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Discussion Forum : General Topics : What about Simeon and Anna?

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roadsign
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Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Re: Prayer - my thoughts

Quote:
I am looking forward to hearing what the Lord would share with you…


Here it goes... the long way round - and still no closing statement. It seems like everything these days is pulling towards a vortex: the subject of prayer. There is something about prayer that God is trying to get through this sleepy mind. And I am determined to break through.

Some rough thoughts so far:

Prayer is not a theological or religious phenomenon. It is simply: direct access to God. Prayer is the ultimate expression of our second-birth relationship with God. It is the fulfillment of the New Covenant promise. Prayer is a gift that comes with the New Life:

"This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time," declares the LORD.
"I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,'
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,"
declares the LORD.
"For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more." Jer. 33,34

This is so totally awesome, amazing!!! To KNOW God; to be able to hear him for ourselves - to learn from him directly, to receive guidance for life, our sense of identity (as a child of God), calling, comfort, assurance, hope, joy, prophesies,….. and, oh, yes, FORGIVENESS. Through prayer we deepen our oneness with Christ. The blessings and answers (as I have learned anyway) come only through interacting with God, seeking and apprehending. It means talking to God honestly, as well as waiting on God. “Ask and ye shall receive…” …“Ye have not because ye ask not..”

Without prayer we cannot become truly conscious of God, his answers, and his blessings, and his work - I mean, really conscious! Apart from personal revelation, it’s all second hand. And that is not enough to sustain us, or help us endure to the end.

Without prayer, Christ remains aloof to us – like in an unwrapped gift. We may have an idea what’s in it, but really we don’t know.

Without prayer we cannot cooperate with God - in the fulfilment of his Covenant. We cannot know where and how he is moving.



Prayer is the process of growing up – abandoning our childish dependencies on man, leaving “home”, and cleaving to the Lord.


Anna had cultivated a life of prayer, and so she was able to recognize the movings of God. “His sheep know my voice” (Still, we must acknowledge that Anna had a prophetic calling on her life.) We can be sure that all those who missed the advent did not live a life of prayer.

It is intensely tragic that we are so often robbed of this endowment. Fellow Christians and leaders are quick to play God and dispense their opinions in response to questions or concerns that aught to be directed to the Lord in prayer. (I am guilty +++)

Opinions are as abundant as fast-food joints – and as tempting. Even offering correct opinions can be a form of robbery, because it robs the seeker of the process of wrestling through with God. That is just as evil as a parent doing his child’s science project for him. It’s cheating! It deprives the student (disciple) of the rugged, uncertain process of growth. It keeps him in his dependency state – which, of course, is much more controllable and efficient.


What else can hinder us from surrendering to God in prayer? - within us… without us?

Edit: The need to SEE clearly was made most evident yesterday in a near-auto-collision in a blinding snowsquall. A driver was travelling too fast, had no lights on, and had a white truck. By the grace of God, I am here.

Alas, that's the way life is - it happens faster than we can see with our natural eyes. We need constant communion with our Lord.

Diane


_________________
Diane

 2006/12/8 15:37Profile









 Re:

1 Cor. 14:2,4 (KJV)
For he that speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not unto men, but unto God: for no man understands him; howbeit in the spirit he speaks mysteries..........[4] He that speaks in an unknown tongue [b]edifies himself[/b]; but he that prophesies edifies the church.

If Paul experienced this for his benefit and for the sake of Christ, should we not also experience it for the same reasons?

Orm




 2006/12/8 16:00
Compton
Member



Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re:that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.

Diane,

Quote:
o longer will a man teach his neighbor,
or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,'
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,"

Without prayer we cannot cooperate with God - in the fulfilment of his Covenant. We cannot know where and how he is moving.
Prayer is the process of growing up – abandoning our childish dependencies on man, leaving “home”, and cleaving to the Lord.

it happens faster than we can see with our natural eyes.



