The Loneliness of the Christian
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The Loneliness of the Christian
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From Jeff Wallace: I came across this scripture and I thought it very appropriate for so much of what we are seeing now. There seems to be this growing divide (at least to me) between believers in Christ and non believers. We know there has always been a vast gulf between us, but now its really standing out everywhere. This scripture to me puts a very clear spot light on that reality. This 12th chapter of Daniel is all about the end times. Now some might argue its more about the actual tribulation period, and in that grain I would not be certain or argue that point. But in the spirit of what it says as to the wicked go on being wicked and understand not, and the wise understanding indeed...to me this fits exactly what we see now all over the place.
Daniel 12:8-10. "...I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And He said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand."
From G. C.: A.W. Tozer said:
“The loneliness of the Christian results from his walk with God in an ungodly world, a walk that must often take him away from the fellowship of good Christians as well as from that of the unregenerate world. His God-given instincts cry out for companionship with others of his kind, others who can understand his longings, his aspirations, his absorption in the love of Christ; and because within his circle of friends there are so few who share his inner experiences he is forced to walk alone.”
"It is this very loneliness that throws him back upon God. His inability to find human companionship drives him to seek in God what he can find nowhere else."
With all due respect to Mr. Tozer, and I have admired his devotionals for several years, I think he might agree with me, that his advice might be too mature for the developing Christian who still needs “milk” as the Apostle Paul puts it. I wonder if he ever had a 15 year old girl, who just earned her learners permit to drive, and who has hardly any friends, and whose parents were too self righteous to allow her to socialize with other children because of their “ungodly” nature. Perhaps he would do as I have done: that is enroll her in the local public high school, after having been home schooled all her life thus far; so she can have some human contact. When she has come to me in utter frustration about not knowing what to believe anymore, when she comes to me with tears of rage and on the verge of just giving up on God; perhaps you will do as I have done.
But, dear friend, her local public school offers the opposite of the "milk" the Apostle Paul was talking about. (See 1 Corinthians 3:2) It offers the myth and values of the world and trains students to despise His truth and values.
Paul was referring to the simple basics of Christianity which were and are essential at the beginning of faith. But he was grieving over the fact that the converts were not yet ready to move on to the Biblical truths and training needed for spiritual maturity and Spirit-led ministry.
I know it's so hard for young Christians today to face Tozer's kind of loneliness. But when we belong to Him we must choose -- as must our children -- whom to serve, our holy Lord or an unholy world system. Our cultural leaders today are increasingly determined to train our children to view reality from an anti-Biblical perspective. Are we preparing them to take a stand, trust in God, and resist the temptation to follow the wide road of the world. That's a hard choice for parents as well as children, for we want to protect them from pain and make them comfortable. But here is what Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 4:
"...the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables." 2 Timothy 4:2-4
We have allowed our daughter to participate in the public speaking class at the local high school, so she can have a part in the Christmas play, “The Gift of the Magi.” Here is her next assigned speech: I’ll let her speak for me on this issue:
Nearly everybody in America celebrates Christmas. We all know about Santa Claus, Christmas trees, presents, stockings, etc. Have you ever wondered why we put a tree in our living room and deck it with gold and tinsel, why we hand socks by our fireplace so a fat guy in a red suit can leave us presents in them, or why we go broke buying everyone we know a Christmas present? The history behind these traditions may surprise you.
People often think of Santa Claus and St Nick as the same person. The two legendary characters do have some similarities, but they also have many differences.
St. Nicholas was a real person, and was born sometime in the third century. There are many legends surrounding him, but the only thing that is really known about him is that he founded an orphanage and was known for his loving and caring attitude, and especially his concern for children. One legend says that he gave gold to three young ladies who could not marry because they had no dowry. Supposedly, he dropped the gold down their chimney, where it landed in their stockings that were hung up to dry. This is where the common practice of hanging stockings originates from.
In Holland, St Nicholas has evolved into Sinter Klaas. According to legend, he spends most of the year living in Spain with his servant Black Peter who keeps a record of all the good and bad girls and boys. He does Sinter Klaas' dirty work, like spanking all the bad kids while Sinter Klaas rides around on a white horse and gives presents to all the good little boys and girls. Children leave their shoes out and fill them with hay for Sinter Klaas' horse, and he gives them presents in return.
Santa as we know him today is a mixture of many cultures' gift-giving heroes, with a few Coca-Cola advertisements thrown in.
