The Downward Pull or the Upward Call?

Artist unknown

Artist unknown

In September 26, 1937, The Shadow radio drama premiered with the story “The Deathhouse Rescue,” in which The Shadow was characterized as having “the power to cloud men’s minds so they cannot see him.” As in the magazine stories, The Shadow was not given the literal ability to become invisible [but to cloud their minds]. The introduction from The Shadow radio program was thus, “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shadow)

When I was a child, before we had a TV, I remember listening to this radio show. There were many mystery shows that made my mind race with all their sound effects. What a description of epic battle between Satan’s minions and the minds of men in this quote.

Susanne Schuberth, Jack Helser and I recently had an exchange on Susanne’s blog* about a dream she had where she was standing with her back to the ocean, facing a sandstone cliff. She was suddenly lifted up by God to safety on top this cliff. As I read her dream and Jack’s comment, I was struck with how the layers of the ocean represent our lives that are not in submission to Christ. All the underlying layers from the surface on down to the depths pertain to our minds and soul natures that God wants to deal with to set us free so we can walk above all that with Christ.

Our minds are like the ocean. On the surface, the natural mind is churned up by the elements of the world and all that is in it. Men plow through our minds with their mechanizations (institutions, “just causes” and evil doings) and we are tossed to and fro in our thinking as the storms rage. All the political and soulish reactions to these latest terror attacks around the world make this is easy to see. Paul wrote:

We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, (Ephesians 4:14-15, NRS)

We find our salvation as we grow up into Christ and are no longer blown about by the winds of trouble and change in this world or the misleading teachings of men. We need the wisdom of God dwelling in us if we are to make it into our Father’s rest. James wrote:

If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord. (Jas 1:5-8, nrs)

If we have faith and do not waver (this is also a gift from God), we can be like Peter when he saw Jesus walking on the water. We can learn a lot from this episode from the gospels.

And immediately Jesus made his disciples get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke unto them, saying, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” And Peter answered him and said, “Lord, if it be you, bid me come unto you on the water.” And he said, “Come.” And when Peter came down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. (Matt 14:22-29, KJ2000)

First we see Jesus making time to get away from the crowd and even His disciples who believed in Him. He knew that apart from the Father He could do nothing. What an important lesson for us to learn that when we are apart from Jesus, the cares and storms of this life pull us down and we become spiritually handicapped and drained of heaven’s life in us. One of the worst task masters of all is the “tyranny of necessity.” Beware of things that must be done or else, but always take time to ask God first as Jesus did upon hearing the His friend Lazarus was dying and his family wanted Him to come right away.

Without Jesus, we see these experienced sailors fighting against a contrary wind and losing the battle. Jesus came to them walking above all that because He had been spending time with His Father instead of, like them, battling against the elements with His flesh. In the midst of all this commotion, Peter is given faith and says to Jesus, “Lord, if it be you, bid me come unto you on the water.” So Jesus said to him, “Come,” and Peter was soon walking above the storm just as Jesus was. The key to our survival is not in our own abilities to ride out the storms of life, but rather to put our faith and trust in Christ who cares for us and asks us to come to Him, “casting all your cares upon Him for He cares for you.”

As the Matthew narrative continues, at some point during his walk on the water the storm got worse and Peter got his eyes on the storm and off of Christ. Big mistake! Peter started to sink. His reaction was simple, he cried out, “‘Lord, save me!’ And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him.”  We will come up against severe testing in our pursuit of Christ and inevitably we will waver in our faith. It is what we do after this that is important. Jesus can not save us as long as we are trying to save ourselves with our own strength. He waits for us to cast all our cares upon Him and Him alone.

From about ten feet of depth on down, the ocean is fairly calm and only the currents move through it. Most of the life in the seas is found from the surface down to about 200 meters. The basis of this life is photosynthesis and below 200 meters it is too dark for plant life to grow. This is the level where our subliminal thought life flourishes and takes on a life of its own. It can be healthy if, in Christ, we have learned to take every thought captive in obedience to Him, or it can be like the dead coral reefs that ecologists like to speak about, poisoned by the cast off waste of civilization, or the shipwrecks of our own lives.

