Category Archives: Sanctification

Capturing Stinking Thinking: Part 5

Considering the wisdom of Philippians 4:4-13 in our focus to follow the dictates of 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, which instructs us to take every thought captive, we finish up our arsenal from this Philippians passage. Beginning with joy in the Lord that brings strength, to it Paul adds the godly attitudes and temperaments of gentleness, an unselfish consideration, with forbearance, restraint, tolerance, and patience. To this Paul adds trust in God that produces peace of mind and heart, protecting against anxious thoughts. Last post Paul’s instruction added the need to make sure our thoughts dwell with God, letting His truth and perspective dictate so that we turn to thoughts that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely; thoughts of good repute, excellence, and praiseworthiness. Dwelling with such thinking causes those characteristics to work their way out in our life practices. Today we add what may well be the most needful and effective weapon for our arsenal against stinking thinking:

“But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” ~ Verses 10-13.

Trust in God that empowers us to be content despite life’s circumstance is one of our greatest tools against skunk-thoughts. This contentment is not that fed by discouragement, but by hope. True contentment is not the passivity, apathy, or indifference that leads to us lying down to die in defeatism, instead of getting up to move forward in faith. This contentment Paul speaks of requires us to enter into the rest of God: a rest fed by faith to trust Him, leading to those actions of obedience required of us wherever we are in life; trust filled action flowing from those right and true thought processes. This active-rest holds us in God’s sure peace while believing with assurance of heart that He is in control and will get us safely to wherever He is taking us through the situation at hand (consider Hebrews 3:12-19; Philippians 3:1-14).

As I think on these things, I realize that contentment is greatly dependent on our ability to place our joy in the Lord Himself, instead of in His gifts or provision, or in our wants and desires. When we let our joy fall on what God does for us instead of realizing Him as our exceeding great reward, we will fall easily to discontent when a desire or even a perceived need goes unmet. Thus, we come full circle, beloved.

Where are you in your life journey today? Do you readily rest things in God’s capable hands, following His instruction in obedience as you walk through life’s challenges? Or do you kick against the goads of thoughts not settled and secure in God’s will and way? Let’s close with God’s words to us through James:

“What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel.

“You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose:

“‘He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us’?

“But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.’

“Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you” ~ James 4:1-10 (consider the Amplified version of this passage).

Contentment in whatever circumstance life brings us begins with God being our first, most needful joy, knowing Him to be our exceeding great reward. No other perceived need or want truly sustains us.

Capturing Stinking Thinking: Part 4

We are covering Philippians 4:4-13, seeking God’s wisdom concerning things taught here that help us take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-6). As a quick review of verses 4-7, covered to date, we learned the importance of rejoicing in the Lord. With God as the source of our joy, we have strength to face life’s challenges, and resource to stand firm against stinking thinking that leads to a fall. We must refuse to let anything rob us of the joy we find in our relationship with God. Nothing can rob us of that true joy that rests by faith in Him, for He holds us secure in Christ (Romans 14:4).

With our rejoicing in Him, we discover that He equips us to respond to people and circumstances with gentleness that expresses itself through patient forbearance and long-suffering tolerance, dictated by right attitudes of mind seen in selflessness and temperance that knows Jesus is coming and that we are to represent His interests until He gets here. As people of God who know the Lord is near, we choose to be people of faith, trusting Him, not given over to anxiety that robs of peace, but people filled with God’s peace, having hearts and minds enveloped by His protective peace that is beyond our full comprehension. Continuing Philippians 4, in verses 8-9, Paul gives this wisdom from God as a watch-list for our thought-life:

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Our next spiritual weapon is the practice of dwelling with God in our thought life. We are told in this passage to dwell on these things, the first being: truth ~ I believe that this is not just any truth, but God’s truth. God’s truth sees things as they really are, getting to the heart of the matter; and God’s truth always considers God’s supply: His presence with us, His resource for us.

One example that comes to mind is one I find myself having to remember these days. With the health issues my husband and I are dealing with, I find myself to be very tired most days, and often find rolling around in my head the thought that “I can’t”! When opportunity to meet a need arises, the feeling of being tired and the words “I can’t” move in on me so fast that I have to be careful to not just run with that evaluation. Capturing that thought requires me to do two things: 1) look at the truth of the situation to see the reality of the need; and 2) remember God’s word to Paul that I believe true for us as well, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; Matthew 17:20; Philippians 3). Our thought life can hinder our participation in things God desires for us if we fail to seek Him for a right evaluation and to trust His supply for our need in accomplishing His purpose.

