Lifestyle of a Worshipperexcerpt from a full length article by Linda Lamon
During 1998, in my job as a computer consultant, I helped clients upgrade hardware and software in order to make sure their systems would function properly through January 1, 2000. I knew enough about Y2K to recognize that we needed to fix these systems and make sure that they continued to operate into the next millennium, but when I did some Internet searches on Y2K, I found something I had not bargained for. Then, on June 10, 1998, I lost my job. God had other plans it seems.
My Y2K research was overwhelming. I couldn't find any hard evidence to prove that Y2K is not a serious problem, nor could I find anything but empty "reassurances" that this "problem" was not a concern. In fact, there is so little concrete evidence that this will not be a serious problem that I believe all the folks who say it is not a problem are basically in denial or not reasoning clearly. I did the only thing I knew how to do. I began to seek the Lord and ask Him to explain this to me.
During the time I was job searching and examining potential self-employment options, I had a lot of spare time, and I spent it in research and studying the word of God. In the fall of last year, the Lord impressed upon me to give up reading anything for pleasure except His word or Christian literature. That meant that I spent even more time reading God's word. I began to understand how much we are depending upon science and technology rather than God, and how our learning and education has in many ways drawn us away from God. Men think they can solve all their own problems, even going so far as to clone life.
For over a year I had been attending a Christian church that preached about Jesus, but seemed powerless. They were, to all appearances, a thriving and growing church. Inside, though, there was nothing. Prayers were mere forms and powerless. I became very dissatisfied and longed for a deeper relationship with God's people. I became convinced of two things. First, God will not be replaced in our lives by anything. Second, the condition of the world was the fault of God's people getting sucked into the world's way of thinking and living. My attempts to discuss this with the leaders, pastors and elders at the church were to all appearances fruitless. Life just went on the same there every week.
I began to desire for my life to be completely and totally dedicated to the Lord. I began to seek Him and spend more and more of my time with the Lord. My relationship with the Lord grew and grew. My way of life began to abhor me. Now I could not truly understand this. After all, I am not, and have never been a drug addict, alcoholic; I have not been unfaithful or been lost in sin. Although I have been a born again child of God since I was five years old, that did not stop me from making mistakes and sinning, and I had fallen into a much subtler trap - a trap of ethics, psychology, morality and positive thinking. I had the curse of achievement.
I have always been an achiever. I got high marks in school. I won numerous awards as a sales professional. I had many, many awards and achievements, but they were not lasting. I spent all my energy at times trying to think right, act right, and become that which I thought I was.
I was fully caught up at times by the saying that is so abused: "As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is." Usually this is shortened to "As a man thinks, so he is." The fact is that this entire message is taken out of context and is not a rule to live by at all. The full context, which includes Proverbs 23:5-8, is not an admonition to believe that you are what you think. Rather it speaks of not eating with a man who is not walking with the Lord. (Read the KJV, then read it in NIV to see the difference.)
Let me put it this way: if you "eat the bread" (teachings) of the world, they will poison you and your relationships will be unprofitable. Proverbs 23:6-8 is about hypocrisy, not a recommendation for positive affirmation and positive thinking. We do not change our hearts by how we think! Our hearts are changed only through the new birth, and we must surrender daily to the Holy Spirit through our new man to change or control how we think!
I have ignored the advice of friends that I must start thinking of and taking care of myself. I also literally let go of all the "plan for success" that I have always carried with me. I threw dumpsters full of material about making and earning money away. I trashed it all, I sold or gave away all the books on success and the power of positive thinking and all the things I had clung to in order to achieve a level of success in my life. I have decided to follow Jesus' voice and His voice only.
I have determined to learn to live the way Jesus wants me to live and not to trust in anything but Him. I am willing to work. I am willing to do whatever the Lord desires. He told me to work for the food that will never perish; the food that is in Him whom God has sent. Jesus said to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all our needs would be met. I have taken this literally and will do the work of God, which is to believe upon Him that He sent. I do this work daily.
We are a people who are blind to our own hearts. We are unable to discern our own iniquities. We are proud of our Christian heritage and believe that because we are part of the church or part of a great Christian nation we are "safe" from chastisement or punishment for our sins. This blindness is folly.
On June 9, 1999 at 5:00 a.m., the Lord woke me from a sound sleep with this message in my mind and heart, and told me I must begin to speak it to everyone. Otherwise, their fate will be my fault. I know some are hearing this message, because I have read enough postings from all around the world to know that there are others who are hearing and saying the same things. However, I have been asking the Lord for many months to show me why more of His children are not hearing this message. God has given me this scripture in answer to my question:
"For this people's heart has become callused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them" (Matthew 13:15).
Our hearts are callused. We are not tenderhearted. We are hardhearted, and because of this the Lord wants to do major surgery upon us. There are two ways that this surgery will take place. It can happen willingly, or as triage. Triage is in the midst of injury; willingly is through a broken and contrite heart. When we are willing to humble ourselves, confess our iniquities and failures to follow Christ wholeheartedly and submit ourselves to Him, He is able to do His work in us without chastising us. When we refuse to listen, He will still do His work in us because He is always faithful. Even when we are not faithful, He is faithful.
God will forgive our iniquities, our inclination to evil, the perversity of our hearts. We can stop loving the world and the things of this world and willingly give all up to Him, and learn now to depend upon Him - or we will learn in the midst of suffering and loss and grief. He is not willing for any of us to perish and He will not return for a dirty Bride. Millions of innocent babies' blood has been spilled, and this has not brought us to our knees in sorrow and mourning. Children are literally killing each other in the schools, but God's people are proclaiming peace, health and wealth! We say we are rich when all around us are the fruits of darkness, and we are not in mourning. Oh, that you will mourn the loss of the innocent and the disease and sickness of our world! We cannot be like the world in any way. We must return to the Lord.
As God does this cleansing upon His church there are two methods available to Him. He will draw near to the repentant and contrite heart. He will lift up the humble. Or, He will lift up His hand against our self-confidence and self-righteousness and slam the clay. Then He will remove all the impurities that appear. Surrender to Him today. He loves you too much to leave you the way you are. Come, Lord Jesus, come. The Spirit and the Bride say come. Even so, Lord Jesus, come.
Today as you "hear" these words, listen and answer the call of the Lord to return to Him, to repent and be made clean before Him. Do not trust in your good works or your confession. Rather, trust Him.
Frankly Speakingby A.D. Reese, Publisher & Editor of Spirit Song
I've been disturbed the past few months as I read newsletters from longstanding and well-respected ministries, surf the Internet and receive e-mails from well meaning friends, all on the subject of the "end times." The specifics take the form of Y2K speculation, coming economic chaos, and current world events (wars, alliances, weather patterns, political occurrences, scientific experiments, events in the Middle East, etc.)
The subject matter is not what I take issue with, as I truly believe we are in the last days and that tribulation is indeed coming upon the earth. Sooner than most of us may want to believe.
However, there is a loss of balance in the frequency, intensity and tone of these messages. Current events are being used to interpret Scripture when, in fact, the reverse should occur. I see satan subtly shifting the attention of many away from Jesus in this way.
Rather than becoming obsessed with the signs of the times, I suggest that we note them in light of Scripture, take to heart messages such as the one above, and take our cues from the saints who "overcame by the Blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony, and loved not their lives to the death" (Revelation 12:11). Bondslaves, worshippers, and overcomers are all one and the same.