Decorated trees date back to ancient Roman holidays and customs, but were probably not associated with Christmas until the Middle Ages. One legend says that all the trees of the forest were coming to worship the Lord, except for the fir tree who was ashamed of his small size. The Lord came down and touched the tree, causing it to shine and glow, and it was no longer embarassed. Actually, Christmas trees probably originated from plays that used to be done at Christmastime in Europe where fir trees were decorated with apples and used to represent the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil from the Garden of Eden.
When people first started bringing trees in their house and decorating them, they put food on the trees, like candies and cakes and such. Then merchants started selling containers to put the food in. The classic glass balls that are often used today gained popularity as food became too heavy for the tree.
The practice of setting up a Nativity scene began in tenth-century Rome. The first Nativities were very elaborate with lots of gold, silver, and jewels. The snazzy, high-class churches liked to compete and see who could have the fanciest Nativity. This wasn't a very true representation of Christ's birth, and the common people could not afford such a nativity. St Francis of Assisi was the one to make it more earthy, rustic, affordable, and realistic.
Ever wondered just what red and green have to do with Christmas? No one really knows, but there are a few guesses. Some say the green represents the evergreen which is a symbol of live. The red might be from the red holly berry that lives through winter and stand for life in the face of death.
Giving gifts goes back to the ancient Roman holidays. When the Chruch merged our holiday with theirs, gift-giving became a symbol of the gifts of the Magi and the ultimate gift of Jesus. However, it wasn't until the Victorian era that giving gifts became such a large part of the holiday.
An interesting fact about gifts is that they were originally given on New Year's, and not Christmas. It was not until the late 1800s that the tradition of opening gifts on Christmas day was established.
As you can see, the history behind America's Christmas traditions is quite a varied one. I hope you have enjoed learning more about how all our traditions began.
From Fabienne: The quote from Tozer, "Loneliness of the Christian", brings to mind the tract by G.D. Watson, a turn-of- the-20th-century Wesleyan minister, "Others May, You Cannot". You've probably come across it:
"OTHERS MAY, YOU CANNOT" by G. D. Watson (1845-1924)
"If God has called you to be really like Jesus, He will draw you to a life of crucifixion and humility, and put upon you such demands of obedience, that you will not be able to follow other people, or measure yourself by other Christians, and in many ways He will seem to let other good people do things which He will not let you do.
"Other Christians and ministers who seem very religious and useful may push themselves, pull wires, and work schemes to carry out their plans, but you cannot do it; and if you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.
"Others may boast of themselves, of their work, of their success, of their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you begin it, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.
"Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, or may have a legacy left to them, but it is likely God will keep you poor, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, namely, a helpless dependence on Him, that He may have the privilege of supplying your needs day by day out of an unseen treasury.
"The Lord may let others be honored and put forward, and keep you hidden in obscurity, because He wants you to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade. He may let others be great, but keep you small.
"He may let others do a work for Him and get the credit of it, but He will make you work and toil on without knowing how much you are doing; and then to make your work still more precious, He may let others get the credit for the work which you have done, and thus make your reward ten times greater when Jesus comes.
"The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch over you, with a jealous love, and will rebuke you for little words and feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over. So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign, and has a right to do as He pleases with His own.
"He may not explain to you a thousand things which puzzle your reason in His dealings with you. But if you absolutely sell yourself to be His...slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love, and bestow upon you many blessings which come only to those who are in the inner circle.
"Settle it forever, then, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, and that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that He does not seem to use with others.
"Now when you are so possessed with the living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of Heaven."
From Cheryl: Yesterday, I read the article by A. Tozer on The Loneliness of the Christian. How true it is. You could not have put this one out at a better time. I have frequently mentioned to people in conversation, that our walks for Him will be very lonely at times, IF, we are truly in His will. We are to be a 'peculiar' people and will be looked upon as odd or 'peculiar'. Again, thank you for your ministry.... Please know your voices are being heard.
Thank You, Lord!
From Missy: The Loneliness of the Christian says it all. Lately I've have been trying to express to my husband (unsaved) how it is that I'm feeling a joy in my life that has no words. When people are suicidal they tend to walk through life feeling detached and watching life happen to them. I believe what I've been experiencing is like that only on the other end of the spectrum: Feeling depressed because I can't share this joy with everyone I love. I'm depressed because I'm so happy! It's sick or so I thought. Till I read this. Now I'm not feeling sick but blessed. Different, lonely, and blessed for it. It's the most beautiful pain outside of child birth. In a sense that is exactly what it is. I'm being made new in Him. Bitter-sweetness. Thank you God for putting this message in my path at just the right time. I've been struggling to understand this feeling.
Nothing is more wonderful than to be with Jesus. And often, when we are most alone in the world, He is nearest and dearest to us.
