Category Archives: who I am in Christ

It Is Time To Grow Up

“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?” ~ 1 Corinthians 3:1-3.

The theme of the thoughts God is giving of late to encourage those who read these blogs is focusing us on what we need to realize and walk out in these days we are living. More and more, people are watching the sky to the East, expecting Jesus’ soon return, wondering how bad things will get and how much tribulation will touch our lives before He arrives.

In our wait, life in this world grows ever more difficult for the child of God. Like Job, whose righteous heart-felt tormented by the evil of his day, it is difficult to see the ungodliness rising up all around us. The struggle we have in our own lives and the struggle we see in the lives of loved ones tempts our hearts to worry and fretting, robbing of faith to believe and trust God in all things. In our passage today, God reminds me that it is vitally important for us to seek the Lord for spiritual growth and maturity, so we have the wisdom needed to weather the storms that are coming our way.

HUG (2)Beloved, how often are you in the word of God, seeking Him for understanding, allowing Him to transform you by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:1-3)? The symptoms Paul saw in the church in Corinth reveals their immaturity through the “jealousy and strife” they were walking out into life. When we seek the Lord for understanding of Him and His ways, He changes our way of thinking, drawing us to understand His purpose and plan, granting us realization of our unity with Him and our part in His work. When we focus on God, His will, way, purpose and priorities, we understand that we are one in Christ, each having our part, all of which works together to fulfill God’s plan. There is no need of jealousy and strife when we are one in Christ, with mind set on the things above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of the Father (Colossians 3:1-17, AMP).

It is vital in this day, Beloved, that we grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ (Ephesians 4:9-16). Galatians 4:1 tells us that, as children, we are not much better off than slaves until we grow up to full maturity. We are owners with Christ of everything, our inheritance as the children of God, but we cannot possess all we have available to us or use it wisely and rightly until we grow up into Him who is the head.

Beloved, if you are still a child in your understanding of the things of God because of lack of time in His word, seek Him for Jesus-Bride009understanding so that He may transform you into His image, granting you understanding through your possession of the mind of Christ in your way of thinking and being. It is time to grow up! The days ahead are troubled-waters. Our only hope to weather these storms is through understanding of God, His ways, His purposes, His plans and priorities.

~*~

“Sound the alarm! The enemy descends like an eagle on the people of the Lord, for they have broken my covenant and revolted against my law” ~ Hosea 8:1, NLT.

“But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths” ~ Ezekiel 33:6, NLT.

Mirror Image

“We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” ~ 2 Corinthians 3:18.

Beloved, if we are believers of God through The Savior, we are God’s image bearers in Christ Jesus. When God looks at us in the Spirit realm of the eternal, in the gracious provision of Christ, He sees us as He designed and desires we be. That fact is awesome to me: that God sees the image of Christ in me that I will bear eternally while the Spirit works to transform me, making my earthly existence bear that image in the life I now live.

Transformation is our physical person taking on the image that is already ours in the eternal through Jesus. In these days in which we live, it is vital that we realize the image we bear and walk it out in our daily, moment-by-moment, breath-by-breath life. For that to happen, we must realize the advice given us by James.

“…if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does” ~ James 1:19-25.

God’s word teaches us of Himself and His ways. When we look intently at His Word in the power and leading of His Spirit, we come to know our God. We also come to know our eternal selves in Christ through knowing, believing, and living this same word out into our days.

I know I will hear many “Amen” voices from those who have the experience of Paul in Romans 7. Paul’s account of the struggle between the Spirit man in us and the flesh that jumps up like a headless chicken to bring struggle to our walk of righteousness is a picture of this “forgetting what we look like” analogy in James. It is so frustrating to receive an awesome word of instruction from 088the Lord, stand in agreement with Him that this truth is righteousness, determine to walk it, then go into the day to fall away, forgetting the truth we know only minutes later. So frustrating!

Thankfully, God is patient toward us, not wishing any to perish, but for all to come to repentance. It is vital in these days that we not give up on ourselves in utter frustration, but keep working to see our salvation express itself through the image of God in us made increasingly clear as we press on toward the goal. Get up; dust off; take another look in that mirror as many times as needed through the day and keep walking forward until the image sticks.

Ask God to focus your heart and mind on one aspect of His nature that He wants you to focus your heart to possess in this day. Ask Him for one scripture to carry through this day as reminder of who you are in Christ. Begin today to take an active role in holding to the image in the mirror of God’s presence, perfection, and refining parameters. Thank God that He who is faithful to complete His good work and word in you.

In Jesus Name: a Look at John 17 ~ Part 6b

Read John 17

“As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. …The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me…” ~ vs. 18-25.

Sent In Jesus Name

In the previous post (Part 6a) for this series, we noted that Jesus sends us into the world just as God did, sending us to believe, speak, and live truth as God intended truth to be. Choosing our own sanctification in truth in likeness to Jesus brings unity to all who believe and practice His truth in kind. Today we see that this gift of glory from God ~ our ability to be one as He is one, perfected in unity ~ is ours from God so that the world may know that God sent Jesus. In making Jesus known as the Christ who saves, God tasks us with making the truth of God’s love found in that sacrifice evident to all who hear. Just as God sent Jesus into the world, so Jesus sends us to make it known to the world that God loves them just as He loves Jesus and us. We are…

Sent in Love to Love

Jesus sends us into the world because God the Father and Jesus the Son so love the world that they gift us to our age in history as His image bearers, living love out into the world. As people of God, fully called and equipped to live sanctified lives in kind so the world may see and know the love God has for all, it is vital that we “be” love as He is love. Love is our nature in Christ, the outpouring of His Spirit at work in us.

Filled with the Spirit, the attributes of love that I have written about many times, will be evident in us: love, being unconditional and incorruptible, fulfills the law in our attitudes and actions toward one another. In the practice of love, the love we have for others covers a multitude of sins, not waxing and waning with insult. Though hearts may hurt when trust is stressed by sin, thus hindering our ability to put ourselves in harm’s way by trusting again, care for the best possible life for those we love remains, and that best is always God, His will, and His way.

Those in our sphere of influence can know that though we hate sinful actions, we love them, as we learn to love unconditionally and incorruptibly. In so doing, we find fear of losing our love cast away as those we love struggle to grow in knowledge of truth and love. As those around us see this love from God’s heart flowing to them through us, they are equipped to know and trust God’s love for them.

As we grow in knowing and receiving this love of the Father found in the Christ, we unite as one with all who have gone on before us and all with us on this journey now. United in this power of God’s grace, called to a committed life in unity with God through love, we set the example as people who know how to love in Jesus Name.

078Jesus prayed for us that we would succeed in the power of God as we sanctify ourselves through faithfulness to trust and follow Christ’s example out of love for those in the world who need to know that God loves them. We are God’s gift to the world, charged with making His love evident in likeness to Him. His desire is that we join Him in eternity, having fulfilled this work of God in the earth, being love as He is love so that the world may know that God so loved the world.

Father God, Your word makes it clear that You are love. You love not because we do all InGodsHandssmethings well, but because that is Your nature. Your word also makes it clear that we are to love as You love. You desire our perfection in unity with the Father, Son, Holy Spirit and one another, therefore, we must receive the seed of Your nature that bears forth the fruit of love in likeness to You (1 John 4:7-11). Love is the glue that binds us together as one when we fail to fully know and walk in truth. Father, pour forth Your love through us that we may be one as You are one, successfully making Your love known in the world. In Jesus, amen.

In Jesus Name: a Look at John 17 ~ Part 4a

Read John 17

“I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves” ~ vs. 11-13.

Hedged by His Name

Beloved, look at what Jesus is praying here. He placed a hedge of protection around us who are in His Name.

“…keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are…”

In His Name, living and breathing and moving and speaking as people made One in Him, is a hedge of protection for us. It seems vital, then, that we understand what it means to be in the Name of God / Jesus. As I think of where to take us in discerning the fruit of being in His name, the following come to heart as a beginning of our discovery, getting you started on the road to living it. In keeping these posts more devotional length, we will look at this subject for several days, covering each passage in turn.

The most vital need on our journey to become one with God, hedged and protected in that name is having His priorities and mindset for life, being eternity driven:

“If then you have been raised with Christ to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead, aim at and seek the rich, eternal treasures that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And set your minds and keep them set on what is above, the higher things, not on the things that are on the earth. For as far as this world is concerned, you have died, and your new, real life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in the splendor of His glory” ~ Colossians 3:1-4, AMP.

God keeps bringing me to this realization, that I am one with Him, made complete in Him. All that I do, think, and speak is to flow out of this unity. It begins with possessing eternal perspective. To get a picture of what this mindset looks like as it bears its fruit in us, we must consider Paul’s teaching through verse 17 of Colossians 3.

Vs 5, Amplified Bible (AMP), warns us to beware the things that work “the deifying of self and other created things instead of God.” Our lives must always reveal God as God in us. This eternal perspective gives us power over fleshly emotions and desires. When God is God in us, we do not give ourselves to fleshly impulses. Instead, we walk a life that reveals that we are no longer children of disobedience, obstinately opposed to divine will, being fully surrendered to the Spirit residing in us (vs. 6-9).

Vs. 10 advises that we in Christ have clothed ourselves “with the new, spiritual self, which is ever in the process of being renewed and remolded into fuller and more perfect knowledge upon knowledge after the image and likeness of Him Who created it” (AMP).

Letting go the flesh and its desires and putting on this eternal takes a lifetime. The produce of it reveals itself in us as spoken through the remainder of this Colossians 3 passage:

Vs. 11: all distinctions vanish. When we are one together in Christ, seeing Him in each other, we are no longer separated by race, color, creed, family history, etc. Past issues set aside, we are one together with God, removed from all dissension, hatred, unforgiveness, distrust, etc. We find unity in the love of God that flows through us as new creations in Christ to each other.

Vs. 12-17: our very nature bears His image, being holy as He is holy through the adornment of the character and nature of God who flows through and covers us.

InGodsHandssmeThat brings us to the focus for our next post on the subject of being in Jesus Name through our individual possession of unity with Him as His image bearers.

These things, Lord, You speak in the world so that we may have Your joy made full in us. We can face this life as we unite more and more with You, being one together with You in the power of Your Spirit. As You have spoken over us, O God, so let it be done. In Jesus, amen.

In Jesus Name: a Look at John 17 ~ Part 2

Read John 17

“Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” ~ vs. 1-5.

Father, The Hour Has Come!

Beloved, realize today that every breath you breathe as one who believes in God through Jesus the Christ means that your hour has come. Like Christ, our being born to this age of humanity’s history is no accident; nor are we a “plan B”. From before time began, God planned us.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” ~ Ephesians 2:10.

There is purpose for our breath in this age. With that purpose comes authority and Spirit-power to fulfill all His good will and way for us in this age.

“Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

The main purpose we have in our life is to make the Father and the Son known to those around us. We accomplish this purpose not only by word of mouth, but, more importantly, by our being as He is. Every characteristic we know of God should express itself through our character in the power of the Spirit. We love as He loves. We forgive as He forgives. We humble ourselves to accomplish the Father’s purpose just as Jesus did. And on we go, glorifying God the Father and Jesus the Son by representing all we know of them to those around us.

InGodsHandssmeBeloved, pray today to grow up into all the glory of God so that you are His representative, accomplishing the purpose of making Him known and fulfilling the good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. In this way, we become the answer to the prayer of Christ, glorifying God in all things, and manifesting His glory as one with Him, empowered and useful in accomplishing His purpose in our days.

May we each be able to say, as Jesus did, “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”

GET UP!

“So that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here” ~ John 14:31.

My heart leaps every time I read this verse. “Get up, let us go from here.”

Jesus and the disciples are going from the upper room where their last supper together was eaten, heading into the Garden where they will pray together for the final hours of Christ’s life and ministry.

Again, as I read this, the Spirit of God instructs me of its importance to me in my days of walking with Christ. He says to my heart even now, “The world knows your love of the Father in the same way as you follow Christ in doing ‘exactly as the Father commanded.’ Yesterday is gone. Its successes will meet you in glory as reward. Its failures, covered by Christ, He carried to the underworld for all eternity. Today is a new day. Do not let yesterday’s failures hinder your walk of faith-filled obedience today. Do not even allow your last failed breath hinder and rob you of the glory to be had with the next breath you take. Forgetting what lies behind and pressing forward to what lies ahead, get up, and let us go from here.”  (Philippians 3:8-16, *13)

walking-with-godConfess yesterday’s sins and repent of them, yes; but do not let those things define you or hold you captive. It is a new day with new mercy and loving-kindness from God who, because of Jesus, pours forth strength and power for us to overcome our flesh, the world, and the demonic wisdom that tempt us. Show the Love you have for the Lord by following in likeness to Christ’s obedience, and have a BLESSed day in the Lord as you see His purpose for you being in this day unfolding before you to the glory of His Holy Name.

Father, I am confident of this very thing, that YOU who began a good work in me, will perfect it from now until the day of Christ’s return. Grant me faith to believe and receive Your transforming, enabling, perfecting and equipping power for life more abundant and full, proving Your will made sure, complete and accomplished in me. In Jesus, amen.

(Philippians 1:6; Romans 12:1-2)

Believe Also In Me

Sunday morning, standing in front of the East Door as a greeter awaiting people’s arrival, The Spirit led me to turn in my Bible to John 7.

“After these things Jesus was walking in Galilee, for He was unwilling to walk in Judea because the Jews were seeking to kill Him. Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near. Therefore His brothers said to Him, ‘Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.’ FOR NOT EVEN HIS BROTHERS WERE BELIEVING IN HIM” ~ John 7:1-5.

I tried to read on, but God returned my focus to “For not even His brothers were believing in Him.” As soon as I finished rereading that, the Spirit of Jesus said to my heart, “Darlene, what would have happened if I failed to believe in Myself?”

Wow!

Many did not truly believe Jesus was who He was. Many challenged Him and sought to discourage His progress. Jesus had to know within Himself who He truly was, or fall to the opinion of man, just as we must do.

If Jesus did not believe that He was the Son of God, miraculously birthed to Mary and Joseph, what would have happened? Many rumors floated around about Jesus: that Mary and Joseph fell to sin and He was truly the son of Joseph conceived out of wedlock; that Mary committed adultery; that Jesus was the product of rape; etc. If Jesus believed the many rumors floating around about Him, how would He have developed the heart to be busy about His Father-God’s business as He did, finding the work God truly intended Him to fulfill? If He failed to believe that He is the Christ, sent to do the will of God, what would He have accomplished? If He believed the testimony of other men about Himself, would His ministry on the earth to train and raise up Apostles to begin His church have happened? Would the result of that work continue today?

What if Jesus failed to believe that the prophets of old spoke of Him when they wrote, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” Might He have chosen to take the offer given during the temptation in the wilderness when Satan offered Him the world? Failing to realize that He is already King of God’s entire Kingdom, which includes and transcends the world, would He have chosen the lesser, thus failing to accomplish the greater?

What if Jesus failed to understand that God was the One who established and protected His path: would Jesus have so fearlessly walked in and out of mobs of people, many set against Him and purposing harm to Him? Would He have stood still, quaking in His sandals, while the mob from His own town threw Him off the cliff, instead of boldly walking out of their midst, unharmed, knowing His time had not yet come and He was under God’s protection until the hour set for Him?

