July 21, 2007 Coming to the Lord Kathleen Maples Psa 16:11 Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore. What a promise this is to us. He has promised to show us the way that we may walk in it. *(Isa_30:21). He wants us to understand how to enter in at the straight gate, for narrow is the path that leads to life. (Mat_7:13) But what about the presence of the Lord? How do we get there? How can we know we have entered His presence? We will be satisfied, full, at peace, in awe. The restlessness and feeling of emptiness or lack will be gone. There will be great pleasure and rejoicing and gladness in our soul. It's a continual feast where we may feed on the Lord Jesus Christ, and draw strength from Himand learn to know Him for ourselves. Joh 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. Joh 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. We plant a garden behind our house every year, and have for the past three years or so. I've learned some very important lessons and reaping and sowing and planting and weeding. The first year, we just had a few tomatoes and cucumbers. I took a tomato that was going bad and instead of throwing it away, threw it in a 5 gallon bucket of dirt and began to water it. It sure did shoot up strong and pretty and so green. That home grown tomato smell was so appetizing. When the sprouts came up and there were so many, I transplanted them in my backyard. I didn't know very much about gardening, or that I'd already made a bad mistake. I didn't prepare the ground very well, but the plants lived. I didn't realize my mistake until the tomatoes began to grow and they were yellow and brown and not edible. I learned you must start with good seed if you expect good fruit, or in this case, vegetables. I've learned the importance of keeping the weeds out, though I have not always stayed on them and kept them out like I should. I watch the vegetables grow and as long as they are connected to the soil, and watered and cared for and get sunlight, they grow and get bigger. But once you pluck that vegetable, it stops growing. If it is not eaten soon, it will wither up and shrivel and become inedible. The only way I know of to stay connected to Jesus is through prayer and reading His Word. Coming before the Lord and pressing into His presence, and learning to know Him for ourselves is the number one thing the devil will fight against us to discourage. When we abide in Him, we spend time with Him, first, we tarry in His presence, learning to wait on Him (Isa_40:31). When we are connected to Him, we draw sustenance, our very life comes from Him who is the Source. What kind of fruit is He talking about that we will grow as we stay connected to Him? The love of God, for us, for others, love for God will blossom as we spend time with Him. To know Him is to love Him and to respond to His love for us. Joy because we have found this amazing Treasure of the Lord who is our life, our strength, our help, our defense, our everything, regardless of what we see around us in the world. Peace, because everything is under His control, and nothing happens without He allows it and we have the promise that everything works together for good to those who are the called according to His purpose and who love Him. (Rom_8:28)There is strength we draw from Him that help us be able to suffer long with others because we have seen how HE has suffered long with us. His goodness will saturate our being as we draw from Him our very life. His gentleness toward us, coupled with a reverent fear and understanding of His great mercy to us will constrain our behavior toward others and cause us to treat them as He has treated us. Meekness- understanding He has given us authority and power, but not to abuse, or mistreat others, rather to glorify Him, and shine victorious so those around in darkness can see the bright shining Hope within us and want to know Him, too. He said don't rejoice because the spirits are subject-if that is where your joy lies, in having authority over darkness, you will not keep it long, because that will lead to pride and arrogance, and that is what comes before a fall and destruction. There will be temperance-patient endurance and self control. We will be more able to endure the temptations and trials, and things in others that vex us, with self control because it's our flesh that wants to lash out, and feeding on Christ continually will definitely lead to the death of self and carnality in us. How could it not? When we abide in Him, others who see us will understand, they have been with Jesus. They will begin to see more of Him and less of us as we begin to talk like He talks, think like He thinks and behave as He does. He will make us a vessel through which His love, His wisdom and compassion, His power and authority can freely flow out to others. Sounds like flesh that is being crucified by the power and presence of Christ in us, our Hope of glory. It also sounds like someone who is walking in the Spirit, not mindful of the flesh or carnal things. Abide in Me, He says. We're told He will keep us in perfect or total peace whose minds are stayed on HIM. This doesn't count if we only think of Him occaisionally. If we don't spend time with Him, if we don't feed on His Word, and come to Him in prayer, believing He will receive us and transform our lives as only He can, we will not be able to produce fruit of the Spirit, or reproduce in others the life of Christ because we ourselves will lack. We can do nothing ourselves. He is the Source of everything. Just as a vine supports the flowers or fruit that grows on it, He is our support. If we disconnect ourselves from Him, we will wither and die. Joh 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. If we abide in Him, we will not be asking for things to please our flesh, or things out of the will of God, so this promise is conditional on abiding in Him, having His mind, sharing His heart, because then we will not ask amiss. We will know His Word, His ways, enough that we will not ask for things that would be wrong. Joh 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. Joh 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. Joh 