Category Archives: Walking in the Spirit

God gives the Spirit without limit. Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to the church to equip us to be His witnesses and carry on the work that He started by that same power. To deny that the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit are available to the believer today, or to say, as some do, that God does not speak supernaturally to His people today, is effectively taking Christ out of Christianity.

Hold on at all times: the handlebars

“Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.” (2 Peter 1: 5-7)

We have all seen cyclists – usually young men or boys – cycle along without holding the handlebars. I remember when I was a boy and first learnt the skill. I also remember that, as a rule, it was only a skill I employed when I knew other people were watching…  But there are two circumstances that every cyclist riding “no hands” has in common: this particular skill can only be accomplished on as smooth terrain, generally a road or another paved surface; and it is not something that can realistically be attempted when cycling uphill. As Christians, we have left the paved surface of the road, and are heading up the mountain on a dirt track. If there is one thing we need to do, it is to keep hold of the handlebars.

There are many exhortations in the New Testament, whether from Jesus, Paul or any of the other writers, to persevere in our faith. Perhaps the most frequently quoted is from Pauls’ letter to the Philippians:

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3: 13-14)

The word translated as “diligence” in the introductory passage is spoude, which means earnestness, eagerness, being full-on, not just in the desire to accomplish something but in the energy and persistence applied to carrying it out. Elsewhere Peter writes be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.” (2 Pe 3:14) Paul exhorts Timothy to be diligent in pursuing godliness “so that (his) progress may be seen by all,” (1 Tim 4:15), and to the Galatians he writes “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Gal 6:9). References to being committed and wholehearted are set like precious stones throughout Proverbs. The rewards held out by the Lord to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation are all for those who “endure.” And these references only scratch the surface of what is a very deep-veined theme running through the whole of Scripture. Diligence is the name written on our handlebars: if we don’t hold on, we will fall off.

At this point there might appear to be a tension between the fundamental truth that we are saved by Grace (the Cross of Christ) and not by works (staying on the bike) However there isn’t one. The bike itself is a gift from God. The desire to ride it and to stay on is a gift from God, just as faith itself is a gift from God (Eph. 2:8; 2 Peter 1:1). And Psalm 37:24 tells us: “Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholds him with His hand,” so even our ability to stay on the bike is by the Grace of God. The very words that are given to us by the Holy Spirit encouraging us to be diligent and to endure also give us the desire and the ability to carry them out. I think it can reasonably be said that those who to fall away are the ones who never really got on the bike in the first place – who confessed with their mouths that Jesus Christ is Lord, but never really believed it in their hearts. (Romans 10: 9) So if you, like me, are picking your bike off the ground and getting on again for the fiftieth time this week, don’t beat yourself up over it and call yourself a failure. The good news is, you never were a success in the first place! All of that glory belongs to the Lord. The fact that you are getting on your bike again is proof that you are, by the grace of God, being diligent.

So, holding onto the handlebars, we press on towards the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. We carry on pedalling along the mountain track. Sometimes there are downhill stretches and easier sections, but the call is upward and the overall direction of the track is always to take us ultimately “further up and further in,” as Aslan says in the final book of the Chronicles of Narnia. And this leads us to the other essential function of the handelbars: they are what gives the bike direction. We don’t just hold on “with all diligence” in order to stay on the bike; we hold on to stay on the path. And we always look forward: looking back brings disaster. With our eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, we steer along His track to  the top of the mountain.

Being born again isn’t about boarding a train in this life and stepping onto Heaven’s platform in the next one: it’s about the slow process of growing to maturity in Christ as we consistently reveal to the watching world that He is the one who is keeping us on track. The higher up and further in we go, the closer to Him we get and the more like Him we become, so that “Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” (Isaiah 2:3)

The Mountain of God is the Mountain of His presence, where Love rules and His Glory dwells. It’s where He met with Moses and gave the Old Covenant to His people, and it’s where He meets with us to lead us forward by His Spirit today. There is one simple test that will tell us if we are on our bikes or completely off track, and it’s the question I referred to in the chapter on the pedals: are we learning to love? Jesus has individualised lessons for each one of us, and they will all be somewhere along the route that Peter maps out in the scripture that opens this section. But learn them we must if we are to progress up the mountain, because

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:9)

This is where our direction must be set. We can keep moving, with both wheels on the ground, our feet on the pedals and our hands close to the brakes, gripping the handlebars tightly. But whenever we hurt or destroy we’ve lost our way.