If Jesus failed to believe Himself to be the Son of God, God incarnate, having full access to the resources of God’s Kingdom: would He have healed anyone? Would Lazarus have remained in his tomb on that fateful day? Would the disciples have drowned when Jesus failed to cause the storm to cease?

069Now, what of you and me, beloved: do you believe what God says is true of you as His beloved, chosen child, equipped for good works? God tells us corporately who we are in Scripture, but if we fail to believe it, how will we walk in that truth? God also speaks to us individually, instructing us concerning who He created us to be and telling us all He created us to accomplish in this life. Fail to believe and receive that which He says is true of us, and we will fail to walk in the power of His provision.

In fact, any failure to walk in His power that exists within us now is due to our failure to believe all that He says is true of us. Are you beat-down by life, left curled in an infantile ball, useless in the hands of God? Beloved, check to see what God says is true of you. Find where your faith has failed so you can unfurl and soar in the strength of His supply. Find where the taunting lies of life’s trouble has injured you and come into the healing balm found in believing God over one’s circumstances.

God may touch one every time they read about things like the woman who fell to the feet of Jesus and washed them with her tears. Their heart may be that of worshipping Him and laying the hardships of life at His feet. Failing to believe they can touch the feet of Jesus, will they reach His heart and move His hand as God intends? The enemy uses our circumstances to lead us to doubt God in the very things He calls us to trust and believe concerning our call and equipping through Christ.

For me, my heart is continually grabbed by words that speak of writing or speaking His word:

“The Lord God has given Me the tongue of a disciple and of one who is taught, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. …” ~ Isaiah 50:4, AMP.

“…Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things. …” ~ Psalm 81.

“…And we are now writing these things to you so that our joy [in seeing you included] may be full [and your joy may be complete].” ~ 1 John 1:2-4, AMP.

Writing and speaking the truths of God I know, feeding all He is and all He does into the lives of others, this is my calling and equipping. It is in me, making me who I am, forming my desire for my occupation and the work to accomplish. God uses my mouth and calls me to be His disciple, equipped and enabled to disciple others. He uses the ponderings within me to form posts meant to encourage you, helping you come up higher in your faith, and empowering you to move through life with increased power, resolve and assurance of faith. Any success achieved is because God said it and I believed it so-as-to obey.

In reverse, the enemy of God uses every frown of disapproval, every harsh word of refusal, every rejection to cause me to forget who I am in Christ and fall away from the path God has for me. The struggle that comes to my flesh as I grow in these things so that I have experiential knowledge to share with you often tempts me to believe I am unworthy of passing these things on to you, despite God telling me repeatedly that I am chosen and not rejected. My inability to see beyond my here and now struggle and receive God’s eternal proclamation concerning me will beat me down and destroy the work He desires to accomplish if I fail to hear, believe, receive, and trust God’s opinion as my own to possess.

Beloved, when I fail to believe what God says of me, I fall to the wayside, giving my mouth and words to worldly endeavors, swayed by every frown of disapproval or the opinion of humankind. In that instant, I do not accomplish the will of God or the work He equips me to do. Instead of helping you and others to know Him better, I become an instrument to push you away. Thus, I must be careful to take captive the thoughts within me and make them believe God so-as-to obey Him.

The world wants us to conform to its image. Those of the world don’t want to feel they fall short of glory, so they want us to look and act like them in order that they may feel better about themselves. Our flesh, the world, and demonic forces want us to doubt God, His existence, and His word, so that we do not reach the full potential He places in us to accomplish His purpose. They taunt us and assault us, just as they did Jesus, making light of the calling and equipping of God in us. They will point out every flaw and the smallest of stumbles and tell us that is who we are. Thus, it is vital we believe God who says we know His voice and follow Him, simply refusing to follow the voice of a stranger.

Our own minds can imagine all sorts of evil and instruct our hearts to deny God’s word and trust our frail, fleshly heart-attitudes as proof of who we are. Failing to believe God, we will walk in the lesser of life and fail to accomplish the great works of God, prepared for us by Him who equips us and makes us able, causing us to stand approved and successful as His servant (Ephesians 2:10; Romans 14:4).

Jesus said something that keeps rolling around in my head for me to speak of self as He did. He said, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1).

“Believe in God, believe also in Me.” Jesus believed He was who God said He was and He lived, breathed, spoke and moved out of that understanding.

070Beloved, we, too, must come to a faith that says of self, “Believe in God (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost). Believe also in me, that I am and can be and do fully all that God deems true of, for, and from me.”

As we believe all God tells us is true of us, His image bearers, transformed into His likeness, we can take up the gauntlet Jesus passed to us and be His representatives in the world. We can possess the fullness of who we are in Christ and we can do all He says we can do if we will only believe what God tells us about ourselves.

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Pondering ONE

Jesus, in the Lord’s Prayer found in John 17, prayed, “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me” (vs. 16-17).

Reading that passage in my younger years, my mind and heart always went to thought of the church being made one together in Father and Son. But today, in light of my pondering, I see something more, something deeper. I see in this passage the prayer for each individual that makes up the “they” of the church. As we each, individually, come into this unity Jesus speaks of, we are perfected in that unity, and yes, together we come closer to each other for a more unified body of Christ, the Church. But it begins with our individual relationship with the Father.

What led me to these thoughts?

I am at a place in my walk with Father that amazes my heart when I experience its reality. I am coming more and more into the realization of the Eternal.

Don’t get me wrong. I still struggle in areas of weakness of flesh. But more and more I am experiencing the perfecting power of His sure Presence. And as more and more I surrender to this unity with Him, this reality of His sure presence with and in me, trusting in Him, less and less is my struggle to conform to the transforming power of His Person with me. And as more and more I surrender to His Presence working in and through me, greater and greater is the increase of this peaceful, trust, increasing my assurance of His faithfulness to complete the work He began in me. He is faithful who will also do it.

And more and more, as I realize His presence with and work in me, less and less is the distance to the eternal. My now is no longer limited by time and space. It is empowered by Him who is all in all, beyond comprehension, boundless His dimensions. More and more I trust the words He places within me to encourage another, and I speak them with greater assurance and boldness of faith, realizing He is in them. More and more I trust Him to lead my steps and orchestrate my day, and I follow more surely without question of actions resource, knowing He will bring the faithful work to produce His desired results in His perfect time. Less and less does fear of failure or fear of being rejected hinder my walk with, in, and through Him. Surrendering more and more to meld into His reality, I find more and more of the real and true “me” He created me to be, and I am set free to know eternity with Him today.

Jesus sat the example for us with professions like “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing…” (John 5:19-20). Then in John 14:10: “The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.” We, too, can know and do the Father’s will, following His initiative, and speaking His words, as His eternal presence is made real to our earthly existence.

As sons and daughters of the Father through the Christ, the same love is there for us, ready to show us all things He Himself is doing. “I and the Father are one,” Jesus said, then prayed in later text, “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one” (John 10:30; 17:22). He is talking about our here and now existence. Not just our heaven-bound, future reality. He is talking about our unity with each other as we come into our unity with Him, making us ONE as He is ONE.

More and more I see people who are whole heartedly seeking the Father, coming more and more into the reality of this unity that removes all separation from the Eternal. Our “now” is just a momentary instance within our eternal. Our “now” is not separate from the Eternal, it is partner with it. And the produce of our now existence being made one with the Eternal will be seen in the earth and in our eternity with Him as we enter His presence more and more until end of days comes.

How much easier it is to live godly in the now when the Eternal is real within us. When we realize our partnership with God through the Christ; when we understand our lives as being an extension of His own, Him at work in us to continue His work in the earth, bringing about all His good purpose and plan: with that realization the Eternal then comes to live within each individual of us and we see His hand move mountains as His power pours forth through our willing hands and feet, mouths and heart’s beat.

Sound charismatic? Sound New Age? It’s not. It is the living God and Father responding to the heart-cry of His Son as prayed for us by Him before His final translation to Glory at the right hand of the Father. If we are saved through Christ now, we are saved for all eternity, and our eternal existence is partner with our now as we surrender to His initiative. I’m not perfect in this unity yet, but I am growing in it and it in me. God, living and well within us, freeing us from the mortal so that the immortal can thrive to the glory of His name. Many, seeing this eternal reality springing forth in the lives of others, question its varsity, just as they did in Jesus’ day and ministry, because they do not understand its truth and they fear what they fail to believe.

Truth is found in the truth, beloved. Want to know the truth of what I am professing today? Dig into the Word of God, asking for His initiative to be made evident. It is truth that helps us to know truth. And it is truth that contrasts the false.

In every false religion that is functional and able to progress, there is an element of the truth that is stolen by the deceiver – that enemy of God at work to make the distortion of it palatable, leading many astray. We do not discern the false by studying the false. We discern the false by knowing the truth. Studying the false to try to learn of the false can cause one of two things:

* We can grow to believe the false and partner with it when we do not have understanding of the truth.

* We can grow to fear the false and become judgmental of people who practice truth we don’t understand because of a distorted focus on the false and failure to grow in our own understanding of the truth.

Want more of the eternal that God desires we possess? Chase after knowledge of the truth found only in Him, doing so without fear of believing Him and taking Him at His word. He contrasts the truth that is His from that twisted by the lie and used to deceive, helping us to find His truth perfected within us, drawing us more and more into the Eternal that influences and equips our righteousness and lifting us up to all He desires we be: the Eternal colliding with our now existence. That is power at work in God’s eternal beings, His sons and daughters, making us lights to lead many to freedom found only in the truth of Christ and unity with Him.

“…He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father” ~ John 14:9-12.

ONE: it is an eternal principle: Jesus in the Father who is in Him; them in me and me in them, and us in one another with Him, empowered and equipped by this Eternal for the greater works of God in our here and now existence. Great things come to ONE, Eternal with God, fulfilling His purpose in the earth.

Today is the first day of our eternity, beloved. Come into the Father with me and let us be busy about the Father’s business, having His power for salvation, before time runs out for those in need of this Eternal connection.

Pondering The Lord, God of Heaven’s Armies

“Do what is good and run from evil so that you may live! Then the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will be your helper, just as you have claimed. Hate evil and love what is good; turn your courts into true halls of justice. Perhaps even yet the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will have mercy on the remnant of his people” ~ Amos 5:14-15, NLT.

I love the wording of this verse in the New Living Translation. Of course, it is beautiful in any true translation, but this one captures my heart as I think on “The Lord of hosts”, “God of Heaven’s Armies”. It brings me to restful, peace to think of our God, fighting for us as commander of the Angelic hosts of heaven.

We are encouraged, “Do what is good and run from evil so that you may live! Then the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will be your helper, just as you have said.”

In scripture, righteousness is defined as true living; and sin or evil is called “death”. Death separates oneself from God; life walks in unity with Him.

Every evil we face has a spiritual component to it that most often requires a spiritual response. When we choose to do good and fully follow God, He gives His angels charge concerning us, to fight the demonic forces behind the evil that seeks to destroy us.

Most often, the things going on in the earth are a picture image of what is going on in the heavenly realms. When we choose the good of God’s desire, God works to bring good to us in the spiritual realm. When the good of the Spirit is our influence, we choose the good of God’s desire.

Satanic forces influence the hearts of men to actions contrary to God using the wisdom of the flesh, this world, and demonic whisperings to deceived hearts. Such battles require angelic forces to deploy in response. When we choose good, recognizing and fleeing from evil influences, we have the assurance of God’s help. These armies of God fight the demonic forces so that the message of God can reach our hearts and influence our good.

I believe this war on terror is such an instance of evil’s influence on mankind. Only as we choose the good and fully follow God’s lead in this battle will we see victory. And that victory must be aided by His angelic forces coming against the demonic forces that influence and use the evil we see.

“Hate evil and love what is good; turn your courts into true halls of justice. Perhaps even yet the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will have mercy on the remnant of his people”

Goodness and justice are our spiritual weapons against evil. These weapons of our warfare loose God’s mercy toward us and move Him to take action on our behalf in whatever evil we face. But the definition of what is good is not ours to determine. It is dictated by God, requiring us to come into agreement with His desires. We must seek to know His heart on the issues before us if we are to do the good that flees from doing evil and moves the hand of God on our behalf.

Good is to do the will of God in the way of God to the glory of God.

“Evil”, everything contrary to God, His will and His way, is the only thing in scripture that I can think of in which God calls us to hate. We do not hate the person given to evil. They are only a vessel of evil, just as we are only a vessel of Good. Even Jesus says, “Why do you call Me ‘good’? No one is good but God alone” (Mark 10:18). Thus we hate the evil itself, but we are called to love the person.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” ~ Matthew 5:43-48.

“Sons” or children of God look like Him. Father God is our example to follow when it comes to love, and if we are His, we will look like His child, being in His image. He loves because He is love and He can do no less. We are “perfect as He is perfect” when we love because that is who we are. His love is perfectly within Him, dictating His actions toward all mankind. Though He hates the evil produced by those who are “enemy” at the time of their evil and He comes against that evil that is standing against Him and the good He desires, He still loves the sinner enslaved by evil.

It is letting love be in us as it is in Him that produces the good that reaps the reward of His hand at work on our behalf to protect us from the evil desires of enemy forces. Love has nothing to do with the recipient of its affections. Love, true love that desires and does what is best for the one loved, cannot be bought with a price or lost with any evil done. Love is what it is at all times. It assumes responsibility for itself, being unconditional and incorruptible. We love God because He first loved us and He shows us the way of love as He lives and breathes through us. Therefore our love for God always chooses the good He desires even for those who stand in opposition to Him.

We always have God’s love, Him doing what is best toward us as He works to bring us into agreement with Himself and His perfect desires. Even in the midst of consequences for past evil done by us or to us, when we turn back to Him through goodness and justice, His hand moves to help us face evil’s consequences.

We have God’s help when we surrender to His good and run after righteousness and justice as He defines it. We accomplish good when we seek to be as God is in character, thought, motive, deed and action. We accomplish justice when we agree with Him who defines evil and its consequences, divvying out and taking the consequences earned by evil practices, but doing so with a nature of love that desires the good, even and especially for those we call “enemy”.

Today, I check my stance with God the Father. Today I pray the God of angel armies be with you as you continue to fight the good fight of faith in the love He provides through the moving of His hand of help and hope.

Pondering Our Privilege of Right to Restful Pastures

Read Hebrews 2:14-3:19

Focal passage: Hebrews 3:7-11

“Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tried Me by testing Me, and saw My works for forty years. Therefore I was angry with this generation, and said, “They always go astray in their heart, and they did not know My ways”; as I swore in My wrath, “They shall not enter My rest.”’

Again today, I am in awe as I think on what God is speaking to my heart, beloved, and I pray I can paint the picture I see for you to capture as your own. It’s not new truth to me. It’s just the fresh winds of God’s breath reminding me of the fullness of His provision for us, which always produces awe of Him in me. So bear with me while we approach His glory.

Our chapter begins by pointing us back to chapter two:

“Since (Jesus) Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted. Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession” ~ Hebrews 2:18 and 3:1.

