Question: Dear Mark....I participated in your seminar recently and since then I have gone through the supplied workbook and the textbook, have recruited 3 spiritual advisers, and have been submitting much journaling material to them. I'm looking at taking a few not-for-credit courses with Christian Leadership University, and would like to do at least one with a Personal Spiritual Trainer. Here is some of my journaling. Thank you very much for your consideration.
Answer: Your journaling below is fantastic. We are thrilled to have you as a new student in Christian Leadership University. Keep up the great work! Mark Virkler
3/29: Lord, what do You want to say to me about Mark 2:1-12, or about anything else?
A: Bob, you see that the scribes were not blessing oriented. When I told the paralytic that his sins were forgiven, I meant all his sins. That trumped anything being done by the religious system. They should have rejoiced in that forgiveness, and at least have set My identity on the back burner. You see that I didn't resolve that mystery for them. At times I use ambiguity as a means of goading people to seek truth. In fact, I compounded the mystery by healing the paralytic, too. After doing two things that the scribes recognized as impossible, I left them with the question, "which is easier?" The common people saw strange things that day, and the scribes heard strange things.
In a little different way, you also need to become more blessing oriented. You are indeed looking for blessing for yourself, and that's not necessarily bad. How about being more willing to rejoice when I am blessing somebody else?
4/1: Lord, what methods for stilling myself before You would You like me to cultivate?
A: You already have a head start. My reservoir of peace resides in you already, and sometimes you can sense it. However, the enemy can spoil things for you with adverse circumstances. Resist him and decide to move back into My presence. You already have several ways of moving into a state of stillness and peace. It's not important which one you use at a particular time; go with the one that seems most accessible then. What is better is to work on maximizing the percentage of the time that you are abiding in My peace.
4/11: Lord, what approach do You want me to take regarding the Word of Faith movement?
A: There are many Kingdom truths that need to be grasped. No one man can understand all of them. That is part of the reason why I have appointed specialists in My kingdom. You and Ruth both have been able to partake from many specialists. This is a blessing, but it also means balancing out many aspects of My kingdom.
It's not about you trying to figure out how to make the balancing happen. The Word of Faith message, while imperfect, did return to the Body much truth that had been largely lost. Trust Me to balance out the messages that you have been receiving over the years. I will bring back remembrances from Word of Faith when you need them. Be ready, but remain in peace and rest.
4/14: Why is it that there is only a little love among Christians? And why am I part of the problem?
A: One thing you didn't consider here is man's difficulty in discerning the presence of love. Love is of the heart, but man looks on outward appearances. Love is being overestimated, and underestimated.
This deficiency in discernment itself is a damper on love. It makes people feel isolated. Yes, you are part of the problem, but I am the solution. Love Me more, and loving others will come more easily. Walk by faith. Something else you can do is to ask Me to sharpen your discernment of love. Also, be ready to forgive unloving Christians.
4/22: Lord, what could You say to me regarding speaking in parables? Do You want me to move in this area?
A: Bob, a parable has characteristics both of teaching and prophecy. It is also a means of drawing people in to meditate on My word. Some of the parables I used many times. They are powerful. There are more parables in the Bible than you think.
I have already started using you in this area. I would like to use you more in this way. It is an underappreciated avenue in the Church. Let Me show you how to grow in parables.
4/29: Lord, do You have anything to say on the subconscious?
A: Bob, this is a hidden area, as in Job 28. I can use this part of man, just as I also use the conscious mind. The Bible is addressed primarily, but not entirely, to the conscious mind. Every part of natural man, including the subconscious, is fallen. The devil can use the subconscious also, and has an affinity for it, since he likes to operate in hiddenness. Saints who welcome Me into this area see much power against the enemy.
Dreams are one of My communication tools involving the subconscious. Meditation in the Word is a means for man to get My influence into this area.
Most Christians don't need to get involved in analyses concerning the identity of the subconscious. They do need to get involved in obeying Me more.
5/3: Lord, I tend to avoid telling people about what You are doing in my life. What is Your view on this?
A: It's true that I don't want My saints to argue about which one is the greatest. On the other hand, when you are silent, it gives another a chance to assume that he is the greatest, or at least to be in the dark regarding your spiritual condition. It is indeed good to avoid tempting yourself to be in pride. But remaining totally silent means that sinners are not hearing anything about Me. See if there are any ways of testifying about Me without compromising your humility.
5/4: Lord, You often put us in a position of walking step by step, without a clear view of destinations. Often I can't help but wonder what is going on.
A: So, you're thinking this is a lonely road to travel? Welcome to the club. At least you are not stumbling as often as those in the world. When I walked the earth, I knew where I was going, but who else shared My understanding? In addition, most pastors are poorly understood by their sheep.
Did you ever consider that having a better picture of your destiny can bring in some new problems? Knowing you, having a clearer view means you would be tempted to figure out how the revealed goal should be achieved. And if there are multiple goals, you would feel that there are too many configurations.
Whether I provide you with a clear view or not, the bottom line remains trusting Me.
5/21: Lord, I'd like to return to the fruit of the spirit. Isn't fruit something to be eaten? If someone's life is producing the fruit of the spirit, who benefits? Is it You, or man?
A: It's not an either/or. I'm the One who enjoys the fruit the most, partly because I perceive it perfectly. However, I don't need it. I was doing just fine before the earth was created.