Blowing the Trumpet

Beginning on Sept 18th and ending on Sept 20th, the Jewish Feast of Trumpets, or Rosh Hashanah, heralds the Jewish New Year and commemorates the sounding of the first trumpet, when the Law was given to Israel and they became God’s covenant people. Following the feast of trumpets are eight “Days of Awe,” during which time Jewish people prepare themselves, through prayer and repentance, for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, when the shofar is blown again. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the only two Jewish festivals when the shofar is blown ceremonially.

In the second vision of “The Battle Belongs to the Lord” Jacob Dominy prophesies that “The roar of the Lion is near and the blast of the shofar trumpet is about to be heard.” I posted that yesterday evening, and decided then to publish as a download the chapter in “Wheat in the Winepress” entitled “Blowing the Trumpet,” as it is relevant to what the Holy Spirit seems to be saying at the moment. Shortly afterwards I was drawn to pick up a messianic newsletter that we receive. When I opened it, I found that most of the content was about these two forthcoming festivals when the shofar is blown. Not knowing the Jewish festival calendar as well as I could (or should), I was unaware of these forthcoming dates until then, so when I saw them I felt the Lord was making a connection between the festivals and what I had just published.

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is over the 24 hours from 27-28th September. If Jake’s visions were from the Lord, and I believe that they were as they are very much in keeping with what the Holy Spirit is saying through other prophetic voices at the moment, the shofar is about to be sounded in the heavenlies and the Lord’s army will be going into battle. On Earth as it in Heaven: what more strategic moment could there be than the day when the sound of the shofar reminds Christians and Jews alike of God’s wonderful provision of atonement for His people? What better moment for the commander of Heaven’s armies to launch His attack on the enemy than the commemoration of the Victory that He has already won?

I am not saying for certain that I have heard from God on this, but I think I may have done. If the battle really is about to intensify, (and even if it isn’t!) we need to make sure that we are right with God to avoid being a target for the enemy. I can think of no better time than to stand with the Jewish people as they prepare themselves for the Day of Atonement.

To download Blowing the Trumpet, click the title link here or go to the Free Downloads section.

Free Downloads

Apart from my book “Wheat in the Winepress,” everything on this site is free. There are no “donate” buttons anywhere. Thirty-odd years ago I asked the Lord to give me a business that would support my ministry calling, and He has done just that. I would of course love you to buy the book, not because I want your money, but because I think it will bless and encourage you and I believe it is a word for these times.

So if you do download anything from here, there will be no follow-up, no pestering, nothing. Just, hopefully, a bit of blessing for you. I’ll be adding to the titles over the next days and weeks. Just click on the title below and it will take you to another page: click again on the link you find there and it will take you to the pdf for you to download. (There’s probably a better way of doing this, but I don’t know what it is!)

Serving to Soaring (12 pages)

A Beginner’s Guide to Prophesy (3 Pages)

The Prophetic Ministry

Blowing the Trumpet

The Bike Ride: Pictures of Discipleship

Spirit Without Limit

Seated in Heavenly Places

Sunday 13th Sept: discipleship

It’s great to have a “live stream” of the prophetic in our Sunday meetings again, even though we aren’t physically together. As I write this, I am reminded of Paul’s words to the Corinthians ; “For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit.” (1 Cor 5:3). We use the phrase “with you in spirit” a lot, so much so that it has basically lost its meaning. I think it’s time that we rediscovered the spiritual power of these words. Our born again spirits really are in the same place, seated in Heavenly places in Christ.

There were two prophetic words this morning.

Jake had the following scripture
“Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13)

He felt the Lord saying “There is a battle coming, but I want you to know that I have given you everything you need to be more than conquerors, so that you will be standing strong at the end.”