Like sheep, beloved, we too easily turn to grazing on our heart’s desire and go astray from the pastures of the Good Shepherd where His provision and rest are found. Even the godliest of us have times of “going astray in their heart” and failing to know God’s ways. Temptation to stray from the pastures of God is common to mankind (Romans 3:10; 1 Corinthians 10:13. Link to Scriptures on sin’s death).

Scripture tells us that even Jesus, who came in flesh, was “tempted in all things as we are”. Yet He faced temptation without sin and became our example to follow on our journey to freedom from this death – separation from God. (Hebrews 4:15)

For us to realize the truth of Jesus’ temptation, we must realize that His flesh was fully flesh, like our flesh, responding to temptations just as we do. This being true, we must understand that when he saw a beautiful woman, for example, His physical hormones responded as any man’s would. But He did not give Himself to those fleshly impulses.

I believe the picture God is giving me today about our heart’s path to restful pastures is the reason for Christ’s success that makes Him our example to follow. Thus following the instruction of this passage, we “consider Jesus” as we look to find the solution to those times when our desire tempts us away from the restful pastures of God’s presence. The following passages hold the KEYs I see that leads to our victory:

“(Jesus) was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house. For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; but CHRIST WAS FAITHFUL AS A SON OVER HIS HOUSEWHOSE HOUSE WE ARE, IF WE HOLD FAST OUR CONFIDENCE AND THE BOAST OF OUR HOPE FIRM UNTIL THE END” ~ verses 2-6.

We are the temple of God, the body of Christ, being built up in Him. As such, beloved, we have full access to both the mind of Christ, who is the living, life breathed Word of God, and to the very heart of God, where the ways of His desire is made clear.

KEY: Jesus succeeded in walking in the righteousness of God by always maintaining the very heart of God within Himself. He has built us up into the House of God as the body of Christ, in which the very heart of God resides. When we “go astray from (our) heart”, this is the heart from which we stray.

Yesterday we pointed out in our pondering of our authority in Christ that Jesus always walked in His authority. How did He do that? Let’s take a peek:

When Jesus was called to fast in preparation for His earthly ministry, Satan tempted, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” In response, Jesus kept the heart of God by remembering the Word of God: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God’” ~ Matthew 4:3-4.

KEY: Jesus always held in the forefront of His mind the word of God as His spiritual weapon of choice against the whiles of the enemy of God: an enemy that includes the wisdoms of the flesh, the world, and the demonic (2 Corinthians 10:3-6; James 3:13-18).

This enemy is alive and well today, hard at work to lead God’s people astray. In following the example of Christ, the mind of Christ is ours to possess and access as our first line of defense, grabbing hold of the Living, life giving Word and wielding it with deadly accuracy at the head of that which comes against us to tempt us away from God (1 Corinthians 2:16).

Matthew 4:1-11 is the most common passage used by preachers whose teaching I have sat under when talking of Jesus’ way of handling temptation. Hebrews 4 tells us that Jesus was tempted in all things as we are. Though I have heard pastors use Matthew 4’s temptation account to say that His temptation there covered “all things”, the question of a student in one of my Bible studies tells me we need to show His temptation more clearly than that. She rightly observed that the temptation Jesus faced in His wilderness experience did not touch a lot of the things that led her to be tempted. As I sought the Lord for a response to this students inability to see Matthew 4 as an account of Jesus being tempted in “all things” as we are, God revealed to me how Jesus’ entire life journey reveals His temptation and shows us how to remain in the Heart of God in our own journey of facing the tempter. For example:

When Jesus wound up by a well alone in John 4 and a woman of ill repute showed up there with Him, his flesh had opportunity to be tempted to sin, and I sense in the Spirit that this was the intent of Satan. No one was there. He could have taken advantage of the situation to feed His flesh. But what kept Him from it? I believe we get a glimpse in the words of this passage that reveal His heart for the situation:

“Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, eat.’ But He said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ So the disciples were saying to one another, ‘No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?’ Jesus said to them, ‘MY FOOD IS TO DO THE WILL OF HIM WHO SENT ME AND TO ACCOMPLISH HIS WORK. Do you not say, “There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest”? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest’” ~ verses 31-35.

KEY: Jesus always maintained the heart of the Father for the work He was to accomplish, having His purposes in mind, holding it as the most needed food for life.

I could go on to talk about the times when Jesus was tempted by the push of the people to make Him King or to throw Him off hills to an early death rather than face a cruel cross: opportunities refused by Him who (KEY) trusted God’s timetable and His way. We could talk of the temptation to act the Pharisee by refusing to dine with sinners or be touched by them so as to please the spiritual leaders of the day, but Jesus countered that temptation by (KEY) remembering that it was for these He was sent. As the Apostle John said, the whole world could be filled with the books we can write of all Jesus did while He was here on the earth, setting the example for us.

The point to our discourse, Beloved, is that we fail to enter the rest God provides for us when we go astray in our hearts. We do that when we fall to the desires of our fleshly heart and fail to realize that we have the very heart of God beating within us in the power of the Spirit, through Jesus, the Christ.

God is always at the ready to direct us to His desires through the mind of Christ that is ready to breathe the Living Word into our being. He, the Living Word, is the Bread of Life, feeding every pore of our existence with right desires that accomplish God’s purpose, having knowledge of His ways.

Realizing these things equips us to remain in our right Heart, being a people after God’s own heart, believing in Him and desiring Him above all else. Believing God, taking Him at His word, living and breathing His purposes as fed by His very heart beating within us is the KEY to keeping our heart and remaining in the restful pastures He provides for our fulfillment.

“They always go astray in their heart, and they did not know My ways”. This does not have to be the truth of our reality when we realize the Heart that beats within us, and hold tight to the KEYS that feed us truth and righteousness. Only believe!

Pondering Subjection-Authority

Oh wow. I am seeing something in chapter two of Hebrews this morning that I have knowledge of in my head, but I think that knowledge is about to take deeper root and move about 18 inches south of my brain. Bear with me a minute and pray I can get there.

To begin, this passage tells us that “For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it” ~ Hebrews 2:1. Now the author is talking about our hearing the whole truth of God sent through the Christ, but it prefaces that call with “for this reason.” So let’s take just a second to review “this reason.”

In chapter one, we see that Jesus is the Word of God, not only revealing its power, but revealing the life that is in the very real and living Word of God. The Word is a person, it is Jesus. Therefore God’s Word is living and active, sharper than a double-edged sword even today because Jesus not only was, but He IS. That Word is given to us with all the power it possesses. When God speaks His truth to us in a personal way, it becomes our own, passing to us the responsibility for its use and the authority to walk it out with power, assurance, and boldness.

Jesus, having fulfilled all God’s good will and purpose, is lifted to the throne of God’s Kingdom, having full authority as King of kings and Lord of lords. He has a name that makes Him greater than any other of all God’s creation because He fulfilled His purpose in accord to the Word of God. What was the purpose He accomplished? Off the top of my head:

  1. He brought the Word of God, imparting to us the full message of God He was charged to bring.
  2. He corrected all false teaching and understanding, giving us not only the letter of the Law, but its intent of Heart.
  3. He did not come to destroy or do away with the Law, but to perfectly fulfill it, setting the example for our obedience.
  4. In fulfilling the Law, He set the example we are to follow, not only showing us how to live a life that honors and glorifies God as the One and Only, but showing us how to walk in the fullness of our authority as a child of God, possessing His power for all things.
  5. He paid the price of sin, being the perfect Lamb of God, so that through Him, we may believe and receive the inheritance of salvation.
  6. He took His seat at the right hand of God, receiving unto Himself the full authority of King of all God’s Kingdom and all His creation, being empowered to impart to us His power for life and living that belongs to us as the heirs of promise.
  7. He ever lives to intercede on our behalf until His return, which is soon, and very soon.

Having these facts under our proverbial belt, beloved, now we come to verses 5-8:

“For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking. But one has testified somewhere, saying, ‘What is man, that you remember him? Or the son of man, that you are concerned about him? You have made him for a little while lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, and have appointed him over the works of Your hands; You have put all things in subjection under his feet.’ FOR IN SUBJECTING ALL THINGS TO HIM, HE LEFT NOTHING THAT IS NOT SUBJECT TO HIM. BUT NOW WE DO NOT YET SEE ALL THINGS SUBJECTED TO HIM.”

Here is what I know and have known for a while: Adam and Eve had full authority from GOD, who subjected all the earth to them, but they did not walk in the authority God imparted for them to possess. Thus came the fall of man as sin entered in, bringing death to us. Death came because we did not realize and walk in the Living Word to possess the authority we had for life. So instead of subjecting the world by possessing the authority God gave mankind, we fell to being subject to the laws of nature. Death entered, and we surrendered to that taskmaster. Then in walks Jesus (verses 9-15):

“But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. …Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.”

God gave all to mankind, but mankind fell to the lie that there was “more and better” to be had; that God was somehow holding back from us and keeping us from having it all. So separation from God and from His authority and power entered into our lives, death, bringing us to a meager existence indeed. Fear of death took hold as powerlessness ruled, subjecting us to slavery to sin, robbing us of all God’s ideal best for us. Thus Jesus came in flesh of man, contending with all its weakness, but rightly possessing the full authority of the Word of God. Setting the example for us, He subjected all things to Himself, as was intended by God from the beginning, fulfilling the perfect will of God, thus becoming for us the sacrifice that frees us from death.

“For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted” (verses 16-18).

Because of Christ, we who hear His Word are standing at the threshold of eternity. When we enter into the Kingdom with and through Him, we again stand as a people charged to subject all things to the authority of God’s Word. Through the practice of that faith, death no longer has a hold on us. We can let go of fear of death, no longer walking in separation, and receive the power and authority of God as one with Him who rules over all things through Christ. We king-jesus4bfully partner with Him to rule through obedience to Him who subjects all things under the feet of the Body of Christ, of which we are.

The question is, will we receive and walk in the power we have to possess? What fear holds you back, beloved? Receive the Word implanted and walk in the authority of God by way of the Help He supplies through Christ, the mediator.

“For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, GOD ALSO TESTIFYING WITH THEM, BOTH BY SIGNS AND WONDERS AND BY VARIOUS MIRACLES AND BY GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ACCORDING TO HIS OWN WILL” ~ Hebrews 2:2-4. Bear the fruit, beloved.

Pondering Church, Body, Bride – Setting Sights on Intimacy with Christ

Today I am pondering our position in Christ as the people of God. As I do so, I recognize three pictures of our position that we find expressive of us in Scripture: Church, Body and Bride.

As the Church, we know that a building does not a church make. We can have buildings used for the purpose of gathering, but it is not a church until the people come into it. And wherever the people gather, whether in a building designated for such, around a dinner table with family and friends, or on an isle at Walmart, we are the church, called and equipped by God to encourage the Body of Christ, equipping that Body to function as it is intended to by God. A church can only be a church where two or more are gathered in the name of Jesus.

The body of Christ is the collective of the whole of all who are His, saved by grace through faith, and surrendered to Him for the work He has planned before hand for each of us to do. Collectively we work together in the world to accomplish God’s purpose and to fulfill His ministry as light to the world, drawing others into His saving grace. We are His hands, His feet, His mouth, His spleen. Each individual member of the body has its function, but we need one another to be all God desires and fulfill all He planned. We are the body. One malfunctioning part can hinder the whole, and without the help of all, one is hindered. Thus Body and Church are dependent upon each other or we are not Body and Church.

Finally, we are the Bride of Christ. But as I ponder our relationship as Bride, I am struck by the individuality of that. Though we all make up His Bride together, our relationship with Him is dependent on our individual relationship with Him. I cannot make you a Bride and increase your intimacy with Him. It is up to you; and mine is mine alone.

I don’t know if this makes sense, but what I am seeing is this: The work of the Church is to build up and equip the Body, all working together to accomplish this. The Body is made up of all who are Bride to Christ, each individually part of the whole, all needed for full and proper function of that called “Body of Christ”. But each who are “Bride” must come into their own personal relationship with God in Christ.

We can come together as the Church and help the individual grow in their relationship with the Bridegroom, but being Bride is a personal choice and a personal, completely individualized journey for each one called “Bride”. And only when each individual of the Bride comes into their own as Bride can they function fully in their role as part of His Body and His Church.

Question: How real is God to you? How alive is His Word to your Spirit? How PRESENT is His Spirit of Power in your understanding and function? If we struggle in any of these areas, we have not yet come into our own as His Bride, able to fully and intimate relate with Him. As we come into this New Year of life, I pray the heart of Paul for us today.

“For my determined purpose is that I may know Him, that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection which it exerts over believers, and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, in the hope that if possible I may attain to the spiritual and moral resurrection that lifts me out from among the dead even while in the body.” (Philippians 3:8-11, AB)

In marriage, the two become one flesh. That is what this heart of Paul says to me. I want to know Him more intimately and personally with every breath of every day. Through knowledge of Him comes my resurrection to life made new, full and abundant every day; life not bound by time, but empowered by the eternal.

Jesus-Bride001Such intimacy knows the heart of the Beloved, rejoicing when He rejoices, grieving when He grieves, and giving one’s all: one’s own life to see all His desires fulfilled, thus suffering in likeness to His Own. Such intimacy with the Beloved makes it possible for me to attain to the spiritual and moral resurrection that lifts me out from among the dead even while in the body. I transcend this mortal when vitally united with the Immortal.

This level of intimacy requires of us the dying to oneself Jesus spoke of when He instructed, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” ~ Luke 9:23. It is the death Paul speaks of in Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

Are you there yet, Beloved? Are you acutely aware of your position as Bride and sold out to “one flesh” intimacy with Him?

I have come a long way, baby. But I am not there yet, not fully. Come join me in 2015 as we seek to grow in our intimacy with Christ, to be one with Him individually so we can have power and provision needed to be the Church and fulfill our role as part with them in His Body.

“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained” ~ Philippians 3:12-16.

Chosen, Not Rejected Part 3

Here is part three of God’s instructing my heart in this area of my life. Thank you for reading my often long blogs! BLESSings.

http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5809245

Chosen, Not Rejected

Hello, friends. I have written two blogs lately on another site that I thought I would point you to. They deal with my struggle with feelings of rejection and what God is teaching me. I you are one of God’s children, struggling in this area of your life, perhaps there is a word for you in the following posts:

Secret ID and Super Hero Moments that Makes is a response to a team I am on with SparkPeople: http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5808225

Today’s blog is a response to yesterdays titled “Off the Mask and Cape; Dawn the Heroic Robe. As I attended a ladies night at church last night, God spoke to my struggle address in the above blog. Find His answers for me at http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5808649

Thank you for your patronage. May The Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace. (Numbers 6)

Word of Life: Kingdom Reality

“…Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” ~ 1 John 2:12-17.

“Do not love the world, nor the things in the world.” The longer I live, the more I understand how important it is to have His Kingdom as our daily reality. The only way we can overcome the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life that leads to loving this world and its ways is to come more and more fully into Kingdom Reality.

This passage states that the love of this world—being in love with it so as to be led away by lust of the flesh and the eyes, and the boastful pride of life—reveals that we do not have the Love of the Father ABIDING in us. Abide means to live in so as to remain in. God desires to live and make His home within us, abiding there. Why?

