I'm writing this blog, partly because it helps me get my thoughts together, and partly because it may help others.
I read a blog entry today on Slice Of Laodicea.com, asking for a call to pray for someone. They feel like it's a lot of work to worship God lately, and that no matter how much they try, in prayer, in reading the Word, etc, they still feel that they cannot do it in spirit and in truth, so to speak. First off, I know that happens to every true believer, because Peter spoke of it in 1 Peter 4:11-13, and it is described in many other scriptures throughout the Word.
Secondly, I'd like to say that I've gone through many times like Ingrid's friend describes. I believe it's very common for God to withdraw His presence from our lives, so to speak, to see if we will trust Him. I believe that as He does this, and the more He does this, the more He creates automatic trust within us. It helps us to learn to walk by faith, rather than by sight. I believe, that eventually, we will come to the place where nothing wicked touches our hearts. Although certain situations may arise, that will try us, so to speak, we will feel that peace that surpasses all understanding. This is much like a relationship with a parent and a child. We have to wean them, so to speak, of ALWAYS needing our presence. We have to cause them to trust that we won't leave them, or forsake them, just because they can't see us. If we don't, they will never grow up. God does this too.
One time, I was talking with Yashua, and just basking in His presence. I could sense the Love, and acceptance, that would shine forth from Him. All of a sudden I heard Him speak very clearly. The conversation went like this.
Yashua: Trent, I have to go now
Trent: **Almost weeping** But Lord, why?
Yashua: You must be tried.
That was the end of the conversation, and suddenly I felt His presence withdraw immediately. I certainly did go through a trial, and I came through it unscathed, as usual. I have, through these experiences, learned to trust God in all situations. He's still working on me, but I know that I can always trust in Him, for He is my Father.
I have also felt like Ingrid's friend does, many times. In fact, I'm having a time like that right now. But once again, I trust Him, and know that He will work it out in the end. I know that He is perfectly able to let me know what my faults are, and to help me with them. And if I have a hard heart, He can and will remove it.
I want to discuss a passage in Phillipians, through my eyes.
Philippians 4:4-8 (KJV) Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. 5Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
First off, I like the word moderation there. We tend to think of it speaking about things like food, drink, and pleasures of this world, and surely it is. But, have we considered that it might also be speaking of devotion to God? Is there such a thing as moderation in our devotion to God? I believe there is. If we seek Him all the time, by reading His Word, and Praying, and all manner of other work, sometimes we don't have time to just stop, and fellowship with Him. Sometimes we're so busy, working for Him, that we don't abide in His presence. Many times, I have gone into my prayer closet, thinking I could get Him to fix me. But that's not always what He wants. Sometimes He just wants us to love Him for who He is, and for what He has done. Solomon was very wise in this area.
Ecclesiastes 7:15-17 (KJV) All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness. 16Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself ?
Also, that scripture in 1 Peter is quite interesting as well.
1 Peter 4:11-13 (KJV) If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 12Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
I know that I have found myself, many times, striving in my own strength. Instead of resting in God, I strive. As humans, it is very difficult for us to let go of our lives. In fact, many think that eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was the first sin, but it wasn't. The first sin was desiring to be like God, knowing good and evil, and making our own choices. That is the very center of our rebellion against God. If we can kill that, everything else must follow suit.
I hope this has edified someone; as it is written, "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death". I know, that just writing this has refocused my mind.