The Process of Faith – from Thorns to Sons

fower among thorns

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from which they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he has prepared for them a city. (Heb 11:13-16 KJ2000)

As some of you might have observed, there has been a great struggle of gaining true faith in Christ and His kingdom within me. How many of us are truly “strangers and exiles” on this earth? We Christians, especially here in America, still have our hopes in a land where we can find our city. We still hope to get a secure place here on earth and this delusion is probably greatest in “the land of the free.” Our founding fathers thought that they had finally found that secure place on this earth. Many of them had fled Europe because of persecution for their faith. They worked hard to make America secure, not only for them, but for us. But in this present hour we are watching all their hard work and all our “securities” evaporate before out eyes; our 401k retirement plans, our property values, our family ties, world peace and safety, even our so-called Constitutional rights they fought so hard to secure! All that we relate to as “security” in this world is evaporating before our eyes and there is panic in the air.

The above passage is from the great “faith chapter” in Hebrews. There we find a list of people who put their trust in God. All these saints of old had one thing in common… not one of them ever found a secure place in this world, but their hopes were in something far off, “a heavenly.” Is that where we have our only hope? Is God “not ashamed to be called our God”?

Americans are about the richest people on earth, but our riches have deceived us. They have made us put our hopes in things that are temporary and transient. In His parable of the sower, Jesus warned, “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that hears the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful” (Mat 13:22 KJ2000). We American Christians hear the words of Christ and His gospel and we think that we are thus “saved,” because we once made a “decision” for Christ. But what happens after that? How many of us go out and get all wrapped up with the cares and concerns of this world after Jesus sets us free? Jesus said that where a man’s treasure is, there will his heart be also. The hearts of many are waxing cold for fear of what is coming upon this country and the world. Many Christians are even taking up arms and are willing to kill to save themselves and what is theirs. Have we not learned from the example of Peter with his sword? Jesus said, “He who finds his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for my sake will find it.” Thorns – the cares of this world, choke out faith and can kill our relationship with God.

In Romans we read,

For the earnest expectation of the creation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected the same in hope, Because the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, that is, the redemption of our body. (Rom 8:19-23 KJ2000)

Glorious liberty! Are we truly the Sons of Liberty? Our founding fathers thought they were. I think we are in the process of being freed in the truest spiritual since. We have been born into vanity and futility as sons of Adam. We are in bondage because we think that our continuing city, our “peace of the rock” is to be found on this earth. I can see why Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor.” They have a lot less “thorns” in their lives to be released of.

We give lip service that Jesus is our Rock, the Rock of our salvation, but are all our hopes and dreams founded on that Rock alone? So, as we watch all our earthly securities being vaporized, God is hoping we get the picture! HE has subjected us to lives of vanity here on earth in hope that we will finally see that being totally IN Christ is our only hope. HE alone is that which can not be shaken while everything else is shaking and falling apart (see Hebrews 12:26-29). Our hope and our lives must be IN Him or we will suffer great loss as the waves of tribulation come crashing in upon us.

Paul wrote, “For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now.” He is talking about the labor pains of a woman. You see, the earth is the womb we are in. It is rumbling and pushing and being stressed to its limits. Why? So we who are Christ’s would dig in and hold on for all that we are worth? So we would fight to hold this existence together to our dying breaths?

Jesus defined some of these “birth pains” as wars, earthquakes, natural disasters, famines, pestilence, and such. Men cry “Peace! Peace! And there is no peace.” This age is coming to an end and the whole creation is giving birth, actually pushing us out of this world and all that pertains to it. Is it any wonder that everything we cling to as “security” in this life is failing?

I think a baby must feel a great deal of rejection in the birthing process. All of a sudden the walls of his world are closing in on that once warm and comfortable place that was its whole life and reality. Its whole known world is pushing it out as if it is unwanted! Then that blast of cold air and the bright lights. Oh, the trauma! No wonder they come out crying. But what is next? The mother takes the child, wraps it in a blanket and puts him on her breast. The crying is over. There is no more of a peaceful sight than a baby nursing at its mother’s breast. This is all a parable from God. We should take hope in what is ahead, dear saints. “Travail lasts for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

Paul continues, “We ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, that is, the redemption of our body.” The redemption of our body… what does that mean? He is speaking of our being caught up into that eternal city whose builder and maker is God whose Foundation is Jesus Christ, God’s own Son. For here we have no continuing city. There is a groaning within us, those who are His, to get out of here and get on with REAL Life… that eternal life we have had a foretaste of in Christ!

