“Be Separate:Set Yourself Apart”

As I was washing up last night, I tried to meditate upon the Word, but I try as I might, I kept losing my place. Struggling, I told the Lord, “I’ll keep on bringing my mind back on track no matter how many times I am distracted.”

But He replied, “Just rest now. You need to rest. I don’t want you to become a prey.” He meant a prey for the devil, of course. And no, I didn’t want that either. I battle enough with him as it is. But there he was anyway. I could feel the tension attempting to creep back into my neck and back. Like Paul warned, “You are not unaware of satan’s schemes." With determined effort, I took some deep breaths, and relaxed. “I am rested and relaxed in you, Christ Jesus. I am more than a conqueror through Him who loved me.”

Even so, I questioned, “But you say for me to confess and meditate upon the Word day and night. So shouldn’t I be doing it?”

“No”, He answered, “You are weary. Listen to Me. Jesus knew when to meditate and when to rest. I want you to know when to rest.”

My answer became my prayer and my praise,“Thank you, Holy Spirit. You are my guide and my teacher. When I lose my way, you are the light who brings me back. Always you hold me up and keep me from falling.”
Lifting my hands into the air, I gave Him glory for all He had done and all He was doing in my life, and in others, even yours.

“Unto you, Lord God, be the power, and the greatness, and the dominion forever and ever.”

When I finished up in the kitchen, I headed to bed, intending to study the Word for a bit before calling it a day, but the Lord wouldn’t hear of it. He was insistent that I lie back and rest without delay.

For several days and nights I had fought the tension that satan was attacking with. Tension was a familiar and horrible thing to me. Even as a child, I had been tense. Perhaps I was born tense. I cannot say. I can’t see back that far.

Tension goes with worry, and worry was something I was very good at. The alarm bells sounded. Worry. Fiery bullets of worry hit my mind. Worry is a form of fear, and the opposite of faith. Nope, I wouldn’t worry. God hasn’t given me a shield of worry, but a shield of faith. No, I was not unaware of the devil’s schemes. His first method of attack with me, and with anyone of you who walk by faith in God, is to try and knock me out of faith, to get me to drop the shield that is able to quench ALL the fiery darts of the enemy, and to replace it with fear.Refusing the thoughts, I cast them out each time they came, centering my mind on the scriptures instead, especially Philippians 4 which tells us,

“Be careful for nothing [don’t worry, don’t fret, don’t stew], but in everything [this means every single thing!] with prayer and supplication, make your requests known unto God, and the peace of God [His tranquility, His love] will keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

About 1 a.m. I snapped awake. The worry attack assaulting my mind had become pain in my body. As strange as it sounds, I have never been prone to tension headaches. But pain was now shooting through my head, dozens of ricocheting bullets forming a ever-tightening ring around my head. I made a conscious effort once more to relax my body, to concentrate on the Lord, and to consider not what I could feel or see.

No good. I wasn’t going to get back to sleep, not by my own effort. That was for sure. After tossing and turning for a bit, I spoke up to the Lord, who is my constant companion and has been since I gave my entire self to Him in 2012, and He transformed my life. Speaking from my heart, I

During the night I had the following dream. I was with Chris and a few other people. I was sitting with them, but I was not a part of them. Their conversation was centered on subjects far removed from me. Even many of the words they used were not words I would use. In fact, hearing them brought me great sadness. Yet, whenever they glanced at me, my reaction was always the same. Did I approve or condone their behavior or their words? Not at all. But, I responded to each of them, as persons, the very same way. I responded in love and gentleness.
I’ve thought back to this dream often, and each time I marvel over the radiance that was in my face. This is the measure of God’s love that I actively pursue. It’s the thing I pursue more than anything else. And my target is The FULL measure! (Hey, God told me not to settle for less in anything, but to go for the more, so I am. How about you?)

On my lap was a baby. She was very dirty, her little top stained and crusted with food and drink. It appeared that she had worn those same clothes for a long, long time.

I said to group of people I sat with, “I think I’ll go give her a bath.” Again, I radiated with love and gentleness. My face glowed with love. I seemed so very at peace in myself, so serene. There, yet untouched by what I neither practised nor approve of.

I stood and took the baby into the next room. My hands were very full. I was balancing many things. Don’t know how I carried them all. I looked for the best places to set things so that they wouldn’t get lost.