Sister, this is why I have moved from cynicism towards belief in revival. God is changing our hearts...even as we pray over these things. How is it that the words of a thousand sermons and books on prayer can bounce off our skulls :-o …but when God speaks just the word “prayer” into our hearts we faint to our faces in both shame and gratitude?

A litle story...a few years ago, I was alone one fall midnight, praying in deep despair on a beach in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. That week I was facing one of the most grievous trials I can ever remember, but that evening I was swept away in the goodness of God. The Lord walked with me along the surf, recalling many past times when He had been watching over me, and my heart was greatly warmed …even as storm clouds were forming overhead and a light rain began to fall. (I should have posted this bit in Christopher’s precious “eventide” thread…) For at least an hour I walked in the drizzle. There were no stars or moon and so I could see only a few yards off the beach.… but the roar of the unseen waters, and the sudsy faom washing my feet let me know I was standing on the edge of a vast ocean…

The night really seemed endless…yet in that blessed hour I could really sense that God was still more endless. Rather then feeling alone in the black windy air…I was embraced and strengthened, as if God had wrapped a blanket around me from the surrounding brume.

Well, after about an hour of blessed prayer, I had become satisfied that God had finished showing me what he wanted that night…my heart was filled with comfort over my own crisis and so I started thinking about walking back to the rental house. Having found peace, I was looking forward to putting on new clothes and going to sleep.

At that point I saw that the sky in the far distance over the ocean…perhaps miles away, began to flash. Suddenly for brief seconds it seemed the entire world was illuminated. I could see the cavernous ceiling of billowy clouds breathing over the waters, an endless and sleepless landscape of twisting striving ocean waves. There were no tall mountains or man-made structure to obstruct the view…so I just stood there shrinking more and more…overwhelmed by the expanding horizon that was beginning to flash everywhere as far as the eye could see. Long fingers of lightening touched down into the waters…there was no predictability to it except that it was persistent. Soon the roar of the waters became drowned out by the approaching thunder.

Now just a few moments earlier in the quiet darkness I was feeling wrapped in a blanket of God’s love…yet now, before this vista, I felt small and insignificant before the rolling thunder and seething waters. I wanted to confess my all my sin and weakness, seeing that judgement can overtake you at any moment! Being dwarfed by such power also brought a peace.…what peace there is when we repent from wanting to be the center of the universe!

Yes, only a few moments earlier I was receiving comfort for my own problems…but in that momment, God was letting me feel what's it like to want salvation for the world. The Spirit of God is moving upon the face of the waters. He will save many people who are now tumbling in their sin …and gather them in one place around His throne like an ocean pouring in from all the corners of the Earth…their collective praise will sound like the roaring waves throughout a great hall, rising to ceilings as boundless as clouds where the holiness of God will charge even the atmosphere!

Only when the rain became a solid downpour did I realize I was shivering from the cold. I left the beach as the storm became too strong…but I left overjoyed at the goodness of God.

Tonight I am back at that night….our conversations have taken me back to that beach...and I realize God was showing me the difference between my lesser purpose for prayer and His greater purpose for prayer.

When the lightening and thunder appeared, I became aware of so much more then myself…I was astonished at the terror and wonderfulness of God. I felt He was inviting little me to witness…and even participate in what He alone was going to do in the Earth. If this offends our sense of piety and causes us to hesitate…then we have come to the shoreline where man’s limited energy ends and God’s limitless power begins.

Quote:
We can be sure that all those who missed the advent did not live a life of prayer.



Indeed! Likewise in our lifetime, expecting a great event of God is not evidence of childish optimism, but childlike sorrow…it is repenting of our bankrupt enterprising, to have nothing but prayers of faith...which is everything. George MacDonald once said, if we rely on preaching we will see what preachers can do, and if we rely on prophecy we will see what prophets can do, but if we rely on prayer we will see what God can do.

I read this today from Andrew Murray…

Most Christians are content if they have some blessed experience of what prayer can do in bringing down blessing for their own needs or maybe for the needs of others. Yet how seldom it is realized that prayer covers the whole divine mystery of man being in partnership with the triune God in working out the counsel of His will and grace.