Paul wrote,

“For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that has made us for the same thing is God, who also has given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord” (2Co 5:4-6 KJ2000).

Our redemption has been sealed by the Holy Spirit within. He is the “earnest money” of the agreement we have made with God when we first surrendered to Jesus. Next came the “down payment.” We gave all we had to get that house. We surrender ALL to Him in this life process. Then comes the closing and we finally get the keys to our house and we get to move in. And guess what? Once we are moved in we find a note on the kitchen counter that the rest of the loan is paid off! The house is totally ours because Jesus paid the full price after all.

Lord, open our eyes to what a great salvation you have given us. Free us of the thorns that seek to choke out our faith in your Son. Raise us up as joint heirs with Christ and let us see that we NOW live in heavenly places as we put our trust in Him alone. Amen.

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26 comments on “The Process of Faith – from Thorns to Sons

  1. Markus says:

    Dear bro-heart,

    am I allowed to disagree with your closing words?

    You wrote in the last paragraph:
    Next came the “down payment.” We gave all we had to get that house.

    This isn’t said right, bro! We could never “pay” for getting this house, this for sure! And if you would give all you can give… this “house” isn’t earned by what I and you can do.

    This house is a gift a loving Father gives to you and me… without expecting us to contribute anything. Jesus put it this way:
    You did not choose me, but I CHOSE YOU and APPOINTED YOU to go and bear fruit- fruit that will last. (Joh. 15:16)

    All our lives will bring forth… is enabled just by one single thing you and I can do: Staying in HIM! (Jo. 15)
    We can’t “pay down” anything… because we no longer have anything of our own anymore to pay with! We got bought with the highest possible price! All we are…all we have (and this really includes ALL)… isn’t our own anymore… but His possession.

    Of course this “being His possession” has some consequences here on this earth natural man will look at as “paying for a life-style”… but with God this never is true.
    It is just the “result of His choosing”… the “fruit of a life after the Spirit”… that, of course, has practical implications for all of us – but never this is a “down-payment”… rather a grace we have received.

    Our surrender is not worth to be mentioned actually! As I said before, you and I don’t belong to us anymore… so all we “surrender” is actually our illegitimate “myself” we cling to in our deceived mind. This isn’t worth to be “counted” at all!
    We have no right anymore to have anything for ourselves… and all we “surrender” is our “goods” we have “stolen” from Him by regarding them as “ours”.

    So, if a “thief” gives back what he has stolen… is this a “down-payment” to get a house… a house we got already by Him chosing us from our mothers womb? (Gal. 1:15)

    We can’t give to Him what we haven’t received from Him first… and all we give we have just because HE CHOSE us and HE APPOINTET us.

    Nothing we can bring: HE is ALL in ALL… and so we never will find a note about our “old life” on the kitchen-counter just He said:
    Because by one sacrifice HE HAS MADE PERFECT FOR EVER those who are being made holy.
    The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
    This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.
    Then he adds: THEIR SINS AND LAWLESS ACTS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.
    And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice (down-payment) for sin. (Hebr. 10:14-18)

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    • Hosea says:

      I appreciate your response to this post, most especially on the issue of “down payment” which our brother Michael was talking about. But permit me to suggest that you would have start by asking for clarification before going on to disagree on the issue….thanks and agape

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      • Hosea,

        We all have different life experiences that God uses to teach us His way. I have room in my heart for Markus to speak from his perspective. We have communicated a lot off the blog on this matter. The point I wanted to make is that people preach, “Jesus paid the price and did it all so we don’t have to.” This is not the case. He leaves some of it to us… He told the rich young ruler to sell all he had and give it to the poor and come and follow Him. The price was too dear to this man for he had much and he went away sad. Jesus goes right to the heart of everything that stands between His Father and us. This is what He was talking about when He said, “If any man would be my disciple let him take up his cross and follow me.” The way of the cross costs us everything that we once held dear. It is an instrument of death. Should we have counted it so “dear”? No, in the economy of God, as Paul put it, all that God asks us to give up is rubbish. When we do give it all and follow Him, the Spirit is given us as the earnest of our inheritance for at this point all things are ours and we are Christ’s and Christ is God’s. We actually give up a pile of rubbish to inherit true spiritual wealth IN the Son. Sorry that my choice of metaphors was so lacking with the purchasing of the house thing.