As we go deeper in the ocean, the subconscious, all is dark and it is here we find some of the most creepy forms of sea life. Once we dive off the edge of the continental shelves, What is found here either lives off the dead and decaying plant and animal life that filters down from the top 200 meters or it feeds on itself. The dark subconscious of man tends to feed on dead things and is morbid by nature. Some of these creatures even make their own light!

Today we see many young people in our cultures obsessed with death and darkness. They dress in black, play murderous video games, and have an obsession for the demonic and witchcraft. Even the churches have become affected by this. Not long ago some friends invited me to go with them to a church called “The Skull.” All the teenagers were wearing black sweatshirts with white skulls printed on them. The building where they met on Sunday was painted flat black on the inside and they had a loud rock band for “worship music.” Finally, to top it off, the “pastor” preached on hell via satellite hookup from a remote location! And I was assured that all this was being done for the sake of “being relevant.”

This area between 200 meters and 900 meters, called “The Twilight Zone,” is also comparable to where the evil lurks in the hearts of men. Satan has found a home there and the destructive force that influences all the other layers of the heart come from this zone. Man has explored the whole surface of the earth, but the depths of the seas have hardly been found out. This is how Jeremiah put it:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10, KJ2000)

This is why a NEW heart and the work of Christ and His Spirit is so imperative if we are to walk in the kingdom of God and avoid the pitfalls of the devil. God spoke of this supernatural work saying,

“I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances.” (Ezekiel 36:25-27, NRS)

We can be drawn up into the arms of our Father in heaven or we can be pulled down into spiritual depths. James spoke of this epic battle saying,

But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, boast not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descends not from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by them that make peace. (Jas 3:14-18, KJ2000)

The wisdom of the devil is first earthly and of this world and then it is sensual and finally as it spirals down and becomes devilish. This is the downward digression of Satan’s pull and we see people follow this path over and over. What a contrast this is to the wisdom which comes down to us from above!

Dear saints, if we are to survive these dark times that are upon us, we must turn our fleshly soul natures over to God for Him to deal with. We must quit feeding on all the world has to offer, since the prince of this world is in control of it all. We all need new hearts that are in tune with our Father and spiritual ears that can hear and obey His voice (see Hebrew 8:7-13). As Jesus put it,

Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matt 11:28-30, KJ2000)

Thank you Jack and Susanne for your insights. You may read what was exchanged on this thread on Susanne’s blog beginning here:

*https://enteringthepromisedland.wordpress.com/2015/12/07/instead-of-christ-the-social-gospel-spirit/comment-page-1/#comment-13055

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14 comments on “The Downward Pull or the Upward Call?

  1. Don Merideth says:

    Brother, thanks for confirming what I’ve been hearing from the Lord. You said in this article, “and spiritual ears that can hear and obey His voice” Only spending much time in the closet can we hear the “word”, “the voice”, that can raise us above the darkness and the clamoring of other false words. I remember reading one time the following words that really touched me, “In the deepest darkness, we can still HEAR”.
    Thanks again, Bro. Don

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Don, it is so good to hear that the Spirit has used me to confirm what He has been showing you as well. Being prepared to hear with spiritual ears seems to take being cut off from the noise of this world, even church noise for an extended period of time. The prophets of old found that the wilderness was good for this and spent much time there seeking the Lord. Spiritual sight is much the same. When a pilot is making ready for a night mission in the military, he must not be exposed to any white light for over an hour. God seems to use periods of darkness in out lives the same way…

      “Who among you fears the LORD? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness And has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD And rely upon his God.” (Isa 50:10, NKJV)

      Thanks, my brother, for your insight.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fred Thoren says:

    Thank you for this. “If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord. (Jas 1:5-8, nrs)”
    How do I over come this dreaded double mindedness of mine?

    I hate having doubts when I pray and I have had prayers answered so that verse scares me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Fred, I know that this sounds simplistic, but again the answer is in the Bible.

      “Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think reasonably, as God has apportioned to each person a measure of faith.” (Rom 12:1-3, WEB)

      We yield ourselves to God to do with us as HE wills and HE gives us a new mind by which all things come into alignment with His will. Is this instant? Probably not, but He will start taking you through that process as a living human sacrifice that kills off that old adamic nature in you and replaces it with the mind of Christ, complete with the fruit of the Spirit. God is in our lives for the long haul, my brother. God bless you as you continue to yield yourself to Him in prayer each day or as Paul put it, “I die daily.”

