Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Father God’

The Closet II

In our previous blog we noticed that the closet mentioned in Matthew 6 is a “secret place” where we meet with God. We also saw that we are with the community of believers when we are there in the closet whether we realize it or not. We discovered that it is this closet is the place from which the anointing flows. Our challenge is to learn how to live in that place rather than merely going there occasionally.

I am presently on a quest to discover how to minister from that place consistently. In my 40 years of teaching on college campuses I have had that experience several times. I have many memories of students falling to the floor weeping while I was teaching. I am no longer satisfied with experiencing God’s presence occasionally. I am not looking for the weeping aspect as such; I want the presence of God that is manifest in those times. So I ask myself, “What are the elements present when I am in that place that are not with me when I am only teaching the academic content of the truth?”

Recently I was teaching on prayer in a church and used my personal experience as an example. For many years I would catch myself singing or humming “Amazing Grace” every day. That is not something I decide, it just happens. I suggested that these songs are in my heart, in the closet with Father. I went on to say I have have been singing Because He Lives, for several weeks now. It has not replaced Amazing Grace but this is also something I don’t intentionally do. I just catch myself in the act. The songs just bubble up out of my heart.

As I was teaching I felt led to sing the song for the congregation. That is something I have never done before. Since it was not planned I had to sing a cappella. To my surprise many in the audience began to weep as the truth of the song was sinking into their spirit. I was actually singing from the Secret Place and the Holy Spirit was touching people’s hearts. The atmosphere in the building changed.

This is obviously not a magic formula; one cannot “use” this to get a response from people. It is also not something anyone can do. Each of us needs to discover what “happens” in the secret place and learn to do enter that event in the public arena. I believe it worked for me at least that one time because the song was with me in my private time without my conscious choice. When I began to sing it I immediately found myself in the closet with Father. Perhaps he was singing with me, I don’t know, but it was profound. I was not actually singing to the people; I was singing to the Lord.

This is my preliminary conclusion. I will be experimenting with the concept to discover what is actually happening. If any of you have had similar experiences, share your story for others to read. It may be that we will find the “Secret” together. Please respond with a comment.

On Word Ministries is a contribution based ministry. We have no salary from a church. Any offerings you send will help us continue to do what we do. You may donate online at http://www.onword.org by clicking the “Donate” tab, or you can send your offering to On Word Ministries, 106 Ashford Ct. Myrtle Beach, SC 29588.

Thank you for your consideration,
Fount Shults

Advertisements

The Closet

The closet Jesus mentioned in Matthew 6 has fascinated me for many years. It is a word used only four times in the New Testament. There are two basic pictures presented by this word. One is a room in a private dwelling where one can go to be alone and meditate. Sometimes the householder would store his valuables in that secret place. The other usage refers to a storage room. In both cases the issue is privacy, treasure and security.

In Matthew 6 it is a place where one meets with the Father who IS in secret and who SEES in secret. And Father has promised to be present there when we come. Recently I realized that when anyone goes into this secret place to meet with Father, he or she is there with the community of God’s people. We may not be aware of their presence, and they may not be aware of their presence there, but since they are also “in Christ” they are also with our Father in his secret place. So my secret place and your secret place is actually the same place.

I suddenly saw that t this is the place of the unity of the Spirit Paul spoke of in Ephesians 4. It is actually the only place we can experience Father’s presence and the unity of the Spirit. It is the place where Jesus dwells in the Father and the Father dwells in him. It is the place where we abide in him and he abides in us. It is the place of the ultimate reconciliation of all things Paul speaks of in Colossians 1:20.

It is also the place through which the anointing of the Holy Spirit flows through us into the community. When the speaker or singer in actually in the Spirit (in the secret place) the gathered community will respond to the call of the Spirit and receive the message. Receiving the message and understanding the teaching are two different things. If you only understand, you only receive the academic side of the truth. If you receive the message by the Spirit, your life will change to reflect the truth. What we really desire is a changed life, not just more understanding.

