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December 12, 2019

Thank You, Lord, for clarifying what our hearts should be towards one another. Lord Jesus, please lead and guide us with a motive of love and not superiority. Amen.

Dear ones, Community life brings out the best and the worst in us. Many different types of people come here, and we are just beginning. But they come as they are, with blessings, with faults, with gifts and with attitudes. In the world--competition, pride, self-promotion, self-importance and jealousy govern most interactions. But in Community, in THIS Community, brotherly love and wisdom must govern.

Let's say I am new to the Community, but immediately begin to notice things needs changing! As well as who is spiritually advanced and who is spiritually lacking and beneath me. I come with expectations that my gifts will be immediately noticed and put to work.

But after a few days, I see that people are oblivious to my gifts, and have asked me to take a menial position assisting where needed. And so, I try to please the elders by following those instructions. But all the time, I am taking note of all the problem areas, so I can later instruct them on what needs to be fixed and changed.

I even observe one of the Founders of the Community, that he has said that I believe reflects a lack of spiritual maturity. So, I go to the Elder and advise them, "I seriously call to question so and so's spirituality, because they said such and such."

My dear ones. Who has made me the Holy Spirit of the Community, that I should find fault with my brother and pass judgement on him? I haven't been there more than a few weeks and already I am trying to fix it?

Rather, I am coming with my own agenda to "fix" the Community, by doing what I feel I am called to do for them. Saying, "That's what I'm good at. I should tell them, so they will know how to best use my gifts."

Everyone has expectations when they come to a Community. Some come to help and seek nothing in return. Others come with a long list of agendas centering around their acquired skills. Others come with expectations and desires to be used, to be recognized and affirmed.

Yet detraction, my dear family, is the most deadly dynamic a person can bring into a Community, because they feel qualified to judge the motives and behaviors of others. Or even pass judgment on their spiritual state.

The Lord has gone over this before. Judgement is His and His alone. What do I mean by that? The Lord is the only one who reads the motives of a soul. We can all see when a soul is floundering or having a difficult day with something, even when they mess up. That's very obvious. There is nothing wrong with recognizing their weakness. In fact, in Community it is a mandate from the Lord for us to pray for that soul to regain their balance.

But so often, we take it a notch higher, and believe that we can judge their motives and even their spiritual progress. That we have superior knowledge, and they are below us spiritually. And we are more developed spiritually, therefore we can see more clearly what the problem is.

May I say, the most spiritual person in the Community is often times the one who is most silent, most hidden, most serving, and most solicitous for others with the trait of NEVER JUDGING the motives of a brother or sister.

If you are judging the spiritual progress of a soul, you are standing on the very heights of presumption and offending God and your brother.

Dear ones, we never have all the information to draw a rock-solid conclusion about anyone, unless it is given to us by the Holy Spirit. And it's our position to assist the Lord in covering that soul and their faults. And then, we will make it our business to pray for that soul. And perhaps have a word with them. But that's for the Presbyters of the Community to do, not the newcomers.

Humility will dictate a sense of profound littleness in our own eyes. Littleness of ourselves, and we will pray for that soul knowing they are greater than ourselves. Notice, I said KNOWING--not just trying to think it to be true. We have no right to insert ourselves between God and a soul.

But we will never pass judgment and call into question the spirituality of someone, based on something they did or said alone. This is presumption of the most deadly kind and will quickly turn a Community into a nest of vipers.

Scriptures say that if we see our brother sinning, we are accountable to say something. But if they do not respond, then we go to the Elder and ask them how to handle the situation.

I want to say here that if someone is doing something that is totally out of character for a Christian seeking a deeper relationship with the Lord, I definitely want to know about it. Not to be ugly or dictatorial, but to guard that soul who has been entrusted to us, and help them get through their temptations and fears.

We think we are super spiritual if we pray well in a group. Praying to be heard. Praying to impress others with our broad knowledge, authoritative voice and careful observations of what needs prayer.

But Scripture says, "If I pray in the tongues of angels but do not have love, it profits me nothing."

That's from I Corinthians 13.

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels but have not love [for others growing out of God's love for me], then I have become only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal [just an annoying distraction]. And if I have the gift of prophecy [and speak a new message from God to the people], and understand all mysteries, and [possess] all knowledge; and if I have all [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love [reaching out to others], I am nothing. If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it does me no good at all.

Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking; it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].