The Lord spoke to me during the worship.
Anne and I were sitting on the sofa watching the meeting on my laptop. I was quite happy; the laptop was adequate for the job. But as we were watching, Anne was sorting out the connection between the wi-fi and the TV, so that we could enjoy the meeting on a bigger screen and with better volume. As she was putting in the password, I felt the Lord say to me: “Are you content with just the laptop, or do you want more?”

God want us to press in for the big screen. He wants us to move onto a new level in our relationship with Him, and not to be content with what we have at the moment.  His desire is for us to have Him on that big fixed screen and stay connected all the time, not to fold up our laptops and switch them off when we feel like it.

Discipleship is not a part-time activity. As Rob’s message that followed emphasised, it is an all-in, full time call.

Soaring like Eagles

But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40 v 31

We need to understand the eagle to get a more complete picture of what the Lord is saying through this passage.

The eagle is the fastest animal created, soaring at speeds of 140 miles per hour and in excess of 200 miles per hour when it spots prey. It also flies at a height of between 23000 feet to 36000 feet, sometimes for days without a single flap of its wings, and even can fly through a hurricane. Eagles actually love the challenge of a storm . When other birds will try to flee, the eagle will fly into it, using the wind of the storm to rise higher in a matter of seconds, just  soaring  unaltered from its path but at a greater height. The eagle’s wings are so aerodynamic that air flows over them causing very little turbulence. I believe that as we wait upon the lord He prunes and trims our wings to be more aerodynamic, so that we may soar on the thermals and fly into the storms when they come.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15 v1-8)

Eagles are very efficient birds, which is how God wants us to be:  soaring on his thermals in the Spirit. So just like He prunes us to make us fruitful, the Lord will also prune and trim our wings to be ever more aerodynamic, soaring and remaining steady through the storms of life. Another amazing fact about the eagle that if it loses a feather either on one side – on land or soaring – it instantly loses the same feather on the other side to keep it in balance. I believe when the Holy Spirit prunes us He does the same thing, keeping us balanced so we can continue soaring with Him.

Eagles are famous for their vision: we talk about having “eagle eyes.” The eagle flies well above the ground so it can one see what is going on. What we are called to do as a church and as members of His body is to wait on the Lord so we can soar above the troubles of life, even flying into the storms, appearing almost motionless as we keep an eye out for anyone caught in the enemy’s snare on the ground.  When we see someone in trouble we can dive down to rescue them as quickly as possible, carrying them with us up to the safety of the skies to be restored by the Lord .

Thanks and credits

Here I wish to give credit to Adele and Phoebe for letting me take picture of Phoebe having her feet being washed for the cover and chapter 1 pictures.

Thank you to Graham Russell for taking the photograph of Pete their dog.

A big thank you to Bob  Hext for mentoring me and  for reviewing materials that I have written and am writing.

All thanks and Praise goes to the Our Lord for gifting me and  guiding me.

Identity Crisis

Bartimaeus (Mark 10 v 46-52)

Bartimaeus knew about Jesus and knew what he would do for him, yet he also was aware that he did not deserve to be healed as he called out “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Herein lies another key, which is knowing our frail spiritual state. As Bartimaeus showed, we really don’t deserve anything: all that we receive is by the Lord’s mercy. But because of what Jesus has done on the cross for us  we can boldly enter the throne room of our Father and ask for what we want. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb 4:16)

Bartimaeus recognised Jesus and not stop calling out to Him.  Even when he was told to be silent he was persistent and called out even more, and when Jesus called him he  threw off anything that was hindering him, jumped up  and went to Him.  Then jesus asked him what he wanted.  Bartimaeus simply said: “I want to see,” not “if it’s your will,” or “It would re really nice if I could see…”

So we can see how much he wanted to see and be healed: he threw his cover off and jumped up;  he didn’t just get up on his feet and tentatively wander over in the hope that he might be noticed.  Bartimaeus had one thing on his mind, and his actions expressed it. Although this story is used for healing, I believe we can do the same with whatever we want from the Lord. The writer to the Hebrews says:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. (Hebrews 12 v1))

These weights could be things that we have held onto from the past that we have allowed to  become part of our identity. This could include illness, disability, even sin:  essentially anything that we hold onto that means that we are not fully accepting our identity In Christ. Are we willing throw off everything, even things that have become our identity, like Bartimaeus’s begging bowl?  We don’t need them: we are new creations, as 2 Corinthians 5: 17 makes absolutely clear.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: The old has gone, the new is here!