What a privilege to be invited into that place to commune with him and to make our requests known and to listen for his response. The problem is that our culture does not train us to go there. Most of us don’t even know where that place is or how to get there. Some don’t even know it exists. Our culture is totally focused on the external world of business and pleasure, of weather and sports, of politics and religion. Christianity in this culture is divided because few ever go to the secret place.

Those who know about the secret place often think it is only a place to go occasionally to pray or relax. One can certainly relax and pray in that place, but there is so much more to it. It is also the place from which we speak and act in response to what Father is saying to us while we are there. This is where we are seated with him in heavenly places, the place from which we reign with him in victory over principalities and powers. When we speak from this place we call it anointing or charisma.

Jesus lived his life in this secret place. It was the place where he saw what Father was doing and heard what Father wanted to say. He often went to a private area to be alone, and sometimes took his disciples with him. But his time in this secret place was not limited to these times apart from the crowd. Even in his busy activity with people he was in that place with his Father and was able to receive from him in behalf of others. Our goal is to learn to live consciously in the secret place, not just occasionally visit. We are in Christ at all times. We only need to become more aware of our presence with him as we go about our day. Our lie will change radically if we spend more time there.

If you receive from these blogs, please share them with your friends. They can sign up to receive a notice when a new blog is posted. You should find a link on the top right of each blog where you can enter your email address.

Also understand that I do not have a salaried position with any church or organization. My income is totally from offerings to On Word Ministries. If what we do on the

Facebook Morning Meditations and on these blogs are of value, please consider a onetime offering or a monthly offering. It is your contributions that make it possible for us to continue doing what we do. Go to http://onword.org/donate.htm to give online or make checks payable to On Word Ministries, 106 Ashford Ct, Myrtle Beach, SC 29588. Thank you for your consideration.

Fount Shults
President, On Word Ministries, http://www.onword.org

My Vision Revisied

05/28/2015 2 comments

I was meditating on my financial situation and felt I need to share publically what I heard.

First, I will give a background so you will understand my heart. For many years I have refused to promote myself and my ministry. I thought that would be self-serving. I firmly believe that when Father guides, he provides. That has proven to be the case for me through my whole life. For example, Father prompted me to finish the Dissertation for the PhD and not to seek employment until it was done. It took me about 18 months to finish. Even though I started with only about two hundred dollars, all my financial needs were taken care of without my asking anyone for help. We had our fourth child during that period. The Doctor was paid in the fifth month and the Hospital bill was paid before we went. People didn’t even know I was unemployed.

Various leaders in my life have told me I need to promote myself if I want others to support me. My response is always the same, “I can’t do that.” The reason is not that I am unable; I cannot bring myself to self-promotion without losing my sense of integrity. Others may have permission form Father to do that; I do not. As a result, I have lived ‘hand-to-mouth’ as long as I remember. I am ok with that, but I have a vision beyond what is presently coming in to On Word Ministries. I firmly believe the vision is from God.

My Father has provided for every ministry trip I have made to train leaders in developing nations. Sometimes that provision came from others; sometimes I had enough to do it on my own. That is evidence that the vision is from God as far as I can see. I have hesitated to ask for funds for my personal livelihood as a missionary based in the States. I know that all of you have your own needs. So I have not asked even though the leaders who are close to me have encouraged me to ask. “You have not because you ask not,” they say. I know that is biblical, but I can’t bring myself to do it. Why?

This is what brought me to the meditation I mentioned above. “If the vision is from God,” I ask myself, “then why are finances so tight? Father has provided for my needs without my asking even when I was unemployed. What is different here and now?” As I was in the presence of Father with these questions, the following came to me:

“People don’t give to needs, they give to vision.” I remembered this statement which I have heard from leaders who are very successful in raising funds, and I believe it’s true. But I sensed there was something else. So I waited. “This is not about what I need; it’s not even about what I do in training leaders in other countries. It’s about vision.” However, I have made my vision very clear on Facebook and on my blog. Working with Nation 2 Nation Christian University and with Harvest Preparation International gives me an opportunity to do what I’m called, commissioned and sent to do. So what’s missing?

