in the Spirit. I see more clearly from your words the necessity of this breaking. Our use to Him, our place in His hands as valuable tools of service to accomplish His Kingdom works only comes through the breaking. And who is the best example of this; only Jesus Himself.”
Yes, Jesus said, “This is my body which is broken for you.” He established the precedent. There are two kinds of breakings: the breakings that splinter and divide and thus result in corporate weakness and dysfunction and decrease; and the breakings that produce the very opposite of what would be expected– they show a dynamic power at work that causes flourishing growth and increase. This is what happened when Jesus was “broken.” It caused great increase in the body of Christ. The thing is, we are invited to the communion, the fellowship, of this breaking, which, when it– the fellowship of His sufferings– becomes a reality in our midst, always brings great increase in the body of Christ. This, I believe, is what He was showing us in the miracle of the loaves and fishes. He did this miracle on two separate occasions, thus emphasizing that there is a kind of breaking (in His hands) that, wonder of wonders, brings… not decrease, but– and we marvel at it, how can this be?– INCREASE! How deeply we need to see the working of this “dynamic” in this hour!
Enjoying your forth-and-backing here too: “Jesus at the centre of it all”.
Two things I’d like to share with you both. First, a link to Darlene Zschech singing a new song of hers with that very title http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utTvlqjAhtM&feature Almost sends me to heaven!
Next up is a little 3-part creative art/science series I did along these lines and beyond, and posted to FB: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2530590823628.2150042.1219217939&type=3
God’s blessings and empowering LOVE and shalom to you (vous) …
Yes, I saw that Hubble Telescope image in a Louis Giglio presentation– can’t remember if it was Indescribable or How Great Is Our God. Very amazing… and very humbling.
These writings are so timely Allan. Thanks for sharing them. This is so deep and puts so much into context. There’s a few themes dovetailing for me now. I can see that when Jesus spoke of dealing with the plank in our own eye this is actually a prophetic word for the Body in these days. Splinters that are very real are causing division and dysfunction in the Body and there is a lack of a true unity. Weakness to the overall Body is the result and this is what some folks are feeling in these days.True unity is the outflow of love and is a oneness that begins in the Spirit. It begins within the very heart of God. This is why it cannot be manufactured by church systems, no matter how well meaning, although that is not to say that those hungry hearts within these systems cannot experience that heart-cry for a deeper unity. I can see that the Lord has new ways of addressing the broken system. Its almost as if He is by-passing it if what His heart desires cannot be accomplished within the man-made systems. It’s like a river that will find a way. It will carve its own route.
Part of what George is saying in his book is that the New Covenant word is sent from the very heart of the Lord to His people. Those hearts that are good soil, hungry and alert, are the wise virgins, as Jesus points out in the parable. Whilst the Old Covenant is more an expression of what He would like His people to do, the New Covenant or the new marriage between God and His people is an outflow from His very heart. The desires of His heart are set within the New Covenant and established through our Lord Jesus. This is why David within his generation is a very powerful pointer to Jesus. Also, within the context of the Old Covenant, the Lord highlights those men and women in scripture that truly had a deeper revelation and calling and knowledge. A knowing of their God which was outside the law and the head; from the heart. I can see why the heart truly is the centre. Actually, the law speaks to the flesh. The Lord calls out to the very depths of the human heart. The depths of His creation. This is why to choose from our own hearts to love and serve the Lord is what He truly yearns for in response to Him. I think of Noah who was found righteous in his generation. Jacob who wrestled with God. Hannah who, within the confines of the Old Covenant, showed heart motivation outside the norm of the day. What she so longed for in her heart she gave over to God. Not as an act of law but as an act of love and obedience from the heart. Enoch who walked with God and was no more. I want to know what Enoch knew. Oh, for that closeness. Even Samson, who finally, after all that wasted time, eventually got the revelation of the God whom He had been called to serve and glimpsed the deeper purposes. He should have sooner rather than later allowed God to conquer him and the realms of his heart. This is what he ultimately ran from. That deep heart surgery. Yet, he is still marked in the hall of faith as one who subdued kingdoms. As one in whom God found a restored place in his heart. A deeper work was eventually accomplished. When his hair began to grow he had a new revelation of where his strength lay. Not by might, nor by power but by my Spirit. Yes, the breaking is essential. Only when the breaking is complete will the true strength of the church shine forth. New levels of intimacy, oneness and unity will flow. I see the day.
P.S Give my regards to Steven and Sonja. I uphold them in prayer.
Hi again, Martin, I am much enjoying our back-and-forth fellowship here! Thanks again for sharing.
