"Mean": Adj. - 'humble, obscure, or lowly'

O Thou Who camest from above,
The pure celestial fire to impart,
Kindle a flame of sacred love,
Upon the mean altar of my heart.

Spiritual thoughts by
Daniel J. Clausen, author of HOW GODS ARE MADE

A division of Codex Spiritualis

Monday, May 23, 2011

Where There is Fire, There is Wild Fire....

I went to a fabulous conference last month which focused on the training, demonstration and impartation of spiritual gifts sponsored by Holy Fire Ministries. This meeting was a representation of true spirituality with the Holy Spirit working among us to bring personal revival and stretching our faith. Nothing occurred there that I questioned or doubted as a legitimate manifestation of the Spirit. I loved it, and encourage anyone to partner with my friend and mentor Br. Bert Farias from Holy Fire or attend one of these forums.

While I was there, I was able to talk with many people in my down time, many of whom had a very different spiritual background to myself. There was certainly much made of the power and manifestation of certain "spiritual things" that occurred with some of these folks that I heard of in my private conversations.
In one of these conversations, while we were talking about some of these "weird manifestations", the statement was made "If you want fire in your meetings, there is bound to be some wildfire."
This statement made me think.... hard. At first, I saw it as a reasonable justification for why some really incredible miracles can occur side by side with some seemingly crazy, unedifying unexplainables.
I began to think of the first century church, how shortly after the age of the apostles, religious men began to want to squash any of the "strange happenings" that might occur while the Spirit of God was at work. Tertullian, a man of full of spiritual gifts including prophesying and speaking in tongues, only about 150 years after the apostles snidely called the orthodox church "a church of bishops."
His point was that men had become so "religious" that they would no longer accept the legitimate manifestations of the Holy Ghost.
I began to think of the scriptures and how they foresaw this rejection of spiritual gifts as Paul says "Despise not prophesyings", "Forbid not the speaking in tongues", and "quench not the Spirit." ....

But of course, I could not deny, I have been in meetings where some "wild fire" has taken hold. I could feel it. I would feel an uneasiness in what should be a free and joyous gathering. I've walked out of more than one.

Leviticus 10:1  "And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron ... offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not."

So I spoke to Pastor Heald about the statement about wild fire. He had heard it before, and seemed convinced that opening the door to let the Spirit work doesnt necessarily mean you need to keep it open to everything.

I spoke to my friend Leon about it, and he said something very profound. "A fire needs boundaries." Its irresponsible to just start setting fires every place. If you go camping, you set it within the circle of stones for your campfire. If you make one at home, you put in the fireplace with the gate around it.

The scripture sets plain boundaries for the operations of spiritual gifts. They are plain, clear and perfectly reasonable. Orderly.
And I have been in meetings where freedom was encouraged and inhibitions removed just for the sake of more manifestations. Any manifestations.

Now it seems to me we run a dangerous line. Some, in a passion for spiritual vigilance, and perhaps a little religious indignation, quench any move the Spirit may want to make, including ones plainly described in scripture. They will quench any fire, because any fire may be strange fire.
On the other side, you have those who will encourage things to happen, whether they be God, Satan, soulish desire of individuals, group think or the work of charlatans. Desiring something spiritual, they fling the doors open to anything that will show up - incredibly dangerous.

Now, I am a Holy Ghost man. I feel most alive in the presence of God. I am a living man only made alive by Him. I earnestly desire the best gifts. I will not put God in a box or limit what he wants to do. However, what He wants to do will always be congruent with His character. He limits Himself.

For pastors and ministers, I believe it takes a strong leader to hold a true meeting in the Spirit. It takes a living and persistent discernment, the boldness to shut something down that doesn't jive, but ability to not be a control freak. He must live in the freedom prescribed by scripture, gated within the character of God.
Its a tough job. Uncomfortable sometimes.
But its worth it.
I don't think we are resigned to allow strange fire simply because we desire the fire of God. Let us just be strong enough to hold the fire of God alone.

What do you think?

In case it wasn't clear, this posting is not in response to spiritual happening and manifestations at the Holy Fire conference. The phrase was simply spoken there in a private conversation. Holy Fire Ministries is doing the work of God, and is active in the true spiritual gifts. Thanks for everything Br. Bert!