Paul instructs us to “dwell on (think on, meditate on)” the true, the honorable, the right, pure, and lovely things of good repute and excellence, focusing on the praise worthy things. The truly praiseworthy flows from a heart focused to honor God and please Him first and foremost. Paul’s instruction given is with the purpose that our minds may be set on the works and words worth putting into practice: “Practice these things,” Paul instructs.

Our thoughts should inspire words and actions that prove us as God’s true servants, practicing the honorable, righteous, pure, and lovely ways of God in truth, doing His will as people worthy of good repute, producing excellence worthy of praise that glorifies God as God, pleasing Him in all things. Take every thought captive, beloved, by inviting God to inspire right thinking, dwelling with God in your every thought, allowing His Spirit and Word to inspire right and true understanding leading to accomplishing His good will in His glorious way to fulfill His eternal purpose.

Capturing Stinking Thinking: Part 3

In our consideration of the truths found in Philippians 4:4-13, we find instruction to help us take every thought captive to obey God in Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-6).

Rejoicing in the Lord despite circumstance strengthens us for a life that honors God as God, even when the road before us is rough. Finding our joy in God protects our way of viewing the situations we face, thus protecting our way of thinking about life’s challenges. Our thoughts then flow from this joy in God that trusts in Him, bringing us to respond in gentle ways that bear up under the pressure with patients, realizing the Lord’s nearness and trusting Him to guide us as He works in our lives.

Knowing that the Lord is near strengthens us when difficulty threatens our faith. God’s word reveals two ways we are to know His nearness. One is realizing that the Lord is returning and we must be ready for Him as His servants by following His will and way in our day. This understanding empowers us to keep moving forward, having minds set on our eternal relationship with Him, destined to live with Him forever. The second way we know His nearness is in trusting that He has given us His Spirit to be with us, instruct us, and empower / equip us for each challenge faced. This faith in God’s provision helps us to obey as His representatives, fulfilling His purpose, seeing challenge as opportunity to please Him. We patiently endure every difficulty as we take up the next spiritual weapon against stinking thinking that brings a fall:

“…Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. …” ~ Vs. 6-7.

Besides robbing us of our joy, leading us to respond in self-protective and hurtful ways, bringing us to forget the nearness of our God, the enemy of God loves when he can tickle our minds with anxious thoughts that raise up doubt toward God and fear of the things we see in front of us. In today’s scripture, God’s Word gives instruction regarding ways of dealing with anxiety.

First, the word “be” implies that we have a choice. We do not have to be anxious people. We can choose to be people who trust in God, thus overcoming the anxious thoughts through faith. That trust reveals itself as we seek His answers regarding the path ahead through prayer. God’s word teaches us to seek Him in faith, believing He will answer (James 1:5-8, 5:13-18; Hebrews 11:1, 6).

Trust also reveals itself in our ability to choose to be thankful people. We may not feel thankful for the situation we are in, but we can be thankful for God and all we know of Him that will have an effect on our outcome. We can be thankful for His presence and supply that will be there for us as we walk the path ahead of us. We can be thankful for the words of wisdom He gives our hearts that overcome the anxiety threatening our ability to face the day. And we can be thankful for all we will learn about Him through our journey of faith, and all He will do in growing us to be strong as people of God.

As we choose in this way to be people of faith, not given over to anxiety, God’s word promises that He will respond with an outpouring of His peace. He gives more than just a little peace. He pours it out to and through us in ways that surpass our comprehension. That peace envelops our hearts and minds, protecting us from the anxiety and fear that seeks to defeat us by making us feel weak and worthless. Choosing to push anxiety and fear away with trust in God that seeks Him and rejoices in Him empowers us to have right thoughts within, leading to right actions, flowing out of the strength of God’s sure supply.

Capturing Stinking Thinking: Part 2

On this journey to consider truths we need to practice, as we work to take every thought captive and bring them in line with the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-6), our first divinely, powerful spiritual weapon is the possession of true joy that rests securely in the Lord. Joy in the Lord protects us from walking contrary to Him. It is not dependent on circumstance; and nothing can steal that joy away from us when we work with God in taking every thought captive to follow the example of Christ in obedience to Him, and in the likeness of His. Continuing to consider the wisdom of Philippians 4:4-13, we come to verse 5:

“…Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. …”

I see two truths here necessary to our arsenal of weapons equipping us to bring our thoughts in line with God’s ways. One is our attitude or temperament in life situations, addressed here in the call to work out of a “gentle spirit”. The classic Amplified translation defines a gentle spirit, giving other words used in translating that phrase:

“Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord is near [He is coming soon].”