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      • Markus says:

        Dear Hosea,

        thank you for being so sensitive! But no need to worry at all! I fully support the message by dear brother was giving. I just disagreed with the wording or as he said the metaphor he used. As Michael said, we all come from different backgrounds… and the Lord put into many situations I had to expose and resist a spirit you often find with “earnest” followers of Jesus… and this is to “beat up yourself” in “your own” attempt to live worthy of your high calling in Christ Jesus. They’re so unaware the biblical fact that it is the husbandman… the gardener… our Father in Heaven who prunes the branches… and not us! (John 15)
        They are trapped in this tricky, devlish scheme though they have received salvation as a free gift… they somehow have to pay back to God and by this show that they’re are worthy of this “grace”.
        And so they start searching their lives to find anything wrong… and then they chastise themselves in their futile attempts to live up to an ideal they never got from their Father. When His burden is light… this burden is cruel!
        By looking on themselves they start to reflect their misery instead of reflecting His beauty! As they become hard against themselves so they will become hard against others… and this all they just got caught in a devilish scheme… by somehow adding from their own to what no man can add anything!
        Transformation happens by our Father acting on us alone! He is our “goldsmith” purifying us… the word of God is very clear about this! All we have to do is embracing His cleansing with praise and relentless trust. Though it hurts to get our chaff burned away… it never is so malforming as this “self-made holiness” coming with this attitude of paying back to God.
        When my dear brother, wrote his heart I saw he accidently used a wrong metaphor having the potential to feed this wrong attitude… and so I wrote what I wrote.
        Never it was a disagreement on all he wrote… just a disagreement on the words he chose in the last paragraph.
        My intention is just to make his writing even better… and I see this very much happening now! Now the good and god-ordained way can be displayed:
        Our transformation is His work! It starts automatically in the very moment we draw near to Him! Like you can’t do anything to get your skin tanned but exposing it to the sunlight, so we will be changed/transformed into His image by drawing near to His Holiness (2.Cor. 3:17-18)!
        Before Paul mentioned the process of our transformation he said: Where the Spirit of the Lord is – there is FREEDOM!
        With this freedom there is peace, rest, joy and encouragement… all missing when we got caught by the tricky installment of the enemy of our souls making us believe we somehow have to “pay down the mortgage of this mansion in heaven He gave us as a “Gift of His Grace”!”
        “Grace” wouldn’t be grace at all if it would cost something, right? In this case “Grace” would be a “Deal”… a loan like we’re getting from a bank!
        But “freely” we have received… and so freely we give! This freely giving isn’t an obligation it’s the joy of a dearly loving heart! It’s no “must”… it’s a deliberate action of joyful surrender! I love Him so! I’m dead to myself… I’m His with all I am… and with joy I give! May it even be my life!
        He is my ALL! I haven’t deserved to be granted His marvelous grace… but He loved me first!
        He chose me… and inspite of my blindness and bondage he took up the task to open my eyes… to free me… showing me His glorious way!
        All this “pay-back-thing” isn’t anything but getting rid of the “old rags” remaining… those hindering remnants of my old nature! Is this a pay-back to get rid of those? No, it’s a “Grace” again!

        The first disciples rejoiced to be counted worthy to suffer for their Beloved… and we? What do we think? Do we think suffering is paying back our loan?

        I’m so glad to write this here and I pray our Lord may open everybodys eyes for the wonderful dimension you and I are called to!

        Thanks again for your sensitivity and your remarks! Dear blessings to you… and every reader reading this!

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      • Hosea says:

        Please, forgive my typos..
        AGAPE

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  2. Mia says:

    Hi Michael
    Thank you! True faith, my brother, is living, breathing, dancing, receiving, glorying in and so many more received from the hand of our Pappa!