(And for those who are not into spiritual gifts to begin with, please don't let this post become a means for an argument or doctrinal dispute. I would rather my postings didn't add to the wild fire of disrespect so prevalent on the internet. Thanks for respecting that.)

Friday, May 20, 2011

On The Eve of the End of the World....

There is much fervor in the world, especially the media, over the rumor of Doomsday tomorrow, May 21st. All the attention has been earned by a christian radio preacher, Harold Camping, with a bygone 1994 Doomsday prediction already under his belt. Though the man and his followers seem sincere, it is an unfortunate fact that his shenanigans are bringing undue and undeserved mockery to the name of Christ and Christians.
It is no new thing. Imagine the shame of the Millerite groups (out of which sprung the 7th day Adventists and other Adventist groups), when William Miller first predicted the end in 1843 and when proved wrong, revised to 1844. Imagine having sold all your goods, and meeting on a great hill expecting Christ to come with the sunrise. It rises.. 6am.... 7am... 9am... 10am... High Noon... Nothing. It certainly must have been hard to not feel like a fool.

Now, understand, I don't think the world isn't going to end simply because predictions have been made and predictions have failed. The world is not going to end tomorrow because the time is not yet come. Allow me to enumerate my reasonings.

1. Reason #1 - Jesus said, "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be." -Matthew 24:36-37

Since the prediction is being made with Biblical claims, it is perfectly reasonable to look to the Bible for commentary on this day. Jesus said no man knows. So as Pastor Heald likes to say "Now you know what day its *not* going to be." So if a man claims it is this day, or that day or Dec. 21st 2012, you know it will not be that day. Jesus said that it will be like the days before the flood: "For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be." Matthew 24:38-39. 
The Bible affirms itself by the worlds of Paul and Peter, both who independently say "the day of the Lord shall come like a thief in the night." (1Thess. 5:2, 2Peter 3:10) The meaning is plain: You don't know when a thief is going to come to your house - a thief comes by surprise and by cover of night so you never see him coming. So Jesus says to watch and be expectant. "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming." -Matthew 25:13

2. Reason #2 - There Are Prophecies Yet to be Fulfilled Before the End.

The Bible is a collection of 66 individual books written over the course of 2000 years by many different authors. Each contributed their piece of the vision as God revealed it. There are round abouts 3000 +/- prophetic statements in the Bible as a whole, with about 2500 of them already fulfilled to the letter. The remained 500 or so are pertaining to events in the last days and the second coming of Christ and His Kingdom. It is not a silly thing to look to the Bible when we see events unfold and try to discern where we may be on the Timeline. However, it is very silly to say we are at the End when there is so many loose ends and unfinished business! There are things that must happen to get us from here to there. The Lord gives prophecies as a sure thing, 100% guaranteed. Therefore He is not going to End anything until all is fulfilled. Jesus encourages us to discern the times and the seasons we are in.... But seeing that it is Autumn is very different than proclaiming the day or the hour.

3. Reason #3 - It's Just the Beginning of Sorrows.

  "Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of sorrows." - Mat 24:3-8

Its not only the religious folk that see we are living in a strange time. Many notice the increase in power and frequency of natural disasters, from hurricanes to earthquakes and tornadoes. Many plainly see political upheaval across the world and upcoming food and water shortages. None of these things are going unnoticed. However, they are being interpreted incorrectly by many. It is useful to see the season we are in - however Jesus plainly says when these things happen the end is not yet. Furthermore, He says that it is just the beginning.
Like in a woman giving birth, the beginning of sorrows in labor can be painful, but it is often also a slow, progressive, unrelenting build-up to a dramatic climax.
My wife started labor around 4am. She gave birth at 8:30pm. She thought it was bad by 8am. She was utterly done at 2pm. And she went on for 6 hours after that.
Its a big baby comin'.

In Conclusion:

Dont sell all your stuff. Dont go out partying, not expecting to go to work on Monday. Just go about your business, pray for those who have lost their assets and possessions because they sold them, and stay Watchful and Expectant for that great day... after all, time marches ever on. Keep an eye on Israel. Look for perhaps a 3rd temple. Watch the moral decay of society and just know its going to get much worse, but then ... it gets much better.
God bless you, friends.