Our identity is in Christ and not things of the past; whether it’s our wealth, our position in our job, what we have given away, our house, our reputation, even our healing.  It has all gone, and the new has come. We are hidden in Christ.

For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God .(Colossians 3: 3)

So our identity should be focused who Jesus says we are; and since this is hidden in Him, nothing can take it from us.  It will always be true.  How we process this truth is our choice: we can either throw everything off to fully take hold of it in faith; or we can put some of our eggs in different baskets, maybe because we don’t want to let go of something else that has become our identity due to fear, or maybe we are just hedging our bets because our experience hasn’t matched up to the  truth. However, the truth remains, whether we choose to believe it and act on it or not, much like the sun is always shining even if it cloudy. If our experience is not matching the truth we need to take hold of the Word fully, letting go of everything that hinders us. 

Now go back to the sub-title of this article. I left a word out. What was it?

So anything that stops us remembering and living out these truths could be classed as part of the identity of our old self; the one that has gone.   Are we willing to throw them all off and jump up, making ourselves look  foolish, shouting louder than the noise of the distractions around us? Are we prepared to stumble blindly towards Jesus, through the mocking and the catcalls, despite all the adversity, until we hear Him say to us: “What can I do for you?”  Will we speak the truth that is in our hearts and say directly and plainly, “I WANT TO SEE!”

Our Father in Heaven doesn’t mince His words. Jesus tells us to let our “yes be yes, and our no be no.” I believe we need to follow His ways in this, and tell Him what is on our hearts without wrapping it up in formulae.

John Wesley and Billy Graham.
Two more recent examples of calling out earnestly and in desperation are John Wesley and Billy Graham.  In John Wesley’s house there are two knee sized marks in the carpet next to his bed where he cried out to God for revival. When Billy Graham was a student at Wheaton College he was one of a group of students that visited the building. When the lecturer returned to the coach he counted the students and found one missing, so he went back into the building to find Billy Graham kneeling in the same knee marks as Wesley, his face flat the bed, calling out: “Do it again lord!” Do we have this passion? How much do we want to know Jesus and do what He asks of us? Will we long for and cry out for healing and revival? Do we cry out for God to touch us again? And the big question: what are we willing to sacrifice to gain these things?

If we want to learn from Bartimaeus and Billy Graham we must be willing to shut ourselves away and lock into the Lord, to become more like Jesus and to let his holy fire refine us. In so doing we in turn will be set on fire for him.  If it only takes one man to stand in the gap for the Lord to do what He did through John Wesley and Billy Graham, just imagine what one church can do. Jesus said when two or three are gathered in my name I will be there in the midst.

Bartimaeus’s old identity.
Bartimaeus’s old identity was “blind.” This was the word I missed out earlier.  He knew who Jesus was, and not caring what he sounded or looked like he approached Him boldly and in complete faith that Jesus would meet his need. His identity was Bartimaeus, not Blind Bartimaeus. And yes, Jesus healing him was an awesome miracle, but there is more written about Bartimaeus than the miracle here. I think that the fact that he was blind is secondary to the fact that he was persistent and didn’t hold onto his disability. I think Mark is making the point that it was persistence and desperation for Him which caused  our Lord to stop. He wants to see how much we really want what He has for us.  He wants us to be utterly reliant on him and desperate for Him. In His presence all of us are beggars.

Stagnant or Flowing?

Be a joyful giver

This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.  Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.  And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you.  Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.  Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.  As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;   their righteousness endures forever.”

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.  You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. (2 Corinthians 9 v 6-15)

One person gives freely, yet gains even more;
another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed
 (Proverbs 11:24-25)

These passages are generally used with reference to finances, but I believe they apply to all areas of giving, including acts of service

We can see from both these passages that what God has given to us, whether natural or spiritual gifts, never was, and never will be, given for us to keep for ourselves, but to be continually given out.

Let’s look at this in nature. If you have a pond with no inlet or outlet the pond water becomes stale and stagnant-smelling, full of sludge and algae and no longer attractive to anyone. The smell is so repugnant that It repels people even before they get to see it.