Walking in a gentle spirit requires us to be unselfish. Consider the impact selfishness has on our thought processes. We cannot accomplish the will of God or work well with others when we care more about our own desires, needs, and comfort than we do theirs. Being unselfish equips us to work with others in harmony, as it leads us to be considerate of them, their needs, and their opinions, while bowing to the will of God.

Walking in gentleness also requires us to be forbearing. Forbearance means tolerance and restraint in the face of provocation, bearing the fruit of patience toward others. It realizes that no one is perfect, and we all have habits and ways of doing things that differ. Gentleness practices understanding patience in our ability to let others be who they are without constantly insisting we have things done our way. Forbearance is self-controlled, knowing how to motivate and influence others without belittling them.

Our ability to control our attitude and temperament greatly affects the way we think in a situation and toward others. The second thing Paul adds here to motivate us, is that we are to remember that the Lord is near. There are two potential interpretations of that. One shared in the Amplified version is that we must realize that the Lord is returning, thus, we must take care to live in a way where we are ready for Him when He gets here.

Another interpretation of the Lord’s nearness is the realization that God causes His Spirit to dwell in us, to teach us and help us live in that readiness for the soon returning Christ. Wherever we are, in whatever situation we are in, recognizing the presence of God with us and His work in us, and surrendering to that, equips our representation of Him and His interests. We bear the fruit of gentleness when we relate with others out of this realization of His presence in us through the Spirit, living in ways that reveal understanding that Jesus is returning.

People are watching, beloved. They need to see us responding to life situations in line with the nature of God at work in us through the Spirit that indwells us. Our thought life very often affects our attitude and temperament. Surrendering to the Spirit’s nudge to remember gentleness, being unselfish and considerate, while practicing forbearance toward one another, strengthens our arsenal against bad attitudes and temper flares. In this way, remembering we are His representatives, we live in readiness for His return.

Capturing Stinking Thinking: Part 1

In 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, God’s word instructs us on the weapons of our warfare, telling us they are “divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses”. Following that, verse 5 points to a particular battlefield that, left unchecked, is the opening through which enemy forces can strike in gaining access into areas of our lives where they can set up strongholds of sin and oppression. That area of battle is in our thoughts. Verse 5 instructs us to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

One frequent stronghold in my life is in my eating and health practices. Realizing that I am too quick to run to food in certain situations, I focus this month to put a check on my stinking thinking, realizing that taking stress filled thoughts captive and making them bow to the Sovereign and His opinion is the pathway leading to overcoming such strongholds.

As I seek the Father to adjust my thought life, bringing all in agreement with His teachings, following the example we have in Christ, my heart turns to the teachings of Paul found in Philippians 4. There I find a treasure-trove of wisdom to help me on my journey of capturing stinking thinking that hinders my Life practices. Beginning with verse 4, I will spend several days considering the truths found here and how they apply to my journey of capturing wrong thinking and bringing it into agreement with Scriptural principles.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! …” ~ Philippians 4:4-14.

As I begin looking at this focal passage, I see several areas of life-practices that can influence our way of thinking and, when we fail to practice these truths, it makes us vulnerable to thought processes leading to a downfall. The first is this need to find our joy in the Lord. Nehemiah 8:10 tells us that the joy we find in God – in who He is, in our relationship with Him, and our following after Him – is what gives us strength for life.

“Then he said to them, ‘Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’”

The enemy of God loves when he can rob us of this true joy because it weakens us. It is easiest for him to do that when our joy is misplaced. Finding our joy in the things of this life is easily disturbed when those things that bring us joy become difficult, are out of our reach, or fail us. Placing our joy in God protects us, as our ability to face hardship abounds in Him who is our source of true strength and security. Nothing in this life can overcome our joy when it is set securely in Him who is trustworthy and faithful. Such trust in our God and the joy of relationship that trust brings to us empowers us to face difficulty with the strength of two, as He faithfully helps us surpass our weakness.