From Yvonne K: I continue to be stunned by your articles about the Church Growth Movement and the agenda of those who promote it. I have not been in that situation, but I have been in the process of trying to find a church since 9/11 sent me running back to God, and have not had much luck finding one that has potential to be much more than a social gathering place. I have sensed leanings in the direction your articles spell out in a couple of the churches I have visited, and mostly just a lack of seriousness and sense of awe before The Great God. I am so in love with Jesus, and I'm looking for that longing to be in His Presence when I visit different churches, and maybe it's just me but I haven't sensed it yet. I'm praying that God will lead me to at least a prayer partner that I could get together with regularly to "gather in His Name" so He would be there with us.
I was so struck earlier today by the article about The Loneliness of the Christian, and I completely identified with it -- it is so true. Keep up the good work, you have certainly alerted me to what I need to be wary of in my search for a group to become part of. I can't imagine that I would ever be attracted to a church like that, but I suppose it's possible.
Jane: In reading thru the method's I was reminded of the many times we heard repeatedly directly from the pulpit of the Mega Church we attended for 10 years. And I quote 'If you have been attending this church for 6 weeks or more and haven't gotten involved in serving in a ministry and connected in a small group, please move on ...we need your parking space.' Talk about sending a message of rejection and abandonment.... Thank you so much for the article, it confirmed so many things we and other's have experienced.
Thank you, Jane. And thanks for sending the link to "The Loneliness of the Christian" by Tozer. After a search, I found it on many other websites as well -- without any copyright notice. Since it seems to be in the public domain, I posted it on our site as well. I hope many will read it and be encouraged.
I wanted to add, something that I found very chilling in your article that really struck me. Under #1 Identifying the Resisters, Rick Warren's quote in regard to "unhealthy member's who resist his agenda..." In The Purpose Driven Church, he writes:
"When a human body is out of balance we call that disease.... Likewise, when the body of Christ becomes unbalanced, disease occurs.... Health will occur only when everything is brought back into balance. The task of church leadership is to discover and remove growth-restricting diseases and barriers so that natural, normal growth can occur."[1, page 16]
#1) "balance"...being the buzz word he uses...is that not in keeping with the black & white tessellated square' s of Freemasonry, and the yin & yang of the New Age, as well as the occult doctrine of as is above so is below?
#2)"discover and remove growth-restricting diseases and barriers so that natural, normal growth can occur." Was that not Dr. Josef Goebbel's modus operendi in propaganda by showing on film clips of swarms of rat's invading a small area, and then pointing out that the Jew's where disease-carrying vermin that had to be exterminated for the health & balance of the Aryan Master race? It's extremely alarming to me that Rick Warren has already marked & labeled us as growth-restricting disease and has equipped CGM leaders with method's to not only discover, but efficiently remove us! Will the next phase of purpose be extermination of these so called growth restricting diseased resistors for the sake of health and balance in the global anti-christ church body?
These are truly indeed perilous times for the Bible believing remnant,.
Defending & occupying 'til He comes, Jane
You make some interesting points, Jane. But I don't know how to answer your questions. Your connection make sense, but I couldn't verify that Pastor Warren intended the word "balance" to imply the balancing of the opposites such as those of the yin yang (black/white, right/wrong, masculine/feminine, etc.)
Yet his whole management system relies on the dialectic process, which implies a continual effort to modify and change values and meanings by synthesizing opposites and finding common ground.
An old note from Berit: I thank God for using the Internet -- at least for this moment in time -- to bring His people together across the seas and around the world Those who know God truly are a family that reaches beyond ethnic, racial, or national borders. I was amazed and humbled by the long list of visiting nations that our web server has provided. Perhaps you, too, will be encouraged to see how the Internet has brought us all together.
While most visitors come from the United States, our website brings us together day after day with people from Canada, England, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Germany, Sweden, Singapore, Bermuda, South Africa, Netherlands, Finland, Mexico, Brazil, Switzerland, Norway, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Iceland, Greece, Poland, France, Austria, Hong Kong, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Denmark, Brunei Darussalam, Ireland, Argentina, Peru, Kenya, Luxembourg, Lesotho, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Belgium, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Israel, Russia, Croatia, China, United Arab Emirates, Estonia, Malta, Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Romania, Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Turkey, Costa Rica, South Korea, Uganda, India, Lithuania, Ukraine, Yugoslavia, Lebanon, Nicaragua.
The last twelve, are infrequent visitors. Perhaps that fact suggests that we need to pray more for those nations. I am so grateful and humbled by how God can use ordinary servants to equip and unite His people around the world. Isn't it exciting to belong to Him at a time such as this!
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