In Spirit and in Truth on Easter Morning?

He-is-Risen-3

Image by Debby McDaniel.com

It’s Easter morning here in Houston where thousands of people are putting on their “Sunday best” and going to their favorite church building, temple, cathedral, etc. Many of them are convinced that their “church” is the right one to worship in and that they are doing exactly what God requires of them. Here in the Bible Belt of southern USA, it’s considered a sin to miss church on Sundays and a sacrilege to miss on Easter and Christmas! It was this mindset that Jesus was confronted with by that Samaritan woman He met by the well outside her village that day.

The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” (John 4:19-20, ESV)

As usual, Jesus did not answer people’s questions from their earthbound mindsets, but from the viewpoint of His Father in heaven.

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:19-24, ESV)

 What? Her head must have been spinning! You mean that real worship in the eyes of the Father has nothing to do with going to sacred buildings and temples on “holy days of obligation?” Nope! True worship comes from the Spirit of God in hearts that live IN His truth, not in an outward pretense of the religious norms and traditions of men. Even David of old had that figured out (read Psalm 51). It is interesting that today’s Open Windows (1) daily reading that I receive is addressing this very thing on the day when an outward show or piety is at its max.

You desire truth in the inner being. (Psalm 51:6)

In the course of our spiritual history God deals with us in ever-deepening ways. Down, down, down, He goes, until He touches bottom to have things true at our very depth. He undercuts all our professions, doctrines, assumptions, pretensions, illusions, and customs…. There is no mere formalism about this; no mere Jewish ritual in this; no mere outward observance of rites and ceremonies in this! No! This has got to go right into the inmost being, in the inward parts. God works toward that. God is ever working toward the most inward parts. Do you recognize that? Do you understand what He is doing with us? Oh, He will meet us with blessing on a certain level, as we walk before Him, like the man in Psalm 1. He will meet us with His gracious provision when we transgress and trespass and fail, and do wrong – He will meet us there in grace. But God is going to pursue this matter to the most inward place of our being, and register there His work of grace and redemption.

The Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are characterized by this one feature – truth! And God desires and has set His heart upon having people who are partakers of the Divine nature, and so He is working ever more deeply toward this end: what is true of Himself shall be true of His children – those begotten of Him – that they should be true sons of God in this sense. (2)

Oh yes, He deals with us in ever deepening ways. Most of us Christians feel His probing gaze into our hearts and it makes us uncomfortable to say the least. So, what do we do? We run off to a church, Bible school or seminary (our Samaritan “holy mountains”) and offer the sacrifice of our lips to try and appease Him so that our soulish discomfort will go away. It’s this holding to the traditions of men (which are not supported by the New Testament) that keeps us going to these places while the piercing gaze of the Father goes ever deeper into our souls. So what’s next? We give more money, more time to those systems and more effort to make them work while we try to appease our inward discomfort. Eventually, we get the picture that all this institutionalism is not getting the job done, so we try meeting in homes on a regular basis, not understanding that our Father is not going to let up until He finds truth, His Son, freely living in our inward parts.

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. (Ps 51:6, ESV2011)

I thank God that He never lets-up until He sees His divine truth in our inner most being where He desires to dwell. With David I pray,

​Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.​ Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. (Psalm 51:10-12, ESV)

29 comments on “In Spirit and in Truth on Easter Morning?