      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  3. That is a beautiful analogy, Michael, and helpful to me as the needs of life have tossed me about for some time now; what with selling a home and moving cross-country, taking care of my elderly father, etc. My father’s home, where Karen and I now live and care for dad, overlooks the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the San Juan islands, etc. It’s beautiful and often we are treated to brilliant rainbows thanks to all the rain of late. Several months ago, when I was feeling particularly stressed out, I began to dream (the wishful kind) of sailboats and often took a few moments in the late afternoon to watch them tacking about on Sequim bay. The metaphor of being driven by the wind (the Holy Spirit) upon a choppy sea spoke to me of peace and helped keep my focus in the midst of unavoidable turmoil in my life.

    The Lord has given me 2 dreams in which the ocean figured prominently. In both of them, the ocean represented the mind and thoughts of God. The first was during a time when I was consumed with worry for my daughters following the divorce over 20 years ago. In the dream, I was hovering over a calm and warm sea with moderate swells; the water was beautiful, jewel like and iridescent and I understood it to be the mind and thoughts of God, with which I was one. In oneness with the mind and thoughts of God, I was allowed to see and know how He would work in the lives of my girls, drawing them to Himself and reconciling them to me. Every worry I had was resolved by God for good. As I woke from the dream, I tried desperately to remember how it was that God worked out all the troubles I had been concerned about, but it was too much for me. The only thing I was able to keep hold of from the dream, was confidence in God and peace in my heart.

    The second dream was a beach scene, which appeared like an old fashioned stereo-graph. It was a cross section of where the sandy beach met the water, trailing out to a considerable depth. In the background was a dock extending well into the water. All around, were people. Most were on the beach, building sandcastles, or playing volleyball. A few were at the water’s edge, one with arms wrapped around their chest as if cold was dipping their toe in the water. Others were on the dock, daring one another to jump in, but all were fearful. A man on an large black inner-tube with an umbrella drink in his hand and prideful look on his face dared those on the dock to jump in, while at the same time cast a suspicious eye at a snorkeler who had swam by. Finally, off the end of the dock, unseen by anyone else, was a man in a deep sea divers suit exploring the ocean bed with a treasure chest within reach. I always figured that dream was reflective of man’s approach to God; some oblivious to His presence and preferring to play games on the sand, others afraid to wade or dive into God, a hireling trying to ride God on a man-made contraption. Only the snorkeler and diver were exploring God; one at the surface, the other going deeper. I’ve wanted to have someone paint this scene, but apparently the Lord has intended that painting for my minds-eye only.

    Before your post, Michael, I’d never considered the ocean as analogous to the mind and emotions of man. With the dreams He has given me, where the ocean has been a metaphor for the limitless breadth and depth of God and all His thoughts (Psalm 139:17-18), my mind would be better represented by a goldfish bowl! Make that a goldfish bowl in desperate need of a change of water. 😉 😀

    Thanks for such a wonderful insight! The next time I find myself tossed to and fro by wind and waves, I shall endeavor to tell them “Peace! Be still!”

    Blessings, dear brother!

    Jack

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Isn’t it amazing how God can speak to us through pictures and metaphors? Where the sea was being churned up by wind and waves it meant one thing, and where it was calm it stood for another. I was really blessed by this whole thread we shared. Has He shown you anything about this verse?

      “And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark[1] and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.” (Rev 15:2, NKJV)

      Thanks again, my brother,

      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

      • Michael, you wrote:

        “Has He shown you anything about this verse? “And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark[1] and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.” (Rev 15:2, NKJV)”

        Not that particular verse, Michael. But I have been reflecting on what appears to be a related verse for several months now, which reveals how it is that have our victory over the enemy.

        And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. (Revelation 12:11 ESV)

        Men so often cite the example of Jesus overcoming the enemy by reciting scripture when he was tempted in the wilderness, and advocate we do the same by memorizing scripture to use against him when he puts us to the test. It is a teaching that has often caused me to feel inadequate because I just don’t have the ability to memorize scripture like that; rather, I’m a paraphraser and an “it’s in there somewhere”, type of person. 😉

        But with Revelation 12:11 above, I am struck that it is not by reciting scripture that we conquer the enemy, but by the word of our testimony. While the enemy may fool us by twisting the word, he will NEVER snatch away our testimony of what the Lord has done for us!