    Yes, He is preparing the new home for His bride and when it is ready, He is coming to collect us.

    It was only when I went to Him directly with no intermediaries, telling Him that I don’t have the true kind of faith and that I needed to receive it as a gift, that He opened the storehouses of heaven and lavished me with all I needed. But I truly had to have nothing and no one before I were able to go to Him like Job did.

    This illness I suffer from and all the disbelieve and rejection I experienced as a result, brought me to the place where I truly had no one and nothing to hold on to on this earth!

    And now I am still ill, but He brought my family back together, with us all following after Him! What can I desire more!

    Much love
    Mia

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    • Mia,

      Yes, sister, you have it! God has stripped you of everything that was or our old Adamic nature and weakened you so that you would never trust in it again. THAT is the “down payment” I am speaking of. “He who finds his life will lose it, but he who loses his life (here is the so called “down payment”) for my sake will find it.”

      Thanks for sharing from your heart and your life in the Son, dear sister.

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  3. oikoskrk says:

    True words brother! Jesus is my Lord and not just my savior. I trust in Him alone to take care of me.

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  4. Dollea says:

    Oh, how easily the “thorns” choke off the true Life Christ has for us! How easily the cares of this world infringe upon our spiritual progression! I press on, to be done with all “thorns” and to pursue the abundant Life that He has for me. One of the biggest “thorns” in my life is self. It’s an ongoing battle to crucify it but a battle I know, with His help, I will win. Although, at times, entangled by the cares of this world, my heart’s true desire is to stand on the Rock, to be built on the One and Only sure Foundation…Jesus Christ, to continue seeking the heavenly country — that kingdom which is not of this world. As you stated, all the “securities” of this world are being stripped away. However, as the children of God, we have nothing to fear. He is our All in All. He cannot be shaken!

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  5. Hosea says:

    Thank you Michael and Markus for the maturity displayed so far…i agree that some times words can fail us in a bit to explain the Mystery of Christ…I am happy to hear your perspectives. But any right-discerning Christian will agree with me that you are almost saying the same thing – the riches of Christ and the administration of the same in the life of the believer. One of the books I’ve ever read on this matter a book by Watchman Nee titled “Sit, Walk and Stand”, in the book Nee state clearly that we are SITTED with Christ in heavenly places and Paul went further to admonish the believers to WALK worthy of their calling, then he concluded by telling them that “having done all, STAND”. In summary that is the Christian life, but its quiet unfortunate that many only take SIT and some only take WALK and run with it. Are the two wrong? NO! They are both correct but not in their seperateness, they only make sense if they are together. I have seen a people who have always emphasized SITTED WITH HIM and ignored WALKING WITH HIM and it has led to fuatrating the Grace of God and their taste have remain with them. I have equally seen some believers emphasising ignoring SITTING and it has only resulted to producing self-righteous, legalistic and judgemental Christians. So we must be careful lest we measure with an unjust scale – for the Lord hates that….AGAPE BROTHERS IN THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST…

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    • Hosea,
      I read “Sit, Walk, Stand” for the first time in about 1970 when I fist gave my life over to God. I think I am overdue to prayerfully read it again. Thanks for your encouragement.

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  6. Mike says:

    Not only have I been feeling a stranger on this planet but have also moved 3 times in the last 3 years. We just feel the grace disappear and then have to move on, I guess He’s teaching the “following of the Spirit” I guess. I too am guilty of fearing what is coming upon this World, I’m not a big escapist (Rapture) person so trust is what I have to lean on. Michael just a word of warning, as we leave the fake church, it’s real leaders will send their assassins with their accusations, chains and condemnation………….they will be disguised as brothers.

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    • Mike, so true. That is exactly what happened to me, church hit men came to do me in with their words and curses the day I went out from Christendom. I wonder how many forsake Christ because of these offences. I shared with a sister one time, some of the griefs I went through in the church system where I was always a target and she said, “I don’t know why you are still a Christian?!”