  1. Judi says:

    Thank you, Michael 🙂
    Very timely message. I awakened this morning at 3 am. I could not go back to sleep so I checked my emails for the OW message. I had in my spirit the words “Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.” (found in Ps 42:7). That was just how I felt and have been feeling lately.
    Then, as I went to read the full article, there was that very thought 🙂
    I have been visiting a local fellowship (a very traditional style church) and had thought I would attend this morning since it is Easter Sunday.(I need one of Susanne’s eye rolling smileys here hahaha)
    I have been disturbed of late and decided to seek the Lord apart from the ‘noise’ so chose to remain at home. I had to struggle with not feeling guilty though. I can hide in the ‘noise’ quite easily – LOL – as you mentioned also:
    Quote: “Oh yes, He deals with us in ever deepening ways. Most of us Christians feel His probing gaze into our hearts and it makes us uncomfortable to say the least. So, what do we do? We run off to a church, Bible school or seminary (our Samaritan “holy mountains”) and offer the sacrifice of our lips to try and appease Him so that our soulish discomfort will go away.” (end quote)
    I say all that to say thank you for posting today and being a part of the Spirit’s ‘proceedings’ in my life. There is not a known timing to the process we are all in so all we can be sure of is that “My times are in thy hand…” Ps 31:15a
    Amen to the prayer from Ps 51…A quote from TAS that touched me deeply was:
    “David well knew that the mercy of God had to go deeper than death; death which was his due.” (end quote)
    Thanking God always for you, dear brother, and as Paul prayed may (we) be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and DEPTH, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye (we) may be filled with all the fulness of God.” Eph 3:18-19 ( my caps and parenthesis)
    HIS love to you, your family, and all the precious ones here. Judi

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Insightful blog, Michael! ⭐

    We know that He is among us when we fellowship in the Spirit, even on Easter, 😉 “for where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

    Liked by 4 people

    • Michael says:

      Thank you, Susanne. You are so right If we walk in the Spirit together, everyday is the same… His seventh day of rest in heavenly places in Christ.

      “Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,
      “As I swore in my wrath,
      ‘They shall not enter my rest,’”

      Your brother together with Him as we rest,
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Pat Orr says:

    Thank you for the refreshing blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. dimple says:

    Blessings to you all. He is risen, indeed!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Michael, initially I wonder if you have moved from the Idaho area? You certainly do not need to answer that publicly.

    Today found my husband and myself in Wyoming (we drove there last night and stayed in a hotel) and met his parents for breakfast this morning before heading to the hospital to visit a family friend who has been very sick after a mesothelioma diagnosis. When we made the plans and I realized the date on the calendar, and looked back to last year on this same holiday when we had driven yet again to Wyoming to surprise my father-in-law on his 80th, I had to smile to the Lord. I see you! Our risen Lord is a lifestyle, as I just read in TAS’ email from this afternoon:

    ” The resurrection of the Lord Jesus has got to become to His own a daily reality. It is not something that happened so many years ago. We do not celebrate something that happened centuries ago, we celebrate something that is real now in experience.” http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/005394.html

    Indeed! And amen!

    I do hope this does not come across as boasting. I know to Whom makes this all a living reality in us, and to Whom the glory goes.

    I will end with this comment: We shall never underestimate the power of a hug or the encouragement of our presence to those who are suffering.

    I am your sister,
    Becky

    Liked by 4 people

    • Michael says:

      Thank you, Becky. You are so right, if Christ is not our daily reality and life, our “Christianity” is all about sabbaths, feast days, places we have to worship in, hierarchic ministers, rituals and all things of this worldly dimension. Abiding with Him in heavenly places is key to our freedom from all such bondage and in the Spirit every moment is a celebration.

      Holy hugs,
      Michael 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Kenneth E Dawson says:

    My exwife replied to my post on facebook—-God said to me–“Ken I AM living inside you and I AM the Christian–Your not.”

    She said, “True Christians are followers and God is not a Christian.So is God your disciple ?”

    I went to work and talked to Papa about this statement of hers—-I said to Him—“I don’t really need to consult with you do I about how to reply to this ridiculous question of hers?”

    Later He said, “Oh yes this is a good question and here is my answer for you to give—-‘I have been chasing you for years—I captured you and you ran off to the letter then you got you a woman and I had to let her divorce you to get your attention and now I have you as my son—Your not following after me I am chasing you. She is stunned,'”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Well, my brother, Satan seems to have a way of trying to destroy our faith In Christ with doubts and he loves to use people who are or have been close to us to do so.

      The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down. (Prov 14:1 [ESV2011])

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Very inspirational Michael, thank you. I so agree, in spirit we are all in harmony with the Father. Hallelujah! for He has risen.

    What a wonderful gift the Lord has bestowed on us through His death and resurrection. He is seated at the right hand of the Father advocating for each of us. And there for us through His Spirit in us in our weaknesses. Gal 21-22 “Well then, are God’s laws and God’s promises against each other? Of course not! If we could be saved by his laws, then God would not have had to give us a different way to get out of the grip of sin—for the Scriptures insist we are all its prisoners. The only way out is through faith in Jesus Christ; the way of escape is open to all who believe Him.”(TLB) For He has risen!