        It is this that burns in my heart more than any other thing, Michael, about which Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:3 “you are the epistle of Christ, ministered by us, not having been written with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not on tablets of stone, but in fleshly tablets of the heart.”

        Imagine, we are living epistles written by the Spirit; walking, talking, living books that testify of Jesus! And it is that which HE has written within us, our testimony, that conquers the enemy. Is it any wonder, my brother, that those of us who have been denied the opportunity to testify by hirelings and religious institutions, have instead turned to blogging and other means, to tell of what the Lord has done in our lives? Sharing the word of the Lord that He has written in us, because to remain silent about it is torment – like that proverbial ‘fire shut up in our bones’!?!

        It was in regard to the habitual silencing of the testimony of the saints, that the Lord directed me to write a letter of correction to that church He sent us to earlier this year. This is the excerpt:

        And the “Epistles of Christ” who would bring glory to God by sharing from the pages He has written in our hearts, are silenced by religious tradition and pastor-dominated meetings. Instead of testimony, we get jokes, unsourced stories and the occasional Youtube music video. All this occurs while the pastor stares into the many faces of the Epistles of Christ, seated before him, but silenced by religious tradition and clergy rule over the laity.

        There is nothing that devalues Christ’s continuing work on earth more than to silence the “Epistles of Christ” and their testimony of Him. There is overcoming power in our testimony. But we use it not.

        Perhaps “having harps of God”, while standing on a sea of glass and fire, with victory over the beast, is metaphor for overcoming the one(s) who would try to silence our testimony and standing firm upon Him, the Rock, and singing out the praises of God in Christ.

        My greatest hope on earth, is for the epistles of Christ to stand, and be heard. About that, I’m reminded of the last verse of John, which I believe to be prophetic concerning the testimonies of the saints.

        And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. (John 21:25 KJV)

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Jack, Bravo! The Spirit told me to leave an opening for you to share your heart on this matter and it was a blessing to read what you wrote. What you said here fits what the Spirit showed me about a sea mixed with fire that is as smooth as glass and what it portrays regarding the people of God… often seas represent vast numbers of people as we see in this case with the people standing on that sea. The fire that is mixed with it speaks of the purification that they have been through as they overcame the evil one by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony, being faithful to Him unto the very end as they laid down their lives for Him.

        Lastly a sea of glass is FLAT! There is no hierarchy to be seen here, just one great fellowship, the family of God loving the Father and the Son and one another. Your letter to that pastor must have been wonderful from what you shared. Too bad that he was too blind to read it and take it to heart. This truth of us who belong to Christ, being Living Letters… Wow! Well said. I hope you write a blog on this reality, my brother!

        Love you.

        Michael

        Liked by 2 people

  4. You’re very welcome as to my thoughts on that specific issue, Michael. Your article was an excellent read with a gripping pictorial description that provides both biblical and psychological insights into the very nature of fallen mankind. Believe it or not, just reading your headline inspired me to write a comment just now. 😉 You asked about,

    “The Downward Pull or the Upward Call?”

    It seems to me that we do not really have a choice regarding the ‘downward pull’, since, if we do not answer our Lord’s call to come a little higher, that is, coming to Him just as we are, we (maybe unintentionally) decide to stay in the darkness where Satan and his minions can do to us whatever they want and where they are allowed to influence us at whim. In the darkness of our own hearts and minds there is neither freedom nor free will, ever, whether we believe it or not, for sin lurks around every corner and we have no spiritual power to resist the devil.