You said, “…that is not to say that those hungry hearts within these systems cannot experience that heart-cry for a deeper unity.” This is an important observation. Many there are these days who speak disparagingly of “institutional church,” or “the denominational church system,” and rightly so; the glory has largely departed from that system. But this does not mean that all who go to such churches are in a state of apostasy. Far from it. There are many hungry hearts there who are longing for a Living God. I am sure He is not going to disappoint them… although it is almost certainly going to mean an “exodus” for them.
Also what you said about the New Covenant. The apostle John said, “For the law was given by Moses; grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” It is because of this empowering grace that we are enabled to give the Lord the heart response He longs for, as you said: “The Lord calls out to the very depths of the human heart. The depths of His creation. This is why to choose from our own hearts to love and serve the Lord is what He truly yearns for in response to Him.”
I am reminded of Jesus’ words to the church of Ephesus to return to their first love, and their first works– the things they did out from the love for Him that burned in their hearts at the first.
This is great Allan. It’s great when the Holy Spirit leads and brings revelation. I have just seen on Frank’s web-site that you have written about David. I am going to read these posts.
Read Frank’s post on Taking Our Thoughts Captive as well, Martin. There are some good comments following it. http://acalltotheremnant.com/2013/11/14/taking-our-thoughts-captive/
Will do. I have been enjoying a time of real closeness with the Lord in prayer and meditation in His Word. Transports you out of this world. The sanctuary is such an awesome place (I use that word in its fullest meaning and not in the flippant way it is used today). I am hopeful and expectant for more shifting in the coming year within the Body. On a strategic and corporate level, this breaking and shaking is so vital. It’s hard for us to go through but it’s clear that the Lord is tired of the rhetoric in His church and He’s sorting the wheat from the chaff, the men from the boys in the Spirit. In Revelation, over and over it is the exhortation to those who “overcome”.
Yes, there are many hungry and sincere hearts within the church systems and they are aware of the limitations of the systems, of being on the church treadmill and playing the church game. What we have been called into is so much deeper than that. I keep thinking of Frank’s favourite verse about not loving our lives even unto death.
Wonderful to hear, Martin– your precious time in the “Sanctuary,” I mean. And it’s wonderful to embrace that just as He Himself is our Sanctuary, we too are His Sanctuary. And just as we love to be in our Sanctuary, He loves very much to dwell in His. “Lord prepare me… to be a sanctuary… Pure and holy… tried and true… With thanksgiving… I’ll be a living… Sanctuary… for You.”
I want this love more in me Allan. I want to love the church like Jesus does and like Paul. In spite of its failings I want to be a repairer of the breaches.
Martin, I heard a story once about D.L. Moody. He had an experience of the Holy Spirit coming upon Him in such an overwhelming revelation of the love of God that it was just too much; he could not bear up under it. As he put it in his own words, “I had to ask the Lord to stay His hand.” Others have had the same experience, and have asked the same thing. But I have always wondered… what if Moody had not asked Him to stay His hand?
That sounds wonderful. I am glad this love is still available to us today. What a thought….if the Lord had not stayed His hand. I just cannot help thinking about Calvary. It just overwhelms me. I have also been overcome by the goodness of the Lord. In the US and coming to you and Marilyn in Canada this time last year. I think of the genuine and humble folks I met. Such sincerity and kindness to me.
We would all love to see you again, Martin. Meanwhile we’ll have to settle for Skype! 🙂
Yeah, in the meantime…..give thanks for Skype.
At first I want to say that it is a pleasure for me to read your blog and I have been enjoying the way you write your articles. Your style reveals a broad biblical knowledge combined with a particular delicacy of feeling for your sisters and brothers, of which I guess, perhaps, you are not aware…?
By continually referring to “we” as the body of Christ and speaking of “us” as a unity instead of using a separating “you” and “I”, you attract the reader’s undivided attention.
To put it briefly – Thank God for you, Allan! 🙂
Well, tracing the string of comments you and Martin created here, I thought I could share my testimony concerning the question, “But I have always wondered… what if Moody had not asked Him to stay His hand?”
As we know from experience, the Lord’s ways, thoughts (Is 55:8-9), and His times are not ours to know or comprehend (Acts 1:7; Ps 90:4; 2 Pt 3:8). Whenever I had prayed in the past about any revelation from the Lord and I had simultaneously been convinced that it would happen immediately – it didn’t, neither at that time nor the way I had expected it.
I remember a certain day in December, I think it was in 1995 or 1996, when I was playing piano/keyboard all alone at home. In fact, I have always loved worshipping the Lord with songs by playing and singing at the same time because my spirit had often been lifted off the ground.
