"There is a spirit which I feel that delights to do no evil, nor to revenge any wrong, but delights to endure all things, in hope to enjoy its own in the end."
This spirit is who each of us really is - that which is made in the image of God. This spirit is humble, patient, mercifull, and sacrificially loving. Its greatest desire is to please, and to be pleasing to, God. If we recognize it as our true selves, and if we center ourselves in it, as it is fed and nurtured by Christ, then we will endure all that the world can do to us and enjoy our own, that is re-unification with God, in eternity.
Yet there is another spirit which lurks within our bodies - the spirit which delights in the immediate gratification of our carnal senses and our passions. Pampered and beguiled by satan, this spirit is proud, impatient, vindictive, and ravening. Its greatest desire is to please itself, and to be pleasing to its patron. It continually whispers to us that this body, this life, this moment are all there are, that we are special and not really subject to the rules that constrain other people, and that we are entitled to indulge our desires.
In which of these spirits we choose to live is of no minor consequence. The divine spirit lives in freedom and purity, "In that life and power that taketh away the occasion of all" sin. It submits to baptism and refinement and receives salvation The carnal spirit holds in bondage to temptation and sin - thoughts and behaviors that are harmfull to ourselves or to others and that are grievous to God. It remains unrepentant, resisting correction. It leads unto death.
But we have one who will defend us. He is the Word who will write His law in our hearts. He is the Light, who will reveal what is pure and true. He is the Power who will drive out what is false and foul.
We at Seekers' Haven are dedicated to ever closer communion with each other and with this One. We welcome and work together with any who would seek with us. We are members of Ohio Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). This website is an attempt to explain our beliefs and our lives in practical terms while maintaining a Biblical context.
Meetings are held at the home of Conrad Lindes and his wife Joan Kuczek, at
13375 Old Pleasant Valley Road
Middleburg Heights, Ohio 44130
(440) 884-0338 FREE
at 3 p.m. on the first First Day of each month.
Call before coming, in case something has come up and meeting will not be held.
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall
worship the Father in spirit and in truth:
for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.
Freinds have experienced the Truth that Christ is not only risen, but here among us, in all His offices, including those of High Priest, Teacher and Shepherd. When we meet to worship, we bypass human intermediaries, waiting on Jesus Himself to officiate, to teach and to lead. Our only pre-arranged "program" is an agreed upon time and place to meet.
THE MEETING FOR WORSHIP (excerpted from the Ohio Yearly Meeting Discpline)
We meet together in silence and strive to free our minds and hearts for the purpose of spiritual worship. We must then wait in humble reverence for the spiritual ability to worship the Lord of Heaven and Earth in a manner acceptable to Him.
As each soul feels a spirit of supplication answered by the quickening influence of the Holy Spirit, we approach the Throne of Grace; that is to say, we are enabled to enter into an attitude of true worship, in gratitude and praise.
Though the nearness to God may result in spoken ministry or vocal prayer, the distinctive excellence of heavenly favor consists in the direct communication with the Heavenly Father by the inward revelation of the Spirit of Christ.
In preparation for meeting, the individual may find that he becomes quiet in expectation, or he may desire to read Scripture or other devotional material as a quieting discipline. Sometimes First-day school, a discussion group, a family meeting or reading is found helpful in this preparation process.
We appoint an hour to meet for worship. The meeting begins in silence, according to the injunction, "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalms 46:10). Friends thus allow themselves to become quiet by putting aside words, thoughts of business, cares, and topics of the day.
Not all Friends can become truly quiet instantly or at every meeting. It cannot be done at will; indeed, "will" too often proves an obstacle. After a time, however, a number of worshippers do seem to be sharing the Presence of a guiding Spirit. Vocal ministry or prayer may or may not occur, springing from the heart of one or more worshippers. Any who feel called by an inward urging of the Holy Spirit to speak are advised to do so, simply and clearly.
As the meeting continues, there comes a time when a Friend, chosen beforehand, feels the appropriate time has come to close the meeting, and shakes hands with his nearest neighbor.