Well, I might be able to understand the concept in those sentences…but if I said I understood their reality…well, I don’t. I am like Ahaz, making God weary with pious confessions of humility and weakness. In truth I just wanted to go back to sleep.

Yet praise God from whom all blessings do indeed flow; Jesus is the master teacher of prayer… and indeed if the very teacher of prayer still intercedes in Heaven then surely we must too! Can you imagine if we continued to ecourage each other’s faith in Almighty God…if I repented to God over my own lack of believing prayer? Such praying Christians would be quickened by visions of what God will do here and among the nations!

We are standing on the shore of a vast ocean….


_________________
Mike Compton

 2006/12/9 2:40Profile
chadster
Member



Joined: 2006/1/8
Posts: 58


 Re:

What eloquence!! I'm relucant to share...I can't hold a candle to you guys in my ability to articulate truth! While admittedly I quickly peruse most threads and don't read them carefully (especially the longer ones :-), this one has been such a treasure and I'm so glad I haven't glossed over it. You dear saints of God who contributed to this thread have mined such riches! I was listening to a message by Bob Sorge recently and he spoke of the faithful and tireless intercession of Ana (year after year after year...for decades!) and God's Reward to her. What a poweful Word!! Oh that God would find us faithful and persevering in that place of prayer. He IS a REWARDER of those who diligently seek Him.

Praying Christmas Presence in fuller glory upon all my dear fellow SI brothers and sisters.

Chad

 2006/12/9 11:01Profile
roadsign
Member



Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Re: Simeon and Anna

Many thoughts here to help wake me out of my slumber.

Quote:
When the lightening and thunder appeared, I became aware of so much more then myself…I was astonished at the terror and wonderfulness of God.



I suspect that creation is one of God’s favorite means of manifesting his glory to us, and correcting our self-perspective: …God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen.” Rom. 1:19 “The heavens declare the glory of God..”

Quote:
if we rely on preaching we will see what preachers can do, and if we rely on prophecy we will see what prophets can do, but if we rely on prayer we will see what God can do.



Here is a reminder that prayer is the magnificent privilege of entering into the Royal Courts and having our own personal appointment with the King – no intermediaries, no crowds blocking the view, no police guards with shields – just me and him – face to face, directly – vulnerable and yet trusting. This is so humbling that we fall to the ground. But here we discover what GOD can do.

Quote:
prayer covers the whole divine mystery of man being in partnership with the triune God in working out the counsel of His will and grace.


Of course, seeing the bigger picture is the outcome of perseverance in prayer and expectancy.

Quote:
I realize God was showing me the difference between my lesser purpose for prayer and His greater purpose for prayer.


A great testimony, MC. Praise God for the gift of memory!

(there are some key points yet to be drawn out, but will have to wait till next week)

Do you think Simeon and Anna foresaw Pentecost - some thirty + years later?




PS:
Possible closing thought for article:

"We do not need to make miniature replicas of Simeon and Anna, or draw pictures of them on Christmas cards. I’d say, we honor them best by following their example: by looking only to Christ for our hope and salvation, and by waiting expectantly on him.

Isn’t that what they were eagerly anticipating?

Diane


_________________
Diane

 2006/12/9 11:44Profile
rookie
Member



Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4792


 Re:

Sis wrote:

Quote:
Prayer is the process of growing up – abandoning our childish dependencies on man, leaving “home”, and cleaving to the Lord.



This last Tuesday night, was my first time attending a church prayer meeting in 3 years. Before I left the fellowship where I had grown so much, I attended a men's retreat. The section of Scripture that the Lord brought to my mind that weekend covered the episode of Jesus walking on water and Peter getting out of the boat to meet him. At that time, I knew that when Peter began to sink in the midst of the tossing waves, that particular picture was meant for me to unravel. At that meeting I thought I understood what the Lord was showing me. Well three years later I am still seeing the workings of that picture in my life. We are often given visions of where we are about to go, but we have no idea of the depth of what we learn along the way.