Rejoicing in the Lord despite circumstances greatly helps our perseverance. A heart attitude of joy in the Lord is a weapon against the doubt and fear set to take our thoughts captive and lead us to a fall that rises up as a stronghold in our lives. Rejoicing in all we know of our God breaks that cycle of doubt and fear.

When your thoughts are disturbed within you, the first thing to do is rejoice in the Lord. Let all that He is and the benefit He provides be your focus, beloved, and rejoice. Again I say, “Rejoice!” and find your Strength.

Controversial Matters

I never felt led to write on the controversial issues of things like the gifts of the Spirit in tongues and prophesy, until now. As I write today, I write not as one having all the answers, but, as Paul said, I write as one who believes I, too, have the Spirit of God and He has given me understanding that I believe true (1 Corinthians 7:40). The things I share today are based on the understanding I have as one who is taught.

A Christian for 50 years, in the word, digging and searching for God’s answers for over 40 of my adult years, I have studied the gifts of the Spirit many times in those years. I’ve studied these both under the instruction of strong Baptist leaders and on my own in the leading of God’s Spirit, who is THE TEACHER. Every time something happens to make me wonder if I know the truth on any subject, I dig it out again and refresh my memory, watching for deeper understanding. None have I dug out more than on the subject of the gifts of tongues and prophesy.

Some say that the gift of tongues no longer exists. That is not what I have heard any Baptist preacher or teacher proclaim in teaching the gifts of the Spirit. The church I am in now are Christian people of faith not affiliated with a religious persuasion, and their teaching on the subject is not far from all I have heard from those Baptists whose teaching I sat under. Truth is truth, and those seeking truth from God will land on the same Rock.

Those saying tongues no longer exist is like those who say that the cannon of Law no longer applies. Believing either of these requires we skip over a lot of scripture, as if insignificant to life today and no longer needed.

This blog states my understanding, all I have learned, both through the teaching and preaching of others and in my own study on the subject. The gift of tongues is real and it is seen in the earth today in three ways:

  1. The gift of tongues is seen in those gifted by God to learn languages with ease. These often become the interpreters and missionaries to foreign fields in our day.
  2. The gift of tongues is seen in the testimony of many who could suddenly / miraculously speak and understand a foreign language.

On a mission trip with a group of Baptist people, headed to a Hispanic country, a nurse I was sitting with shared of an experience she had on a previous trip. Heading to their next visit, their interpreter had business to tend to and was to meet them at their destination, so they were traveling without an interpreter. On the way, they came upon a bad auto accident. The nurse got out to see how she could help, but no one on the scene knew English, so she prayed for God to help her understand and be able to help the injured woman. Suddenly she found herself talking with the native woman in fluent Spanish. She tended her need and prayed with her in Spanish, fully understanding and understood, until medical personnel arrived and took the accident victim off to the hospital. As soon as they took the woman off in the ambulance, the nurse could no longer speak or understand Spanish.

  1. There is a gift of tongues, a language unknown to man, but only by God. To doubt that, I would have to deny the teachings of Paul in 1 Corinthians. There Paul tells us that God grants this gift to individuals for the purpose of their spiritual edification (1 Corinthians 12-14).

This is the tongue God was speaking about when He called my heart to attention, asking, “Darlene, what about the language of twins,” leading me to consider that just maybe Father, Son, and Holy Ghost have a language all their own.

There are several lists in scripture of giftedness given to individuals by God, as determined by the Spirit, meeting every need for the common good of the body of Christ as a whole (i.e.: 1 Corinthians 12:4-11). “Various kinds of tongues” is on these lists and we find this gift active in the earth in the three ways previously mentioned. Within the 1 Corinthians teachings of chapter 12-14, Paul gives very clear guidelines for the use of tongues.

First Corinthians 13:1 warns, “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.” This reference to “tongues” again speaks of all three representations of this gifting. It also makes clear to me that some are gifted with the language of the angels. This is one reference used by some who say that the individual-edification-gift of tongues is the language of the angels. The individual-edification-tongue is the one people believe the devil cannot understand. As I stated in the previous devotional, demons being fallen angels know the language of the angels, so that belief never rang true for me.

Demons know the languages of humankind. We know this because every nation in every language struggles in their thought life. That struggle not only comes from our fleshly thinking and worldly viewpoints, but is often egged on by demonic whisperings in the ear of man (a fact I first learned under Baptist teaching and that I happen to agree is true). A proof text that comes to mind for this is found in the book of Acts, chapter 5, where Peter says, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?” We are left with the understanding that demons influenced the thinking, desire and decision of Ananias and his wife, Sapphira. Therefore, it is vital that we watch our stinking thinking, realize its source, and find the truth of God to counter it.