But that very day had been somehow different from others. Although I was used to playing for some hours without any interruption in the congregation I was joining at that time, I could feel doubtlessly that there would happen something new to me.
While playing and singing a simple song I had written a few weeks before, an undeniable power began to overwhelm me as a whole. I was feeling deep, inexpressible joy taking hold of my body which could not help but constantly playing a short piece of the song, again and again…
After repeating only a part of a line which said, “Reveal Yourself to us,” I became suddenly convinced that Jesus would reveal Himself – to me. Finally, I couldn’t sing or speak any more and I stopped playing, too. My body was exhausted but my spirit was flying somewhere where our heart’s home opened the door for the very first time.
However, the only thing I could glimpse of heaven, respectively of Jesus’ presence at that day, was a sort of foggy magnetic light creeping through our home. I recall standing at the kitchen door, looking in the direction of the bedroom which is only a few meters away. The light “stood” in a kind of cloud in front of the bedroom and I asked Jesus for being allowed to draw nearer, yet I was kind of frozen at the kitchen door. The fear of God’s real and holy presence didn’t allow me to approach Him.
From that day on, I was waiting for another, greater revelation, and I admit that I was disappointed more than once about the fact the God didn’t meet my requirements. Nonetheless, I never ceased praying for a revelation of His awesome presence.
At Christmas in the year of 1998, I was lying in bed because I had been seriously ill. Physical pain all over, particularly in the head region rendered sleep an impossible thing to do. And thus I was praying all night long. Notwithstanding the pain, I would become overjoyed while praying to Jesus. It was far more joy than I had ever experienced before, and I gratefully confessed to Him, “Lord, what if Your glory didn’t exist?”
Unexpectedly, I saw Him – in my own spirit – on the right side standing beside me. He was smiling and said, “I am going to show you now how much you have seen of my glory so far.”
As I was still wondering about this mysterious statement, I felt a great power drawing me quickly out of my body. Catapulted through a huge dark and empty storehouse of sorts, I was moving head first toward a mini-bay in a distant wall which limited the building. Behind that hole in the wall there was some light to be seen. But it looked like a pocket flashlight compared with the dark room I had still been in.
Suddenly, I felt that I had left the huge room. High speed was over. And I found myself behind the “pocket flashlight”, which was a short channel I had just been slipping through. Now I was placed in a vertical position, not having any ground underneath my feet and no heaven above.
Pure bliss – and no pain any more.
After a few seconds or maybe a few minutes, I don’t know exactly, the whole event was over, and I was drawn feet first back into my own body, that is, into the dark storehouse with its pocket flashlight experiences. 😉
That experience was a so-called NDE, a near death experience, as you might know.
In the summer of 2000, I faced the ruins of my life. Almost every area of life had been broken to pieces with a vengeance I almost couldn’t bear.
One evening I was extremely desperate because I saw no sense and no hope for my future life any more. As I was praying in the bathroom, I felt another kind of power coming over me; it was not relieving at the very first moment but it made me scream in pain for the Lord. I was repeatedly crying out – once again, “Reveal Yourself to me, Jesus!!!!!” And I was weeping all the time while was knocking desperately on Heaven’s door.
Later, tired of weeping and praying, I would sleep for about two or three hours. But then I felt that “something” raised me out of my sleep. What had happened? Looking around in the bedroom I sensed a deep calmness floating toward me. Overwhelmingly quiet at heart, my tears had dried up. No mental pain was disturbing the revelation which should follow. Albeit I had already been content about my quiet soul and heart, I was listening with joy that cannot be expressed to the sweetest and most tender voice I have ever heard before.
Jesus said, “You are the bride.”
Afterwards I fell down on my knees next to the bed, weeping of joy and thankfulness to the Lord who saved me out of a hopeless situation, regardless my own sinful condition in those days.
The following years would be years of the wilderness, years of searching Him, finding and losing His presence time after time. Doubts and fears reappeared as if I had never experienced anything with God. After several mental breakdowns, I tried to live my life without Him since I could not bear His absence after another overwhelming revelation of His presence anymore. Admittedly, I was often rather angry with Jesus for seemingly having left me all alone in the wilderness.
In 2008 eventually I experienced that event which could answer the question you posed in your comment above, Allan. Regarding God’s power of love which human beings can stand for a short time only, as long as they are imprisoned in a weak and sinful body. Otherwise they would die without delay.
You asked, “But I have always wondered… what if Moody had not asked Him to stay His hand?”