    I love how you explained James 3:14-18, my brother. It is indeed true that we can easily decide whether the knowledge or information we receive was originated in heaven or not. If God shares His wisdom with us, we feel great joy and peace. Thankfulness toward God takes hold of our hearts and humbleness as to our own natural abilities is one of the consequences. Not so, if we receive wisdom from this world. You can see people fighting against one another because they have different opinions about this and that. Whether we think of politicians, of so many churches and denominations, or merely of some very young sandpit sharers here. Where there is no God, there is no peace, but always the pride of life, struggle and strife…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      I agree, Susanne. There are so many deceptions that “cloud the minds of men so that they can not see…” “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?” The devil does and he is quite at home there. It all started out with man buying into the knowledge of what is “good” and what is “evil.” “Knowledge puffs up” the egos of men and women, “but Love builds us up” in our holy faith IN Christ.

      I know that you do not write from a vacuum. You have pursued knowledge a good part of your life and even a working carrier in the business world, but soon the light of Christ illuminated it all for what it was. All things of this world is “vanity and vexation of spirit” as Solomon finally found out.

      As you and I have discovered, there is a world of difference between accumulating knowledge by study and research (even formal Bible training) and God-given revelation that comes into our hearts by the working of the Spirit of Truth in us whom Jesus sent to lead us into ALL truth. The one form of knowledge makes us proud and lets us stay in our sinful ways and the other leaves us no doubt where it came from, demands that we take up our cross as it burns that revelation into our hearts. As we abide in the sheepfold of Christ and learn to listen to HIS voice and not the voices of those who climb up into it by another way, we start to walk in the Light as He is in the Light. It is here with others who have done the same that we start to experience REAL fellowship. Praise our wonderful Father who has claimed us as His own.

      Love you in the Son, my sister. ❤

      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

      • “There is a world of difference between accumulating knowledge by study and research (even formal Bible training) and God-given revelation that comes into our hearts by the working of the Spirit of Truth in us whom Jesus sent to lead us into ALL truth. The one form of knowledge makes us proud and lets us stay in our sinful ways and the other leaves us no doubt where it came from, demands that we take up our cross as it burns that revelation into our hearts.”

        I love this. Excellent, Michael! ⭐

        As for pursuing knowledge of any kind, yes, I was as real book-worm until 2008. But afterwards, as I had received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, I lost interest in reading completely (I even never read a book again), I never watched TV again, and I was no longer drawn to go on vacation… and so on and so forth… 😉 It is amazing what God can do in our hearts and minds without us even realizing that something has happened there. However, on our own, we could not change anything about us. We can only wait until we have received this new heart from God you wrote about in your article.

        Love you in Christ, too, Michael! ❤

        Susanne 🐱

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Thank you, Susanne. You have a wonderful history in Christ as you have sought after Him and He has done a deep work in your heart, for sure. I also find it hard to read a whole book any longer. What I do read is at the most is a chapter on a particular topic that God has put a hunger for in my heart. As for movies? Gag! We have Netflix on our TV and never watch it… just a bunch of worldly trash for the most part or politically slanted “documentaries.” No, I would rather keep focused on my Father’s kingdom and fellowship with those who do.

        Michael 🐻

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Cie says:

    Michael, I share your sentiment on movies and entertainment in general. A couple of years ago, the Lord really opened my eyes to ALL movies (including those “good family type) all being tools to social engineering after the ways of the world. Yes, even your so-called “family friendly” Waltons or Andy Griffith shows, ALL packed with an agenda to subvert.

    Amazingly, I have no problem living without movies… it has allowed the Lord more access to my mind, and we have been communing a lot during those quiet days.

    I always feel sad when I see the “plugged in” generation who probably live with their ear-buds 24/7, how can they ever hear God??? Lord, have mercy if you want to have any kind of harvest in this generation. Perhaps an EMP would be the greatest blessing. 🙂

    E.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Eli, Hmmmm, an EMP… that would wipe out all things electronic and computer controlled, cars, airplanes, power plants, water supplies, gas pumps, cash registers to name a few besides all the entertaining distractions we depend on… Yes, it would be rough for a while for us to readjust, but maybe we would humble ourselves and seek HIS help and His will in our lives as a matter of survival instead of as a hobby (mere religion).

      Oh, and that would be the end of the internet, too! No more blogs! 🙂 Maybe Christians would learn the real value of what John wrote, “You have no need any man teach you, for you have an unction that teaches you all things.” Technology has done more harm than good, I think, as for the way it has interfered with the simplicity of what it means to live IN Christ.

      Thanks for you thoughts Eli,

      Michael

      Like

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