In my more recent experience I am finding that to be true, not just so He can control me, because He does not force His control on me; but so that I have an Anchor that stabilizes me in the waters of His Kingdom.

His presence with me reminds me constantly of the oneness He desires with me. I am in Him; He is in me; we are one together and my true residence is with Him where He is even now and always. My eternity started the day I said “I do” to Jesus, becoming part of the Bride of Christ and made one with the Father as a Child of God. I am a member of God’s Kingdom.

Realization of that unity and position with Him anchors my soul, protecting me from letting the desire for the things of this life pull me away from Him. The stronger that reality is in me, the less I feel of the pull of this world.

l109149486I was watching Deadliest Catch this past week. One of the boats was docked when a major storm rolled in. As the captain in charge at that moment felt the waves tugging and pushing, he realized that if he did not reposition the boat, they would be pulled away and made a wreck by the waves. That is the way it is with us. As we come more and more into the reality of His Kingdom that is in us and with us, we can more readily recognize when there is a threat to our position so we can make needed adjustments and reestablish the lines that hold us in security.

There is another thought we can take from that Deadliest Catch episode. The captain of the boat wanted to get hold of the owner of the boat to get clearance before doing what he knew needed done, because if one person involved failed to do their part, the move needed could be sabotaged and lead to the wreck they were trying to avoid. Because of the storm he was unable to reach the owner. So he had to make a decision based on what he knew from past experience and what he knew of the owner.

Sometimes, when we are in a storm, we feel like we can’t reach God. Now that thought is another that can lead to a whole other study, but John helps me to stay on track with this thought as we return to pick up the first of our text:

“I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. …” ~ 1 John 2:12-17.

In times when a decision must be made but we struggle to feel like we can hear from God, this is what I see in this passage that gives us instruction. The children of God living His Kingdom reality:

Have experienced forgiveness – they know what repentance is and have understanding of God’s grace sufficient. These know because they know Him that His grace will always be sufficient.

These know God – having been and still being in intimate relationship with Him. Though they may feel that they can’t hear Him at this moment, they know Him: how He thinks, what His will and purpose is, and the actions He takes.

These are overcomers – that have been in bad situations before and have won victories. They have experience in dealing with the challenges the enemy of God sends, and they know God always leaves them with help they can rely upon. Thus…

These have strength – this strength is God-powered, because their faith and hope are in Him. They trust His presence with them even when they may not “feel” it or know it experientially in that moment.

These have the Word of God abiding within – though they may not feel they are hearing His voice right now, they have His Word to direct them and give them a future and a hope in their final outcome.

Beloved, when storms hit, it can be difficult to hear God’s voice speaking. We must have experiential knowledge of Him and that comes as we live with Him as His Kingdom dwellers. I believe that God always hears us (Isaiah 59:1). But sometimes God is silent, testing to see if we have faith to trust Him enough to do what we know needs done.

God brought this passage to mind for us today ~ Matthew 25:14-30 ~ The parable of the talents. You remember the story. The master goes on a journey and leaves his possessions with his servants, expecting them to be good stewards. He did not tell them what to do with the wealth entrusted to them. All indications are that he expected these to bring increase to him out of their knowledge of him and his ways and priorities. Apparently he trusted these servants, which tells me he had reason to believe that they had enough experience with him to be able to make wise and discerning decisions on his behalf.

You know the story. Two of these acted out of faith and did what they felt the master would want done based on what they knew of him. The third Jesus-Bride006held back in fear. What did he say?

“Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.”

Now obviously the master knew this one was often driven by fear, so he did not give him much to squander. And what was his response? “You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.”

God brings increase to us as we prove to be faithful stewards, leaving us with greater resource to use on His behalf. That fact tells me there will be times when God will entrust us with His wealth. His wealth is not just the “talents”, Beloved. His wealth is the knowledge of Him – knowing His ways, His purposes, His thoughts, His words.

It is vital that we know our God experientially so we may have the faith needed to take action in due season when His voice is not evident. We must know Him, know His word, and have experience of Him that can direct our path. That experiential knowledge of God comes most to those who realize His Kingdom is in us and we are in it even now. We abide in Him and He in us. Beloved, read Revelation 21 and note the following:

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them’ … I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. …”

Note beloved…WOW!!!!!!! Note the oneness found here. Just in the few words of this chapter shared above we see “the new” come down for the old has passed away. Note the new Jerusalem, beloved. It comes down into the new heaven and the new earth, and what is its appearance? It is “made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.” We are it, beloved and it is us.

Jesus-Bride001Then note the temple. It is not there as a separate structure because God in all His fullness and the Lamb, who is the veil, are the temple. The whole city is in the temple. And the Temple is in the whole city, becoming for it the Light that replaces the sun.

And the Light enlightens every man (John 1:9). The Kingdom is in us, and we are the Kingdom, Beloved of God. We can know Him now experientially, having the Light of His glory within us; and what is the light?  The light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth (Ephesians 5:9).

So as these storms come upon us in these days, Beloved, draw ever nearer to God, submit to God, resist the devil who will use the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the boastful pride of life against us IF WE LET HIM, just as he always has done. But he must flee as we draw near to God through submission to Him, which puts us instantly into resistance against Satan and his minions. Choose God and live for and with and in Him day by day, breath by breath. When hearing Him is difficult, follow what you know of Him in faith, trusting Him, and do the good you know to do as a good steward of His Light.

He never leaves nor forsakes us. He is with us and for us. By faith, believing, go forth and prosper, for you who are in Him and He in you are The Kingdom of God.

Word of Life: “BE” ~ As He Is

“Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining. The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes” ~ 1 John 2:7-11.

At first my eyes fell on the obvious, but God quickly led me to the deeper. As His chosen people, meant for Light, to be His Light, being in the world but not of it, we are called to “BE”: Be as He is.

Yes, we could easily go to “love” as our topic for today. We are called to love one another, especially our Christian family members, but we are also called to love our enemies, as previously discussed in this study. Jesus said it is easy to love those who love us, but we are called and equipped to do that which seems impossible to the rest of the world. We are called to love even the unlovable of this world, those who actively hate us and are out to do us harm. Why? Because we are to love as God loves so that we are His Light to dispel the darkness around us.

And how does God love? God loves because HE IS LOVE, therefore He can do no less and still remain true to Himself. God loves all mankind, all His created beings – yes, I believe even the one we call the Devil, Lucifer, Satan. He loves all His created beings because He is love. He does not love all our ways of being and doing, but He loves us. He comes against evil, hating evil, but He does not hate the one doing the evil. I believe it hurts His heart to have to destroy one He loves who is attached vehemently to evil ways. I believe it grieved God to have to cast Satan and those with him, who are part of His created angel-forces, casting them out of His kingdom because he would not turn from his sinful pride. God will tarry long over a person, giving that one every chance to come to the knowledge of God through Christ, because, though He hates the evil, He loves the person, and I believe He tarried long with Lucifer before finally dealing with Him. We know Lucifer was awhile in his sin because he had time to turn 1/3 of the hosts of heaven to follow him.

Evil continues in the earth not because God does not care, but because He does! God so loved the world – all mankind, whether or not they have chosen Him, that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whosoever – WHOEVER – believes so as to put their trust in His Son and the sacrifice He became on our behalf, shall be saved. Therefore He tarries, giving each individual every opportunity to turn in faith and receive this gift of grace. God’s purpose to reach all who will join Him in His kingdom through His gift of grace found in Christ stays the Hand of punishment against those who commit the evil until their decision against Him is set and the time allotted for them to turn is up.

God loves because of who He is and He loves all. Boy, I could get off on a discussion of love real easily, and God is leading me to do a study of love for posting here, but for now, as we prepare to weather the things that are unfolding, we need to realize Jehovah – “I AM” – is who He is, He cannot be any less; and we are called to “BE” as He is (1 John 4:17). We can grow stronger in who we are as His people, called and equipped for such a time as this, as we learn who He is and how He functions out of the resource-pool of His character / nature. We are to be as He is so we have confidence in the Day of Judgment. Discovering His character and developing it for ourselves, functioning out of the resource of His Spirit who makes us as He is, is vital to our traversing the days coming upon us.

There are two things I see that determine God’s actions and reactions: His sure knowledge and practice of Who He is, coupled with His sure focus on His purpose and plans for all things. If He took action out of who He is with no purpose to help direct His actions, I can see one of two things happening. His love would hinder punishment of evil; or His righteousness would destroy all despite love, because all mankind sins and fails to achieve His glory. God is true to His word and will not go against His promise / purpose. God knows who He is and He knows His purposes, and these two aspects work together to direct His actions and reactions.

An example of how His character and purposes work together in His decisions is found in Numbers 16, when Korah and those with him came against Moses, claiming a holiness that was not true, leading to God opening the earth to swallow up him, his family, and all with him. Seems harsh and overboard and certainly does not seem to fit with God being a God of love who is patient toward us, not wishing any to perish, but all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9): that is until we break it down.

God, who is love, is patient and will give every opportunity to those who have potential to change their mind and heart attitude. But God knows the heart of every man, and He knows when a person has made their decision and will not turn to His way of thinking and being, or to His purposes. Besides being love and patient, God is also Protector. He protects those who are His. Korah and those with him were set in pride and arrogance against God’s chosen, which put them against God and His purposes. Their attitude and falsehood were acting like leaven in dough, spreading and putting the lot in danger of falling away from God. So out of love for those who still had a heart for God and His ways, He removed the leaven of sin so as to protect the rest from it.

A modern day example is seen in what is going on in Iraq. Is it God’s will for us to go against ISIS? I believe it fits with His ways. ISIS is threatening the very lives of God’s people. It is like Him to send His disciplining hand against those who are arrogantly coming against His chosen people, those surrendered to Him as God, threatening to turn His beloveds away from Him to follow after evil spurned by pride.

Some would say, “Well, let Him swallow them up then!” But God does not always work that way. We have more examples of God sending the sword through His army of people to bring the destruction of those who stood against Him and His ways, than we have of Him sending a natural disaster. Thus I believe that our armies being led to go against ISIS to protect God’s people there is His response in this hour. God often calls on His people to be His hand of protection for these who do not have resource or strength to fight for themselves. Should having to take this action grieve us? Yes! We are love, desiring those ensnared by the philosophy found in those of ISIS to find God through Christ. But knowing that their leaven of falsehood is threatening the lives of those who are His, He is forced to take a stand, and we are part of His response.

Beloved, God is still working a plan in the earth that is bringing about His eternal purpose. It is vital in these days that we develop godliness by: one, learning to know who we are in Christ and developing those characteristics. We are a new creation, having a new resource pool of characteristics to dictate our actions and reactions. And two, we are His representatives, called and equipped to work with Him in fulfilling His eternal purpose. So it is vital that we learn His heart for every situation that comes upon us, having understanding of His purposes, so we act and react in ways that represent His interests and work His plans out to fruition.

We must be as He is, in character, yes, but also in purpose, thought and action. We are to represent Him well in the world, while working alongside Him to fulfill the purpose of creating for Himself a people after His own heart that will be with Him for all eternity.

Word of Life: Sanctified – Set Apart

“By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” ~ 1 John 2:3-6.

The Word that comes to heart for us to grab hold of and possess for our lives in this season of history that is unfolding before us is this: it is vital that we remember and live as the SANCTIFIED AND SET APART people of Jehovah-God in the likeness of the Christ we follow. We cannot fully obey God as God without this vital attitude of heart driving us to that obedience.

There are so many things in this life vying for our attention and our allegiance: things, “entities” that too easily become a god we bow to – jobs, money, food, self-gratification, other gods galore, from these things mentioned to everything from gods the multitudes bow to, including “mother earth” and “father time”. God’s word warns us in 1 Corinthians 10 (*vs. 18-21) that these gods, who are no true gods at all, do have a power. They are powered by the demons lurking behind them, making those gods seem strong and worth bowing down to. I believe that anything that draws us away from our allegiance to Father-God is influenced and used by the demonic, all of whom do not want us to grow in our knowledge of and unity with the One True God.

God’s word also tells us that there is only One True God, and all will bow to Him in due season (Philippians 2:1-11; Romans 14:11). Better for us to realize this truth and bow now by choice, sanctifying ourselves to Him now, rather than being forced to bow before His throne of judgment when it is too late for that act of reverence to do us any good for our eternal destiny. And I believe it will be a true act of reverence, for on that day all will see Him as He is and will recognize in Him all that He possesses that they long to know: His authority, His power, His beauty, His love, the true freedom He supplies, etc. They will know it fully, and they will also know that it is too late for them to choose it.

These will be cast into outer darkness – dark being everything that has nothing to do with God; and they will know full well that they will never be touched by or see all that glory again, for all eternity. There may well be real fire that burns forever in hell, but I believe the greater burning will be the burning desire to see Him, know Him and be touched by all He is just one more time. And there will be the burning fire within of knowing that desire for Him will NEVER be quenched.

Thus, my first thought for us today as we seek the Word of Life that will sustain us in these days, took my mind and heart to one of my favorite “life goal” passages found strengthened by the wording of the Amplified version of scripture:

“IF THEN you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And SET YOUR MINDS AND KEEP THEM SET ON WHAT IS ABOVE (THE HIGHER THINGS), not on the things that are on the earth. For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in [the splendor of His] glory” ~ Colossians 3:1-4, AMP.

WALK-WITH-GODIt is vital right now that we decide to live sanctified, set apart lives for the glory of God, and we do that by “setting our minds and keeping them set on what is above, the higher things”: the eternal. We must be driven by eternal purposes, “looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10). We can better our lives here and effect change in the world best when we behave as good citizens of that eternal Kingdom of God to which we now belong and for which we already live and work to benefit. That means we must know Him and His ways so that we live lives of obedience in agreement with Him who is working a plan that is building for us a city in which to dwell for all time.

Looking at Colossians 3 through 4, here are words I see that speak to me of our duty and privilege where living set-apart-to-God lives is concerned:

“So kill (deaden, deprive of power) the evil desire lurking in your members [those animal impulses and all that is earthly in you that is employed in sin] … put away and rid yourselves [completely] of all these things …” 3:5a, 8a.

Realizing that we have died with Christ on the cross, dying to the desires of our flesh and the sinful practices that do not truly represent our God is the first step to sanctified living. Until we discern with understanding that we are dead to the flesh – dead to the worldly, fleshly, demonic impulses, being set free from such things to bear the image of God, we will continue in those practices. Truly believing with understanding that we have been crucified with Christ and are no longer slave to our sinful impulses strengthens us to think about our choices and choose the freedom He has given us to live godly lives as His image-bearers, having been made alive even now to the eternity we will have with God.

“…you have stripped off the old (unregenerate) self with its evil practices, And have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self], which is [ever in the process of being] renewed and remolded into [fuller and more perfect knowledge upon] knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him Who created it” ~ 3:9b-10.

Once we have come to understanding that we have stripped off the old, it is vital that we put on the new that is ours to possess through Christ, being renewed (transformed from the inside to become a totally new creation) and remolded into fuller and more perfect knowledge upon knowledge after the image and likeness of Him who is our creator. In other words, we are to be continually perfected in Him and in His likeness as we grow in our knowledge and understanding of Him and His ways.