    Be blessed, my friend.
    In Christ, Aida

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Aida, Thank you for your uplifting comment. It is so wonderful to be one in the Spirit with His spiritual children and to know that Christ is our Advocate before the Father. Without His death and resurrection and Life in us we would truly be lost. The enemy is always trying to drag me down and make me doubt my place in Christ and His working through me as being valid. Your reply is a blessing, for sure.

      You are a blessing, too,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • As your reply & post is for me as well 🙂
        We lift each other up my friend, to be strong in adversity. Especially when the enemy thinks he has the upper hand. We are only human. Thank God for His precious gift in Jesus becoming one of us. Knowing first hand our struggles by living through them, with the Father’s Spirit in Him.
        As His children and our faith testifies to trust Him wholeheartedly.
        He overcame so we with Him through Him can as well. For He who lives in us IS greater still!
        I’m focusing more on WWJD through my own insecurities and trusting Him with my life in spite of the enemy’s lies and constant insinuating doubts of unforgiveness, of i can’t(s). Do i cry in my prayers, absolutely for my weakness, but in that weakness in that prayer He gives us strength to endure and persevere. Hope is a precious gift to have, knowing this too shall pass. Knowing in Him all will turn out well, trust His providence.
        Jesus is truly our only escape for as Scripture’s predicts heavy is the storm that’s coming when the angel that’s holding it back is removed. All these ‘little’ trials are getting us prepared for the battles ahead, a heart not changed by the struggles but inspite of to continue onward. I cry out ‘Hallelujah!’. He has overcome! And through Him with Him and our deep relationship will carry us through. Hope in fighting the good fight as our Lord instructed.
        Our only lifeline is our faith and our relationship with Christ. Whether we live or die, through rain or shine, in this world we run the race God has ordained. The perilous times we are living in and opposing views of what’s right is only going to intensify. We must be ready and watchful. His strength is what will carry us home. This is not our home we are temporally here for a purpose such as this.
        Thank you for your ‘voice in the wilderness’. We help each other in the truth of God’s word. Peace be with you. You’re graciously most welcome if my words uplifted your spirits (it’s reciprocal), our Lord is putting the smile in our hearts❤🕊😇!

        Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Aida,

      Thank you once again for another edifying reply. Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.” The only way that His overcoming can make us happy is for it to also be OUR overcoming and that happens as we abide IN Him and not in the depths of ourselves. May it become more of a reality every day as Paul said, “We now dwell in heavenly places IN Christ Jesus.”

      Your brother IN Him,
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Gracias Michael por tan bella reflexión, muy oportuna. Y en estos días estuve meditando acerca de esto y el Señor me hacía ver que Su muerte y Su resurrección deben obrar cada día en nuestras vidas por el poder de Su Espíritu.

    Lamentablemente se convirtió en un rito más, que no solo los católicos lo celebran, sino muchos evangélicos lo hacen de igual forma, son ceremonias frías y sin la vida de Dios.

    Compartí esta preciosa enseñanza en mi blog, espero tener tu permiso 🙂

    Un abrazo.
    —————–

    Patricia wrote:

    Thank you Michael for such a beautiful reflection, very timely. And these days I was meditating about this and the Lord made me see that His death and resurrection must work every day in our lives by the power of His Spirit.

    Unfortunately it became a rite. Not only Catholics celebrate it, but many evangelicals do it in the same way, cold ceremonies without the life of God.

    I shared this beautiful teaching in my blog, I hope to have your permission 🙂

    A hug.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      You are welcome, Patricia. One time we went to an Easter service with one of our adult children and it was the same as every other one that we had attended many years earlier. If we can sit there and predict even which songs will be sung and when, I would day that the life of the Spirit has been lost.

      “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”(John 3:7-8 [ESV2011])

      Yes, there is no problem with you re-blogging what I write. 🙂

      Holy hugs back,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Powerful, Michael. I was, also, reminded of this verse. “Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1: 27). ❤

    Liked by 3 people

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