I started to pick up a litre-size bottle, the one I had propped up on the sofa. It was filled almost to the top. The lid was missing. But then I hesitated. What was in the bottle? It didn’t look right to me. At that moment, the contents of the bottle that had looked suspicious enough to me to cause me to do a double-take before picking it up, was revealed. It was urine. Very concentrated, very smelly. Disgusted and sickened, my stomach turned. I thought to myself, “I almost took a drink from that but it’s the wrong bottle.” For a brief moment, I’d mistook it for my drink. Then my head had cleared, and I realised that it was not anything good, it was the filth of the world. And I was repelled by what I used to readily and eagerly drink.
“Therefore, putting aside all filthiness, and all that remains of wickedness (lusts and desires of the old self), in humility receive the Word implanted, which is able to save your souls.” (James 1:21-22)

Whew! That was a close one. I had been tempted for the briefest second, but in the end I was not duped into drinking the world’s drink which to me had always seemed, well, normal and good. There was my drink sitting on the small table to my right. Relieved, I picked it up instead. It was water. Pure, clean and fresh. I picked it up instead and took a drink. I had the real thing. I had the Word that was able to save my soul.
“Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify (set it apart) and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 6:25-27)

The room was an odd one, very laboratory-like. Filled with sleek black counters. These were so wide that even on tippy-toes when I leaned forward and stretched my arm as far as it would go, the back of the counter remained out of reach. One lone object sat on the counter in front of me. It was an attachment for a 35 mm camera. I decided it must belong to Chris.

The room had been a bustle of activity in the days past. Now, it was strangely still. Eerily silent, though it had once been a revolving door that never seemed to close. Men wearing glasses and holding small notebooks came and went like clockwork. Eyeing me as if I wasn’t even human, they sat and studied me as if I was not human but just some laboratory rat, pausing from time to time to scribble furiously in their notebooks. As Jesus says,
“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love it’s own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than it’s master.’ If they persecuted Me (Jesus), they will also persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also.” (John 15:18-20)

In my dream, these home visits from quiet little men were a weekly thing. Or was it daily? I’m not too sure. But I realised they were gone now, all those little men. They were cancelled, and I basked in this freedom. God was my deliverer. He sent Jesus to buy my freedom. He was my get-out-of-jail-free card. How exhilarating it was to be free, like walking on clouds.

Turning, I walked quickly from the room out onto a large plaza. It too was deserted. Emptiness, void, greyness was everywhere, dull and colourless as a pencil drawing. Seemed that the world as I’d known it had ended, like a nuclear bomb had exploded. But this bomb had removed all the people, and left the buildings.

A brisk wind was whipping my hair across my eyes. It whistled through the hollow buildings, the sound of a lone wolf howling at midnight. As I walked, I kept brushing the strands of hair back out so I could see where I was going.

A part of me felt so alone, so isolated. Yet, I knew I wasn’t. The Lord was with me. His voice persistently whispered the same words to me over and over, drowning out the whistling of the wind.

“I will never leave you or desert you. I go with you. I will always be here. Rest. Rest. Rest. Rest in Me.”

This is what He keeps telling me, and this is what He keeps telling you. It is a promise, and God is not like men, He keeps His promises, every single word.
“I will never leave you or forsake you...The Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?...lo, I AM with you always even unto the end of the world.” (Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 28:20).

So He assures me in this dream, as He does every day, “I will never let you down. I will always answer, ‘Here I AM’ when you call me.”

And this is the purpose of that dream, this is the Lord’s message to me and to you: Get out of the world and stay out of it. Stop listening to it’s words and speaking them as if they are your own. Stop doing the things the world does. Stop living in sin. STOP!

I know it is easier said than done, but I’m not speaking empty words. I’m speaking God’s words. He assures us that it can be done. He assures us, it can.
“Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)

This is the key. Renew our minds by meditating on the Word. Like Joshua 1, and Psalms1 tells us to do. Meditate on it day and night. Meditate. Dwell in it. Rest in it. Go to it when we are tempted. Go to it when we are feeling discouraged. Rest in it when others don’t stand with us because we are speaking God’s word, and doing His will, marching to the beat of a different drum, and we feel alone and deserted.

Meditate. Rest.This is the key. Meditate on the Word. This is what God promises in Joshua 1 when we meditate on the Word.
“...THEN we shall make our way prosperous, AND THEN we shall have good success.”

And this is what we can expect according to Psalms 1,
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in [it] he meditates day and night [and] he shall be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water[pure,clean, and fresh], which yields it’s fruit in it’s season (abundance!), and it’s leaf does not wither [he shall not die, he shall not fall]; and whatever he does shall prosper.”

Yes I know, I know. The world’s like a delicious cream-filled pastry. I used to see it that way too. I mean, really now, who can resist? Even the word “delicious” has become synonomous with temptation. If we continue to sit in front of it, our mouth will begin to water, and pretty soon we’ll reason, “One little bite won’t hurt.” Next thing we know, we’ll be licking cream off empty fingers.

Jesus set us free from sin. He set us free from satan.
“He (The Father) gave Him (Jesus), who knew no sin, to be sin for us (for us, for us, for us!) so that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.”

“There is therefore now (When? NOW!) no condemnation unto them who are in Christ Jesus (dwelling in Him, in His word), and who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit. For the spirit of the law of life in Christ Jesus has made us FREE from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2)

“Look but don’t touch” is stupid advice. Stop looking and you’ll stop touching. You are free.You are free. You are free. Jesus set you free. So don’t take that bite of pastry no matter how good it looks, and no matter if it feels right. Push it aside. Cast it down. And don’t even say, “No, thank you.” Just say, “No, no, no!”