Verse 11 of chapter 3 tells us that we are no longer separated from one another by color, creed, or genealogy, but we are sanctified and set apart as one in Christ: one body with Him, all of one Kingdom and creed, making no distinctions between us. Therefore we are to love one another and treat each other with respect, not thinking more highly of self than we ought, but seeing the good in each who possess Christlikeness, and encouraging each to discover their rightful place in His eternal purpose.

Verses 12-17 of chapter 3 instructs us in the clothing we are to dawn and what that new garment looks and feels like. Within it we are instructed in verse 15 that God’s kind of peace is our dwelling place. We are to live inside the envelope of His peace, and following that peace will direct our path to His will and way, umpiring us to recognize whether we are truly remaining in Him, sanctified and set apart in our daily living. When we fall away from His peace, we have fallen away from Him.

Verse 16 instructs us that as people who are set on Him and His kingdom, His word is to “dwell in you in [all its] richness”. If the world burns all our bibles, and they will one day, His word in us is what will equip us to continue encouraging and helping one another as we share together the things He brings up in our remembrance. And we are called as the sanctified people of God to develop faithfulness in teaching and instructing and encouraging one another in His truths. So growing in the knowledge of Him and His ways is a vital part of our sanctification.

Verse 17 instructs that we do all things as if we are doing for the Lord Himself. Whatever our work, whatever our preoccupation, God is to be the center of it, the reason for our doing our best, and the One we truly seek to please. When God gives me instruction for a topic to share with you, like He has done with this series, I spend many hours at the computer obeying His calling and equipping me. Many may see it as hours wasted that could be put to “good use” cleaning, cooking, being an ideal wife, or helping others. And there is a season for that when God calls me to it. But when He gives me something to write, my best use of my time is to set myself apart to His use, allowing Him to pour through me the words He desires to give you in due season.

When I let other things get in the way, though I may finally get to what God told me to do, the words do not flow, both because I lost the connection through failure to live set apart to Him, and partly because the time has passed for that word to reach people in the time of need. When I am prompt and faithful with the use of my time, I stand amazed that other things always manage to get done in their time, as I follow God in the wise use of my time. Living life to please Him in all we do is the greatest action we take as the set apart people of God.

The remainder of chapter 3 through chapter 4 gives examples of areas in which we are to practice doing all as if for the Lord Himself. I encourage you to read it and begin today to set yourself apart to Him as workers who will be found worthy at His coming.

Colossians chapter 4, verses 2 through 6 reminds us that as the Sanctified through Christ, our prayers and thoughts will constantly turn to Him for our help and strength. We will seek Him for our need and for that of others. And Paul expresses a major focus for the set apart ones: that of being His witnesses, having His words for those who ask any question about our faith and beliefs and practices. One of the greatest prayers you can pray for those like myself who are often called to share His thoughts with you, is to pray protection over our time use and our words, that we will be sanctified and set apart to Him, using time wisely and having His true words in due season.

Thus I say, in agreement with Paul to those of us who desire to live sanctified, set apart lives in the Lord, “See that you discharge carefully [the duties of] the ministry and fulfill the stewardship which you have received in the Lord” ~ Colossians 4:17. Live as people who are one with Him, being like Him in all your ways from thought through action, realizing your citizenry, and doing all things so as to please the King of the Kingdom, having Kingdom purpose in every word and deed that is driven by the eternal.

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NOTE of encouragement concerning the Amplified Bible: Someone said to me that they did not like the Amplified version of scripture because the differing words that can be used in translation (found in brackets) are repeating the same meaning. In part that is true. But what I have found more true is that, where I find that in the Amplified, I look the words up in the dictionary. There I find added meaning brought by each word that strengthen and encourage my understanding and growth in the subject matter covered. I encourage you when using the Amplified to keep a dictionary handy and when it feels repetitive, define the words to see the subtle difference that bring greater understanding of who and what we are to be in this life, set apart to Him.

Word of LIFE: Faithful ~ Our Reliable Advocate

“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is FAITHFUL and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us” 1 John 1:8-10.

FAITHFUL” is the word of Life that stands out to me in this portion of today’s passage that is vital for us to latch on to in these days as what is to come unfolds before us. As things unfold to reveal the truth of His prophetic word to us concerning these end-time days, and as we see much evil grow in this world and many atrocities come, especially toward those who believe in the Jehovah of our Holy Bible, both Jew and Christian, it is imperative that we remember our God’s faithfulness. He is faithful and righteous, and He will keep His word of promise to us who believe in, trust in, are confident in and rely upon Him.

This combination of words used to describe the faith we are to have is seen often in the Amplified version of scripture: faith ~ to “believe in, trust in, be confident in and rely upon Him”. It is the full and true definition of what faith in God is and how it looks on those who truly believe that HE IS FAITHFUL.

One of the main reasons I see for our need to grow strong in our trust of His faithfulness is that, as evil grows in the world, so will the temptation to fall before it. God’s word instructs us that even our greatest good can be as filthy rags before our Holy God. Why is that? Isaiah, in chapter 64, says:

“For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. There is no one who calls on Your name, who arouses himself to take hold of You; for You have hidden Your face from us and have delivered us into the power of our iniquities” ~ vs. 6-7.

Look at what Isaiah says is the reason for the filth: “no one calls on Your name, who arouses himself to take hold of You.”

Do you realize that there are many people who could be called “good people” in this life? They treat parents with respect, they are faithful to their mates, they do not steal, kill, or covet; and they speak truth at all cost, never bearing a false witness against another. But what are the first three points of God’s law given by Moses (Exodus 20)? Are they not laws that call us to have faith in, trust in, believe in, be confident in, and rely upon One Who is the only True God, taking hold on Him as our own and remembering to keep Him and His ways of first priority in living out the remainder of the Law?

And how many times does God promise those who seek Him that, if they will seek Him with whole heart, they will find Him so as to be His people and Him their God; and they will find Him faithful as God? Even those seen as “good people” sin against a Holy God when they do that good with no thought of Him or desire for Him.

True goodness requires reliance upon God, just as Jesus relied upon Him:

“If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [EVERYTHING NOT IN CONFORMITY TO HIS WILL IN PURPOSE, THOUGHT, AND ACTION]” ~ verse 9, AMP

Jesus’ righteousness was perfect righteousness because He always conformed Himself to God’s will, seeking first to accomplish His purpose, having His thoughts, and taking action as God instructed so all was done to His glory and the fulfilling of all things just as Father planned it. That is why He willingly went to that cross. He believed God and trusted His way was THE BEST WAY; thus while quaking over what He knew He was about to suffer, He prayed before going to that cross, “Yet not My will, but YOUR WILL BE DONE” (Luke 22:42).

Jesus knew that Father-God is the Architect and Builder. All the good we do that is NOT done with God’s will, purpose, and thought in mind, taking intentional action as instructed by Him in the power of His Spirit, failing to couple action with relying upon Him in the doing of the good, that good is made evil in His sight. Without reliance upon God and His Spirit, we too easily fall to the desires of our own flesh, the unenlightened wisdom of this world, and the lies of the demonic. Thus we need our Advocate, Jesus, to help us through these days as we seek after God to honor and glorify Him.

“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the PROPITIATION for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world” ~ 1 John 2:1-2.

Jesus is Propitiation: Following fully the will of God, trusting in and relying upon Him, Jesus stood in our place at our punishment, taking the penalty on our behalf, as full and complete payment for our sins. And it tells us here that He paid the price of the sins of the WHOLE WORLD.

The minute Father laid all sin on Jesus’ shoulders on that cross, all sin ever committed since His hanging on that cross was completely paid for by Christ. It is a gift that is available for all who will receive it with believing faith and full reliance upon His payment. It is not Jesus plus anything that saves. It is Jesus alone, and that requires us to RELY upon Him who paid the price, TRUSTING that payment to be all that is needed for our entrance into fellowship with Father, as part of the people of His Kingdom.

Once we enter into this new covenant of TRUST in Jesus as the Savior who purchased the right of redemption at Calvary – giving Him the right to deliver us from slavery and set us free to discover and serve God fully, we are then called to renewed FAITH in God through Christ Jesus, given full rights of access to God as His children, rebirthed in Christ to a relationship with and reliance upon God as God and Father. We are then to be His witnesses, telling others of the gift found in Christ, ready in season (when it is easy) and out of season (when it is not easy or popular) to give an account of this hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:13-17; 2 Timothy 4:1-4).

Because of our relationship with God through Christ, we are to be His ambassadors, representing His interests in the earth. Being brought by our new birth through faith into relationship with God through Christ to be His children, we are delivered into His Royal Priesthood, to be His worshipers and leaders of worship, worshiping the Father in Spirit and in truth through our daily lives and choices, setting an example for others to follow. And we are set on a course of being possessed by God, able to enter more readily into His will by receiving through our relationship of reliance on Him the purposes of His heart for our situations. We are given by His Spirit in us the very thoughts God thinks, so we are able to think as He does. And we are then able to take actions as led by Him in the power of His Spirit to the fulfilling of His purpose and plan, in one accord with His will and way.

If you are getting anything out of this series of study, beloved, it is NOT because I am a great author, able to put words together well. It is because, through reliance upon the faithfulness of God to be God, He spoke to my heart and was able to make it clear to me. He told me a storm is coming—I know not what, only that it will set the nation, and indeed the world in turmoil. And He gave me instruction through the passages we are covering and through those we are yet to cover in the days ahead that give us His Word of Life that will help us to weather the storm and to possess His heart in it.

I have awakened with a headache, being dull of thought each morning so far, not knowing what to say to you or how to say it, but having clear direction as to where in His Word I would find the thoughts and being fully surrendered to be His conduit through which the thoughts may flow. Any instruction coming clearly to you is because I have succeeded in relying upon God to pour it forth to you as He wills it to be so, and He has faithfully instructed your heart, giving you understanding of these things. By His grace sufficient, you receive it with understanding.

A storm is coming that will put us to quaking, just as Jesus did. Like Jesus, as we sincerely cry out, “not my will but Yours”, we can trust that God is God and He will have His will and His way in the earth. We can come through the storm, no matter what it brings to us on a personal level by abiding in and remaining in Him and in His Light. And we can come through every temptation this season will bring to us by trusting His faithfulness and relying fully on Him who is God to be our God, leading us to the fulfillment of His will for us in purpose, thought and action.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Beloved, if you do not know God through His gift found in Christ and Him crucified; I implore you to reread the paragraphs above, covering His propitiation. Seek His forgiveness for sin today, especially for the sin of seeking to be good people without relying on God for that goodness, and receive His gift of grace sufficient found in Christ’s sacrifice, given to pay the price for all your sin.

If you are a Christian who has fallen into the ways of the world and failed to rely upon God for every purpose, thought, and action, remember He is for you and not against you. God, by His Spirit, is continually working to perfect You through Christ (Philippians 1:6) who ever stands before the Father as your advocate.

Today is the day and NOW is the time to trust Jesus to be your Advocate, Who will forever intercede on your behalf before the Father (Romans 8). Be filled with His Spirit so you can know the will of God and walk in His ways with reliance upon Him to lead, direct, instruct, and empower you for success in fulfilling His purpose for your part in this season of His eternal plan.

Read Galatians 5-6 for teaching on what reliance upon the Spirit of God rather than on one’s own flesh looks like; and be sure to talk with a Christian near you who has proven themselves to be a faithful follower of Christ (we know them by the fruit of their lives, that of true goodness coming from relying upon God in Christlikeness). Tell them of your decision regarding Christ and seek their assistance in growing strong as His follower.

WORD OF LIFE: ACTIVLY ABIDE

“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” ~ 1 John 1:5-7.

Man. There are so many directions we can go with this passage, so many words we can give focus to, but as I consider what Father is instructing my heart in for this season coming upon us, the word that comes to heart as of first importance for us is not actually found in this version of this passage. That word is to “abide / live / remain / stay.” The Amplified version of verse 6 puts it this way:

“So if we say we are partakers together and enjoy fellowship with Him when we LIVE AND MOVE AND ARE WALKING ABOUT in darkness, we are both speaking falsely and do not LIVE AND PRACTICE the Truth which the Gospel presents.”

It is vital in these days, beloved, that we abide! We must live, move and walk around in His Light.

We are told to “abide” many times in scripture: abide in Christ / God / Spirit and He in us; abide in the Word of God; abide in His Love—receiving it and giving it away; abiding in His grace and lovingkindness; abide in His covenant / promises / agreement with us; and now in this passage, to abide in His Light as He is in the Light (John 15:4-7, John 14:17; Galatians 3:10, James 1:25; John 8:31; John 15:9-10; Romans 11:22, AMP; Hebrews 8:9, AMP). It is vital in this time that we learn and practice abiding / remaining / living in these things so as to move and walk in them, practicing them in life so that the fruit of each is born out into the world and situations around us.

Jesus warned the disciples, “You will have the Light only a little while longer. Walk while you have the Light and KEEP ON LIVING BY IT, so that darkness may not overtake and overcome you. He who walks about in the dark does not know where he goes; he is drifting” ~ John 12:35, AMP.

When Jesus left, He gave us His Spirit to be His Light in and through us. The Spirit within us dispels the darkness, giving us the ability to discern God and His ways so we may be His Light in our day. He teaches us what it means to be and walk in that light through Ephesians 5:8-10:

“You were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.”

It is vital in these days that we abide in His Light by BEING children of Light, seeking to know what pleases God and walking that out by bearing the fruit of HIS goodness, righteousness and truth. The world sees goodness, righteousness and truth as they see it. But God wants us to find and abide in His ways. “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” ~ 1 John 2:6.

That means even to look on a man or woman with lust is sin, where the world would say, “I’m not dead. It doesn’t hurt to look” (Matthew 5:27-28).

We are to love one another as Christian brothers and sisters, a sign of being in His light: “The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him” ~ 1 John 2:10. But it also means we are to love our enemies, loving with His incorruptible, unconditional love that desires the eternal good of even those who hate us (Matthew 5:43-48; see also Romans 8:35-39; Ephesians 6:24; John 14:15, 21; 15:10; 1 John 5:3).

It means that though all looks to be lost, we maintain hope, because our hope is in God and His promises, and He in us; and we have read and believe the end of the book (Mark 9:23).

We could go on and on, filling all the earth with His truth, but you get the picture. The Light we dwell in and live out opposes the darkness of this life.

Therefore, our first thing to remember as we come into the days ahead of us and the storms those days bring in ushering in the soon returning Christ is that we abide, dwell, live and walk in Him, being His Light in the world, dispelling darkness where we are beckoned.

“As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father” ~ 1 John 2:24.

Word of Life: Prophetic Alert and Series Introduction

“…what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ” ~ 1 John 1:1-3.

Yesterday, excited to get ready for church,  I woke early with a beautiful and powerful song flowing through my mind over and over – not an uncommon occurrence, but this day’s episode was different. As the words flowed through my heart, reminding me that God is and He alone is God, I began to discern that there is a reason the Spirit is singing such to me. In the car for a leisurely, peaceful drive to church where quiet and stillness allowed for hearing, I discerned that something devastating is about to hit. I do not sense this to be a personal warning, but national-global / global-national – it is for all of us and not just me and mine.