      Jesus lived a life here on earth in obedience to His father and as a result His kingdom was not of this world and the world and the worldly Jews and their leaders rejected HIM. Then He told his disciples that they would get the same treatment. The more we refuse to be of this world, the more we will be rejected by all that are not born from above by the Father. But the good part of all this rejection is that the Father is there with open arms because we are proven to be of His kingdom with His Son as our Lord and King. Along with this He prepares for us a spiritual table in the midst of our enemies. He also gives us spiritual sight, discernment and ears that can hear His voice and the scriptures open up to us in a new way because now we are able to hear the Comforter and what HE wants to teach us instead of leaning on the teachings of titled men in the church system.

      So, it is ALL good, the rejection, the lies spoken about us, it all drives us outside the camp unto Jesus where we bear HIS reproach and finally understand the HERE we were never meant to have any continuing city, but were meant to seek that heavenly one, that kingdom that comes without carnal observation.

      And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from which they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he has prepared for them a city. (Heb 11:15-16 KJ2000)

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    • Rex Sheeley says:

      amen to that

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  7. What I find difficult is being preoccupied with trying to have ends met. On one hand God tests us, He tests where our real loyalty lies, where our security resides. He alone knows how little we really need and to what level of comfort we think is reasonable upon this earth. He’ll call us on that, He’ll take away, sometimes for years what we once were accustomed to, sometimes for good.
    Don’t any of you ever wonder why we ever even attempt to better ourselves in any way whatsoever? Why go to a school of any kind? Why find a better job? Why get married? Why have children? Anyone of these things can and are a hindrance of one sort or another and at the same time a help in God’s service. Anyone of the above can result from a selfish pursuit and yet in another case be the very desire of God Himself for us. We’d love for this to be consistent among men yet it never is, to one this gift, to another, the opposite is the will of God.
    I’ve had years of broken dreams and decreasing and rarely do I question it. I write about it often, that is our need to decrease, so why am I surprised? Is not this another test?
    I learned long ago we cannot earn anything before God. I’m sure you have as well. But doesn’t your heart ache to become individually and together all that Jesus desires for His people? Wouldn’t you be more apt and willing to become less as you witnessed that daily among your brothers and sisters? Wouldn’t someone be more convinced of the claims of Christ if they saw my or your interelated life among other local saints?
    Thorns are necessary, and in fact are mandatory. One cannot become until they have been undone to some degree. We all know this. But how can one become a son or daughter alone in purposes of God? Do God’s promises in relation to His people exist outside or inside the ekklesias He is building? Is desiring to be united practically with other believers to be considered synonomous with building a city here on earth? Isn’t that exactly what Christians on earth are called to become? A city on a hill, a light to the world?
    Obviously there is a difference between an earthly home and a heavenly habitation. That said, I’m not quite ready to throw out one for the other. I have no desire to return to some so-called Christian American roots or save myself through ecumenical compromise. That said, I do believe the bible paints a pretty clear picture of what His people should comprise here on earth one with another. I do believe that to be a noble pursuit provided we don’t skirt our personal cross in the process.
    Whether individually or as a body, where death reigneth, life doth all the more.

    Excellent article and outstanding comments from all!

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  8. Rex Sheeley says:

    George, once shared that the most effective work of the wilderness is that you dont know were you are going and He( Christ) alone becomes your compass. The wilderness exsperience helps to destroy the thorns (cares) of this life so we can get on with the real journey and pursuit of happiness

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    • Thanks, Rex. Good to hear from you, my brother. The New Testament connects happiness with suffering for Christ… quite the opposite of what the world calls happiness. Why? Because suffering in Christ is a sure sign that we are not of this world or its prince, but belong to the kingdom of God.
      “Happy is he that has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God.” (Psa 146:5 KJ2000)

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  9. Bill says:

    greetings saints,

    With the *birthing* process in mind we must listen to the words of the Spirit through one of God’s chosen instruments, our elder brother Paul. It’s “through much tribulation(pressure) that we must enter the Kingdom of God.” Acts14:22

    Let us NOT be foolish as Ephraim, who when the pangs of birth came, did not come to the opening of the womb. Hosea13:13

    The hour is fast approaching……..the *fullness of time.*

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  10. Ransa emmanuel says:

    Thank you for postitng this. Gracias!!