Angels have a language, and according to what 1 Corinthians 13:1 implies, God gifts some with that tongue. As stated earlier, I believe that this language is not hidden from Satan. He speaks angel.

Then we come to 1 Corinthians 14, verses 1-5:

“Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries. But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation. One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church. Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying.”

“For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for NO ONE UNDERSTANDS, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.” This verse clearly teaches that there is a tongue (language), gifted to individuals, that is between the individual and God alone. Only God understands it and only He can gift another to interpret it. As I understand it, this would have to be a language that is God’s alone, accessible only by His giving it to the recipient. To deny this is to call the scriptures a lie, and if one part is false, how can we believe any of it to be true?

I believe God, so I believe there is a tongue (language) gifted to those the Spirit decides should have it, and one way of that gifting is a tongue that is understood by God, alone.

Scripture warns in chapter 14, verses 39-40 to not forbid the use of tongues. As you have probably surmised, I grew up in Baptist churches. There are many Baptist groups, some more legalistic than others: not all Baptists believe the same. Many fear falling back into what was named the Charismatic era. Misuse of tongues was prevalent in that movement. It was a time in Christian history when people chased after the sign gifts and many fell to false sightings and experiences that fooled even the elect (those chosen by God as His own).

I know Baptist people who have the gift of tongues, but they dare not tell just anyone about it for fear of being ostracized. This is sad to me. Fear hinders the work of God more than any other, thus God warns of falling prey to fear more than He warns of any other sin of man. Fear denies all that stretches our belief in an attempt to keep oneself safe. Fear, based on lack of understanding, denies the work of God around us. Unfortunately, for every truth of God I can think of, there is a false representation that feeds fear, giving one cause to doubt.

  1. There are false tongues: Demons know all languages except the language that is God’s alone (if my recent revelation is correct – and I believe it is). This being true, if we seek a sign instead of God and His will done His way, the devil can respond to lead astray. A tongue unknown to the recipient can easily mimic the tongue of God to the one looking for a sign, and the recipient will be none the wiser. However, I have heard from people who received the false tongue, and there is one tell that signals it: the effectiveness of their ministry and witness suffered. As the demonic takes hold, ground belonging to God is overtaken by the stronghold of Satan, and the person finds the power of God for service and testimony diminished.
  2. There is a false prophesy. Demons whisper in the ear of man to feed them, and, as Jesus taught, if we fail to realize the voice of the stranger, we will follow them to false understanding (John 10). Many false prophets exist today. Know the voice of God and follow Him. We do not learn truth by studying falsehood. We learn truth by studying to find the truth. When we seek to know truth by studying what is false, we not only can be fooled as to what truth is, but that focus leads one to being overtaken by a judgmental, fearful spirit that sees the false everywhere they turn. Learn truth, watch for truth, and the false will not fool you.
  3. There are false interpretations of tongues and of dreams, and of messages. Like with the missionary friend of a trusted friend mentioned in my previous blog, if one does not know a foreign language and someone speaks it, that person speaking may be cursing God while claiming to be speaking in His name. Surrounded by others who do not know the language spoken by the one using a tongue, these may express agreement thinking they are praising God when in truth, they just agreed with blasphemy. We must take care that we heed the Spirit and walk in the light of God.

Scripture teaches that there is a proper way to use tongues. First Corinthians 14 lays out the order we are to follow with any tongue:

“What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret; but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God” ~ Vs. 26-28.

The church I currently serve with does not forbid tongues, but they do require the gifted follow this guideline. We have many in our body who have the gift of the individual-edification-tongue, but seldom do you hear any verbalize the tongue in the assembly. We have one, sweet older lady, that when the message or a worship song grabs her heart with conviction or praise, she may sound off a few words for a few seconds. Her Spirit grabs us and leads to many “Amen” agreements, bringing us to join her heart of repentance and praise. It is never disruptive and always unifying.

When I first joined this church, another woman used to come who was constantly “praying” loudly in her tongue. It was disruptive to the service, hindering the ability of others to hear the message, and it was grating to those hearing it. These unknowingly play the devil’s advocate, as he uses such disturbances to stop what God is doing. I many times prayed, “Father, let every tongue not of You be hushed.” She would cease immediately, and the Spirit brought peace again. Our elders went to the lady, giving her every opportunity to obey the teaching of God through Paul in verse 26-28. The woman replied, “I can’t help it. It is the Spirit causing it.” The very command in these verses proves the spirit that does such is not God’s Spirit, for the Spirit of God does not break the law of God. After a time, they asked her to go elsewhere.

