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Posts Tagged ‘Promise of Presence’

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.

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

Recognizing the Orphan

07/01/2012 3 comments

“I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:18

Most of us think like orphans at least occasionally. We feel like there’s no father there for us who understands or, if he does understand, he’s not able to help. We feel we must face our problems alone and fight our way through life trying to get ahead of the game. In other words, we feel like there’s no father who’s actually willing and able to help. There’s no father who loves us enough to be there and walk with us. We feel like we’re alone in our journey.

According to Thayer, the word orphan refers to one bereft of parents, teacher, guide or guardian. It’s one who has no one who cares or no one willing to teach, to guide and to guard. When we speak as though no one is there for us, we are speaking like an orphan. With no guide, we are alone to make decisions. With no teacher, we must learn the hard way. With no true father, we are without comfort when we fail. We are alone in a desert place.

Jesus said, “I will come to you.” He promised to never leave us alone in our journey, to never forsake us in our difficult times. Jesus is willing and able to help us. He sent the Holy Spirit as a helper. But our feelings of being alone betray us. These feelings identify us as those who do not really believe the promises deep in our heart. We may believe them in our mind. But our heart is the seat of feelings, and we feel like we’re abandoned and alone.

So we recognize the Orphan by those feelings that are contrary to the promises of the presence and participation of Father, Son and Holy Spirit in our lives. The process of growing in Christ is the process of overcoming all feelings that deny Father’s presence and availability. Recognizing this orphan thinking is the first step to freedom from anxiety. We do have a Father who loves us unconditionally and who is able to help. The prodigal son ‘came to himself’ when he realized he had a father who was willing and able to support him. We need to come to ourselves as sons.

Orphan thinking began with Eve. The snake suggested that God did not want her to be like him. He was forbidding the one thing that would make her like God, he suggested. God created mankind to bear his image and likeness. But the only way to develop that likeness is to receive the unconditional love of God who IS love. When Eve fell for the lie she began to think like an orphan. Adam joined her in this lie and both were suddenly ashamed of what God had created.

From that day to this orphan thinking has been common in the human race. My experience as a five year old boy is probably not uncommon. In the previous blog I related the feeling that my parents had adopted me, that I really didn’t belong to them. It is as though we were orphans when we were born. Even with parents who loved as best they could, we often feel like we are without a helper and a guide.

Jesus did come to us, and in his presence is the presence of Abba Father. He did not leave us desolate and without help. We do have a Father who cares. That means our orphan feelings are lies. They come from the original orphan, the father of lies.

We will continue this line of thinking as we seek a lasting solution to the problem of orphan thinking. If you desire to receive automatic notice when new blogs appear, go to: https://onwordministries.wordpress.com and enter your email address in the link provided on the right toward the top.

The thoughts in this blog series is a continuation of thoughts presented in “Invitation to Intimacy: Reflections on he Lost and Found Parables.” You can order a copy online at: https://www.createspace.com/3509902

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