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. Joh 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. If we are bearing the fruit we should, Jesus will be seen in us. His image will be formed in us, and others will see Him manifested in us, through us, and God gets glory when His Son is seen. God takes great pleasure in His Son. If we keep His Word, and seek to obey the Word of God, it demonstrates our love for Him, and keeps us in close fellowship, and we can have a complete joy because we will be in the will of God, and have the fellowship of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Joh 14:20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. Joh 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Joh 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He is our connection to the Father. As we abide in Him, we are connected to the Father. The Father, and the Son and the Holy Ghost will stay in and with us as we stay with Them. Too many times, we allow ourselves to get distracted by the pressures of this world, especially for those who have to work full time. There are bills to pay, kids to raise, chores to do, and we often fail to put God first, and make spending time alone with Him in the Word, and prayer a number one priority that it should be. Others neglect prayer, because they have been intimidated by the enemy of their soul and are loaded down with a guilt and condemnation and shame that makes it almost impossible for them to come to prayer and believe that God will receive them. They want to pray, they long for the presence and power of God to transform their lives, but feel so inadequate and so ashamed of their failures they don't go to God. They allow the lies of the enemy and the fear of the flesh that doesn't want to die to keep them from His presence. They will not be happy, they will love the Lord from a distance, always feeling condemned and weak, because they have not come to His table for sustenance. The devil's lies only succeed when someone doesn't know the Lord well. If you were raised with loving, faithful parents, and some stranger comes to you with lies about your parents in an attempt to drive a wedge between you and them, would you listen? Of course you wouldn't, and you wouldn't believe the lies, either. Why? Because you are well acquainted with your parents, you KNOW them. You have spent your life with them, learning their ways and thoughts, and you know the truth. The more time we spend with the Lord, the more time we make ourselves available to the Holy Ghost and cry out for Him to reveal Jesus Christ to and in us, the harder it will be for the devil to successfully manipulate us away from the Lord with lies. In knowing the Lord for ourselves, we find rest, peace, and stability. He is our Rock. If we are in Him, we will not be shaken, nor caught by surprise by things around us. He is our Anchor. You might think," well, I haven't prayed much in so long, I am so ashamed to go to the Lord, I know I haven't treated Him right, in not praying when He would deal with me to pray. I am afraid. He's mad at me. I have tried to pray and nothing happened, nothing changed, He doesn't talk to me, and I don't know how to get past that. I want to pray, but I don't know HOW. I don't know what to say. It's a sin NOT to pray, and I'm so guilty! I've messed up, and I'm not worthy to come into His presence. He isn't going to listen to me, anyway. Look how I've failed Him." One day, Jesus was being sought after by the multitudes He had fed with the loaves and fish on the mountainside when He delivered the Sermon on the Mount. When they caught up to Him on the other side of the sea from Capernaum, they voiced their displeasure in having to search after Him, wondering where He'd been. Joh 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Joh 6:27 Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. They were seeking after the Lord for the wrong reason. They had their belly filled and they were seeking Him for that reason. It was carnal. The Word He taught them was what should have drawn them to Him. He had fed them the Word of LIFE and they were more interested in natural food, even more than miracles. Their next question was, what can we do that we might work the works of God? Again, wrong focus. They wanted to DO some great thing, but Jesus just said, THIS is the work of God, BELIEVE on Me, and that He sent Me. That kind of believing means entrusting our very lives into HIS HANDS. It implies full surrender of all we are into His keeping and control. Joh 6:30 They said therefore unto him, What sign showest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Joh 6:31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. See how carnally they are thinking? Now, they want to see a sign. He already showed them He could multiply a few loaves and fish and feed thousands. He already showed them He could heal the sick, cast out devils, open blinded eyes, and make the lame to walk. What more signs did they need? There was something more at work here. They had seen and heard enough on the mount that they had no right to challenge Him this way. They begin to talk about the manna from heaven Israel was fed in the wilderness-and this not long after He fed the multitudes with bread and fish up on the mount. Ironic, yes? Jesus said the Father had given them the true bread from heaven when He sent His Son into the world. Oh, that did not set well at all with them. Joh 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. Joh 6:36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. Joh 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. No matter what you have done, no matter what lies the enemy has you bound with, no matter makes you afraid, no matter how you have sinned or failed God, if you feel a drawing and desire to go to Him, but do not come to the Lord for whatever reason, HE says HIM THAT COMETH TO ME I WILL IN NO WISE CAST OUT. Jesus can't be much more clear on this. If you feel the desire to pray, but don't out of fear and intimidation, or insecurity, or whatever, He says Come. No way will I refuse them who come. I will not send them away empty. I will not