Thursday, January 22, 2009

"Marination" - "To Soak ... To Tenderize"

I was really challenged by an interesting question on Facebook from my wonderful friend Chris Welch (author of blog; "080808 On,Now,To the Third Level"). Knowing him as I do there was no judgement or criticism to it - he was just interested. Chris asked what my favourite "soaking" C.D's are. I thought about it for a bit and I replied as honestly as I could that "soaking" isn't something I am very good at, at all. For those who aren't familiar with the term, probably Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship provide the best working definition;

"Jesus says, “Ask and you will receive”. We’re very good at the asking part…but how about the ‘receiving’? If we are the ones who are doing all the talking, it’s really a one-way conversation. Soaking is the listening part of our conversation with Him. It’s setting aside time to lie down and receive from Him. Soaking is a dedication: “God this is time just for you.”Soaking is an invitation: “God do what you want to in me”. Soaking is an expectation: “Thank you Father for what you are accomplishing as I rest in you.”".

Now here's a confession - I am not very good at staying still. At all! I hate being alone and I hate even more being alone and quiet. And I have always just put it down to being full of energy but when I trace back I wasn't always like that. I mentioned in my testimony that I used to legalistically spend time with God (well it was actually with my Bible) from 05:00 till 06:00 - take that Mrs Mahaney. So I can do it! But I stopped doing it when I began to struggle with depression and all the other things that came upon me. And the other day Rob Rufus defined so prophetically and succintly why that is (from his sermon; "Being Established In The Gift Of Righteousness - Part 2 : How To Increase In The Blessing");

"I am convinced that many Christians struggle with living happy because secretly they don't like themselves. I think it's probably the number 1 problem in most Christians lives - if they were really honest, they don't really like themselves. Then they also think that is being spiritual! That the more you despise yourself the more holy you are. Imagine Jesus walking around hating Himself. How would He hate something the Father said; "I love"? Jesus was the righteousness of God and He has given us the exact same righteousness He has as a complete standing - our position before the Father is permamently the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!

I believe people don't like themselves because they have brought into the lie of religious people that is being self-indulgent and not narcissistic. We are not talking about Hollywood - we are talking about the reality of David saying; "I am fearfully and wonderfully made - I am not going to just tolerate how you have created me - I am going to celebrate EVERYTHING about me from my hair, my nose, my fingers, my voice - everything - I thank You that You made me God and I will not despise what You created! I will celebrate it!".

We have listened to the lie of the devil for so long on this issue. When you like yourself - it is a sign of security. I am not talking about being so in love with yourself that you are selfish and ignore everyone else. I am talking about being so secure in who God has made you that you really like yourself. How many of you like spending a lot of time with someone you don't like? Who do you have to spend the most time with? YOURSELF! If you don't like yourself then you don't like life because you take yourself wherever you go! And if you don't like yourself then you are taking misery and spending time with somebody that you don't like!".

This is an issue that many of us former-SGM'ers will be very familiar with. It's quite trendy to speak of yourself as being "the worst sinner I know" at the moment and I always felt that wasn't quite in line with Scripture. Yes I know Paul said it. But the way I heard it said, I knew that the people who said it didn't really mean it. It became a form of spiritual pride. So to hear Rob say this was a wonderful freeing statement. Yes! "I am fearfully and wonderfull made!". God looked at man when He had finished and said; "It is very good!".

So back to soaking - as I said, I answered Chris Welch honestly and decided to do something about it today. On my way back from the gym, I went into St Andrews Christian bookshop near me and browsed a section of C.D's that normally I wouldn't go near! Interestingly enough the only "soaking" C.D was one called;

"Marinating - Pickling in God's Presence" ... by Todd Bentley.

So I brought it! I know, I know - the heresy alarms are going to be going crazy at this point. I can see the concerned comments flooding in - "Do you really think you should be buying a CD by a convicted sinner ... " blah blah. So let me save you some time. I know all the "concerned" questions already! As I was hovering debating whether to buy this C.D - this thought occured to me;

"If Paul the apostle was alive today - knowing his history of Christian-killing and Stephen-stoning and all - what would the concerned evangelicals have to say about buying his books or his C.Ds? He worked signs and wonders and miracles as well as being pretty sound on doctrine! Definately dodgy.

Furthermore the only judgement I am permitted to make on Todd Bentley is that he is the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. I don't know his state before God, and because I am not without sin, I don't intend to throw any stones. But this I do know - Todd Bentley has got more anointing in his little finger than most "concerned" evangelicals have got in their whole bodies.

Why? Because he's more holy? Well clearly not. Because he's more righteous? Nope - we are ALL the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. Because he's more HUNGRY. And at the moment I want to spend time with hungry men and women of God. And I will leave Todd Bentley's condition upto God".

So I brought the C.D! And I put it on in the car and essentially it is an instrumental C.D but with Todd reading Scripture, praying and generally exhorting. And I kid you not - I was drunk at the wheel driving back home! All he kept saying was the verse; "There is a river that makes glad ... out of his heart will flow rivers of living water". I started to cry first (always the first sign the Spirit is falling) and then started to laugh ... just at how good God is and how much He loves me!

So Chris ... you will be interested to know my "soaking" collection is growing and I think I've got an awesome C.D here that will serve as an amazing tool to just spend time alone and loudly in the Presence of God basking in His Presence! And for those of you who are even secretly "tutting" and shaking their heads (and you know who you are) I won't write off Todd Bentley for his mistake, just as I wouldn't write off Roy Clements for his mistake or William Branham for his mistake - I will celebrate the fact that they are simply human like me and are receptors of God's grace and His righteousness just like me. Jesus Christ hasn't written me off for my numerous mistakes! Just as He hasn't written them off for theirs ("those whom the Father has given Me, I will by no means cast away") - so what right do I have to do anything but follow Him?

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