Of course, many people know the gem that is Watchman Nee’s ‘the Spiritual man’ but sometimes when you are reading parts they jump out as full-on prophecy. Like any other sceptical 21st century believer, I am very hesitant to call something prophecy but read this and tell me that God wasn’t speaking to Nee:
A Christian must be delivered from every misconception with respect to spiritual life. He often surmises, before he enters the spiritual sphere, that if only he could be as spiritual as his brother how happy he would be! He visualizes the spiritual odyssey as a most happy affair; and so he contemplates spending his days in perfect joy. Little does he know that the opposite is the truth. The spiritual path does not yield any enjoyment to the person himself; it is instead a life of daily fighting. To remove warfare from a spiritual life is to render it unspiritual. Life in the spirit is a suffering way, filled with watching and laboring, burdened by weariness and trial, punctuated by heartbreak and conflict. It is a life utterly outpoured entirely for the kingdom of God and lived in complete disregard for one’s personal happiness. When a Christian is carnal he lives towards himself and for his own 11 spiritual” enjoyment. Of little real value is he in God’s hand. Only as he dies to sin and to his personal life shall he be able to be used by God. (http://www.worldinvisible.com/library/nee/sprtmnv2/1969c4p4.htm)
Is this not what most believers believe? Is this not loaded with such timely truth?
I pray that God would open our eyes and remind us that we do not belong here and this is not our home. After all… We are aliens.
It’s a fact that there are just a few lines to carve into your gravestone or fit into your obituary in the back of your local newspaper. So what would it say about you? What would you hope it would say about you?
As a Christian (I prefer the term ‘disciple’ and ‘believer’ so we’ll be switching effective now, by the way), since we have an ever-present awareness of eternity this question becomes even more significant. For the fool who is perishing in a perpetual state of drinking wine, being merry and essentially living for themselves alone by filling voids that can’t be filled with ‘stuff’ that doesn’t transcend the grave, they would be happy if their gravestone didn’t mention the way they lived and perhaps had a nice line like ‘Bob was a good dad and husband”. But for the believer, we know that that stuff is just the beginning of the journey – part of the entrance requirement test if you will. The bare basics, perhaps. It’s easy to love those who love you, but what about those who abuse, betray, defraud you and those you love?
I came across this most helpful list of cut-and-dry obligations for the believer. Believers are not subject to the laws of the old testament, but we live lives that *fulfil* them as we live our lives more and more like Jesus through the work that he completed on the cross. So to look at a list of duties like this the temptation is always to get old-skool testament on oneself, perhaps even spiritually beating oneself down. But it’s critical that we examine ourselves. Yes, we have a conscience that will tell us right from wrong, but even the unbeliever has that. We are privileged to have God’s own word as a mirror into which we can see our spiritual reflection. This post is a good one to take a nice overall look.
However, this list seems to be missing a part of the ‘obligation list’ that is pretty significant. In fact, it’s the only thing that Jesus commanded us to do after he departed to heaven:
“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” – Mark 16: 15
Just to back it up, let’s take a look at Paul’s kind of ‘pre-death message’ in 2 Timothy. He knew his time was short and was starting to get ready for what he expected might happen to him. Here is what he had to say:
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge he quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine.
For the time will come, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables.
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith;
Henceforth is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing
And so there is much more to do in our life as a disciple of Jesus than the inward stuff. Once the inward stuff is rolling, it should be followed by outward proof of faith. The one main such thing is the preaching of the word to others.
You need to seriously remember that Jesus said in Luke 9:23
“For whosoever shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s , and of the holy angels.”
Preach it. Don’t hide your light under a basket. Don’t be a ‘closet Christian’.
And stand in front of the spiritual mirror, the Word of God, and let it change you to the way you are supposed to be, not the way the world has deceived you to be.
Theologically speaking, Mr. Soulcase should probably be named ‘Mr. Spiritcase” but it just doesn’t have the same ring. The Bible says in Corinthians 2 verse 11:
For who among men knows the things of a man except the man’s spirit within him? So too, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
People without faith in Jesus have a tough time both in this earth and after. It’s a bad deal but people seem to have an easier time living in a state of confusion and bitterness than they do bowing their knee to their Creator and making a few slight adjustments to live life His way.
But moving on to Mr. Soulcase.
Mr. Soulcase came from a quick conversation I had with my mom. You see, we recently received news that my aunt (her sister) suddenly passed away. In fact, at the point of typing this post, it is still unknown exactly what happened except that she had fallen and hit her head about a month ago and experts suspect these two events are connected. When I called mom to check in on her (she had jumped on the next plane to her city) she explained something interesting. The part she is struggling with most is when the folks at the hospital discuss with her ‘releasing the body’. She is having a hard time speaking about her sister in terms of a ‘body’. This is her sister, you see… or was… or is… or was…
You see the conundrum.