Now this is not news to us. Most all who know and follow closely to God are watching as we see end-time prophesy unfolding every day. But as this beautiful song coursed through me, I realized what God was saying to me through that song and in my quiet time reading that morning. The thing He wants me to tell you is this:

As we see things unfold and the devastation hit, it will make many hearts quake and put us in a panic. The only thing that will protect us from reacting in ways that will do more harm than good is to remember that God is; that He is God; that He is for us and not against us; that He is doing a good thing in the earth; and that He will be with us in the storm. With eyes on Him, we will come through to His glory.

These days are already testing the hearts and faith of God’s people. I see many already falling away because of feeling that, “A God of love would not allow such travesties in life”. Some are young and unexperienced in the ways and presence of Father. Others are trapped by fleshly, worldly, and demonic wisdom, with thoughts of feeling that there is “a better way”. These fail to realize and remember that God is God, the Architect and Builder who is working an eternal plan, building a people for the place of His eternal dwelling (Hebrews 11:10).

Let’s consider this on an architectural standpoint. Say an architect or engineer draws up plans for a huge, building. He carefully and strategically positions each support beam in his blueprints, placing each beam and wall where it will not only be most functional, but where the support is most needed for the building to stand, firm and secure on its foundations. Then a worker, charged with following the blueprint to build his section, thinks, “That looks awful placed there. The wall will be prettier and the room bigger and better if that beam is moved here.” He fails to follow the instructions, feeling he has a better plan, not considering weight bearing or the end result. What happens next? The building falls in on that section.

Beloved, we must begin now to realize and remember that God knows where all the support beams need to go, and He has the end product in mind. He is the only one with all the pages of the blueprint at His disposal. We only have bits in pieces and are only able to see in part what will be the end result.

Consider also the construction of a building. My In-laws live in an area that is growing, with new builds popping up around them. As we watch each building go up, for the longest it is difficult to even imagine what it will look like, and it even looks plumb ugly for a time, all those beams and pipes sticking up, followed by ugly, green walls. But suddenly it begins to take shape and we can tell more about what it is going to look like and just how big and beautiful it is going to be.

We are in a building phase in God’s plan that is looking pretty ugly right now, and it is vital that we remember that Father-God is the Architect and Builder of a city in which to dwell for all eternity. It will be huge and beautiful, filled with all good things. But to get there, fields must be cleared and leveled, forms poured, and beams set in place. And we, beloved, who trust in Him, are the workers. We have to decide whether or not we will trust the Architect and do it His way. That is what this series will cover. How do we live life in these days?

“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, CONCERNING THE WORD OF LIFE—and THE LIFE WAS MANIFESTED, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us…” ~ 1 John 1:1-3.

God did not leave us without a blueprint to follow. We have the Word of Life, not only written in His Book, but manifested to us through Christ. We have His Word, written in our hearts:

“You are our letter, written in our hearts, KNOWN AND READ BY ALL MEN; BEING MANIFESTED that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” ~ 2 Corinthians 3:2-3.

If you have the Spirit of God living in you, He has testified with me in your heart, confirming the truth of the things I say now and am about to say through these days of study. If you have the Spirit of God living in you, and if you are alive in this season of time, that is no accident. You are not here to suffer through what is about to be a time of trouble in the world, but you are here for a purpose as a worker, following the blueprint set by the Architect, observing the instruction of the Builder of all things good and glorious, so as to become the manifestation of His glory in our day.

We are here in this season, chosen and set apart for such a time as this, in order to manifest the foundation found in Christ. We are here to manifest the beams and walls that are set in Him. We are here to show others how to build using precious stones, silver, and gold that will stand the test that is coming to us. We are here to observe and manifest within ourselves the WORD OF LIFE that sustains and empowers us to live life to the full even – and especially in times of trouble and hardship. And it begins with realizing experientially, in the depth of our being, that GOD IS GOD! And we are not. Our first decision to make as we begin this journey together is, WILL WE TRUST HIM?

It was awesome as I got to church yesterday morning and received the word given by our pastor, all of which confirmed for me that I am hearing correctly concerning the coming storm and our need to firm up our foundations and make sure the support beams are in the proper place. He talked about our need to “HOLD ON” and get ready for God, ‘cause when the storms of life hit, God is getting ready to do something great.

One thing he covered in his message to us was the time when Jesus said, “Let’s go over to the other side.” He and the disciples climb in the boat and head that way. A storm rises and these veteran fishermen become afraid as it appears to them that the boat is sinking.

You remember the story: they cry out to Jesus, finding Him ASLEEP in the stern of the boat. He was unwearied by the tossing waves; and He was unafraid because He had said, “We are going over to the other side.” He knew that is where He was to go; it was God’s calling and God’s timing; so He knew they would reach the other side and fulfill God’s purpose (Mark 4:35-40).

When God calls us, beloved, He will get us there. What He tells us to do, He will provide for us to do it. We will not perish one second – one breath – one instant before it is His time for us. The thought that hit my mind when the pastor was talking about Jesus sleeping in that boat was this, “UNTIL JESUS PANICS, THERE IS NO NEED FOR ME TO.”

The time will come when Jesus will say to this storm coming upon us, “HUSH! SHUT UP! Be peaceful, still and quiet.” Until then we can find the place of the eye as spoken of in the series on Ponderings linked below, and we can live the Word of Life that will make us workers with Him in this season, bringing about the completion of all things in our time.

Are you ready, beloved? Prepare your hearts to hear with an attitude made ready to follow the manifestations of Christ for our day, becoming His hands, feet, and light in the world.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock” ~ Matthew 7:24.

Pray for me, beloved, as I seek the heart of God in writing the things He is showing me to give you by way of teaching or reminder, as we prepare to weather the soon arriving storm. “These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete” ~ 1 John 1:4. See you in the next post.

You are God! ~ Katinas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BE-IdstEdTI&index=2&list=PLfiEjLIYhJ9D1tHHJ_Ep1m340430xSaMe

(For wisdom on weathering the storms of life, read the series, “In the Hearing of the Lord” beginning with the intro to that series and following the links to each part for that 6 day study: https://darlenesponderings.com/2014/03/25/in-the-hearing-of-the-lord-series-introduction/).

BY THIS WE KNOW

“BY THIS WE KNOW THAT WE HAVE COME TO KNOW HIM, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. BY THIS WE KNOW THAT WE ARE IN HIM: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” ~ 1 John 2:3-6.

“BY THIS WE KNOW THAT WE HAVE COME TO KNOW HIM … BY THIS WE KNOW THAT WE ARE IN HIM.”

My life goal is that I may know Him, by the power of His resurrection, in the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His likeness (Philippians 3:10-11, especially in the Amplified version of Scripture). My mission statement for life, that God led me to realize years ago and continues to call me to fulfill today is THAT I MAY KNOW HIM AND MAKE HIM KNOWN. So this passage grabs my attention today and brings me to consider anew whether I am attaining to my goal and fulfilling my purpose in life as God has led me to see it. This passage states that we may know that we know Him:

One ~ If we keep His commandments.CrossDaily05

God gives us instruction for life more abundant and full. It is not just a suggestion. It is a requirement, and Jesus did not come to remove or destroy the Law, but to fulfill it.

His sacrificial blood covers our sin and in Him, we are made into the righteousness of God, being seen as righteous because of His covering. But we are still called and required to change from the inside – out, being transformed into His likeness, and to be perfect in all our ways as He is perfect. We are still called to be keepers of His Laws. His Laws are more than just those we know as the Ten Commandments. They are explained and added to throughout His word.

We are called to love, but we cannot fully understand what that love looks like without studying it throughout His word to see its fullness and its selflessness.

We are called to fidelity in marriage, but we cannot understand the level that takes, being everything from purity of thought to purity in our relationships, without seeing all that His word tells us on the subject. And we cannot understand the depth of the importance in this area until we realize the correlation God makes between this earthly relationship called “marriage” and its picture of our relationship with Him, how the practice of fidelity in marriage gives practice for our fidelity to Him as the one true God, King of kings and Lord of lords. We are one in Him, called to unity of thought, purpose, and action, requiring that we are loyal to Him above all.

God’s laws are an expression of who He is and what He does. He does not call us to do anything He, Himself does not exhibit for us. Thus we have:

Two ~ “the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”

God is as He calls us to be, and Jesus came to model for us what a life fully surrendered and sanctified to the Father Spirit-fruit3looks like.

There is a quote by Robert E. Lee that I read today that speaks to me on the vital importance this practice of walking as He walked has in life. He is quoted as saying, “You must be careful how you walk and where you go, for there are those following you who will set their feet where yours are set.”

Those we have influence with will follow our example before they do our words. If our words and our actions do not line up together in agreement, they will see that. “Do what I say and not what I do” is an unrealistic, double minded, two-faced, ideology: and God hates duplicity.

A dad cannot expect children to speak to him without yelling while he, himself, is yelling. They may use a quiet voice out of fear of reprisal in his anger, but inside they will be seething, and their attitude will show it, going where his attitude led them. A mom cannot expect respect and a good attitude when children are required to fulfill their duties, when she is constantly grumbling and complaining, and is not acting as one worthy of respect.

“The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected.”

Knowing God means knowing His ways; being in Him means walking in His footsteps. Love, truth, righteousness, and faithfulness go hand in hand. If we love God, we will respect Him and His truth, living out the righteousness He expresses to us, being faithful in all our ways. In loving others we will imitate our God and His ways that they, too, may follow, reflecting Him in this life and leading others to follow.

The Reigning Royalty of God’s Kingdom (Pt. 3 of 3)

“And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, HE SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE MAJESTY ON HIGH, HAVING BECOME AS MUCH BETTER THAN THE ANGELS, AS HE HAS INHERITED A MORE EXCELLENT NAME THAN THEY” ~ Hebrews 1:3-4.

King Jesus is trustworthy, being found faithful in following Father God, keeping Him as of first importance and His purposes as first priority. King Jesus is trustworthy, found faithful in keeping the letter and heart of the very Word of God; knowing it with full and comprehensive understanding; and making God’s Word His own mantra for life more abundant and full. And King Jesus is trustworthy, pursuing – eternally – Father’s Kingdom Purpose in all things: today’s final point in this series, revealing the trustworthiness of Christ and the reason He is King above all.

anointing5Jesus Christ, the Messiah was faithful to pursue Kingdom purpose, proving Himself worthy to be the eternal King in the eternal Kingdom of God.

Though He lived as a good citizen in the world where He was stationed, He lived first and foremost as a good citizen of God’s Holy Kingdom. He kept Father and His purposes as first priority and this fact is heard in words spoken by Him and seen in the actions He took, as revealed in these few samples of His proclamations to us:

“Do not think that I have come to do away with or undo the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to do away with or undo but to complete and fulfill them” ~ Matthew 5:17, AMP ~ We too are to fulfill and complete the Law in His name and power for the purpose of God to be fulfilled in our time.

“I have come down from heaven not to do My own will and purpose but to do the will and purpose of Him Who sent Me” ~ John 6:38, AMP ~ We too are to find God’s purpose for our living and being in this time of history.

“He said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ So the disciples were saying to one another, ‘No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?’ Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work’” ~ John 4:32-34 ~ We too must have desire for accomplishing God’s will in God’s way, seeing it as our greatest sustenance for life more abundant and full.

Jesus knew why He was here and He often told us what the purpose of His life and ministry was. It always was directed and dictated by the will and purpose of God for Him, not for His own desire. He denied Himself daily to take up His cross and follow God to accomplish His purpose, denying Himself His own fleshly desires in order to fulfill His greatest desire, that of accomplishing God’s will in God’s way. And we know He had desires of flesh because we are told that He was a man, just as we are; and He was tempted in all things as we are. As Leader of all He calls us to have this same purpose and take action in His likeness by denying fleshly desire in order to accomplish godly purpose.

Our greatest picture of the lengths Jesus would go to in fulfilling the purposes of Father God are revealed in such words and actions as these:

“Now My soul is troubled and distressed, and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour [of trial

But for this hour, I have come. Not My will, but Your will be done.
But for this hour, I have come. Not My will, but Your will be done.

and agony]? But it was for this very purpose that I have come to this hour [that I might undergo it]” ~ John 12:27, AMP.

“And He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.’ And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. And He was saying, ‘Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will’” ~ Mark 14:34-36.

Jesus went through many a trial and testing, being tempted in all ways as we are, yet without sin; for, despite the struggle that might come to His flesh, He kept God and His purposes of first priority in every choice He made. Though He agonized over the hardship He was to undertake, He chose death over disobedience to God and failure to fulfill His good will and way for the completion of all things God desired to accomplish through Christ. And He tells us, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23).

Jesus sat the example then called us to do the same. He tells us that He came in the Name of the One True God, as representing Him and His interests, and He calls us to be His ambassadors, following His example in being the people of God, called by His Name. Jesus, our example in leadership, also taught us to pray to the Father in the name of the Son, Jesus, as representing Christ’ priorities and purposes in furthering His ministry in the earth. To accomplish living, breathing and praying in His Name, we, too, must be people of purpose, having the heart desire of Father God as our compass for life’s choices.

The Reigning Royalty of God’s Kingdom (Pt. 2 of 3)

“And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, HE SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE MAJESTY ON HIGH, HAVING BECOME AS MUCH BETTER THAN THE ANGELS, AS HE HAS INHERITED A MORE EXCELLENT NAME THAN THEY” ~ Hebrews 1:3-4.

WALK-WITH-GODJesus is our example in all things, especially as leaders in our sphere of influence. He set the example as one who looked to God as God, keeping Father first in all things, intent on fulfilling His will and purpose where he traversed. Jesus is God, though we cannot fully understand that, and though He made clear His unity and equality with Father, He took a back seat position, teaching us to keep Father as of greater importance and value. Jesus made a clear distinction between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thus, we follow Jesus best when we seek and follow Father first in keeping with the way of Christ.

One of the main things God expects of us is to be people whose hearts are fed by His Word, bearing the fruit of It. We are to know His Word and be keepers of His Law, being people of our Word as He is His.

“When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love” (John 15:10, NLT).

One thing the kings of old were called to do was to write out their own copy of the Law of God (Deuteronomy 17:14-20). And they were to do so before the priests, I believe so that training, instruction and correction could come in areas of need. They were to know it for themselves, understand its heart intent, and keep it as their own truth and way of life. And we are called to do the same because we love the Father and He loves us.

Jesus was found at an early age, sitting with the priests in Jerusalem, asking questions and astounding them with His understanding. Jesus was crowned the Eternal King of kings, fulfilling God’s promise to David, because He followed Father, keeping Him of first importance, and:

He was faithful to the Letter and to the intent of Law, proving Himself trustworthy as a keeper of God’s will and way ~ Jesus often called the people down on their interpretation and practice of Scripture, especially the Pharisees and Sadducees. He pointed out that they knew the letter of the Law but not the heart behind it.

He expressed the Heart in issues like, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” ~ Matthew 5:27-28.