Having already preponed the response to your question, I am still owing a description of that event when God filled the dark storehouse with His own light, i.e., a description of the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Another night praying in bed with my eyes firmly closed. Without knowing why I suddenly felt compelled to open my eyes and to look upwards, I saw from top right above me a bright light floating through my whole body, beginning with my head, then pouring into every part downward, however small we might consider it. From tip to toe, powerful but tender and warm waves of light and love, frequently beginning anew from above, were flooding eternal bliss into my heart, soul, and body.
This was the first time I felt what His Holiness feels like, and I am not able to describe it. But that event left me completely speechless and grateful toward our wonderful God – our Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit.
Oops, I am afraid this was not a comment but a lengthy blog bomb, Allan…? 🙂
Hi Susanne, welcome to A Mending Feast! And thank you for your warm words of encouragement.
I greatly appreciate the hunger that comes through in your testimony– your refusal to settle for anything less than Jesus Himself. This is the “voice of the bride” that responds to the “voice of the Bridegroom.” He, for His part, was– and is– willing to give us His all, and so in turn is unwilling to settle for anything less than our whole heart. It’s interesting that He spoke those words to you– “You are the bride.” Of course we understand that the bride is a corporate reality– the church– but each of us who make up that bride must give Him the response of the heart individually.
As to your baptism in the Holy Spirit, when Paul speaks of this he calls it “the earnest of the Spirit.” The Greek word for “earnest” is “arrabon,” and it means “pledge, assurance, guarantee, deposit.” Vine says that arrabon in modern Greek means “engagement ring.” 🙂 So… we will not settle just for the ring, will we.
…By the way, I wonder if you have seen my brother Robert’s response to your comment on Frank’s website about the love that overwhelmed you with regard to someone who had deeply offended you. “We love,” Robert reminded us, “because He first loved us.” His love makes it easy for us to love, as you experienced. And this love is not just a one-time experience in the past. His love becomes a Law in us that continues to flow and grow.
Thank you for your both kind and enlightening words. Your explanatory notes on the Greek source of “the earnest of the Spirit” have been very helpful because they back up my experience of permanent assurance.
And yes, you are completely right that we won’t settle merely for the engagement ring. Just recently – today 😉 – I have been complaining about the long continuance of the engagement period. However, I do understand that patience and endurance are necessary.
Indeed, I have seen and enjoyed your brother Robert’s reply over there at Frank McEleny’s site. It is so very true that I cannot love on my own. My heart is as empty as a hole in a piece of Swiss cheese, unless “the love of God” has been “shed abroad in” my heart “by the Holy Ghost” (Rom 5:5).
‘And this love is not just a one-time experience in the past. His love becomes a Law in us that continues to flow and grow,’ says it beautifully!
Thank you, Susanne. You said, “I have been complaining about the long continuance of the engagement period. However, I do understand that patience and endurance are necessary.” I often have the same complaint. It’s good to remember that the Bridegroom Himself longs for the day when, after so long a time, He and His bride (the Church) are one. And the Voice at midnight cries out, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh…” Do you feel the urgency in the rest of the verse? “…Go ye forth to meet Him!” This takes “oil” in our lamps so that in the midnight hour, we are not stumbling around at the last minute trying to find our way to Him in the darkness. Regardless how dark it is, we have the illumination of the Spirit that, as we follow, leads us to Him!
‘Regardless how dark it is, we have the illumination of the Spirit that, as we follow, leads us to Him!’
So true, Allan. Let’s just make it known and let’s stay in touch with Him!
Allan, I am still behind on reading your blog as you can see here 🙂
“We love,” Robert reminded us, “because He first loved us.” His love makes it easy for us to love, as you experienced. And this love is not just a one-time experience in the past. His love becomes a Law in us that continues to flow and grow.”
Allan, if anything in the Bible describes my last 45 years in Christ it is this passage:
I know your works, and your labor, and your patience, and how you can not bear them who are evil: and you have tried them who say they are apostles, and are not, and have found them liars: And have endured, and have patience, and for my name’s sake have labored, and have not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against you, because you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you are fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto you quickly, and will remove your lampstand out of its place, except you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
(Revelation 2:2-6 KJ2000)
Jesus restored to me my first love i had for Him in 1970, just in the last six months, and Susanne’s inspirational writings have had a lot to do with it. Yes, His love is NOT just a one time experience, though I have been without a conscious feeling of it for 45 years, NO, we are to do just as our sister has done… KEEP SEEKING AND KEEP ASKING for Him to restore us to that loving relationship that we once knew and that the enemy of our souls stole from us. I, like the Ephesians, have been caught up in the battle against all the falseness of Christendom and had become distracted from my intimate relationship with Jesus. I also hate that doctrine of the Nicolaitans (Nico- to conqure and laitan- the people) which permeates church leadership today. I thank the Father that He is restoring me to Himself in this bridal love once again and that all that is false in this world is becoming strangely dim! As a result His great love in and for met “continues to flow and grow.” AMEN.