At the prayer meeting, I began to ask for forgiveness for taking my eyes off of Him. I asked that this would be the end of the wilderness. It was a good moment. I then began to pray for the new fellowship and it's leaders. I then began to pray for some of the personal issuses withing the congregation. I started to cry when praying for a marriage where there seems to be no hope. It was there, that the burden of sin, caused me great sorrow. It is sin that seperates us. It is sin that causes us to hurt one another.

This burden of sorrow brings with it an understanding of how our Lord feels about his sheep. This burden I ran away from back 3 years ago. This burden is before me once again, if I choose to follow my Lord. It is not about organizations and the methods used by men to appeal to the world to enter His church. It is about opening ourselves up to what the Lord brings to us in prayer, and hearing the vision that He has place before you.

Cleaving to the Lord is the beginning of knowing the Lord and understanding His heart for our brothers and sisters now; and for our future brothers and sisters who have not yet believed...

Pray for me that I would no longer run and fret over the boiling seas around me, but that I would cast my eyes upon Jesus..

God Bless

In Christ
Jeff


_________________
Jeff Marshalek

 2006/12/9 12:15Profile









 Re:

Quote:

chadster wrote:
What eloquence!! I'm relucant to share...I can't hold a candle to you guys in my ability to articulate truth! While admittedly I quickly peruse most threads and don't read them carefully (especially the longer ones :-), this one has been such a treasure and I'm so glad I haven't glossed over it. You dear saints of God who contributed to this thread have mined such riches! I was listening to a message by Bob Sorge recently and he spoke of the faithful and tireless intercession of Ana (year after year after year...for decades!) and God's Reward to her. What a poweful Word!! Oh that God would find us faithful and persevering in that place of prayer. He IS a REWARDER of those who diligently seek Him.

Praying Christmas Presence in fuller glory upon all my dear fellow SI brothers and sisters.

Chad



Is Bob speaking [with his own voice] these days?



Orm

 2006/12/9 17:18
Compton
Member



Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re:

I have been looking forward to hearing more of Diane's plowing along this stream, :-) but in the meantime wanted to add to this...

Quote:
It was there, that the burden of sin, caused me great sorrow. It is sin that seperates us. It is sin that causes us to hurt one another.

This burden of sorrow brings with it an understanding of how our Lord feels about his sheep. This burden I ran away from back 3 years ago. This burden is before me once again, if I choose to follow my Lord.



Jeff, I was affected and blessed by this all of this over the weekend...couldn't help but muse over how such a sorrowful burden would make a fine Christmas gift from the Lord for our benefit. I say this because clearly this burden is a dear fellowship with Jesus, himself a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.

Not much else to say...your transparency has blessed me greatly.

Quote:
Pray for me that I would no longer run and fret over the boiling seas around me, but that I would cast my eyes upon Jesus.



I have truly learned some eternal things from you over the past two years. Perhaps one day, over a cup of coffee I will share the details with you. On a practical note if I may offer something small in return...it has helped me greatly in recent months to turn off the news media in my home, car, and especially in my head. Enough stuff gets through anyways...and I have more of my heart to meditate on the Lord's precepts. The oceans of the world churn and froth with war and greed, so unless the living waters flowing through our souls are allowed to be still, how will we see the face of Jesus reflected therein?

...He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul...

...As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.

...The Lord is just and loves just deeds; the upright shall see his face.

Thanks so much brother...your post is a treasure.

MC


_________________
Mike Compton

 2006/12/11 9:28Profile
roadsign
Member



Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Re: Anna: The First Lady Preacher

“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.”

”Anna … spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem”Lk. 2:38

Not only was Anna the first lady preacher, but also the first to announce the good news within the Jewish religious establishment - a patriarchal institution where only males were taught the Torah and the Prophets. And these males had indeed been studying it – for centuries. They had searched intently for clues about the coming Messiah. But they couldn’t see for looking; so God helped them out: One day an elderly woman burst from the shadows of the Temple and disclosed the news. Of course, it was necessary that Israel be the first to hear about the birth. After all, He came first to his own.

