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Archive for the ‘Fasting’ Category

The Gates of Hell are upon us…
     Some of our shepherds have become Wolves …
         Even so the gates of hell shall not prevail (Matt. 16:18)

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My dear bothers and sisters in Christ,

It certainly appears that the Church of today has entered into a crisis of biblical proportion with respect to certain of its clerics and the fact that so many instances of clerical sexual abuse of our young children and young men are taking place around the world, the most notable right now being in the USA, UK, Ireland, Australia, India, et al.

We sheep admittedly feel helpless and threatened by what is happening in the Church. But we must remember that we belong to Our Heavenly Shepherd who will not forsake us nor abandon us even though the Gates of Hell appear to be coming upon us.

On the contrary, the current failures in Church governance and it inner corruption among the clergy should be seen as indicators that The Lord will bring judgement, justice and mercy to this situation, in a spiritual and mystical way that we cannot begin to comprehend. We must remember that He “is the repairer of the breach”, we just don’t know what His response will be.

Scripture does give us however some hints as to how the Lord God might react to todays major sexual corruption and governance crisis in the Church Hierarchy …

<> He will Restore the Holiness of His Sanctuary

jesus-cleanses-the-temple

He will Clean out His Sanctuary and restore it to the Holiness He desires:  “I will now desecrate My sanctuary, the stronghold of your pride, the delight of your eyes, the desire of your soul” (Ezekiel 24:15-23)

 

 

<> He will Seek out His sheep and Rescue Them

“Thus says the Lord God, I am against the shepherds; and I will demand my sheep at their hand, and put a stop to their feeding the sheep; no longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, so that they may not be food for them. As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.” (Ezekikel 34:10-12)

To those victims who have fled the Flock because of the abuse, He says…
“Return, O faithless sons,” declares the LORD; “For I am a master to you, and I will take you one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding” (Jer 3:14-15).

<> He will Bring Forth Righteousness from His Wrath and Justice

Our role is to love God and one another, His role is to bring justice:  “Vengeance Is Mine, I Will Repay,” Says the Lord (Rom. 12:19-21)

Psalm 90:7: “We are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed.”

Hosea 13:11: “I gave you a king in my anger, and I took him away in my wrath.”

Romans 2:8: “For those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury [anger].”

1Cor. 6:9-11: Don’t you know that people who do wrong will not receive God’s kingdom? Don’t be fooled. Those who commit sexual sins will not receive the kingdom. Neither will those who worship statues of gods or commit adultery. Neither will men who sleep with other men. Neither will thieves or those who always want more and more. Neither will those who are often drunk or tell lies or cheat. People who live like that will not receive God’s kingdom. Some of you used to do those things. But your sins were washed away. You were made holy. You were made right with God. All of this was done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was also done by the Spirit of our God.

<> Woe to Wolves in Shepherds Clothing

Certainly Jesus warned us regarding false prophets (and shepherds) coming into His Church …

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s [or Shepherd’s] clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.

“Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’ (Matt. 7:15-23)

Also remember that Jesus also told the consequences for anyone who causes His sheep to falter …
“… if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world for the causes of sin. These stumbling blocks must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!…” (Matt 18:6-7)

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Interestingly enough it was recently brought to my attention that in 1969 the now retired Pope Benedict Predicted that such a crisis could occur, in the then future, that would cause many believers to forsake the Catholic Faith in such a way that it would greatly diminish in size and influence world wide and would become a smaller network of more spiritual communities. (See: https://spiritdaily.org/blog/news/pope-benedicts-church-prediction )

Here is an excerpt from his statements…

“From the crisis of today the Church of tomorrow will emerge — a Church that has lost much. She will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes, so it will lose many of her social privileges. In contrast to an earlier age, it will be seen much more as a voluntary society, entered only by free decision. As a small society, it will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members. Undoubtedly it will discover new forms of ministry and will ordain to the priesthood approved Christians who pursue some profession. In many smaller congregations or in self-contained social groups, pastoral care will normally be provided in this fashion. Along-side this, the full-time ministry of the priesthood will be indispensable as formerly. But in all of the changes at which one might guess, the Church will find her essence afresh and with full conviction in that which was always at her center: faith in the triune God, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, in the presence of the Spirit until the end of the world. In faith and prayer she will again recognize the sacraments as the worship of God and not as a subject for liturgical scholarship.”