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  11. Gaby says:

    Dear brother and friend, Michael.
    As usual, the article was good. And yes, we have to make “down payments”, in using your words 🙂
    Every overcoming is a “down payment” in obedience on HIS buying us out of this world of sin.
    But overcoming and yielding to God`s word, which is His will, is very hard if not impossible for many christians.
    They proclaim with many words all the theory….but when it comes to the task,….no, that is to hard, or no, God sure does not mean it that way, or oh, you have more faith then me..and so on.

    I like to sit in the mornings before the wood stove. The quietness and the warms give much room to thinking.
    I don`t know if it was at that place or during the day, the thought came to me that the american christians or the american people in general, have a VERY hard time in imagining that life can and will be total different pretty soon.
    There is soo much pride involved in being an American and about their country.
    I admit, I was proud of my country, Germany, too. but it is just an earthly thing and not worth to hang onto.
    Today, I do not live there any more and I am the same happy or even much more content and happy.
    Happiness comes from inside, not from belonging to a race or a country.
    I am 77 years old now and by that reason, have seen many changes, personal and otherwise.
    I have seen my parents losing everything, they inherited; the whole farm with everything in/on it. I have seen many dead people….
    We ate our meal out of a gasmask canister, since we had no dishes left in our “new beginning”
    We got a Bezugsschein= cupon for one blouse, hm….
    My mother had left two sets of clothes to exchange. [ One neighbour said, he has never seen her dirty :)]
    I have lived behind the “iron curtain”, for about 13 years.
    I have seen money gone over night, literal.
    And I have crossed the border under prison threat, even so, I had not committed a crime.
    But crossing the thing without the States permission was called a crime before, at and after that time,1959.
    But compared to what the bible tells us about what will come, it is a weak comparison.
    It is often mentioned that people than had different personalties. They did not kill for a piece of bread.

    Anyway, back to the topic. All these life experiences are meant to shape us, to the good or to the bad. The choice is ours, hence free will.
    In my late 40th, I became a believer in Christ …and God is still shaping at me to make a useful vessel of me for Him.

    Gaby.

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    • My dear sister Gaby,

      Thanks for your contribution on the blog. I hear your heart. You have suffered so much more than most Americans have ever dreamed of, yet God has used it all to conform you into the image of Christ. It gives depth to the Paul’s words, “…that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” (Act 14:22 KJ2000). To “sin” is to fall short. How many of us live in sin and don’t even know it? We avoid being fully conformed into the image of Christ because it means a road of suffering, so we fall short of the fullness in the Spirit that God has for us. We want a little bit of heaven and a lot of the benefits of the world and Jesus calls us “lukewarm.” Peter wrote:

      Since therefore Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.
      (1Pe 4:1-2 KJ2000)

      Or how about Paul’s admonition about having the mind of Christ?

      Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not a thing to be grasped to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
      (Phi 2:5-8 KJ2000)

      Peter said that he who suffers has ceased from sin? This world [kosmos – world system] is at enmity against Christ. If we have the mind of Christ we will suffer at its hands. Didn’t John say that he who is a friend of the world is an enemy of God? Yet we in America flee from suffering and fight to maintain our comfortable status in the world and will even take up arms against our neighbors to avoid suffering ourselves. I can guarantee that our days as a nation are numbered. Jesus made it clear that those who live by the sword will die by the sword. On the other hand to live in Christ is to not be part of the kingdoms of this world, just as you have said. They killed Jesus because HE was not of this world and made it clear that if He is our Master and Lord, we would get the same treatment, but to be in Christ and to be absent from our bodies is to be present with the Lord. This is why we are more than overcomers IN Christ Jesus. The question we have to ask ourselves as we watch the evils of this world come upon us is, “Are we really IN Christ Jesus?”

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  12. Gaby says:

    Michael wrote:
    In His parable of the sower, Jesus warned, “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that hears the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful” (Mat 13:22 KJ2000). We American Christians hear the words of Christ and His gospel and we think that we are thus “saved,” because we once made a “decision” for Christ. But what happens after that?

