“Then God said, “You’ve been going around in circles in these hills long enough; go north.”
I believe that there are cul-de-sacs in a broken believer’s walk. There are times when we seem to walk in circles and our path seems to take us around and around. It can be a real cause of frustration–we know deep down that there must be something more.
For city planners, a cul-de-sac solves many problems. Homes built there can be off the beaten track, kids can play without too much concern about traffic. The idea can be very appealing.
But a spiritual cul-de-sac can be dangerous.
The children of Israel are free from the profound bondage of their Egyptian masters. They now know freedom, but… (you know).
The children of Israel wandered. They turned an 11-day journey into 40 years! Although one can learn things going nowhere, it really isn’t what the Father wants.
The scenery never changes (“what? didn’t I see that cactus before?) The journey becomes one of repetition. Around and around, dealing (and seeing) the same old stuff, over and over. We really don’t see anything new. We really don’t hear His voice.
This really isn’t what God intended for you.
Perhaps going in circles is a real issue for those with physical and mental issues. We feel trapped by our illnesses, hemmed in by these difficult things. We wander and continue to take another trip around the mountain. Instead of having a ‘straight’ walk, ours is crooked.
Our journey needs to be ‘linear,’ not circular.
I know all about these dead-ends. I’ve been there. I guess if I was to explain my own walk it would be one word–stagnant. I wandered in circles dealing with the same ugly stuff over and over. It seemed like I never went forward. My life was caught in some kind of spiritual loop.
Quite often we get trapped through sinful habits.
Sometimes we can’t break out of this vicious cycle without the Father’s helpful discipline. We must understand that the Lord will “rock your world” if you keep choosing to sin.
He will not allow you to continue in rebellion or disobedience.
I saw others on their straight path. Yes they sinned and struggled, but they seemed to be going forward, and I wasn’t. There were my issues, Bipolar and chronic pain (what a mix, huh)? I knew I was trapped and I never could break this on my own.
The spiritual scenery never changed for you.
God really does love you. You must become utterly convinced of that. If you’re stuck in a cul-de-sac you must know this. Condemnation never comes from Him. Never. I suggest that you call on Him (get on your face) and ‘beg’ to be with Him.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
“The righteous shall move onward and forward; those with pure hearts shall become stronger and stronger.”
We live in a time when impurity threatens many men and women. Pornography is easily accessible in our generation. The internet is flooded with sites that’ll hurt believers. It will ruin our relationship with our heavenly Father. It affects our marriages and destroys our connection with others.
There is intense guilt that comes from using porn.
It covers us with a shame that hurts us deep inside, something detrimental to intimacy with our spouses, family, or friends, and as well with other believers. We’re guilty of hidden sin. Satan uses it to further isolate the Christian.
Porn causes us to be secretive. We want to hide it from others. We learn how to delete “cookies” on our computers. We want to hide the things we are doing. We must understand that using porn becomes addicting, it’s sort of crack cocaine to our spirits.
Masturbation is common to those viewing pornography.
Our view of naked men or women in sexual acts objectifies them. Subconsciously we start to evaluate our closest relationships. We compare others to the things we see.
It’s addictive. We can’t imagine life without it.
It seperates us from others. It begins to isolate us.
We have a secret life, hidden and masked.
Porn is easy to find, and it latches itself in our minds and hearts.
It often leads us into further and deeper perversions.
We see others as objects, not people who God loves.
It often leads one into a life of hypocrisy and deception.
Porn can lead one into masturbation and wrong relationships with others.
It weakens our God-ordained relationship with our spouses.
Viewing porn is a form of adultery.
We start to compare our spouse to the things we’ve seen.
It instills us with guilt and shame. It will destroy your discipleship.
The time we spend in porn can be better used for the Word, worship and prayer.
It desensitifies our relationship with God’s Spirit.
There’s so much more that can be added to this list. But this dear one is just a start. Perhaps you’ll discover more that should be added.
“I have made a covenant with my eyes. How then could I look at a young woman?”
“Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things.”