Sin kills. Sin and death is a law. This is why Jesus set us from the delicious pastry-filled world. We are freed to do good. We are not free so that we can go back and continue to do what we did before, or to approve of sin when we see others doing it. The entire Bible warns about this. It’s what Israel kept doing repeatedly. They’d say “I’m sorry, I’m sorry." But in their hearts they didn’t mean it, their words were empty, just like those New Year’s Resolutions we keep making. Empty words. Israel went right back to doing the same things they did before. Paul says Israel is our example of what not to do.

Israel looked, but at the wrong thing. They kept looking at that delicious pastry and they found themselves wanting both: to do the things of the world, but to have God too. Furthermore, They wanted God to approve of what they doing. They wanted Him to say, “Okay, I’ll allow that.” And that’s what many of us have thought He said to us. But, here’s the news: we can’t have both. God does not compromise His Word. Righteousness and unrighteousness do not kiss. The world says they do, but God says they don’t.

So, we must choose.We must choose to follow one or the other. Follow God or follow the devil. How do we follow God? “..with the washing of water by the Word...” Not saying, “I can’t help it, I just can’t resist.” God says “You can. You can through the spirit of the law of life in Christ Jesus.

The spirit of the law of life in Christ Jesus is in me, and in you. See there, you’ve had it in you all the time, this power to break free of sin. Then, the excuse for sin will no longer be, “I’m not perfect. God’s not finished with me yet.” Instead it will be our new motto as we attain higher and higher levels of walking in holiness and righteousness, because we meditate upon the Word and allow Him, through the renewing of our minds in the Word, to transform us. Then we’ll say to the world-dwellers, “No, I’m not perfect. But, I’m free from sin. Jesus set me free, and He wants to set you free as well.”

Know how to get free, and know how to remain free because we’ve got an enemy. He’s on the prowl, and he’s very hungry for souls. In his hands he’s holding up a giant pastry, our favourite, just the kind we’ve always liked. Wow! Those things of the world are like comfort food. But it’s a trick, so turn away, and drink instead from the right bottle, the bottle with the pure water of the Word, and keep drinking, and you will see that pastry as it really is: filthy and disgusting. Same as that bottle in my dream, the first one that I was tempted to drink from. Not clean, not pure, but evil. Filled not with cream, not with good, but with sin and death.
“Therefore, putting aside all filthiness, and all that remains of wickedness (lusts and desires of the old self), in humility receive the Word implanted, which is able to save your souls.” (James 1:21-22)

Paul says the same thing in Ephesians 4:22-24.
“That in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old Self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit (satan’s lie), and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind AND put on the new Self which, in the likeness of God, has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

Meditate on these scriptures, then get stuck into the 6th chapter of Romans. It tells us how to break free, and why we need to stay free once we do. It tells us why God’s grace is not our ticket to continue living in sin. Next, go on to the 8th chapter. The words are as plain as the nose on my face. Sin brings death. Sin brings death. “For the wages of sin is death...For the wages of sin is DEATH.” It’s a law.The law of sin and death. But when we confess “Jesus is my Lord,” and believe in our heart that God has raised Him from the dead, we have the spirit of the law of life that’s in Christ Jesus in US. This is the law that sets us free. We cannot have death and life at the same time. The world, and it’s god(our enemy, the devil) has been fooling us. Or should I say it’s been “pulling the wool over our eyes?” It just won’t work. This is the trouble.

Get free. BE free. Stay free. We’ve got an enemy. Be aware. He is prowling around like a lion seeking whom he may devour. And he wants to devour you and me. I won’t let him. Will you?

The devil’s got a motto too. He knows God’s Word. And God said, “Do not be deceived. God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he shall also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption [death], but the one who sows to the spirit will from the spirit reap eternal life.” Wanna hear satan’s motto? “Make them sin and they will get death.” So stay clean in the Word. Meditate on it. Dwell on it. Do it. Be holy as He is holy. Be righteous as He is righteous. If you do this and you sin, Jesus is your advocate. Seek forgiveness fast.

So don’t just stand there licking the cream off your fingers, push that pastry away, and don’t even say, “No, thank you," because you are not thankful to the devil for offering sin and death to you, are you? Push the things of the world away, and when you meet Jesus, you’ll be glad you did.

When you see Jesus, it’ll be worth all those times you had to say, “No, I won’t take a bite of that pastry. I won’t even look”, all those moments you stood alone, the many tears you shed as you watched others around you keep on eating that cream-filled pastry, compliments of the god of this world. For you’ll know then, the moment you see Jesus, that you made the right choices, and that it was worth everything you suffered and more. And you’ll know He was right. He meant every word when He promised you,
“I will never leave you or forsake you...The Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?...lo, I AM with you always even unto the end of the world.” (Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 28:20).

He meant every word. You were not alone. Not even for a moment, for He walked with you and was in you the entire time.