Picture image: CJ with orphans in Peru.
Excerpt from The Secret Place (Cutrone; 2014):
Psalm 91: ‘He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High will abide
in the shadow of the Almighty.’
“As stated, the understanding and the truth of living this first verse has everything to do with the rest of this chapter and the Christian life. Let us break down this verse to grasp a vital, powerful and life changing revelation of it.
Dwells vs. Abides
Secret Place vs. Shadow
Dwells (Hebrew 3427) – to sit or stay, to remain, to have ones dwelling or abode. i.e. – live there, as in permanent residence.’
Of importance to note, the Old Testament Hebrew word here for dwell has the same meaning as the New Testament Greek word abide (Greek 3306) – to continue to be present; not to depart as in John 15.
This fact is important because it is necessary to understand that what is true in abide in John 15, is exactly what is represented in the word dwell in Psalm 91.
On the other hand, the word abide in Psalm 91 is altogether different in the Greek than we are accustomed to in our New Testament understanding of the word abide. So, dwell in Hebrew is the same as abide in Greek. This difference is of great significance.
Abides – (Hebrew 3885) to lodge over, to pass the night, stop over… Old Testament.
You can observe that there are two fundamentally different meanings of the words here. Where dwell (Old Testament) is to live, a state of permanent residence; abide is a temporary stay…
…This foundation is for one of the most powerful revelations I have ever seen in God’s word – the kind of revelation that enables us to grab hold of God’s will and heart with a sure true faith…
The Secret Place is a very intimate place. It is a place of knowing and being known. It is reminiscent of the spiritual closeness of the wedding chamber between a husband and wife.. Obviously we are not talking of physical oneness, but instead a oneness which happens in the hearts and lives of a couple when God makes them one. It is a relationship that is in complete contrast to the dreadful phrase so many will hear, ‘Depart from Me, I never knew you.’ So what does the Bible tell us of the Secret Place and what does it have to do with the Shadow of the Almighty? That is the best part!
Understanding the Secret Place is essential for the shadow, and the promise of the Shadow of the Almighty is something to shout about.
Exodus 33:8 ‘So it was, whenever Moses went out of the tabernacle, that all the people rose, and each man stood at his tent door and watched Moses until he had gone into the tabernacle. And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses.’
…The Secret Place of God, the inner sanctum, was a place of intimacy. The Secret Place was not a place to talk about God, but to talk with God. It was here God met with Moses and they talked ‘face to face.’ It was here Moses bared his heart; it was here God revealed Himself to His servant. How much of our time and lives are spent on talking about God, thinking about God, but not talking to God or letting God talk to us?
…The Holy of Holies… only those who were invited in, those descendants of Aaron, the firth High Priest were given the privilege. But today, to the praise and Glory of Jesus Christ, all the children of God are indeed invited to come (Isa. 55, Matt. 11:28).
There are three very important facts to note here: 1) While this actual place was limited in the permissible physical presence to the High Priest alone, the place of intimacy, which it represented, was not… King David even before the Cross knew this place (David wrote Psa. 91) … Enoch, who ‘walked with God’ is another example.
2) The veil that separated the people, even the other priest, was torn in two by God Himself from top to bottom at the death of our salvation Jesus Christ…
3) Then as now, note how the high priest himself had requirements to enter in… The high priest first had to offer sacrifice for his own sins (Heb. 7:27), he then had to enter in wearing a pure linen ephod. He had to remove all vestiges of worldly glory, prideful possessions, and worldly recognitions. He could not even wear the chest-plate given to him by God that designated his office.
…So it is today as it was then, without the blood sacrifice, without humility, without holiness, and without the proper covering, we cannot enter the secret place just as the High Priest could not enter in… Matt. 22:8 ‘… He saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment… the King said to the servants, ‘bind him… and cast him into outer darkness… for many are called, but few are chosen.’
The invitation that God has given us is incredible, but as incredible as it is, there is one condition that cannot be waved, being clothed in Christ.
John 14:6 Jesus said, ‘…I am the way, the truth and the life: no man comes unto the Father but by Me.’
John 13:8 Peter said to Him, ‘Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, ‘If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.’
Here we observe Jesus telling His most beloved disciples, ‘…if your body is clean you only need to wash your feet. If I don’t wash your feet, you have no part in Me.’
…This was a spiritual truth He was teaching… The ‘worldly dirt’ must be washed away…
‘Come out from among them and I will be your God and you will be My people (2 Cor. 6:17).’
‘Love not the world nor the things of the world or the Love of the Father is not in you (1 John 2:15).’
‘If you were raised with Christ seek those things above, where Christ is… (Col. 3:1).’
