In the part of Texas in which I live there are many woods. When I first visited more than 45 years ago, I was lured by the beauty. The rolling hills, lakes, and pine trees, beneath a majestic open sky unhindered by the skyscrapers of Houston, beckoned my soul. I knew if I were to come to stay here I’d never want to leave.
The first time I took a long walk in the woods, I realized the beauty I’d seen, at a distance, hid its protection from invasion. Seldom was there a clear path. Brambles of thorny vines tore skin not protected by long sleeves, pants, and boots. Fallen branches, spider’s webs, and other hindrances were also there, but the brambles were like a snare. I had to fight my way through.
My walk of faith has similar comparisons to the revelation I’d found when I’d sought the intimacy of the woods. It was such an astounding experience when I first accepted Jesus as my Lord. I held onto the promise life would be so much better when I asked Him into my life with my heart and soul. And life continued. But life also still contained the brambles. Perhaps even more so at times when it came to really trying to be intimate and know my Lord and how to follow His commands for me.
John 14:12-14–“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13) And I will do whatever you ask in my name so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14)You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” NIV
This morning I understood quite more deeply what He meant by “in my name.” It is not meant to be as a shallow statement cried out by those who scream, “IN JESUS NAME!” as the collection plate is passed around. And when we end our prayers do we use this as a magic tool to make sure our prayers are answered? To be sure we must really examine what He meant. What captured my attention this morning was the intimacy in the following scriptures:
John 15-21: “If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16)And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever–17)the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18) I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19)Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20)On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21)Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
If we are intimate with Him, we will understand “in my name” means “consistent with who I am” as well. If we are intimate with him we will know his commands. John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
There are many misleading false prophets today. They are the brambles. On our path of faith they must be cleared away. Many have claimed to be Christ reincarnate and turned the heads of thousands to follow them on a path which leads away from the true Way-Jesus. They will knock on your door and give you a distorted view through literature. They will say it is your only way to salvation, which negates the salvation of our true Savior, Jesus Christ. Or another will tell you there are many doors which all can enter through and everyone is welcomed even if they have hate in their heart for Christ. There are even those who believe you can become perfect through enlightenment and someday board the mighty spaceship in the sky one day.
I urge everyone to fight the brambles. Clear them from your path. The only way to do that is to know Jesus intimately and know what is consistent with the man He was and the savior He is in your life today. Compare each and every disciples teachings of their religion to whether or not it is consistent…truly consistent..with Jesus’s Words written and described by His Apostles who walked and talked with him on this earth telling what His commands are for us. The Holy Spirit will guide you as you walk. Your path is your choice.
© Phyllis Weeks Rogers 11/23/2018