People living on earth need it. They need to know that love is really available. The existence of the fruit of the spirit is one avenue I use to draw sinners to Myself. Saints need the encouragement when the devil is opposing them. Also, if your life is producing the fruit, you are also one of the eaters!
5/30: Lord, it seems there are many who are readers of the Bible, yet hold wrong beliefs. You know my opinions, but what do You have to say about this?
A: You are onto something here. There are many ways to get on a wrong path. One stumbling block is to read My word with selfish motives. Remember those who followed Me because their stomachs benefitted from the fishes and loaves miracles. Then there are those who are told by others what I'm saying, and read for "confirmation" of what they think they know. Still others are driven powerfully by a particular idea, and this colors their perception of what is in the Bible, or not in the Bible. Then there are those who don't place a high enough value on My word to give Me enough attention. And of course, the devil will do what he can to inject various distortions.
Your own doctrine isn't perfect either. But if you get into a discussion, your intellectual approach might not be the most effective. Some Christians need to be encouraged to repent of personal issues first, and then they can see more clearly.
6/1: The warnings against conflicts of interest in secular contexts seem to have been largely silenced over the past 20 years. Lord, what do You have to say about conflicts of interest in the church?
A: What happens in the secular society is often correlated with the spiritual situation. Yes, there is little spoken of on this issue in the church, but that doesn't mean it isn't there. Remember, I've already said that judgment begins in the house of God. Rest assured, I will deal with this issue where there is no repentance. However, I'm not telling you exactly where or how I will do this.
I suggest you be harmless as doves and wise as serpents.
6/2: Lord, what would You want to say to me on boredom?
A: Bob, there are many bored people, both inside the Church and outside. One problem that relates to this is lack of a vision. Those without a vision may perish in the long term, but they may well be bored in the short term.
Even when a definite vision is present, it's frequent that boredom will arise. You'll probably find an activity boring if it's irrelevant to your vision.
Sometimes I use boredom to test My people. Spending 40 years in the desert was boring to practically all the Israelites. Some of them tried escaping boredom by unrighteous means. Certain parts of the Bible are viewed as boring by many. Here is the patience of the saints.
6/5: It seems that so many of us are out of balance, both in doctrine and in practical living. Lord, what would You want to tell me about this?
A: This issue is before Me all the time. As Israel wearied Me in Isa. 1, the Church is doing the same. One way I am dealing with it, is to put people close together, who are out of balance in different ways. But not enough of My people are taking responsibility in this area.
Immature believers are being blown off course by winds of false doctrine. Most of these winds are being generated outside the church, but they are powerful. Only those with good scriptural grounding can stand up against these winds.
Imbalances are also a problem with practical living. Two powerful remedies here are My love and My peace. But many prefer to pursue their own agendas instead of abiding in Me and maturing in these areas. I want you to grow and be an example of good balance.
6/9: Lord, my state is holding a primary election tomorrow. You know that I have certain opinions regarding our elections, but what do You want to say about them?
A: Bob, the American people think they are living in freedom because they have the right to vote. It's true that having the right to vote is better than not having it, but people don't have as much freedom in the US as they think. The 13th Amendment notwithstanding, there is much slavery in this country. Sin brings slavery. Many are enslaved by addictions to various drugs. There are plenty of other types of personal slavery.
Slavery also enters through sin in the lives of those in positions of authority. Those who vote for candidates whose sins are public knowledge are adding to their own slavery, and also the slavery of their companions. I am the One who makes you free indeed. Such voting is in opposition to Me, and they would be better off not voting.
The value of the vote of even the righteous is diminished through leaders who do not keep their promises, engage in cronyism, and are deceptive. Elections do not occur very often, but you can pray over those in authority every day. My people can do this regardless of their political system.
6/11: Lord, I confess I still have difficulty with the sanctified imagination approach to seeing in the spirit. It seems to me that the Bible seers did not approach things this way, that they received visions as a surprise from You. Can You help me here?
A: What you are saying is partially true. While the Bible saints tended not to focus on imagination, they still made themselves available to Me. Some were spending extended time in prayer, others were situated in the Temple. So the visions were not surprises in that sense.
The same principle operates with sanctified imagination. If you want to consider these visualizations as a lower order of vision, just keep in mind that these represent suitable occasions for Me to ramp up the experiences to higher levels. Don't despise the day of small things, and don't cheat yourself out of opportunities.
One other thing: maintain the right attitude toward those who are getting good results from sanctified imagination.
6/19: Lord, I have been exposed to many teachings in the area of eschatology. Some relate to the overall picture, and some focus on points of detail. Is it important for me to hold the best position / best revelation in this area, or should I be content with swimming in the ambiguities?
A: Bob, I know you have an interest in this area. It is better to have an accurate picture than a wrong picture. Incorrect eschatology can lead to mistakes in the practical areas of life. On the other hand, what price are you willing to pay to obtain the most accurate picture? And if you receive it, what would you do with it? I have not called you to be a well known expositor of eschatology.
Your current approach to these issues is OK. However, you can improve on it. Use your improving relationship with Me. When you encounter some teaching on eschatology, listen to what I may have to say.
6/22: Lord, some time ago I was involved in prayers intended to influence the weather. Recently, this issue has been sitting on my back burner. What, if anything, would You want me to do here?
A: It can stay on the back burner a little longer. But there will be a time to pick it up again. You are not free from the risk of storms. Drought is another area of concern. I have told My people that they can do greater works. However, only a few are moving to take authority over the weather.
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