I love you, my brother, and I am still praying that we can meet somewhere soon
Greetings, Michael. The passage you quoted about first love reminds me of God’s words to His people through Jeremiah the prophet (and I think Jesus likely had this passage in mind when He spoke to the Ephesian church): “Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD, “I remember thee, the kindness (lovingkindness) of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown” (Jer. 2:2). “The love of thine espousals…” That is first love, the love between bridegroom and bride as they went through the waste and howling wilderness together. It’s something God had to look back on to find, for Israel left their first love, as did the Ephesian church. The encouraging thing is to know that His arms are open to receive those who repent and return to Him, to first love, “and do the first works,” the things that once were done out of no other motive than love for Him.
I too anticipate the day when we shall see one another face to face again, Michael.
Yes!!! Absolutely, Allan, it is the love between the bride and her Bridegroom we are experiencing… BTW, the Song of Solomon is also coming alive with fresh meaning in this time of my life and so many scriptures are taking on a new depth.
God bless you, Allan
Michael, I have been in Song of Solomon myself again recently. In fact it’s the theme of my most recent post– A Bride In Warboots.
Susanne, your testimony is a wonderful inspiration to me… that I might seek Him in earnest with all my heart. Thank you.
You’re very welcome, Michael. 🙂 Am glad to hear that you have been inspired…
I would just like to add that I think it’s wonderful Susanne that you have been so open and sincere in sharing about your life.
Many thanks, Martin. 🙂 May God always bless you!!
And to you sister. May He bring this new and deeper unity to His people. Some hearts are yearning for its depths and richness and purity. It will be like nothing we have ever known before.
Thank you brother Allan for your faithfulness in sharing these words from your heart.
“It will be like nothing we have ever known before.”
Hmm…Sounds like a mysterious allusion to me…? You make me curious, Martin.
Further explanation would be much appreciated… 🙂
BTW, I saw your comments over there on Frank’s site. The Warnock quote hit home, indeed. Thank you!
I sense it will be a deeper experience. It will become a deeper reality than that which we call reality now. Simply put, what we are now in our love to one another will not be the same as it will be in the future. Like in the trenches of warfare, men died for each other as brothers. Their experience of warfare and the common unity of the tests they faced daily brought a deeper togetherness. Persecution will heighten this need for one another and the level of commitment to one another and the cause of Christ.
“Simply put, what we are now in our love to one another will not be the same as it will be in the future.”
I’ll second that, Martin. 😉
For me, this journey of faith is following Him every day through joy and pain by gradually surrendering all aspects of my life to Him. Whether we will experience persecution (personally) or not, God knows. If not – “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Rom 8:32)
In this wonderland of His Love that can turn life all around, anything is possible for those who believe…
Susanne, what you wrote a few days ago was quickened to my heart this morning as I read it again: “In this wonderland of His Love that can turn life all around, anything is possible for those who believe…” Amen! I very much like those words, “this wonderland of His Love that can turn life all around…” Let us be believers!
Oh, thank you very much for this surprise, Allan! You just made my day by breaking the stormy weather on my way. 🙂
No one else can see what He wanted us to see… in anything that we are to realize by reading, writing, acting, and through all things happening to us. Those words you like, in fact, it’s what my heart says (currently). However, I don’t want to adorn myself with borrowed plumes. Therefore I’d like to point to Michael Jackson’s song “Fall in Love” that inspired me and from which I took “this wonderland”. In his lyrics Michael also described the experience of love that was turning his life all around. Although he sang about his love to a girl, we may know that it can be applied to our experience of spiritual LOVE too (meaning a deeper and higher sense of it, to be sure). Indeed, God’s love will never betray or enslave us but set us free…
Hi Susanne, I don’t think I’ve ever listened to a Michael Jackson song, so I didn’t know that what you wrote was a “borrowed plume.” In any case, what you said is true– the love of God sets us free… and then enslaves us again in a higher way. “For ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve (as a bondslave serves) one another” (Gal. 5:13).
One might also say, being drawn in and tied with your heart so that you’re fastened to His Love as a special slave – as a bondslave, exactly 😉 . Isn’t it a miracle that belonging to God makes impossible things possible…and that only this kind of slavery with its easy yoke and those “commandments” which “are not grievous” (1 Jn 5:3) results in present, future, and eventually in eternal freedom?
That’s a very good word, Susanne, and worthy of much meditation. Thank you for sharing that.
Allan, what a wonderful thread on God’s great love you and Susanne have written here! Yes, there is much to meditate on.