It is the same with giftings: if we use all our gifting to build ourselves up and bolster our ego, people will soon be saying: “look at him, he so is so selfish and obsessed with himself.”

But if you have a lake with  a river  that flows in and  out of it, then  the water is fresh; plants and trees around it are green,  the air smells fresh close up, the water has beautiful reflections of the sky and the surroundings, it is bursting with life both in and out of the water,  it attracts people to it and gives them peace.

Whether it is resources or gifting, let us remember Luke 6:38:

“Give, and it shall be given unto you: pressed down and running over shall men pour into your lap.”

If we do, our water will always be fresh.

Two Wheels: Word and Spirit

Two Wheels

Many people are aware of the prophesy attributed to Smith Wigglesworth, from 1947:

“During the next few decades there will be two distinct moves of the Holy Spirit across the church in Great Britain. The first move will affect every church that is open to receive it, and will be characterised by a restoration of the baptism and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
“The second move of the Holy Spirit will result in people leaving historic churches and planting new churches.“In the duration of each of these moves, the people who are involved will say, ‘This is a great revival.’ But the Lord says, ‘No, neither is this the great revival but both are steps towards it.’
“When the new church phase is on the wane, there will be evidence in the churches of something that has not been seen before: a coming together of those with an emphasis on the word and those with an emphasis on the Spirit. When the word and the Spirit come together, there will be the biggest move of the Holy Spirit that the nation, and indeed, the world has ever seen. It will mark the beginning of a revival that will eclipse anything that has been witnessed within these shores, even the Wesleyan and Welsh revivals of former years. The outpouring of God’s Spirit will flow over from the United Kingdom to mainland Europe, and from there, will begin a missionary move to the ends of the earth.”

The two wheels are the Word and the Spirit. The word and the Spirit together are what carry us forward. We cannot make progress if we just rely on the scriptures that we read  or hear preached, and we cannot make progress if we just rely on supernatural intervention from Heaven to change our lives. Jesus said His words are Spirit and Life, and if the life of the Holy spirit is going to impact us through the word we have to have a genuine expectation of a supernatural encounter with God as we read it or hear it. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. Psalm 119: 130 says “The entrance of Your words gives light,” but that light does not come to us through our human understanding, but through the operation of the Holy Spirit. Without the Spirit, the Word is only half the bicycle. And unless we “receive with meekness the implanted word (James 1:21), the Spirit has nothing to activate in us and any supernatural experience we may have will just be a spinning wheel going nowhere.

Hebrews 2: 1-4 says this:
“Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?”

The writer to the Hebrews heard the gospel – “so great a salvation” – from “those who had heard” Jesus. This may have been one (or some) of the eleven, or any of the other disciples gathered with them in the upper room at Pentecost. But whoever it was that preached to the writer to the Hebrews, the word that was preached was confirmed by God “bearing witness with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will.” They had the whole bicycle: the word and the Spirit.

I believe that there is something special about to happen in the new season that we are in; and it is what will bring this about. The Lord is leading His church off the main road of the familiar and up the mountain track of “the new thing” that He is doing. Across all the denominations and all the different church traditions – pentecostal/charismatic; evangelical; liturgical – there will be those that follow, and those that don’t. And they will all have one thing in common: a heart’s desire to follow Jesus. And the pentecostal will walk with the evangelical; the evangelical will walk with the liturgical; the liturgical with the charismatic. For each one, this unity will be a new thing. And the wheels of the Word and the Spirit will turn, and the harvest will be gathered in.

“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the LORD’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And peoples shall flow to it. Many nations shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths”
(Micah 4: 1-2).

Next: pedal power.

The Mountain Bike

Our bike is not a road bike; it’s a mountain bike. God wants us to go up the mountain to seek His presence, and He wants us to ride on the paths that He shows us. I’ve written elsewhere about not being conformed to the world, so I won’t repeat it all here; but essentially the relevance of the idea of a mountain bike to thoughts on Christian discipleship is that the mountain bike is designed for the narrow way, not the broad road of the world’s thinking.

