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Posts Tagged ‘Heart’

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

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Seeing and Hearing 10: How and What you Hear

01/20/2012 1 comment

“Take care how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks he has will be taken away.” (Luke 8:18)

In Matthew Jesus warned, “Take care what you hear,” but in Luke he said, “Take care how you hear.” The first concerns the content of the message and the second concerns the way you listen to the message. Our focus has been back and forth between the two, but in reality the two are essentially the same. How you are hearing is related to whether you are listening to your own voice or the actual message. What you are hearing is not the true message if you are listening to yourself rather than the speaker.

“Seriously consider how you hear” means take responsibility for the condition of your heart and ears. The condition of your ear is connected to the condition of your heart. A hard heart will shut out any word that threatens your previous understanding. A cluttered heart will choke out the word and keep it from bearing fruit.

We can see this clearly in Acts 2. There were two responses of the crowd that gathered when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples. One group asked, “What does this mean?” The other group scoffed, “These men are drunk.” The first were hearing properly; they knew there was a message in the events that were unfolding before them. The second were listening to their inner critical response to the same events. They were blinded by their prejudices and not get [see] the message.

Those who are convinced of their righteousness have no desire to hear anything different. If they acknowledge the reality of the events, they will have to admit they’ve been wrong. After I was impacted deeply by the Holy Spirit I shared with a friend. His response surprised me. He said, “If I agree with you, I will have to admit I have been wrong all these years.” I have had many reject the testimony, but no one stated so clearly what was really going on inside. He was unwilling to change his position.

Another implication of seeing what you hear is this: our duty is not so much to talk to people about our Father, but to show them by a life that unfolds from the action of the Holy Spirit. Peter did not preach until after the Holy Spirit had moved. His sermon was simply explaining what had happened. The message cannot be spoken effectively apart from the movement of the Holy Spirit (see I Cor. 12:3). Even for Jesus this was true: “the power of the Lord was with him to heal” (Lk. 5:17).

Most of the crowd rejected the message. These who rejected it were probably the same ones who had accused the disciples of being drunk. I believe the three thousand that asked, “What must we do?” were the same ones who had asked, “What does this mean?” Those with a critical spirit do not hear the message; they only hear words they can easily discount.

These two groups were hearing the same words, but they were not hearing the same message. The ‘how’ of their listening was affecting the ‘what’ of their hearing.

We often speak of the ‘tone of voice’ to imply an attitude behind what is audible. There is a heart attitude, or a “spirit,” that is carried by the tone in the voice. Perhaps we also need a phrase to indicate the ‘tone of hearing.’ You can listen with an attitude. The burden to speak is on the speaker, but the burden to hear is on the listener. Listening to God means paying attention to his heart attitude toward the situation we are facing and what we are thinking about doing. Our heart attitude is exposed by the way we listen.

When we confuse our own heart attitude with his voice, we are listening to ourselves, not to him. We are often vain enough to think God agrees with our prejudices. If what you’re thinking is not loving, compassionate and encouraging, it is probably from your own heart. When we speak or act from that platform, we are walking according to the flesh. We are not doing what we see Father doing.

Our Father sent Jesus to free us from our prejudices. Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you will know the truth and the truth will make you free” (Jn. 8:22). To abide in a word means to allow that word to influence the way you live, the way you relate to others. To know the truth means to experience the reality of which the word speaks.

The Jews in John 8 were unwilling to admit they didn’t already have truth (they were prejudice). They also denied they were in bondage. They remained in bondage because they were only listening to themselves. Many in our world today are in bondage because of their unwillingness to allow their ideas to be challenged. Jesus said Isaiah was talking about those people when he wrote:

“For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should turn again, and I should heal them.” (Isa. 6)

Notice the connection of eyes, ears and heart in this passage. The parable of the sower and the seed is all about those three and how they relate to the success of the word-seed in a person’s life. My friend above did not want to change; even in the face of evidence. He wanted to maintain his prejudice. His ears were dull of hearing anything that did not agree with what he already believed. As a result, he failed to experience (know) the truth of the availability of the Holy Spirit in his life.

Perhaps now you can see the importance of the exercises I have suggested – paying attention to what is happening in your imagination while you are reading or listening. If you will make a habit of this, it will position you to experience truth and find ever increasing freedom in your life.

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Looking Forward,
Fount Shults
On Word Ministries http://onword.org