Those in positions of authority were often guilty of condemning the actions of another while they, themselves, had the same or some other sin in their heart desires. I believe this fact is why, when the leaders sat before Jesus a woman caught in the very act of adultery, He pointed them to look at their own hearts. They brought only the woman out. Where was the man? He knew their heart was following the letter, and only a portion of it at that (Leviticus 20:10), while their own hearts were in sin.Kin-Jesus2

Jesus imparted greater understanding of God’s heart on many issues, including it being easy to love someone who loves us, but the greater depths of the love God calls us to extend love even to those who are enemies (Matthew 5:43-48). In a populace that believed only the godly were blessed with wealth, He taught the greater sacrifice and blessing of the poor (Mark 12:41-44; Matthew 19:16-25); and that the true treasure we are to have is laid up with God in Heaven through our righteous choices for life instead of death – blessing over curse, good over evil (Matthew 6:19-21). We could go on—and on, but as John said, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25)

Jesus knew the heart intent of the Laws of God and amazed the people with His teaching because He was faithful in His relationship with the true Author of the Law. He was intimately in tune with the Father, and He has provided for us to have this same intimacy through the power of His Spirit that He sends into our lives to be our Teacher and to bring us heart to heart with the Father (John 14:26). Jesus enlightens the heart of every man and woman who sincerely and wholeheartedly seek Him as, in the power of the Holy Spirit, He grants them true understanding of the heart intent of God and His word to us.

This right and privilege is not to a select few, but is promised to each individual of us who seek His face with faith to believe and receive His word sent to us in our spirit-interaction with His Spirit. It is awesome to my heart when God speaks some deep understanding or revelation to my heart, and then I start hearing the same teachings coming out of the well-known leaders of our day, thus confirming for me the understanding I found.

We each have within us the ability to touch and be touched by the very heart of God and be inspired by the greater depths of understanding that will make us leaders where we are as we follow faithfully the true teachings of God, becoming people of His Word, following hard after King Jesus. His Spirit within us makes us one with Him and with each other. It is those who excel in this area who are worthy of being leaders among us.

Jesus kept God first in all things, and He fulfills the law regarding the rule of Kingship in His knowledge and understanding of the Law of God, therefore He is worthy of the position given Him at the right hand of God. And He is worthy of our allegiance to Him as King of kings and Lord of lords. In our next post for this series, we will see another exemplary area in which Jesus proved Himself to be trustworthy in all things, winning the Crown of Glory that gives Him right to the throne of The Kingdom of God.

The Reigning Royalty of God’s Kingdom (Pt. 1 of 3)

“And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, HE SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE MAJESTY ON HIGH, HAVING BECOME AS MUCH BETTER THAN THE ANGELS, AS HE HAS INHERITED A MORE EXCELLENT NAME THAN THEY” ~ Hebrews 1:3-4.

It has been way long since my last post, much longer than I like to see between posts in a series. Sometimes life feels like interruptions, but what I find is generally true in such instances, this being one, is that the time of interruption is either training ground that gives experiential thought for the writing; or it is a breather time where direction and greater depth of understanding are birthed as I get God’s heart for what is to be said.

Jesus010Jesus came representing Father and His interests in the earth, earning for Himself the crown of David, ruler in his bloodline as eternal King of kings and Lord of lords, fulfilling the promise of God for there to always be a King on the throne through the lineage of David. He came as an example to us and calls us to follow, giving to us the authority of those who are of His royal household, so we are adequately equipped to represent Kingdom interests in the world. But what example did He set that we are to follow? Here is the direction that came during my time of breather for these final posts in this series.

Where there is a picture written for us for every area of leadership, there is one trait that stands out to me: that leader is to be found trustworthy. There are many other traits that are important, but none so great as this. Even in today’s society I am grateful for those who are found trustworthy in their post. I think one of the main hurdles our current President has before him is the doubt brought to the table before he won the first election that told those watching that he is not trustworthy. Questions still today float around that he is not even legal as a citizen, and therefore has no right to the roll he has won. Further incidences throughout his tenure just increase the suspicions.

Every leader seems to have their moment(s) of dealing with suspicions that bring question to the veracity of their actions; but not Jesus. Even king David, proclaimed to be a man after God’s own heart, fell in trustworthiness in the instance surrounding his lust for Bathsheba. But he proved the sincerity of his heart toward God through repentance, and God raised up between him and Bathsheba the great king Solomon, who brought peace to the people and was God’s chosen man to build His temple in Jerusalem.

Jesus, however, kept God first, being found faithful in all His ways, always having Kingdom purpose at the heart. We can learn much to help us at whatever level of leadership we hold if we will look to Jesus’ example. The first thing I see that we will cover today:

He was faithful to Father ~ Jesus kept God first , holding to Him as the one and only God and Lord in all things. He says of Himself, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. …I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will” (John 5:19, NASB; 5:30, NLT).

Jesus proved Himself faithful in keeping God and His will first and foremost, in all things. He was intimately acquainted with Father-God, revealing to us that we can be as well, showing us that intimate knowledge of God, His will, His ways, and His heart intents are ours to discover and follow above all else.

I am reading the Old Testament right now, reading the stories, lives, and legacy of the kings of Israel and Judah. One thing that I am noticing throughout is that no leader can lead a nation to a greatness that reaches even the least of the kingdom apart from that found by first following the One True God. Every leader would follow some god, but only those who were intimately acquainted with the One God and following Him lead the nation to true greatness. And the God or gods followed by the king is the one(s) the people would gravitate to. Our nation is in decline right now, and I believe it is because the majority of our leaders and the majority of the people of the nation are not whole hearted toward Father-God, Jehovah.

Jesus was a faithful leader, trustworthy in all His ways because He knew what Peter discovered and called us all toJesus_103 realize:

“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” ~ 1 Peter 2:9.

We, like Jesus, are a people for GOD’S OWN POSSESSION. He has called us and chosen us for a royal priesthood, to be a holy nation, set apart to the One True and Only God. In this we are to be found faithful in proclaiming His excellencies, being trustworthy and faithful stewards of our God’s creation, keeping Him first in all things as we dispel darkness by being His light in the world.

Jesus is our perfect example of faithfulness as one who was intimately acquainted with Father-God, being whole hearted toward Him, keeping Him and His ways of first and foremost importance in life. It is the first and most vital, trustworthy act of any leader, and it is one thing that won Jesus the crown of glory and led to Him being seated on the throne of the Kingdom at the right hand of God the Father.

The Righteous Lot of God

“And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. WHEN HE HAD MADE PURIFICATION OF SINS, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they” ~ Hebrews 1:3-4.

The Righteous Lot of God does more than just keep laws. These are the people who, like Jesus, walk with God step by step. Psalms 1 comes to heart as I think on the person who is numbered among the righteous lot of God’s possession.

“Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather” ~ AMP.

The righteous walk and live:

1. In the counsel of the godly.

When my children were teenagers, everyone ran around shouting “What would Jesus do?” They wore WWJD jewelry and wrote the initials on walls. It became the watch-word for the youth of my children’s day and it carries on still today. This is the heart of the righteous lot of God’s possession, to find the path of the godly, keeping company with people of godly character, and seeking after godly counsel.

2. Taking action to right the wrong, leaving the company of the ungodly.

Scripture warns that “bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33). The righteous will not stand by and watch someone do evil to another, but will take action to stop the evil. The righteous realize when someone is given over to evil intent, and, however much they may love the person, they choose to disassociate from them when they are given to the practice of sin, in order to protect their own heart from following after folly. The breaking of the bonds of fellowship with those given to sin is not out of hate toward the person, but out of love for God that desires us to keep our heart from evil. If keeping company with a friend in this life constantly causes us to fall away from God and His ways, it is better to break it off with the friend than to fall away from God.

3. Finding peaceful pastures in which to dwell.

There is no peace around people who are constantly negative and spouting off in judgmental accusation toward others. Our political climate right now is a perfect example. I watch enough news to know what is going on so I can make informed decision as the need arises; but when I sit and just listen to even Christian news programs, hearing the rhetoric over and over about the day’s difficulties, it leads to a heart of contempt toward others. Some of the godliest people I know can sound off with fervent hate toward leaders of nations because they constantly feed their souls with the news that breeds disdain for those in power. I don’t believe this is what God has in mind for the righteous lot. We are to be people who look to Him, feasting our hearts, minds and souls on Him and His word so we enter into peaceful pastures where He can lead us to righteous paths.

Verse 2 of Psalms 1 says, “his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” It does not tell us to meditate on the day’s events or the struggles of life day and night. Proverbs 29:18 warns:

“Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish; but he who keeps the law [of God, which includes that of man]—blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he” ~ AMP.

If we want to enter peaceful pastures, we cannot do so with minds full of the frailty of life and the difficulties of our day. It is only found when we enter into the redemptive revelation of God, knowing who He is and what He has done and is doing on our behalf. True righteousness belongs to those who know:

“But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” ~ Romans 8:22-24.

Sin is a reality in the world. Focusing on it does not make us righteous. Instead it hinders righteousness as it robs us of the peace we have in Christ when we give focus to the things of God: His word, His will, His way, and the testimony of light He desires we have within us. The darkness of this world will only be dispelled by the Light of God in us. That light is dimmed by contention and contention comes with the worries of life and clinging to our desires instead of to God.

“More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith” ~ Philippians 3:8-9.

Jesus is our righteousness. When we sit with scoffers, feeding our souls with the day’s news items or the constant complaint from those never given to think on the things of God’s choosing (Philippians 4:8-9), letting our hearts be brought to turmoil, we forget who we are in Christ and fall to behaving out of a fleshly, worldly, demonic value system that dims the light of God in us. Focus on the turmoil in this world brings us to fighting for our right and clinging to our possessions. Focus on God and on Jesus. Be filled with the Spirit of God. Then the light in us, which consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth, will pour forth to bear witness in the world, dispelling the darkness around us, and breeding peaceful pastures in which to dwell (Ephesians 5:7-10).

Father, we live righteous lives not because of our own goodness, but because of Yours. You grant us righteous status through our relationship with You in Christ, therefore we behave righteously in all things as we feast on You. Thank You that in Christ, You impart true righteousness to us for the sake of Your glory, and You empower us to live it. In feasting our hearts, minds, and souls on You and living Your ways out into our world, Light dispels the darkness around us. In associating with those of like value system, we protect our hearts from evil. And in taking counsel from the godly, we are helped to the righteous paths by which we walk and live as the righteous lot of God, chosen to be Your witnesses for such a time as this. Grant us right thought and right focus that we may feast in You and find peace that passes understanding in the day of trouble and help to weather the storms of life, choosing right and true paths for our feet.  In Jesus, amen.

“But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night. And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity]” ~ Psalm 1:2-3, AMP.

God’s Rainbow Ready Followers

“And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and UPHOLDS ALL THINGS BY THE WORD OF HIS (FATHER’S) POWER. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they” ~ Hebrews 1:3-4.

The rainbow is a symbol of God’s faithfulness to His Word reminding us that He is the promise keeper. Jesus upheld all things by trusting the Word of God’s power. God spoke all things into existence and Jesus knew God’s word would come to pass. Jesus never stood on His own word, but on the Father’s word to and regarding Himself, and in knowing the Father and His will and way. He believed God and stood ready, watching for the fulfillment of all things to come to pass, and He worked with the Father toward that end.

He also knew when a danger was no more than a threat because it was not yet His time. He walked out from the midst of an angry mob without fear for his life because He knew His end as prophesied in God’s word and He believed God, therefore He was unafraid. He slept in the midst of a storm tossed boat because He believed and trusted God with regard to His destiny. He refused an earthly crown, knowing the Father had so much more in the works.

It is by knowing God’s word and His purpose and plan for us that we, too, can stand the test, the storms and the threats of this life. Are we Rainbow Ready: watching with earnest expectation and hope in the fulfillment of God’s promise and plan? Are we standing on His Word to us, trusting in His will and way?

I was asked just yesterday how to know we are hearing from Father in our personal situations and I have been thinking of how to respond to that. There is no sure outline to follow that works for every person. As I think of my own journey to discerning the Father’s voice, here is what I see:

Faith to believe: We are told to ask when we need wisdom, and if we ask in faith to believe, He will give it. What I have found and believe true is that God always responds to the sincere heart that is seeking Him. The problem comes when we second guess God and fail to receive His word to us with faith to believe it is Him who is speaking.

My journey to know the voice of God and trust it became strong when He pointed John 10 out to my heart, telling me through it that those who are His KNOW His voice and follow Him. I latched on to that and decided, God’s word being true, that I could trust that. So I told Him of my faith in His word and that when I discerned what I recognize as His voice instructing me, I would follow that in faith unless He made it clear to me that I was misinterpreting the voice. I called God to remembrance of His word and expressed trust in Him to be keeper of His word in my life. Wow, has He ever been faithful to grow my understanding and comprehension of how He speaks to and works with me.

I don’t believe any one person can say, “This is God’s voice.” In my experience, He works different with each individual, as Proverbs 22:6 (AMP) says, “in keeping with his individual gift or bent”. It takes faith to believe God’s faithfulness for a person to know His voice, and following His instruction requires…

Trust in Him: We can have faith to believe what He speaks to us, but fail to have trust in Him to work His will in the situation. Jesus not only had faith to believe the Word of God toward Him, but He trusted God to make things happen in accord with His will. We too often fail to follow through with faith filled trust because we don’t know the outcome.

Trusting God requires realizing that He sees the bigger picture and has a purpose for the outcome of our situations. Hearing God’s voice requires we have a faith that obeys His lead while leaving the outcome to Him. Even if the outcome of following His directives is not what we hoped for, we can trust and know that God is working a plan and purpose that will ultimately achieve much more than we can see and know this side of eternity. People too often fail to follow God’s instruction to their seeking for fear of the unknown outcome, and usually there is a possibility of things going in a direction we see as bad.

Paul’s experience when the Spirit kept him moving toward Jerusalem despite warnings that the outcome would not be good on the earthly realm of things is an example (Acts 21-28). He knew the outcome of his continuing forward had great potential to bring a hardship he did not desire, but he also knew that God had a good purpose for the outcome and that He would work great things out of his willingness to follow with faith-filled, believing trust in His power to accomplish good.

Stopping to think about that, how can it be any different? To always follow only the directives we discern to be God when we know the outcome will be what we want requires no faith to believe in and trust God. What kind of God would He be if we never had opportunity to walk with faith in trusting Him to be bigger than life?

Faith to believe that trusts in God so as to follow without being able to see clearly is vital. When we can trust God, no matter the outcome, that is when we have the strength of His power to see it through to the finish. This is the faith Jesus had that allowed Him, in His darkest hour, to say, “Yet not My will, but Thy will be done.” He knew the cup of hardship He was about to partake of would not be easy; but He trusted God for the outcome and was strengthened to drink of the cup. Trusting God to be God despite what we see in the earth. That is the Good Shepherd’s call.

Father, You are our hope. No matter what this life brings to us, You are faithful and will have Your way. Jesus walked through and out of trouble without fear because He knew His day, ordained by You, had not yet come. Father, pour forth our measure of faith a hundred fold and empower us to “only believe” so we may enter Your rest and find help for the times of good and the days of trouble. Grant us to be rainbow ready followers, having faith to believe in You and trust to follow You, knowing You will work good for our eternity whether or not our earthly outcome is what we desire. May we know Your voice and faithfully follow You into eternity. In Jesus, amen.