To enter into the Secret Place of intimacy in Christ, there must be purity, which comes from Christ. Yet, this purity must come from us saying, as Peter had to, ‘Yes Lord, wash me.’ If we resist the washing of Christ, we resist Christ Himself. If we embrace the worldly trash and refuse Christ, then as Jesus Himself warned ‘you can have no part with Me.’ Peter recognized Jesus was quite serious, so much so that he asked Jesus to wash his entire body. Peter, the one who declared, ‘You are the Son of the Living God,’ by the revelation of God, at the words of Jesus prayed, ‘wash me.’ How then can we be so foolish as to ignore the severity of the warning by claiming some aspect of grace that God never promised?
Well some might ask, ‘What about the promise that nothing can separate us from the love of God?’ Stand on that promise in regards to the love of God, but there is nothing in God’s revelation of His everlasting love, which could be used to negate what Jesus told Peter.
…Heb. 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 1Peter 1:13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’.”
Holiness matters. While holiness can never be achieved apart from God and His incredible grace, God will never make us Holy by mere belief without obedience… Grace will never tolerate sin. Rather, grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, to live soberly, righteously, and Godly in the present age (Titus 2:11).’
This is from Ch.4 ” The secret Place”.. I pray it blesses you.
Why is it so hard God?
Some time ago I found myself quite frustrated. I remember asking God, “Why does it seem to be so hard to feel close to you? If my son came to me and wanted to sit on my lap I would not resist him. Why do I feel like I have to jump through hoops to get close to you? Why is it so hard?” For weeks there seemed to be a barrier between me and God. In talking with another minister about minis…try, I had to tell him, “Right now I am not worried about all that, I am worried about me. Something is wrong. There is no life. I will not preach theory; if it is not real in me, then I will not preach it.”
We all fail. We all need to ask God for forgiveness. Many times I have heard others express that they feel the closer they are to God, the more they recognize their own sin. The more they see His Holiness, the more they see the lack of it in themselves. And, that is to be expected and good. But, when we allow that conviction even after repentance to become guilt, we find ourselves growing apart from God. In that case, the very thing that God wanted, to change us in a good way, resulted in a division between us and Him. God does not show us our faults to make us feel bad. He wants us to see things in ourselves that are contrary to Him. He does it so we can allow Him to change us.
During this time of frustration and feeling like a failure, I found myself driving down the road. In the midst of the questions I simply started worshiping God. While I was worshiping God something happened that changed my life. Out of simple worship I heard God speak to my heart. It was only three words at first but nothing on earth could have been more beautiful.
In the midst of the noise, I heard with absolute clarity, “I LOVE YOU”. Not originated in my head, but from someplace deep inside. It gripped me; arrested my heart and attention. There was such power and truth in those words it was somewhat paralyzing. I almost had to pull over. Then I heard it again, “I LOVE YOU”. With the words came an awareness of the love of God that I have never known before. It was consuming, like a wave washing over me but from inside out. It transcended mental understanding. My response was, “But I didn’t do anything to mark off the list. I did nothing to “feel like” I could draw close. No hoops!” God was just revealing His heart. I started shouting! “Hallelujah! God loves me! God loves me! God loves me!” What bliss. I knew God so loved the world and I knew that God loved me. But I did not know that love. The scripture tells us that there is a knowing that passes understanding. It never really made sense to me; until that moment.
Then God told me something else that brought that change in my life even deeper. I pray that you can receive it as well. In my asking God what happened, as I was reveling in His love, He spoke to me. His answer in my heart was essentially this:
You think I love based on how you love. You think I forgive based on how you forgive. When you asked me to forgive you, I DID; completely and perfectly. But you did not forgive yourself as I forgave you. You did not receive the way I forgave you. The barrier between you and I was all of your doing. When you were saying I want to come and sit on your lap I was saying come, but you would not climb up because you did not fully receive my forgiveness. You don’t understand the depth of my love. Then and there I broke. There I surrendered in faith to God’s love and His forgiveness. There I climbed up on my Father’s lap.
I know I was in the Secret Place of God at that moment. God brought me into His tent. God was “knowing” me and I was “knowing” Him. What freedom, what intimacy, what life. I do not believe this is supposed to be a limited experience in a Christian’s life. “Abide in Me and I in you,” is a state of being. Remember this is not a temporary stay over but a place of living.
That day God helped me to behold just a glimpse of His love. His acceptance for us in Christ is deeper than the deepest of oceans. I had to look again to the cross of Christ, the power and wisdom of God, the place of the ultimate demonstration of His love.
His Love is greater than your failure
Do you have trouble forgiving yourself? Do you have trouble receiving His forgiveness? If so, look to the love of God. Look at Jesus on the Cross. When Jesus cried out, “Father why have you forsaken me,” believe that your name was in the answer to that question. The Cross is where Love took your sins. Praise to our great salvation, Jesus Christ! By faith, even when you think you don’t deserve it, because you don’t, receive God’s forgiveness. Let Him wash you and love you like no one else can. Receive God’s love then you can receive the depth of His forgiveness.
More later… CJ
The Secret Place by C. J. Cutrone (Amazon.com)