Christ has not come just to atone for our sins, to redeem us from judgment. He has come to transform us. We are to follow Him, individually and AS HIS PEOPLE. Discipleship is the process of following the Master - living as He lives, eating as He eats, spealing as He speaks, serving as He serves. If we are to do this AS HIS PEOPLE, we must do these things together, as one body. This is a joyfull process! We need not each seek alone, learning everything from scratch. We need not struggle alone, fighting satan separately. We need not stumble alone, when our light is weak. Rather, we can together learn of Christ how He would have us live. We can together battle the evil one, exchanging lessons on tactics watching each others' backs. We can light the path brightly as we all follow it together, following Him who has gone before. Together we can encourage each other through life's challenges, turning one another to scripture and to its Author to remind us that our true purpose here on earth is to please God, to be pleasing to God, and to embrace the cross that lifts us back to Him.
God had made each of us in His image - capable of creativity, of perceiving beauty, of sacrificial love and of exercising free will. He made us pure spirits, capable of eternal life. He put us into these animal skins which are our bodies to be able to experience and to exercise our capablities, and He gave us a Guide who, if we follow, will lead keep us in God's Kingdom even while we are here. This Guide is Jesus Christ, the Word of God, who speaks to us and reveals His law in our hearts. His Voice is sweet and calm and patient. We work together to better recognize His voice and to heed it.
Satan exercised his free will to reject God, to be jealous of the Guide, and to rebel against them. This evil one uses pride and lies to trick us to join him. It is satan who leads into bad habits, crimes, sins. He too speaks to us in our hearts. He strives to make his voice sound like our own, but it is a voice that is bitter, angry, hurried, pridefull, vulgar. We also work together to better recongnize the true source of that voice and to reject it.
God loves us. Christ can perform miracles. We do not need to spend the rest of our lives in what ever rut we have fallen into. We can be delivered from dishonesty, from stealing, from gambling, from alcohol and/or drugs, from laziness, from selfishness, from sexual sins. Jesus overcame the serpent. He overcame death. He can, as we yield to His Lordship, overcome all that holds us down. He can raise us up pure and free!
Discipleship is helping each other to be thus transformed.
To break a human law is a crime. Human laws are codified in libraries filled with sometimes arcane or even contradictory language. Lawyers and judges spend their lives debating what these laws mean and how to enforce them.
To break God's law is sin. God's law is outlined in a single book, the Bible, but its details are written in the human heart -every human heart. God's law is simple when viewed from the divine perspective, and it is not contradictory. The difficulty most of us face is not that we don't understand what God's law means. It is just that we don't want it strictly enforced, as least not against ourselves.
Under the old covenant, the word "SIN" was terrifying, for the old covenant was to be enforced by the threat of curses to befall those who sinned. "Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known." Deut 11:26-28
But the new covenant is enforced by love. God loves us so much that He is willing to forgive our past sins if we are truly repentant, with no punishment - Jesus took our punishment by offering up His life on the cross. In return, we love God so much that we offer up our own lives to Him, not to be taken but to be transformed. We long to be pure for God, to be free from temptation. Day by day, through His baptism of the Holy Spirit and Fire (Luke 3:16), we become more so.
"O taste and see that the LORD [is] good: blessed [is] the man [that] trusteth in him. " Psalm 34:8
The world offers many sensations which are, for a time, pleasing to us. Yet, as with all things of the world, the pleasure does not last. What is more, things that at first seemed sweet may leave a bitter after-taste; the night of drinking, the "white" lie, the illicit affair. Yet, before long, we find ourselves returning to those same deceptive treats. We hunger, we desire, we indulge, we regret. The cycle repeats itself over and over, becoming a bad habit.
We learn by experience that, no matter how much we apply ourselves in fighting sins, we cannot, by our own efforts, make ourselves pure - without any remaining stain or contamination from our past evil acts and thoughts. We know that, no matter how fervent our desire, we cannot, make ourselves free - insensitive to temptation and invulnerable to its seduction. We are dust. We cannot make ourselves into gold?
There is One, however, who can!