Only the Spirit of holiness can make an impure heart pure. However, we must do the ‘leg work” and make it to free ourselves from this sin. Our minds and hearts are our battlefields. To recognize this constantly is necessary. We must take solid steps to take the victory He gives. I realize that the demonic forces are very intense, but God’s power is far stronger.
Your desire to be pure is evidence of God’s care and grace.
If you’re struggling it’s really helpful to share your problem with someone you trust. Becoming accountable will help. Please don’t be afraid of being judged. Quit lying to yourself (and others) that you can overcome this on your own. You can’t hide it any longer.
If you wish you can contact Linda or me. If anything we can pray.
“Can a man embrace fire and his clothes not be burned?”
“The star appeared again, they could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time!”
Matthew 2:10-11, MSG
Today is Epiphany...the day we commemorate the revelation of Christ to the three wise men who came from a foreign land. They saw the manifestation of the star over Bethlehem and connected it to prophecy.
But it was all far more than simply following prophecy and eastern mysticism.
Who else but God could transform their Gentile devotion to reveal to their hearts and minds the awesome reality of a living and breathing human God. He was now being cradled in the arms of a human mother, and guarded by a human father? He is now God with us.
It is the same power of God that realizes an epiphany in us of who He is and converts our empty spirit into the home of the very Holy Spirit…God Himself!
I have grown in my spirit and walked the healing path intertwined with my walk with Jesus. Over time He has made known to me, His desires for all of His children, to continue to give us epiphany moments.
He wants to open our eyes and allow us to realize that it’s Him in us that really matters.
We all have dark closets in our lives that often we are not aware of. As a survivor of abuse, it seems I had to experience unique issues. For healing to happen, I have to allow Jesus access to those basements. It is difficult for anyone to admit they have a dark place that hasn’t been fully turned over to God.
Places where we go to sin, make excuses, hide, plaster a smile over the pain, walk-in anger, fear, and lies. Often we’re still in the dark because subconsciously we’ve justified what is there. Jesus can and does reveal it to us when we are ready.
He makes us ready when we continue to submit to Him and ask Him to show us those places.
I know I don’t deal with people very well. I feel quite stressed working with the public. I am an introvert so that explains some of that. Sometimes people have disrespected me, perhaps aggravated me in some small way. I have found some resentment inside that I can’t explain but that I don’t want to hinder me.
I also have a deep well of anger that I can’t connect to specif1c events. I’m inordinately angry with my therapist and sometimes others who are trying to help me. The offenses loom larger than any good things that have come out of these relationships.
This is not uncommon for survivors of various types of abuse.
Having survived abuse, I discover a few altars I still can’t integrate. Perhaps I can’t link with anyone but there are others who need to hear my unique story. I admit that I don’t always like my therapist. But these things need to be dealt with. Each needs to be framed within the truth.
Sometimes it’s because I don’t like being told what’s wrong, I realize I can do the “now things. ” It’s these things God has chosen to heal me. Maybe that’s why I like an epiphany.
Every now and then, I come across something that will not fit into the scope of Brokenbelievers. This is one of those times. I share it with my brothers and sisters who serve Jesus in any leadership capacity in the Church. I think it’s fitting that this be shared as we step into 2022. These are challenging times to serve him; but not dangerous–at least not yet.
The Prayer of a Minor Prophet was originally written on August 18, 1920. It still means a lot to ordained/non-ordained serving in the ministry. I suppose it still speaks to every leader in every Church. You may want to copy and keep this for those hard times that will come to each of us.Could it be that you might want to share this word with the leaders of your local fellowship?
The article was written on the day of Tozer’s ordination into the ministry.
O Lord, I have heard Thy voice and was afraid. Thou has called me to an awesome task in a grave and perilous hour. Thou art about to shake all nations and the earth and also heaven, that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. O Lord, my Lord, Thou has stooped to honor me to be Thy servant. No man taketh this honor upon himself save he that is called of God as was Aaron. Thou has ordained me Thy messenger to them that are stubborn of heart and hard of hearing. They have rejected Thee, the Master, and it is not to be expected that they will receive me, the servant.