The Representation of God’s Nature

“And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact REPRESENTATION OF HIS NATURE, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they” ~ Hebrews 1:3-4.

CrossDaily05Jesus is our example of One representing the very nature of the Father, and He calls to us, “Come. Follow Me.” When we choose to follow, we become His living stones. Just as Jesus is the Living Corner Stone, we are being chiseled into the very image of God in Christ Jesus. Peter expresses our call as image bearers in 1 Peter 2, telling us that we, as living stones, are…

“a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation” ~ vs. 9-12.

As royal priests, we are representatives of God and His interests in the world. The more we know Him, the better our understanding and comprehension of His nature will be. In knowing His nature, the better we will know His ways. And the better we know His ways, the more clearly stated will be our representation of Him, His glory, and His interests.

This is what I believe was the problem for the people of God in Moses’ day: they refused the invitation to experience God for themselves, preferring instead for Moses to relate with Him on their behalf (Exodus 19:16-20:26). Failing to choose to know Him for themselves, they did not have relational experience of His presence to help them stand firm in His ways, and they wound up falling away from the Living God. God calls us to individual relationship with Him still today. And still today, the choice is our own to make, whether or not we will walk with Him.

Paul tells us that once we choose relationship with God through Christ, we become His representatives in the world with a charge to be His light where we are. As God’s representatives, we are continually stripping off the old, unregenerate self in order to put on the new, spiritual self, “which is ever in the process of being renewed and remolded into fuller and more perfect knowledge upon knowledge after the image and likeness of Him Who created it.” And as Paul continues in Colossians 3, He implores us:

“Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones – His own picked representatives, who are purified and holy and well-beloved by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, and patience, which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper. Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference, a grievance or complaint against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has freely forgiven you, so must you also forgive. And above all these put on love and enfold yourselves with this bond of perfectness which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony. And let the peace – soul harmony which comes from Christ rule and act as umpire continually in your hearts, deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state to which as members of Christ’s one body you were also called to live. And be thankful, giving praise to God always. Let the word spoken by Christ have its home in your hearts and minds, and let it dwell in you in all its richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom in spiritual things, and as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with His grace in your hearts. And whatever you do – no matter what it is in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in dependence upon His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him” ~ vs. 12-17, AMP.

This is our calling and equipping, beloved, as true representatives in Christ, fulfilling the purpose and bringing to completion the interests of Father in the earth. But this is only a beginning of our knowledge. For more clear understanding, each individual of us must seek to know Him for ourselves; and one main place He is found is in the pages of His Word. Learn it so as to have it dwelling within so that you may live it.

Father, as Jesus represented Your very nature, so are we to follow His example. You not only call us to be Your representatives in this life, but You equip us for it, filling us to the full with all that You are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, and more. We are fully supplied to shine Your nature to the world so that they may know You and so they may know Your ways. Grant us to walk by the Spirit so that we will not carry out the deeds of the flesh. In Jesus, glorify Yourself in our very nature. Amen.

My Desire Playlist (8 songs) ~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=113H_ySsBYg&index=3&list=PLfiEjLIYhJ9AfidNKH4ify2vg0Z5t-SSj

All scripture is in New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise stated.

The Radiance of God’s Glory

“And He (Jesus) is THE RADIANCE OF HIS (FATHER’S) GLORY and the exact representation of His (Father’s) nature, and upholds all things by the word of His (Father’s) power. When He (Jesus) had made purification of sins, He (Jesus) sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high (The Father), having become as much better than the angels, as He (Jesus) has inherited a more excellent name than they” ~ Hebrews 1:3-4.

This week on Living Worshipers Rally Point, we are praying this passage for the Body of Christ. It seemed good, as I considered the example we have in Jesus, to write accompanying devotionals to go along with each day’s focus. Yesterday, as I did not get back to this as planned, we looked at the radiance of the Father’s glory that is exemplified for us in Christ.

WALK-WITH-GODJesus radiated the glory of God for us, so that we could see what that looks like. Thinking of that, I recall Moses in contrast. The people were afraid of Moses because of the light in his face that shined forth the glory of God found in the intimate relationship with Him that Moses possessed; so for the sake of the people, Moses covered his face. Jesus, on the other hand, let it all hang out—or shine forth, if you will. And He calls us to follow His example by doing the same.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” ~ Matthew 5:14-16.

Like a lamp, we are placed where we are in this life for the purpose of lighting up the area. The closer we walk with God, the brighter our light. We must not be ashamed to let the light out. Nor are we to cover it up so-as to make others more comfortable. That defeats the purpose of light.

“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord” ~ Ephesians 5:6-10.

We are to be in direct contrast to the dark things of this world. Our light is made known by a life of goodness, Parhelia Diamondsrighteousness, and truth. There is no truth in shrinking back so the darkness can have its way. Light dispels darkness. The very purpose of light – of glory, is to shine forth into the night.

I have night lights scattered throughout my house. When I wake too early and walk out of our room, made extra dark for sleeping, I am immediately greeted by lots of light throughout each room and across every walkway, making it easy to traverse the night. That is the job we have as His light. Dispel the dark so others may see to find The Way.

“We who first hoped in Christ [who first put our confidence in Him have been destined and appointed to] live for the praise of His glory!” ~ Ephesians 1:12, AMP.

Father, we are here to radiate Your glory: not hiding it from onlookers, but living as pleases You in all things so that others may see and know You. As we lift the Body of Christ to You today, O God, I pray that each individual one of us will follow Christ’s example and be the radiance of Your glory in the place You have placed us, no matter how dark and difficult. May we be found faithfully fulfilling our call in Your name and to Your glory. In Jesus, amen.

For further thought, read “Be Parhelia”. Then press into your day and SHINE! ~ https://darlenesponderings.com/2012/07/13/be-parhelia/

Be Strong and COURAGEOUS! ~ Part 2

“Then He (the Lord) commissioned Joshua the son of Nun, and said, ‘Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the sons of Israel into the land which I swore to them, and I will be with you’” ~ Deuteronomy 31:23, (authors note).

We are called and equipped, Beloved, to be strong and courageous in life, being as God is, living as Jesus lived – in the world but not of it, so others may come to know Him for themselves and find His promises for life. Jesus said…

“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself (his fleshly lusts, worldly desires, and ungodly demands), and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life (by denying self and the desire to be in control above even God) for My sake, he is the one who will save it” ~ Luke 9:23-24 (Authors note).

When we choose to live as God desires, walk in obedience to Father as Jesus did, and live as His Eternal Kingdom CrossDaily05People in the midst of a world that denies Him, it will be difficult for us to do. Just as Jesus sweat blood before taking up His cross, there are times when we will feel we are doing the same (Hebrews 12:4). Here is the upside, Beloved one. Following the will of God even when we have to bear the cross of going against cultural norms and beliefs, sometimes even standing as if alone in order to obey Father and do His bidding, that cross bearing produces eternal fruit with great reward.

Every time we do right before God, though it puts us in difficult situations where we are, we add gold, silver and precious stones to our immortal structure that will not burn away as we enter His presence on the day of Bema seat (the judgment of the works of those who are God’s through Christ) (1 Corinthians 3:10-15). Accomplishing this in a society that promotes self (self-centeredness, self-reliance, self-fulfillment) will require faith in God, hope for eternity, and love, “and the greatest of these is love” ~ 1 Corinthians 13.

We are called as God’s people to love: loving Him first and foremost, above all else and with all that we are. We are called to love Him and others as He loves us, and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. The question is, “How does He love us?” I believe the answer to that is best revealed through 1 John 3-4, especially chapter 4, verses 7-8:

sm34“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, FOR GOD IS LOVE.”

God is love, and that is the goal for our love-walk, to learn of Him so that we may be love as He is love. Everything God does is dictated by love – EVERYTHING – even what is known as His wrath. His wrath is not self-centered, it is us centered. When He came against the evil a person did in scripture, it was because He, knowing the heart and outcome of man’s choices, the path they would choose, protected those who had a heart to follow Him by removing from their midst the tempter – those dead-set against God’s will and way. God is love and everything He does and allows stems out of that sincere care for us, His created beings, as He works with us to build a Kingdom of people who have a heart for Him as He does for us.

Beloved, just as there is a Bema Seat to judge the works of our lives here on earth, how we loved and lived in His name, there is also a White Throne judgment. Those who refuse His gift in Christ will stand before that White throne and be cast out of His presence with no hope remaining for their eternal, immortal being. Love will compel us to live in a way that shows that we care about that fact.

Hear me, Beloved of God. Put your eternal-minded ears on. God will one day remove all evil from its ability to influence and lead His creation away from His purity—His essence. But here is the thing: as we stand before whichever judgment seat we are headed for, not only will there be full revelation of who we are within our being and what we have done in this life, but in that instant each will fully see and know Him as He is. All His glory, all His purity, ALL HIS LOVE will be evident to us all. Those who stand before Bema will enter in to enjoy His essence for all eternity. Those who refused His gift of grace through Jesus and stand before the White throne will be cast into outer darkness to never experience the light of His essence or touch the hem of the knowledge of His love for them again.

The burning of hell is not just flames and heat for all eternity. I believe with all my heart that the greater burning will be desire to stand before Him and to simply be able to touch the hem of His essence one more time.

FEEL THAT, BELOVED BROTHER AND SISTER! With every fiber of compassion you have in you, let that soak in to motivate your life. It is vital for us to understand that those who fail to choose to follow Him now will enter into eternal separation from Him knowing full well all they are missing out on. Loving compassion should move us to be as He is for the sake of bearing a testimony of love to a lost and dying world in need of the knowledge of their Savior, God and King.

It is vital that we overcome our fear in this life: fear of persecution, fear of standing out, fear of rejection, fear of being different. If we, out of love, do not overcome our “self” so as to take up our cross of self-denial in order to love others at any cost, we put those given to our charge, as being in our sphere of influence; we put them into jeopardy of eternal longing for God, all for lack of a witness to draw them into His eternal arms.

Our love-walk, not as the world loves, but to learn to be love as He is love and allow those around us to experience Him through us, is vital! “The greatest of these is LOVE” will impact those around us, bringing them to knowledge of Him and to a relationship with Him that will protect them from missing His presence with a longing that burns unfulfilled forevermore.

~*~

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And 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 profits me nothing. Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. LOVE NEVER FAILS….” ~ 1 Corinthians 13.

Be Strong and COURAGEOUS! ~ Part 1

“The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed” ~ Deuteronomy 31:8

For over a week now, every time I read a passage like the one above, God highlights it and grabs my heart, drawing my attention to it. Today, when I found myself again caught by this version of the same theme, I bowed before Father and prayed, “Lord, You keep grabbing me with this word to not fear or be dismayed, but to be strong and courageous, but I do not understand why. Is something coming? Please prepare me to stand.”

Then, as I read further, Father brought clarity of understanding to me. In Deuteronomy 31, God has Moses preparing the people to enter in to possess the land of promise. But God has warned Moses that, once the children of Israel have done so, they will become complacent in their relationship with God because of their prosperity and ease, and they will turn again to serve other gods, coming under the disciplining hand of Father’s anger over their spiritual harlotry. As He is speaking with Moses, He says these words:

“…for I know their intent which they are developing today…” ~ Deuteronomy 31:21.

King-Daddy-God knows the intent of the heart of mankind even before that man realizes the path he is heading for in his ungodly thoughts. It is like being on a diet instead of a live-it plan. A live-it plan comes to one with a heart for true change, to be transformed to no longer walk in or desire the old, but to make the very person they are into the new they are possessing, making the new way to be how they live from now to eternity. We go on a diet so we can lose weight, and often without our even realizing it, our intent is to return to our old ways of eating and our sedentary lifestyle once we get what we want.

Too often we treat our relationship with God that way. “I will stay the course of righteousness until I get my desire, or until it gets too hard to follow,” failing to realize that the word “until” in our vocabulary sets our hearts with intent to return to our own way. That is what God saw in the children of His heart’s desire. So He warned Moses in order for him to prepare Joshua and those who lead with him to lead the people with determined purpose that would require of them much strength of character and courage to stand firm and stay the course despite the leanings of those they lead.

So what does that have to do with us today, Beloved?

We are in the midst of a nation of people who are walking their own way, and that diet is alive even in the body of Jesus-Bride006the followers of Christ. Our call as the people of God is to live-IT, and to do so with the intent of bringing others back to live-IT with us, in sincerity of heart toward God and with committed purpose.

“Then He (the Lord) commissioned Joshua the son of Nun, and said, ‘Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the sons of Israel into the land which I swore to them, and I will be with you’” ~ Deuteronomy 31:23, (authors note).

Just as God personally charged Joshua with individual responsibility to lead the people in the ways of God, trusting His Presence with him, thus He is commissioning me today to be careful how I live so that I am strong and courageous to show the way of true and eternal life to those around me. And just as God later has Moses call together the others charged with leading alongside Joshua, in order to extend the commissioning to them, thus God has me writing to you today.

If this teaching resonates with your spiritual heart toward God, be careful to know, Beloved, that you too are given charge this day to live-IT, despite the cost to you personally, with strength and courage so that Father may use you to lead many to follow Him into eternity.

I am a member of SparkPeople.com, and leader of a couple of teams. One of those is one for which I just accepted the position of co-leadership during the absence of the main leader who is in a difficult season of life. Unlike my other team, which is a Christian team, this team has people from all walks of life in it. Because of a bad experience of the past, when I was just being who I am in Christ and hit a wall of persecution and rejection where I was told to “stop mentioning God or leave,” this morning I found myself praying how I should “speak” when responding to those I do not know, but can tell they probably do not know my God. My concern was to not be so strongly me, a seeker of Jesus through prayer for all people, in love with the Triune and with those I minister to and walk alongside, that I inadvertently push them away. God convicted me in that moment to have the courage to be who I am in Him, and leave their response to Him. It is, after all, Him they are truly rejecting.

This is the call of this day. We are in a day when we hesitate to show our Christian colors for fear of rejection and persecution. But we cannot be one thing in the midst of the people of God, act like the people of the world when in their midst or cow down for fear of them knowing who we are in Him – thus leaving them to conclude that we are just as they are, and fulfill this call to lead others to possess the land of promise.

Our day is strategic in a world of chaos. We do not have time for a diet lifestyle. God is not calling us to necessarily break any laws against proselytizing, but He is calling us to be His people, living His will and way where we are, without fear of the rejection and persecution that will come from those who reject Him.

Those who see in us something they desire to have will ask us where we got it and how they too may possess it. We do not have to be pushy in our desire for others to follow Christ. We can love all people as they are with hope of being a light that draws them to find Him without forcing our way on them. It will take strength of character to shine for Him, and courage of heart to do so in the society in which we live today.

On this subject, there is one other thing God is speaking to me that is vital as we seek to live-IT for His glory and the good of those we hope to help to find righteous paths and peaceful pastures. But this part is long, and thought two will also take some words to express it fully, so we will continue tomorrow.