Love never fails [it never fades nor ends]. But as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for the gift of special knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part [for our knowledge is fragmentary and incomplete]. But when that which is complete and perfect comes, that which is incomplete and partial will pass away. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.

Dear family, when Bob Jones died and went to Heaven, he was greeted by St. Peter, who asked him only one question: "Did you learn to love?" Out of all of Bob's spiritual accomplishments and knowledge, he thought for a moment and answered, "No." And so, he was sent back to Earth to learn how to love.

This Community is not founded on the world's system of accolades, accomplishments, being well-spoken, impressive, and knowledge of Scriptures or spiritual acuity. That is: sharpness or keenness of thought, vision, or hearing.

It is based on Littleness, on Love, on being the least of all, the servant of all. The holy wallflower that has no interest in impressing others in any way. Rather, this kind of soul is like a violet in the forest, which loves to be crushed underfoot so it can give off its fragrance. A fragrance only the Master will notice.

Precious family, all that is lauded in the world has been cast out of the foundation of this Community. Rather, we want to embody the Beatitudes.

When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and when He was seated, His disciples came to Him. Then He began to teach them, saying, "Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are the poor in spirit [those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant], for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven [both now and forever].

"Blessed [forgiven, refreshed by God's grace] are those who mourn [over their sins and repent], for they will be comforted [when the burden of sin is lifted].

(This is the Amplified Version.)

"Blessed [inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect] are the gentle [the kind-hearted, the sweet-spirited, the self-controlled], for they will inherit the Earth.

"Blessed [joyful, nourished by God's goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be satisfied.

"Blessed [content, sheltered by God's promises] are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

"Blessed [anticipating God's presence, spiritually mature] are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

And here it says: those with integrity, moral courage, and godly character.

"Blessed [spiritually calm with life-joy in God's favor] are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they will [express His character and] be called the sons of God.

"Blessed [comforted by inner peace and God's love] are those who are persecuted for doing that which is morally right, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven [both now and forever].

"Blessed [morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God's goodness] are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil things against you because of [your association with] Me. Be glad and exceedingly joyful, for your reward in heaven is great [absolutely inexhaustible]; for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

That's Matthew 5 in the Amplified.

Lord, have You something to add?

Jesus began, "It will come as a shock to many, that nothing the world holds dear has any significance in this Community. In fact, they are well aware that the more despicable in the eyes of the world, this Placita (Little Place as St. Francis called the locations where the brothers lived) The more despicable in the eyes of the world, the more appropriate.

"Although I will say, My Bride has in some ways made each hermitage to be very bright during the day. And I do not fault her for this, even though tiny windows would be more appropriate.

"But by and large, I want nothing of this place to smack of the world and its refinements. Rather, I want for it to be very plain and simple. Certainly no one staying here is going to get seasonal depression. She has seen to that! (He chuckled.)

"But more in character of spirituality, I want this place to provide the bare minimum that is necessary for a chapel and hermitages, so that a visitor's attention will be on Me and not the fine accommodations, formidable libraries, tailored habits, and sumptuous foods that go with high-end monasteries.

"I want the spiritual attitudes also to be attitudes of poverty before Me, that all that you are and have, I have given you. All that you do not have, is because I have not given it to you. And I do not trust My treasures with those who are great in their own eyes. Littleness and poverty of spirit are to be the very heart of this place, so that the lowliest human being can feel at home here.

"It is the little ones, the poor, the rejected, the ungainly and awkward, the ones who have no status in the world--those are the ones I long to have here. SoC if you come with the agenda that you are someone important, who knows many things, who deems themselves fit to judge others, who seeks to correct the faults in the community as you perceive them, you will not last here.

"Rather, I am searching for those souls who are very little in their own eyes and tremble before My Word. And honor those authorities that I've invested. And those who wish to shed a life of self-will and embrace a life of brotherly love, devoid of judgments.

"So many I have endowed to be little nobodies. So many I have made awkward and even ugly in the eyes of the world, so they could be My very own special possession. But they have turned from the beautiful way to embrace the futility of worldly honor. So, I say to you, if you are one of the little ones, shed your inflated sense of self-worth that you have cultivated as a wall of defense, and revel in your insignificance. And I will make a home for you here."

Dear ones, I'm sorry about the booming and banging in the background. They're trying to make adjustments to our lodging here, to protect our storage. So, please forgive the noise. Do pay any attention to it. Thank you!