My God, I shall not waste time deploring my weakness nor my unfittedness for the work. The responsibility is not mine, but Thine. Thou has said, “I knew thee – I ordained thee – I sanctified thee,” and Thou hast also said, “Thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.” Who am I to argue with Thee or to call into question Thy sovereign choice? The decision is not mine but Thine. So be it, Lord. Thy will, not mine, be done.
Well do I know, Thou God of the prophets and the apostles, that as long as I honor Thee Thou will honor me. Help me therefore to take this solemn vow to honor Thee in all my future life and labors, whether by gain or by loss, by life or by death, and then to keep that vow unbroken while I live.
It is time, O God, for Thee to work, for the enemy has entered into Thy pastures and the sheep are torn and scattered. And false shepherds abound who deny the danger and laugh at the perils which surround Thy flock. The sheep are deceived by these hirelings and follow them with touching loyalty while the wolf closes in to kill and destroy. I beseech Thee, give me sharp eyes to detect the presence of the enemy; give me understanding to see and courage to report what I see faithfully. Make my voice so like Thine own that even the sick sheep will recognize it and follow Thee.
Lord Jesus, I come to Thee for spiritual preparation. Lay Thy hand upon me. Anoint me with the oil of the New Testament prophet. Forbid that I should be come a religious scribe and thus lose my prophetic calling. Save me from the curse that lies dark across the modern clergy, the curse of compromise, of imitation, of professionalism. Save me from the error of judging a church by its size, its popularity or the amount of its yearly offering. Help me to remember that I am a prophet – not a promoter, not a religious manager, but a prophet. Let me never become a slave to crowds. Heal my soul of carnal ambitions and deliver me from the itch for publicity. Save me from bondage to things. Let me not waste my days puttering around the house. Lay Thy terror upon me, O God, and drive me to the place of prayer where I may wrestle with principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world. Deliver me from overeating and late sleeping. Teach me self-discipline that I may be a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
I accept hard work and small rewards in this life. I ask for no easy place. I shall try to be blind to the little ways that could make life easier. If others seek the smoother path I shall try to take the hard way without judging them too harshly. I shall expect opposition and try to take it quietly when it comes. Or if, as sometimes it falleth out to Thy servants, I should have grateful gifts pressed upon me by Thy kindly people, stand by me then and save me from the blight that often follows. Teach me to use whatever I receive in such manner that will not injure my soul nor diminish my spiritual power. And if in Thy permissive providence honor should come to me from Thy church, let me not forget in that hour that I am unworthy of the least of Thy mercies, and that if men knew me as intimately as I know myself they would withhold their honors or bestow them upon others more worthy to receive them.
And now, O Lord of heaven and earth, I consecrate my remaining days to Thee; let them be many or few, as Thou wilt. Let me stand before the great or minister to the poor and lowly; that choice is not mine, and I would not influence it if I could. I am Thy servant to do Thy will, and that will is sweeter to me than position or riches or fame and I choose it above all things on earth or in heaven.
Though I am chosen of Thee and honored by a high and holy calling, let me never forget that I am but a man of dust and ashes, a man with all the natural faults and passions that plague the race of men. I pray Thee, therefore, my Lord and Redeemer, save me from myself and from all the injuries I may do myself while trying to be a blessing to others. Fill me with Thy power by the Holy Spirit, and I will go in Thy strength and tell of Thy righteousness, even Thine only. I will spread abroad the message of redeeming love while my normal powers endure.
Then, dear Lord, when I am old and weary and too tired to go on, have a place ready for me above, and make me to be numbered with Thy saints in glory everlasting. Amen.
Written in 1950, Aiden Wilson Tozer was 23 years old when he was called to pastor a new church in Clarksburg, West Virginia. On August 18, 1920 at a campground a few miles outside Cleveland, Ohio, leaders of the Christian and Missionary Alliance scheduled an ordination service.
After the formal ceremony, Tozer slipped away from the crowd and found a quiet place to be alone with God. He never forgot what he prayed that evening and years later as the new editor for the Alliance Weekly, Tozer published his prayer in an article “For Pastors Only: Prayer of a Minor Prophet” (May 6, 1950).