This is what I heard, “People give to what they believe in. They give to what they feel is worthwhile.” There are two things here: the belief system and the feelings. The belief system is in the head, the feelings are in the heart. People will say they believe in the vision, but if they don’t feel connected, they don’t give. If what I believe resonates with what others believe, their heart will feel what my heart feels. This brought me to a personal challenge: “What do I really believe? What do I really feel?”

I believe that the living and active Word of God will change the social and political atmosphere when it is spoken by the Spirit. I have over 50 years’ experience speaking the Word and changing the lives of young people on college campuses. I believe this world-changing Word which the Father has given me will begin to do for nations what it has done for students. I believe this Word will continue to influence nations through the video recordings long after I have passed over to the other side of reality.

That’s what I believe and that’s what I feel. I believe it and feel it so strongly that I have been willing to go on several short-term mission trips at my own expense even when that left me short in my personal ‘bottom line.’ I have a passion to see leaders in developing nations receive the training they need but can’t afford. I will continue to do what I do because I believe what I believe and have a passion to see it happen.

Our website is being updated to reflect this passion. It will be up and running as soon as we get it built. Meanwhile, feel free to visit the website and listen to the free teachings available on the ‘listen to Fount’ tab. We are serious about keeping it free.

Looking forward,
Fount Shults
President and Founder: On Word Ministries
http://www.onword.org

Learned or Educated?

09/13/2014 1 comment

“You’re a Hebrew scholar,” she said, “perhaps you can tell me where black people come from since Adam was white.”

The question came after a Wednesday evening teaching many years ago. I started to give her the various theories I’d learned in my college days. Since I didn’t feel that’s what she needed, I started to suggest that Adam was black, and the real question is, “where did the white people come from?” That was obviously an inappropriate response. Then I heard the Spirit say to me, “Tell her the truth.” When I asked Father what’s the truth here, he reminded me that I don’t really know; I only know theories.

Her mouth almost dropped to the floor when I said, “I don’t know.” When she gathered herself together she exclaimed, “Oh! If you don’t know, I guess it’s okay for me not to know.” That answer was exactly what she needed to hear.

Often our pride is unwilling to admit we don’t know. We want to look smart in the eyes of others. I wonder how many times people have been cheated by teachers like me who weren’t really listening to the heart of the student. Often we only listen for an invitation to impress others with how much we’ve learned. Another word for this is the fear of man; it’s a snare for the arrogant ego that wants to look good to others and feel good about himself. It’s also a trap for those who want their teachers to think they understand when they don’t.

We must be willing to acknowledge our ignorance, unless we already know everything there is to know about everything. The difference between an educated person and one who is uneducated is that the educated person knows how much he doesn’t know. There are many learned men and women with post-graduate degrees who are not yet educated, at least not by this definition.

Some very educated people don’t even have a high school diploma. Authentic education doesn’t come in the classroom; it comes in life experiences. True learning only comes as we live the truth. This is what Jesus meant when he said to the Pharisees, “Go learn what this means; ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’” When we show mercy, we learn what it means by observing the results of our action. We must live the truth to know the truth.

The learned Jewish scholars knew the meaning of the word mercy and could’ve quoted verses from Scripture to defend their definition. They could’ve even quoted other scholars who had different views. Their learning was all in their heads. They had a doctrine of mercy, but they had no mercy. If they’d been willing to show mercy to those who were less brilliant than them, they would’ve been more open to see who Jesus really was, Emmanuel, God with us.

Through the years I’ve known many church leaders who have a very strong doctrine of the grace of God. They teach well, but their relationship with their staff and family clearly shows they have no grace. A doctrine of grace without the experience never produces a gracious personality. They’re not yet educated in the matter of grace.

When one experiences the grace of God in the depths of his heart, he will be gracious to others. Those who’ve experienced the embrace of Father God naturally embrace others. It has often been said, “Wounded people wound people. Healed people heal people.”