    I was analizing my replay from some days ago and I think, I must explain myself, my thoughts a bit more.
    Staying with the analogy of Michael`s post; Yes, we make a “down payment”, One time, by saying “Yes” to God`s offer of salvation.
    But then we become a “debtor” to God.
    So unpleasant this sound, but it is still true.
    God expect something back of us. In money jargon we call it “monthly payments”.
    A good client pays his/her duties.
    A bad one just get carried away with what the following bible verse mentioned and does not care about the obligations coming with the deal.

    “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that hears the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he
    becomes unfruitful” (Mat 13:22 KJ2000).

    And what happen to an unfruitful fig tree?…..

    Yes, we do One down payment, our Yes to God`s offer of salvation, but after that, our “payments” have to come in.
    There are many verses which are pointing toward that.
    Like the man with the one talent who did nothing with it. It went very bad for him when the Master came back.
    Got has given us His many spiritual gifts for our own use to keep us going, independant of this crooket and perverse world.
    But what do christians do with them? They know they are there as they know Jesus is there….and that`s it.

    Our obligations [payments] are total trust in Jesus` sayings, which work out as being thankful in and for “everything”. [even so we do not understand why in that moment]
    Also coming with our needs to Him and asking Him for help, not going to the worldly sources. Making Him alone our provider, our guidance, our healer, and so on.
    Petition Him if we are in need of anything to sustain us, our lives.
    That would honour Him.
    It is even more a dishonour when trying both at the same time; God AND the world.

    Why go christians rather to the world when in need and become debtors to the world instead to God which is much more safe?
    God can not lie…this alone should give us confidence in trusting Hiss ayings.
    The “world” is a pretty much disapointment ….as Michael already mentioned in his post. It is build up on deceit, lies and thievery.
    So, why putting ones trust in such a thing?

    The mindset of christians; “we can not do anything, we are totally deprived”, is possibly an “official church” preaching? I don`t believe the bible expressed it that way.
    But people like it, it tickled their ears.
    Now, they don`t have to worry about anything, no changes of life style, no overcoming of obstacles God allowsto be thrown in our way to shape us, train us, developing faith, calling on Him for help and stay with Him.
    I know we get all this from God first….but it is on us to work it out in our lives in conjunction WITH Him.
    The bible has many “If`s” and “When`s” in it. These words express a demand or an obligation toward some one.
    Yes, the offer of salvation is free…our “Yes” is the “down payment”.
    But as Paul writes: make your salvation sure, with fear and trembling.
    [paraphrased]
    { by making “monthly payments”]

    Gaby.

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    • Gordon Halford says:

      Some time ago, Father gave me a poem. Maybe it expresses something of the conversation here.
      Blessings in Him… Gordon H.

      I Come to Offer My Life

      Father, I come to You to offer my life ─ me.
      It is only then that I see –
      ─ there is nothing there to give…
      Nothing of worth…
      Nothing that the King of the universe could possibly see of worth…or want…
      …and yet…
      You… want… me…

      He made me…
      Am I my own, to do with as I want ?
      No, He… made me…
      How can I have anything to give Him, when He… made me…
      Doubly, I belong to Him…
      ─ First, He made me for Himself,
      ─ And then, when I ignored Him and went my own way…
      …He bought me back…to…
      …Himself…

      How could it be so ?
      That the King of the universe could possibly want something worthless…
      …And then I see…
      He loves me… He made me…
      He knew from the beginning what I would be… and still He made me !
      And even though I see nothing that He could possibly want…
      …He sees…the possibility of …
      …Himself…

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      • Gordon, thanks for sharing this. Somehow, God knew our end from the beginning and has arranged all things that we might be conformed into the image of His Son by the time it is all said and done. And He has done it seeking our consent each step of the way. Sometimes the ways of God are just too great to figure out. What you have just shared brought this psalm to mind where David marvelled at the goodness of God just as you have…

        When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
        The moon and the stars, which you have ordained;
        What is man, that you are mindful of him?
        And the son of man, that you visit him?
        For you have made him a little lower than the angels,
        And have crowned him with glory and honor.
        You made him to have dominion over the works of your hands;
        Aou have put all things under his feet:
        (Psa 8:3-6 KJ2000)

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