You'd think the Temple would have been a-rocking!

Anna would never have been allowed in the inner sanctuary or the Holy of Holies behind the curtain. Yet really, in spirit, that is where she dwelt. Anna “never left the temple, but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying.

Anna did not need pulpit, credentials, or position. Nor did she need permission from the authorities. She had all she needed: a little obscure corner, with the Word and the Spirit. She had been thoroughly trained by God in the place of prayer, and that was enough. At 90 yo, she was a seasoned prophetess. In the fullness of time God opened the door for her ministry. And no man could shut it!

“I will pour out my Spirit on your sons and daughters” Joel 2:30

God had poured out his Spirit on Anna, even though Pentecost was not for 33 years.

Something in all this is very healing for me - having understood for the better of my life, directly or indirectly, that God speaks first through the church leaders – the pastor, the men – the heads, and we receive divine truth from them. And anyone else’s words couldn’t possibly hold as much weight. I have been sensing new paths ahead – and so, suspect that this is a divinely ordained stopping-place for me.

Much could have been written about the lady saint. Oh, what revelation she must have received over the course of 85 years communing with God! I admit, I am most curious to know more about her. I understand so little. Yet, God chose to give only the details we need to know.

…of the tribe of Asher” 2:35

This is interesting. Anna was not from the House of Judah, not a Jew, but of the House of Israel. She was a true Israelite by heredity. Had not the northern tribes all been dispersed among the Gentiles (nations) and Samaria...? Last recorded, the two Houses had been archenemies of each other. Is Anna’s calling perhaps a prophetic foreshadowing of God’s covenant promise to Abraham and the other OT prophets? I am not sure if I understand correctly? Can someone help me out … Jeff? Mike?

“For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy” Rev. 19:10

Anna’s proclamation was about a person - not a theology. It was about an incarnation, not a system of laws. It was about the One whom she saw for herself – in the flesh, but long before that, in the spirit. Anna was filled with the Spirit of Christ; and her simple message was none other than this One Person. That was the Good News for Israel! So simple!

“We do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ our Lord” 2 cor. 4:5


It seems that in our day there is no lack of fledgling prophets, just chompin ’ at the bit to disclose their special revelation in a public forum. And they get frustrated when the door closes on them. But it may be that God is the one who is resisting them. He is still forming Christ in them… in the fullness of time they will burst forth with a purified message of the Good News: Christ. I say, prophesy that fails to put Christ in the center is incomplete – at best.


“For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy” Rev. 19:10






_________________
Diane

 2006/12/13 8:56Profile
InTheLight
Member



Joined: 2003/7/31
Posts: 2730
Phoenix, Arizona USA

 Re:

Just got to reading through this thread and I really appreciate the thoughts expressed here. In particular this caught my eye...

Quote:
Unlike the modern humanistic church, unbelief is not something God seems to feel sorry for. We reveal our own doubt in God's power and resentment for his holiness, as we soothe sinners and rebels with our highminded pity...coddling their unbelief in God's salvation as a type of innocent weakness...but God sees all of it as arrogance and pride that doubts His character and power.



This unbelief, smoothed over as something else, is something the Lord brought home to me recently.

I believe that what happens in the Church is very similar to what happened with Israel in the wilderness when the bad report came back from the spies. They saw themselves as grasshoppers when compared to the enemies in the land, and that step of seeing themselves as they truly were was important. But they didn't take the next step of faith that was necessary. It is an important stage of our growth to learn that "without Him I can do nothing", but then we must move to the next stage. Sometimes in Christian circles a false humility of diffidence, timidity, and shyness can pass as a virtue but God has a different name for it.

The Bible says that Israel's inaction, as a result of fear, was rebellion against God (Numbers 14:6-9). Thank you for the clear, battle-cry voices in this thread to urge us on so that we might not brood instead of acting and allow depression to block out the face of God, then we are left with ourselves...wounded grasshoppers.

In Christ,

Ron


_________________
Ron Halverson

 2006/12/13 9:43Profile





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