For me, however, I have been reading my Bible – and so had been this same Auntie. In fact, we had spoken on this topic of death on an occasion or two. You see, Auntie Dianne was a believer. She had made Jesus her Lord and Saviour. And so had her husband before he passed a few years back.
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
That’s what it says in 1 Corinthians 15:55.
Death has lost its power.
The grave cannot hold us back.
Life has prevailed over death, by the blood of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
Mr. Suitcase (the thing you take with you to the airport) is made of an earthly material. The elements of the earth make up his fabric and was designed and manufactured with a purpose in mind: to carry our important goods from A to B on our journey. Functionally speaking, this is pretty simple stuff, but if you’d like an instruction manual, here you go:
- manufacture suitcase
- open suitcase
- insert contents
- close suitcase
- begin journey/travels
- toss suitcase at end of life
Mr. Soulcase is much the same. But, if you haven’t figured out my clever analogy yet, I’m going to now reveal the secret! Ready kids??
–>Mr. Soulcase is your body!! <—
…Mama don’t raise no dummies….
The DNA and material that makes up your body is designed by the God of the Bible. He thought you up before you realized you mattered (some of you still don’t). He knows every last hair on your head. From before conception, you were planned out. The only difference between a baby in the womb and a baby outside the womb is the puncture of a water bag. Life begins long before the first wail of an offspring. Don’t believe me, though. Ask a pregnant woman how those kicks feel.
Then your body was born. This was the beginning of your journey.
Unfortunately, like a Mr. Suitcase, Mr. Soulcase also wears out and/or gets damaged. The earth, thanks to ol’ Adam and Eve, is currently not in a state of perfection as it was in the Garden of Eden, so the forces of nature are working against us. Eventually, after a long enough journey, or an unexpected accident, the casing can no longer function.
And so Mr. Soulcase goes back to the earth from whence he came.
Try as hard as you’d like. Use as much technology as you can find, but there comes a point when Mr. Soulcase gets retired from his duties here on earth and there ain’t nothing that no force on earth can do about it.
And it’s at this point – when the spirit of a man departs from its Soulcase – when the arrogant humans sit quietly and ponder their most obvious frailty.
Before that, however, they are quite noisy, stubborn, arrogant, and more. Some are so lost in their arrogance that they think themselves to be God (talk to Shirley Maclaine and most of the deceived pop culture about that). You’ll note, however, this kind of garbage only comes out of affluent societies… but that’s another story.
But not when Mr. Soulcase gets retired for good. Then, and sometimes only then, we realize just how important this message of the Gospel is and we think about its implications:
- is Jesus really the *only* way to heaven?
- is there a God?
- is there a heaven?
- is there a hell?
- what is going to happen to me when my Soulcase retires?
- and when will this happen?
I write this post to encourage you to stop what you are doing and consider your short little life. I seriously don’t care how much money you have, whether you are the president of the world (is there such a position yet?) or how hot you are.
Your Soulcase is going to get old, ugly and then finally get retired for good.
I encourage you to stop what you are doing and realize that only One person has defeated death and His name is Jesus. And there is only one way to go into life eternal with him – Obey Him entirely (not just on Christmas, Easter and every thirty-fifth Sunday).
Auntie Dianne, I look forward greatly to joining you at my appointed time in the kingdom of our Holy God. Thanks for holding true to Jesus and the faith throughout the years! Your planted seeds will grow a crop.
Originally posted at www.blenzseymour.com, Thu, 10/06/2011 – 20:38
Mom’s gonna read this for sure so I can’t say anything about her forwarded emails but you know… Moms like to forward stuff to their kids. It’s like social media to them. My mom is great because we’ve been pretty open about what I auto-delete and what I actually read so she pre-filters about 800% of the emails she might be able to forward.
I plan not only to share this content but also to re-read it on occasion. Of course, to make sure you really get that home-cooked mommy flavour, I left the intro with all the exclamation marks and the conclusion that attempts to make you feel like a criminal if you don’t forward it to others.
Got a mom? You can call just copy the link of this article and email it to your her and tell them to forward it to their friends :-0
This is something we should all read at least once a week!!!!!
Make sure you read to the end!!!!!!
Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio.
“To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I’ve ever written.
My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:
1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come…
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”
Its estimated 93% won’t forward this. If you are one of the 7% who will, forward this with the title ‘7%’.
I’m in the 7%. Friends are the family that we choose.