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It is also interesting, that the Blessed Virgin included the following statement among her prophetic words during the 1973 apparitions at Akita, Japan:

“The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres…churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.”

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I urge you then, Brothers and Sisters, to enter into a period of intercessory prayer for the Church and especially for our Shepherds, that those who have erred may come into a deep Spirit of Contrition and Repentance so that, by God’s Grace, we may enter an epoch of restoration and reconciliation and especially that a Spirit of healing and consolation may come upon the victims of the abuses that have occurred.

Praised be His Holy Name! Baruch HaShem Adonai!

Your Brother in Christ … Bartimaeus                                                                                                                                                 PS: I leave you with a Link to the Gregorian chant of “Dies Irae” that may help you in entering into a spirit of deep prayer => https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fMHms5Cvsw

Also, in praying, I urge you take into account the Lord’s encouragement to His Church ..
“I will make you … a fortified bronze wall; and they shall fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you; for I am with you to save you and to deliver you, says the Lord. I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you out of the hand of the violent” (Jer. 15:20-21).

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2018])

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Waiting for the Lord and Fasting

On Eagles wings

On Eagles wings

 “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, And to {him who} lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up {with} wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” (Is 40: 28-31)

My dear Fellow Pilgrims in Christ Jesus,

At times in the past I have commented on the need for Christians not to act impulsively on everything that comes into their minds, or act out of frustration because things don’t seem to be going their way. I usually refer them to the scripture in Isaiah that tells us that “… they who wait upon the Lord shall rise up as with eagles wings”.

Some responses I get are a bit critical regarding “waiting on the Lord”, implying that if we do nothing until we get an OK from the Lord we will be remiss in meeting the responsibilities of life. Their discomfiture comes mainly because they don’t truly understand the principle of “waiting on the Lord” that the scripture espouses here. They only see it from a human perspective – they separate their secular every day duties from the religious or spiritual activities. Thinking, no doubt, that their day-to-day obligations are more urgent. After all, they think, prayer can wait. They don’t understand that they need God in all aspects of their lives and prayer is the main factor that opens the door for the Lord to be involved in everything we do in life.

The scripture just quoted does NOT indicate to us that we are to do nothing while “waiting”, in fact, it is really an exhortation trust in the Lord as we keep on living a righteous life and meet all of our responsibilities in obedience to the Lord’s guidance and commandments. More than that, it indicates that we need to trust and to seek Lord in all of our affairs, secular or religious, for it is only He that can provide us the strength to fulfill them.

It is also true, that, at times, as we live out our lives there are circumstances that come up that put us to the test by permitting situations that, to all appearances, pose certain challenges that are beyond our ability do anything about. Circumstances that drain us of our energy and effort leading us to become despondent and thus weaken our faith … and our trust.

The Word tells us that as soon as we become aware of our situation and repent, remaining faithful in your trust in the Lord, and enduring in prayer, the Lord will redeem the situation such that not only will He re-energize you but He will provide you the spiritual wings you need to fly over the circumstances and free you to accomplish His purpose for you in the stressful situation you are encountering!

Sometimes the reason the Lord may permit these types of situations to occur in our lives is because, in our attempt to take control over everything we do (even the things we do for the Lord), we have left no room for the Lord to be our helper in the roles and tasks He has called us to act on as His partners.

Instead, we try to accomplish on our own, desires that come out of our own self-directed ambitions, things that are beyond His design for us but that we do because of the glory and pride we deriver from them. Because of this we lose access to the strength He provides when we are in an obedient partnership with Him. In order to restore us to our appropriate state of reliance and partnership with Him, He lets us experience the results of our own self-willed weaknesses so that we may repent and return to Him and His fellowship and strength.