When we measure our maturity by the freedom of those around us, we begin to get an idea of how far we have to grow. In living it we learn it, and we grow as we learn. It’s only as we know the truth in this way that the truth makes us free, free to experience the presence of the Lord. We experience God’s presence in the process of living out the truth we know in our head.

Looking forward,
Fount Shults, President, On Word Ministries http://www.onword.org

PS. If you enjoy reading what we share here and on our Facebook page, you may help us keep these insights coming by contributing. Go to http://onword.org/donate.htm or make checks payable to On Word Ministries, 106 Ashford Ct. Myrtle Beach, SC 29588.

Growing and Outgrowing

08/16/2014 2 comments

One of my students asked me, “How do you come up with such deep insights?” He was obviously looking for a way to develop his own ability to interpret Scripture.

At first I tried to explain it to him in terms of the biblical languages, cultural studies, historical background and commentaries. But, even while giving this explanation, I realized that’s not really the way I receive insight. I’ve done all those things, but they’re not always fruitful. There’s something else. That student raised the question a number of years ago when I’d not yet raised it for myself. The answer had to wait for another level of maturity.

Through the years many students have testified to a level of life and ministry beyond academic information that comes across when I teach. So I‘ve known there’s something real happening when I open new vistas in the classroom. But I didn’t know what made the difference, and I didn’t even ask. The difference obviously has something to do with what Father God has done in me and how he gifted me. I know this much; it’s not about me.

Here’s how I understand it now:

When Jesus said we must leave father and mother to follow him, he wasn’t speaking of a geographical departure. Wise fathers and mothers give us boundaries, a fenced-in place to play safely, but then they send us into the world beyond the fence hoping we’ve learned what we’ll need to know to help us deal with life as it comes to us outside the fence. Children need the safety net of established boundaries while they’re growing.

Jesus was saying we must leave the fenced-in backyard of our parents’ house to follow him into a bigger world, the world of the kingdom of God. Children outgrow their need for their parent’s house. For me that also meant leaving the fenced-in backyard of my early religious training. As a child I was indoctrinated into a legalistic way of interpreting the Bible. In my youth, I needed the safety of the rules and the security of “certainty” in doctrinal matters.

Legalistic rules and confidence in our biased interpretations of particular Bible verses don’t apply in the kingdom of God. Jesus disregarded the Pharisee’s parochial interpretation of the Sabbath. The only thing that mattered to him was following the leading of Father God. We must leave outgrown concepts behind and embrace reality as it’s revealed to us by the Spirit each new day. The new will never contradict the Bible, but it often does contradict our group’s parochial interpretation of the Bible.

Truth never changes, but our understanding of truth does change – if we grow. When we learn something new, if it’s true, it was true before we learned it. But, if we take new insights seriously, the new truth will often force adjustments to other things we thought we knew. I once “knew” that our church was the only one who had the truth. That had to change when I discovered true believers in other denominations. Here I am 60 years later and some of my brethren still believe they’re the only ones.

My academic life began by adapting to the fenced-in backyard of my professors. They made room for creativity within the fence. That gave space for me to develop my own skills of analyzing and interpreting the data of Scripture, but it was all within the context of their doctrinal presuppositions. Having learned to analyze and interpret, however, I came to realize that no theological backyard is adequate to hold the fullness of God. I had outgrown the home of my theological fathers

If you can wrap your head around God, he’s no bigger than your head.

So we must work hard at seeking truth, but then we must rest in silence to receive Father’s call that comes from beyond our present theological backyard. We also need to hone our skills of expression so we can share new insights when they come. The problem is that many think the honing of the skills is the end of the process. They’ve developed skills to express what they learned in theological kindergarten. They only find new ways to say what they were taught in their church school. They don’t know they’re fenced-in.

So how do we get out of the mentality of the yard we grew up in? How do we come into the larger perspective of the kingdom of God?

