| Re: |
"I don't want derail the thread more then it has"
I agree with bro Mark that too often threads are derailed or hijacked by oftentimes well meaning people but undoubtedly the enemy gets his way. So I thank you for your above statement Gary and now hopefully we can get back to the good conversation that we were having about this subject that has and is affecting so many saints.
Bro Mark writes...........
"The dark night of the soul that Tozer wrote about many times deals with the seasons in a persons life when it seems that God is far from them. When Gods presence is apparently nowhere to be found. It is not a matter of if, but when this will occur in a believers life. The problem with many people is that they give up "during the night" and never make it through to the morning light."
Amen brother, a vitally important truth and one of the main reasons I believe the Lord put this on my heart. I think in the last few years of his life, bro David Wilkerson realized that there was a huge uptick on saints around the world going through this kind of trial and he realized that it had some connection with the times in which we live and the times we were about to face. And in the deepest part of my heart I do not want to see anyone, as Mark put it "give up "during the night" and never make it through to the morning light"
If your reading this and you find yourself in such a place I want you to be encouraged, you are much closer to the Lord than you think. Stand fast saints for the day is dark no doubt but there is a coming light, there is a morning light coming and His name is Jesus. The enemy is thrashing around because he knows his time is short. When a rat is backed into a corner he attacks with great viciousness. This is what we shall see but we know that the victory is already won and the promises are made to those who overcome. God bless all the saints and may you keep on keeping on...........bro Frank
| 2016/3/28 9:14|
| Re: |
Thank you brother Frank for this important topic. The mystical teachings of St John of the cross just so happen to use the same phrase as Tozer but thats where the similarity ends. What St John of the cross writes about and what Gary has raised has absolutely NOTHING to do with what Tozer is writing about. It is a side issue and off topic. Lets move on from that and talk about the very important topic at hand...what and why do we go through seasons of "darkness"?
Seasons when we know that God has not actually left us but it sure does feel that His presence is far, far away.
"Theres a place where a Christian goes through darkness, where there is heaviness. God isn't going to take us off to heaven all wrapped in cellophane, looking as if we ought to be hanging on a Christmas tree. God is going to take us there after He has purged us and disciplined us and dragged us through the fire and has made us strong and taught us that faith and feeling are not the same...although faith, thank God, brings feeling sometimes. I believe that just as Daniel determined that he would not eat of the kings meat and as Jesus set His face like a flint, and just as Paul said one thing I do, the true follower of Christ must be a man whose will has been sanctified. He dare not be a will-less man. I never believed that when we teach the deeper life we should teach that God destroys our will. But God unites our will with His will and our will becomes strong in His will, and sometimes as we go on in God we hardly know whether it is our will or Gods that is working at a given moment."
| 2016/3/28 11:57|
| Re: |
From Tozer's - Men who met God.
"The number is great of those who will no longer admit that spiritual victory often comes through wrestling in a long, dark night of the soul.
That is not for us, they contend. Jesus did all of the suffering so we can be happy. And we are going to be happy even if we have to invent new ways to happiness!
The worst part is that we also expect Jesus will do all of the loving. We have largely forgotten the first and great commandment, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind".
What I am anxious to see in Christian believers is a beautiful paradox. I want to see in them the joy of finding God while at the same time they are blessedly pursuing Him. I want to see in them the great joy of having God and yet always wanting Him! "
| 2016/3/28 11:59|
| Re: |
" I want to see in them the great joy of having God and yet always wanting Him! "
This can be the very heart of it. The hunger and the thirst, God is found in the hunger and the thirst. Yet how does a man become hungry, what creates a thirst? A lack of food, a lack of water? Too much food makes a man fat and lazy, too much water bloats a man. God knows the balance in the lives of each of His children. He does not want familiarity, He wants intimacy that goes along with His majesty. What a dreadful thing to take God for granted, He will not allow it and it is not good for us. He is glorified and majestic and high and lifted up and at the same time He is our Abba Father. The balance is in there somewhere and the Holy Spirit will lead us into that balance is we do not resist Him........bro Frank
| 2016/3/28 12:13|
| Re: |
brother Frank writes: "What a dreadful thing to take God for granted, He will not allow it and it is not good for us."
Recently we sat down as a family and discussed this very thing. Over the last few years we have watched as an entire extended family of ours has gradually turned away from God, towards the world and no do not even believe God exists anymore. The father in that household is entirely to blame as he has allowed this to happen to his wife and kids. Many years ago I told him that one of his kids did not believe that God was real and he shrugged it off. Today he and the entire family are all on that same page. It is a tragedy and brings to mind Peters words, "even denying the Master who bought them".