All He is saying through these testing circumstances He permits is: “return to Me; give yourself to Me again and I will restore my strength in you if you merely return to your commitment to Me as the Lord of your life – then, and only then, you will rise up again with the wings of an eagle that I will provide!”

During this period of Lent we, through payer and meditation on the Word, should constantly assess our motives for why we do the things we do, not only in our every day lives but, more importantly, in our religious lives – in our supposed works of holiness, are we really mortifying the flesh? Is our intent truly to mortify or are we doing these things because we think that by doing them we are going to increase our holiness or approval before God? Isn’t this motive in itself a work of the flesh?

My brethren, the goal we need to set for our motives is to humble ourselves and die to our own desire for holiness or approval. Our main goal or aim must be to die to our very selves as true disciples of Jesus. What we sometimes overlook is that “waiting on the Lord” is in itself a form of fasting – where we fast by not acting out of our own human drives and instincts but instead suppressing them so that the Lord’s work in us may take precedence. We are to say and act just as John Baptist said: “He must increase, but I must decrease!” (Jn.3-30)

The aim of any type of fasting must be to put down the human incentives that drive us and divert us from truly walking in the Spirit, and NOT to use fasting as a way to exalt ourselves as spiritual heroes. Similarly, our giving of alms must be in secret in order to avoid self-righteousness and self-exaltation … and even then we may still fall if we are not careful with our inner motives.

The thing of which we must really fast is the feeding of our self-righteous ego and our pride, and the things in our lives which move us in that direction (this may include religious things done for the wrong reasons). Fasting from food, for instance, should be used as an act of faith indicating our willingness to control and deny all our fleshly desires and as an indication that we submit ourselves and ALL our trust and reliance on our relationship with God our Father through Jesus our Redeemer and Savior. Praised be His Holy Name!

Listen to how the Lord exhorts us regarding the matter of fasting…

… (through the words of Isaiah, Chap. 58)

<> [We, the presumed penitents, ask …]

3‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?

Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’

<>[The Lord answers:]

“Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,

and oppress all your workers.

4Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight

and to hit with a wicked fist.

Fasting like yours this day

will not make your voice to be heard on high.

 

5Is such the fast that I choose,

a day for a person to humble himself?

Is it to bow down his head like a reed,

and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?

Will you call this a fast,

and a day acceptable to the Lord?

 

6“Is not this the fast that I choose:

to loose the bonds of wickedness,

to undo the straps of the yoke,

to let the oppressed go free,

and to break every yoke?

 

7Is it not to share your bread with the hungry

and bring the homeless poor into your house;

when you see the naked, to cover him,

and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

 

8Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,

and your healing shall spring up speedily;

your righteousness shall go before you;

the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

 

9Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;

you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’

If you take away the yoke from your midst,

the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,

 

To be filled, We must be first emptied out ...

To be filled, We must be first emptied out …

10if you pour yourself out for the hungry

and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,

then shall your light rise in the darkness

and your gloom be as the noonday.

 

11And the Lord will guide you continually

and satisfy your desire in scorched places

and make your bones strong;

and you shall be like a watered garden,

like a spring of water,whose waters do not fail….”

Jesus not only confirms these promises but tells us that these promises are fulfilled in Him! Praised Be His Holy Name!

Jesus Offers Living Water

Jesus Offers Living Water

Jesus said to [theSamaritan woman], ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.’ (John 4:13-15)

So, ask the Spirit of Jesus that is in you to guide you into a true fasting experience in Him! Ask him to  give you a drink of the Living Water unto Eternal lIfe! Wait for Him, obey His guidance and you will truly enter in a fast that honors the Father through Him who is your Lord and Savior! Amen and Amen!

May the Holy Spirit Guide you in your spiritual walk as you yield yourself to Him this Lent.

Your Brother in Christ … Bartimaeus

 

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2014])

 

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<> This Good Friday Video wiil help you into the Spirit of Fasting (skip the advertising)

<> Here is a Worship Music Video that will open up your spirit …

Remember: It’s in the Valleys Where we Grow

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