Here’s what I do: I continually listen for Father’s voice calling from outside the fence I’m presently in. Realizing I’ve not yet learned everything there is to know, and knowing that I’ve not yet grasped the full meaning of what little I have learned, I am at rest in Father’s presence as I “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Col. 3:14). I don’t find truth; truth finds me while I’m resting within my fence, open to whatever Father may have for me outside my yard.

That’s also why I’m relaxed while I teach. I’ve learned to rest in the presence of Father and work in tandem with the Holy Spirit…at least sometimes. We must learn to work and rest at the same time. That’s how Jesus lived his life. He didn’t break the Sabbath when he healed. He was resting in his Father’s bosom as Father did his work (Jn. 14:10). Those of us who teach must learn to rest in Father’s bosom as HE brings HIS teaching to HIS people.

Fount Shults, President
On Word Ministries http://www.onword.org

PS. If you enjoy reading what we share here and on our Facebook page, you may help us keep these insights coming by contributing. Go to http://onword.org/listen_to_fount.htm or make checks payable to On Word Ministries, 106 Ashford Ct. Myrtle Beach, SC 29588.

The Turning Point

08/01/2014 3 comments

With his shaved head and white robe, he answered calmly, “God confirmed to me that Hare Krishna is the right way.” His peaceful demeanor was impressive.

That was 1968, very early in my theological journey. I had invited the local Hare Krishna monk into my graduate cubical at The University of Texas at Austin. We had a conversation that lasted about four hours. He demonstrated a profound peace that I’d seen in few Christians. His inner stillness was inviting, fascinating, intriguing. He was able to maintain his calm confidence in face of some very challenging questions.

The challenge that elicited the above response was my statement that God had come to me personally in a very real way in Japan in 1957. God came into my barrack room in the form of liquid love and, for the first time in my life, I knew I had a Father who loved me.
My expectation was that this Krishna follower would be impressed with my testimony and ask me to share more.

To my surprise, he didn’t even flinch. He told me how his personal spiritual journey had led him to a retreat center in Canada where God had spoken to him and confirmed his choice to pursue the way of Hare Krishna. Inwardly I asked myself how I could bring him to question his experience since he thought it was God who spoke to him.

I mentioned the miracles of Jesus and the Apostles. “Miracles are cheap,” he responded as he told me of several signs and wonders performed by yoga masters in India.

Our discussion continued in this way for several hours with my challenging him and his calm, peaceful responses. “The real issue,” he said, “is to learn to accept the world as it is and come to peace and rest within yourself.”

I know inner peace is a good thing, and it certainly should be a goal for all of us. “But there’s an element missing in him,” I thought, “and I can’t seem to find the key that would open him up and expose the missing link.”

Finally, after about four hours, I asked him, “How do you deal with the resurrection of Jesus from the dead?” With that question, he was visibly disturbed. For the first time there was restlessness in his demeanor. He had no answer. He promptly excused himself and left my office saying there was something he had to do.

I thought about this experience many times after that. As I consider the implications of his inability to handle that question, I saw that the real difference between Christianity and world religions hinges on the reality of the resurrection of Jesus. Buddha, Krishna, Mohammed, and others all died. They are still in their graves. The mere mention of victory over death had shaken the peace this man was carrying.

I never saw him again, so I don’t know if the discussion had any lasting effect on him. I know the experience did have an effect on me. The question bubbled up within me, “What is the power behind deception that causes people to shut down to a discussion when a serious challenge rises?” I’ve seen that happen many times since.

Two Scripture came to mind after the conversation. By definition, people who are deceived really believe they’re right. Paul spoke of the false signs and wonders and wicked deception that would overtake those who refuse to love the truth but take pleasure in unrighteousness (II Thess. 2:9-11). So, the first problem is a refusal to love the truth.

Yet this Krishna monk insisted he loved the truth. He certainly appeared to be seeking the truth. According to Scripture, however, he was under a delusion. Paul added, “Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false” (II Thess. 2:11). If a person is unwilling to change, he has no guarantee that deception will not overtake him. He will really believe he’s right.