Why did we discuss this as a family? Because we are in grave danger of the same fate if we do not remain sober, on our guard and watch for the warning signs. I reminded our family that we are not special or any different from any other christians...if others fall away, it can happen to us too. It does not happen overnight...but gradually.
We concluded that Paul's warning to Timothy were for us too as a family.
"fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith."
Just how easy is it to become shipwrecked in our faith? The wreckage is everywhere, no family seems to be safe. We must not panic but we also must not bury our heads in the sand either.
| 2016/3/28 13:38|
| Re: |
Not wanting to sidetrack the conversation further, but at the same time, not wanting the reputation of John of the Cross to remain tarnished when he has helped so many Saints in their darkest hours, l quote him on the impossibility of being saved by works and God's work in the dark night:
"And since no creature whatsoever, and none of its actions or abilities can confirm or attain to that which is of God, therefore must the soul be stripped of all things created and of its own actions and abilities - namely of its understanding, perception and feeling, so that when all that is unlike God and unconfirmed to Him, is cast out, the soul may receive the likeness of God and nothing will then remain in it that is not the will of God and it will be thus transformed in God."(ascent of Mount Carmel book 11 chapter V)
I read Tozer to be saying the same thing.
Mark four members of my family have done the same and now l am the only one who still follows Christ. It us heartbreaking l know.
| 2016/3/28 15:07|
| Re: Scriptures to consider|
Who is among you that fears the Lord,
That obeys the voice of his servant,
That walks in darkness and has no light?
Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.
Behold all of you who Kindle a fire,
Who encircled yourself with firebrands,
Walk in the light of your fire
And among the brands you have set ablaze.
This you will have from my hand;
You will lie down in torment.
I think Isaiah is telling us is there will be those times that Christians will go through a dark night of the soul. These would be those believers who fear God. And they are obeying Jesus. But for whatever reason they will enter into those times when fellowship with God seems distant. They will go into those times where the heavens are as brass and the earth is a stone. Somehow their prayers are not getting through or so it would seem to God.
Yet the exhortation is still to continue to trust God. The exhortation would be that of Job. Though he slay me yet will I trust Him. Such times call for a faith that only the Holy Spirit can give us.
Those who are prone to a dark Night of the Soul would be our persecuted brothers and sisters. Richard Wurmbrand recounts his own prison experience. He said you were led down a dark Hall blindfolded. Then the blindfold is taken off of you and then you are pushed into a dark room. Then the door slam shut. And then it is only you. In such times one wonders where is God. Of course Richard Wurmbrand also recounts that he had many dreams and visions of Jesus and heaven while he was in prison.
But trials and afflictions can come in other ways that lead to a dark night of the soul. One of my intercessors on Persecution Watch has been experiencing afflictions of the worst type. In just a matter of days she has been diagnosed with bone cancer, lost her mother, and now diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. Yet the faith of her and her husband at times shaken. Still remains firm in Jesus.
Yesterday the family had to make the heart-wrenching decision as to whether a she would undergo chemo with the expectation of living perhaps three more years. Or to not undergo any treatment with the expectation of living only 6 months. I do not know what decision the family has made. But I can only pray that in the midst of this trial or affliction God is extremely close to them.
But I can only imagine that two people who had faithfully serve the Lord. Have a heart for the persecuted and missions. Must be asking the question, Why Lord? Even the psalmist asked that question when he said My God My God why has Thou forsaken me? We remember those words that Jesus cried on the cross. Our Word of Faith friends would say that Jesus needed a lesson in theology. That he should not speak that over himself. Yet Peter reminds us that Jesus continually trusted Himself to his Father in doing what is right.
And that is the exhortation of Isaiah and other scriptures. That in these dark night of the souls we must continually trust God. Even when it seems like He is not there. If we try to walk in the light of our own understanding. Then all we will reap will be torment.
Personally, as of yet, I have not gone through a dark night of the soul. Or maybe I have and did not know it. But I am sure that I will soon go through one. And in that time I must cleave as unto Christ. And ask for the help of the Holy Spirit to trust Him. Or even in those dark times when every man will be found a liar. God will always be found true.
My thoughts and reflections.
| 2016/3/28 16:54|
| Re: |
Great post brother Blaine, a perfect Scripture for the subject at hand.