Long before Coronavirus, prophets of God all over the world were announcing that ‘God is about to do a new thing.’ There is material on it here as well – in particular the guest blog “You have not been this way before.” Now that new thing is upon us. I am sure that this is just a beginning; there will be more changes to come. But we are setting out on a path without a map and without roadsigns: only the Holy Spirit can tell us where to go, so we need to listen to His voice. If we aren’t used to hearing it, now is the time to learn.

As Jesus leads his off-road church further up the mountain track and away from the road there will be a separation between those who are following Him and those who are staying on the road that they have always known. It will be gradual, and for a while those on the road will say ; “It’s OK, they’ll see sense and come back down soon,” while those on the mountain will say: “Surely they will pay attention to what the Lord is saying soon, and come up here with us!” And some on the track will go back to the road, because they long for the smooth ride, while some on the road will turn off up the mountain to seek the presence of the Lord.

As the track goes higher the going will get harder yet more exhilarating, and a time will come when the distance between the two is too great and the crossing over will stop. The riders on the road will have become wedded to the world and its ways, while the Bride of Christ will be up the mountain, waiting for the Lord to return.

The LORD God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.
(Hab 3:19; Psalm 18:33)

Next: Two wheels.

The Bike Ride: Pictures of discipleship

The Lord has shown me a picture of a bicycle on a number of occasions; the last one being three days ago. I’ve been thinking about the relevance of the idea of riding a bicycle to our walk as disciples, and the more I have considered it the more aspects I have seen. I am going to try and draw the threads together here over a few posts, because I believe that the Holy Spirit will quicken specific aspects of them  to different individuals. As you read it ask Him to speak to you.

Keep Moving

You can’t sit still on a bicycle: if you do you will fall off. We are encouraged to “press on toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:14). Our faith is dynamic, not static. The Holy Spirit moves, and He wants us to move with Him. Now more than ever God is uprooting and tearing down old strongholds and old ways in the world and in the Church, because He is clearing the ground to build His Kingdom. Ephesians 5:16 encourages us to “redeem the time, because the days are evil.” We don’t achieve this by being static, but by engaging with God’s purpose for us, like the chain engages with the cogs to move the cycle forward as we put our weight on the pedal.  There are times when we doubt this purpose, and so we stop moving. The next thing we know, the faith that was so solid yesterday feels like quicksand today. But the doubt that floored us did not actually arise because the truth of what we believe is in any way questionable, but because the evil one chose that moment to send a fiery dart into our heart. We need to remember and believe the words that God has spoken to us in the past, because the gifts and calling of God are without repentance (Romans 11:29). If we just get on our bikes and start cycling again in these “quicksand moments,” despite the cloud that has descended, we will find that the path becomes solid again and the way clear once more. The shield of faith will extinguish the fiery dart.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Cor 15:58)

We are seated

Even though we are moving, we are seated – in Heavenly places with Christ Jesus. Because we are seated, we are at rest – even though we are moving. Jesus tells us that if we take His yoke upon us, we will find rest for our souls. If we have lost our rest and our peace has left us, the chances are that we have left our seats as well. All authority proceeds from His throne, and we are partakers of that authority. He has given us His name, and He has given us His peace. If we can just remember that we are seated with Him in heavenly places (Eph 2:6), anxiety, impatience, stress and many other negative states of mind have nowhere to settle.

(He) raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, (Eph 2:6)

Stay focussed

On a bicycle one has to stay focussed and concentrate on the task of staying on the road. If we have a lot of interests and responsibilities it is easy to get distracted, and the next thing we know we are, spiritually, lying on the ground along with our bicycle, and no longer wanting to cycle. But this doesn’t mean that we shirk our responsibilities or (as long as they are healthy ones!) give up our interests: God has put us where we are, and in addition He is the creator and sustainer of all things, therefore there is not a moment when we cannot find Him, and nothing in which we cannot serve and worship Him. The secret to staying on our bikes is in Proverbs 3 vs 6: to actually seek and acknowledge Him in everything we do. If we share everything with Him, as the friend that we are cycling with,  He will direct our paths, according to the rest of Proverbs 3:6. And if God is directing our paths we are not going to fall off our bikes.

In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct  your paths.
(Prov 3:6)

Next time: uphill, downhill.