As I continued to consider this problem over time, another Scripture came to my attention. Jesus said, “If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority” (Jn. 7:17). Up to this point in my journey I identified myself as a truth seeker. Something in me shifted when I read this verse with new eyes.

To my surprise, the key was not a desire to know the truth but a desire to do the will of God. Seeking truth is certainly a necessary venture, but it has no value without a desire to do God’s will. Some people learn a lot of truth but do nothing with what they learn. It appears that one is susceptible to deception if he or she is not seeking to be personally involved in the advancing kingdom of God.

That experience was a turning point in my journey. I began to realize the importance of allowing the Holy Spirit to lead me to all truth, as Jesus promised. This new openness on my part prepared the way for a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. The guidance was actually unconscious at first, but a series of encounters and experiences brought me to a conscious awareness of the Holy Spirit’s work in my life. But that’s another story.

The point of this blog is simple: learn all you can learn, but focus on obedience to the voice of Father God. Those who are satisfied with head knowledge often resist any idea of the Holy Spirit’s involvement in their daily life. After all, if they begin to listen to his voice, they would have to change their way of doing life. I did.

What is he saying to you today?

Looking forward,

Fount Shults, President
On Word Ministries, http://www.onword.org

Rest in God

: “How did you develop the ability to remain so quiet and peaceful as you teach?” asked one of the young people attending our seminar in Santo Domingo.

That’s a question I heard many times while teaching on college campuses. Through the years I’ve developed the ability to relax in Father’s presence during my lectures and in private time with students. I learned to trust him to speak what they needed to hear. That doesn’t mean I didn’t prepare for classes, but, having prepared I simply settled into the bosom of Father while I teach and while I talk with students after class.

It was like a shot in the arm for me when about 25 college age young people came to our lectures. They had a day off from the ministry they were involved with. They were going to minister to eleven different nations over eleven months with a ministry called World Race. I asked one of them if it was like YWAM. She said it’s like YWAM on steroids.

Since leaving the college campus I’ve been going through withdrawal. Working with young people had been my life for over 40 years. These kids were like sponges drinking in the word we were sharing. Don Richter, AJ Baisch and I were there to train pastors and leaders in leadership principles. All three of us were impressed with how attentive and engaged these young people were. They were full of pointed questions during the breaks. It was during one of these breaks one of them raised the above question.

The answer is really simple, though it isn’t easy to apply. The Scriptures that speak of waiting on God are all about becoming so intimately connected to God that his presence and leading determine our attitude and our activity. It doesn’t say, “Wait for God to do something,” it says, “Wait upon God.” Dying to the self-life, dying to the desire to have our way precedes the ability to enter into his rest.

When we are insecure in ourselves we focus on the problem and the solution rather than on the presence of Father. That focus disconnects us from the source of the resolution. If we think we have to prove our brilliance, our ability or our power, we will end up wounding others and completely missing the will of God in the situation. Instead of mounting up with wings as eagles, we dismount and become tired and irritable.

Hopefully the guy who asked the question understood enough to begin his journey into that level of connection which allows this active rest. “Active rest,” that’s actually the meaning of the concept of Sabbath. In the Hebrew thinking, the day begins at sundown. Adam and Eve were created last on the sixth day, so their first day was Sabbath. They entered into rest in what God had already done.

We were all born into a world of sin and alienation. It’s a struggle for us to enter into this rest, but those who are serious about life in the Spirit will gladly pay the price. We don’t joyfully crucify the flesh with its passions and desires. It’s a lifelong journey, so don’t expect results overnight.

Ministry trips like this one to the DR would not be possible without the friends of On Word Ministries and their generous offerings. Thanks to all of you who have contributed regularly through the years. And thanks to those who recently began to support On Word financially.

Looking forward,
Fount Shults, President and Founder
On Word Ministries http://www.onword.org

Categories: Reflections Tags: , ,