bid them depart, I will not deprive them of the help they need. Isa 45:22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. Isa 44:21 Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me. Isa 44:22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. Jesus paid the price for sin. He suffered horribly and died. He paid a great price for and has invested so much in us. It is not His will that we bear the shame, and mental separation and condemnation the devil tries to cast on us as weights to slow us down and hinder our growth and progress in the Lord. He knows if He can keep us away from the Lord, we will wither up and grow weak and die. Whatever lie he can make up to intimidate or cause us to fear, he will cast like a fiery dart into our minds. Remember the Word tells us we must have the helmet of salvation- we must wrap the truth of God's Word around our minds like a shield and refuse the lies of the devil that would seek to separate us from the love and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. The devil doesn't want us to remember the Word promises this: Jer 24:6 For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up. Jer 24:7 And I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart. The Lord wants to bring us into His rest, into the promises of His Word, into intimate fellowship with Jesus Christ, His Son. He wants us to make us like Jesus so the world in darkness can see the light and find their way to life. The devil knows that will do great damage to his kingdom and he doesn't want to give up any of the doomed souls of the lost. He doesn't want us to go the Lord and be restored and start to abide in Christ and as we do the light in us will shine brighter, as He cleans our vessel of all the things that tarnish and dim the light. He can wear us out with these lies if we listen to them. If you have a loving husband, who has always been good to you, and treated you well, and provided for your needs, and been faithful, and someone you don't know well comes along and begins to bad mouth him, and lie about his faithfulness, and love for you, would you listen to that junk? I don't think so. God has only been good to us. He paid an unspeakably high price for us. He did and would not deny us His Best. He would not even spare His Beloved SON for our sake. If He willingly sent His Son in whom He is well pleased, and who is His chief delight, to suffer so greatly and such horrible pain and death, what kind of love does that testify to? HOW MUCH HE MUST LOVE US. How much they both must love us. Think about it. What kind of love would it take for God to make the decision to send His precious Son, His ONLY Son, into this dark and desperately lost world, to endure such terrible punishment, to pay such a high price for folks He knew that wanted no part of Him, and didn't understand Him at all? What kind of love must God have for us to do that? Is it any wonder the devil wants to keep us as far from God in our hearts and minds as he can? He seeks to wear us out with lies and beat us down with shame over our failures, when Jesus Christ paid the price for these and tells us to cast all our cares on Him. (1Pe_5:7) Mat 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Mat 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Mat 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. We can follow Jesus, and draw close to Him in our hearts and reach out for Him. We can come to the Lord, with full confidence that He said if we will just be honest and come, He will not turn us away. He is what we need. He can make us what we can't be in ourselves and He can take us where we can never go without Him. Jesus says "Come here, let Me help you. You have worked for me, you have witnessed for me, you have talked to others about me, but you've been too condemned and too ashamed and too afraid to come TO me. You have carried the burden of the lies of the devil, and the weakness of your flesh too long. Come to me, let me lift that off you. You weren't meant to carry this. You can't continue to carry it. I will lift you up, put away this burden, I'll join you unto Myself and we'll be One spirit (1Co_6:17). I want you for My Bride. You come, spend time with Me, I have so much I want to show you and help you understand. I'll be gentle with you, because My heart is not puffed up because I am the Lord. I want to give you a rest, time off from this battle that has worn you out and I want to fortify you with Myself. " Mat 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. In the Greek the word yoke means to join, or couple together to a beam of the balance, as it is used on a scale. In short, oh, praise GOD HELP US SEE THIS LORD OF HOSTS--He takes our frailties, failures and sins, and puts them on the scale, and because He will not join to something unclean, no, we are cleansed by His blood, forgiven of our sins, as we repent and come to Him in childlike faith, having rejected the lies of the devil, and HIS righteousness becomes ours, and the scale of justice is balanced!!!!!! HALLELUJAH! Praise the Lord! I've never seen this in these Scriptures before! HOLY is the Lord-WHO on earth could ever love you like He does? Oh, this is an invitation we are FOOLS to reject and refuse. He takes all the lies of the devil, all the lies of our carnal minds and flesh, and does away with them. We just have to read and believe His WORD!!!! Rev 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. Rev 12:11 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. Paul said nothing could separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. Nothing, unless we allow it. Psa 95:1 O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Psa 95:2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. Psa 95:3 For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. Psa 95:4 In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. Psa 95:5 The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. Psa 95:6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. Psa 95:7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today if ye will hear his voice, AMEN AMEN AMEN!!!!
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