I think of David in the cave in Psalm 57. He has fled and his enemies are seeking him, hinting him down to kill him. He takes refuge in the cave. This will not be David's last dark night of the soul. Yet even in the darkness of his situation he cries out to God that his heart is steadfast, it is fixed. He is surrounded by enemies and he may not make it but his heart is fixed on God and he says he will awaken the dawn with the praises of God and he will once again praise the name of the Lord among the nations.
Even in my darkest moments, when all around me seemed to have been failing, I knew and loved my God. Even if I could not understand it, even if I thought that is seemed that He had abandoned me and I wept bitter tears, sad tears in the night watches, I knew, I know that my God loves me. This knowledge is ripped away from my feelings for there are times when feelings fail us and there are times when we feel nothing. Walking in the numbness that trials can bring, that darkness can bring, that bitter enemies can bring. One of the highest aspects of faith is the cry of Job " even though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." Abraham battles on up the hill with his son at his side. Every part of his flesh is screaming, yet his face is set like flint.
There are today a thousand fires set by the hand and the imaginations of men and these men sit down and praise the light that comes from this fire of their own making. They make the comforts of this world, prosperity and health and position and they seem to prosper as they surround themselves and are illuminated by the sparks from their own fire. It can only be temporary. The terrors of this world will visit them as the fire wanes and the darkness descends and there is no light. There is a light in the hearts of saints that can never be extinguished. It can be hidden for a time but yet the saints are steadfast, they are fixed upon the Lord our God.
The Word of God is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. When all else fails the word of God remains true. Trusting, having faith when our eyes fail us, when our situations seem without hope, lifting our eyes to God from where our help comes from. Stand fast saints all you who are walking in darkness. This night will end in light. The dawn will rise, the day shall come and our Lord is at the door. Why dont you awaken the dawn with shouts of triumph................bro Frank
| 2016/3/29 0:38|
| Re: |
"Trusting, having faith when our eyes fail us, when our situations seem without hope, lifting our eyes to God from where our help comes from. Stand fast saints all you who are walking in darkness. This night will end in light. The dawn will rise, the day shall come and our Lord is at the door. Why don't you awaken the dawn with shouts of triumph."
Thank you for writing this brother Frank. Right now as we speak I am enduring one of the "darkest nights" in decades it would seem.
I have put this down to a spiritual warfare and at times I feel like I am in a fog, groping around in confusion and seemingly unable to fix things or to know what to do next. The words of the Apostle Paul have helped me greatly, "having done all to stand...just stand". Do not give up, do not put off your confidence in God.
Another thing the Lord has shown me is to be very careful to not fall victim to self pity and to complain and grumble in the midst of trials and in so doing wane in faith. My prayers become impotent when they are not prayers of faith. Instead I must discipline myself to give thanks in all things and through all things and rejoice that all things work together for good for those who love God and who are called according to His purposes.
Amen brother Frank, and others who have/are walked through these things...there can be many tears in the midst of the "dark night", but JOY COMES IN THE MORNING!!!
| 2016/3/29 2:30|
| Re: |
Hi bro Mark,
I got this reply to the piece on my own website, I thought I would paste it below for edification..............
Thank you for the encouraging Spirit filled words brother. God truly has a plan for our “wilderness” experience. Stay strong in God’s Word, allow the Spirit to led you, and pray for a closer relationship with our “Abba Father.” Ezekiel foretold of the true people of God being scattered in Ezekiel 34:5-12.
5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.”
7 ‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 “As I live,” says the Lord God, “surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock”— 9 therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the Lord! 10 Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.”
God, the True Shepherd
11 ‘For thus says the Lord God: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.
Jesus said in Mathew 26:31, “Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written:
‘I will strike the Shepherd,
And the sheep of the flock will be scattered”
God scattered His people for a purpose! If you are feeling forgotten by “the world!” If you feel as though you are misunderstood by those you once felt connected to! Remember, God has led you where you are by “The Helper” (John 16:7) and he has a purpose for you being away from the “man-made” stuff of this world. John 4:23 says, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” God is drawing His own to a closer, more intimate relationship with Him and Him only! Our journey has not been easy! At times it has been very difficult! But, when the confusion of the world clears your soul, God has an open doorway to draw you closer to Him and Him only. I have a long way to go, but so far, I am beginning to comprehend the importance of this wilderness journey..to forsake everything else and rely only on Christ Jesus! To God goes the glory!
| 2016/3/29 10:45|