Through the years, each time I have considered the teachings on tongues and dug it out again, I was drawn by a desire to have all of God that He has for me. I have many times prayed that if there is more of God to experience that requires a tongue, I want it. I do not want to miss out on any of my Father’s presence and power. Every time I do, including this time, He tells my heart, “Darlene, you do not need it.” I know His Presence and experience His power. Often I think perhaps He skips the “tongue” with me and goes straight to interpretation: which is required for one to prophesy.

The gift of prophesy is for the edification of those who hear. It warns of sin, instructs in the righteous paths of God, and makes application to current situations so the people know how to live life in any circumstance. Even in Old Testament prophesy, the prophets not only warned of what was coming, they told what the people did to bring it on, what, if anything, they could do to avert it, and how to live in the midst of it. We find all of these components in the messages of true prophets today. It always leads the listener, giving opportunity for repentance and instruction for a godly life. The prophet:

  1. Expounds on the word of God, bringing to light its application for today’s life situations.
  2. Receives revelation of deeper truths, found in scripture but sometimes hidden from those whose eyes are blinded, their minds darkened by sin or immaturity.
  3. And yes, I believe God still has prophets that receive warning from God of things to come. In my experiences, those messages always come with instruction for living godly lives, preparing all to weather the storms of life found in the days of trouble.

I cried with the Spirit of God, deep weeping within me, for two weeks before the Oklahoma City bombing, knowing something horrible was about to happen, calling all who would hear to prayer. On the day it happened, a friend called to ask, “Darlene, could this be what The Spirit has us praying over?” I had no idea why the Spirit wept so, but when I turned the TV on and saw the destruction, I knew this was it. I cried with the Spirit, that same weeping, for days, watching emergency personnel go through that rubble.

For over two years, God had me lead people to pray regarding what God described to my heart and had me write to those praying as “A destructive force that will hit the US, bringing devastation from New York City to Washington, D.C. It’s destructive force will affect the entire nation and, indeed, the whole world. Its damage will be likened to that of an earthquake.” He had me call others to pray with me, telling them what the Spirit told me, because we were heading into an election year, and “if God’s choice for a President is not in office, the response to the destruction will fall short of God’s will.” For two years we prayed, and when 911 happened, no one had to ask, “Is this it?” Several times I heard reporters say, “This looks like the destruction seen in a high intensity earthquake.”

God’s word says that the prophesy is known as coming from Him when it comes to pass. I’ve experienced it over and over again, in great ways and in small ways, so I know the gift is real and effective today. I have experienced tongues as well. Only once, I heard the language of God within me, so peaceful, rising up in praise. I asked, “Lord, that was beautiful! What did I say?” He replied, “You simply said, ‘Thank You, Jesus. Thank You, Lord. Thank You, Jesus.’” I have had Baptist friends call me. “Darlene, I keep hearing this word from the Lord, and He says you have the interpretation.” God would give it.

I have been in prayer sessions when someone used a tongue that disturbed my Spirit, which comes from the gift of discerning the spirits. A quick prayer for every voice not of God to shush, hushes it every time. I have also experienced a strong prayer in tongues of every sort that were of God. It always raises up an “Amen” with praise.

Tongues are for edification of the individual, and with correct interpretation, it edifies those hearing. Some tongues gifts are in known languages, so interpreters and missionaries can go to the people and teach them of God. The individual-edification-tongue I believe exists and is for those who need a sign of God’s presence with them: either they need it for their own ability to believe, they need it for a time of ministry, or it is needed so those around them believe.

God draws near to speak mysteries to the heart, edify the spirit, lifting the recipient to higher ground where increased faith resides. And when He desires to do so, God gifts some with interpretation of His language, so that the mind of the individual and those hearing may be edified.

Truth is what we need, beloved. I am so grateful that God taught me long ago to dig out His truths and believe in Him with trusting faith. How many fail to experience God for fear of the false, not knowing the truth? That is very sad to me.

Hear the teachings of others, but don’t take my word or any others as gospel until you get alone with God and ask the Spirit-Teacher to show you. Until He shows you, stand firm in the faith you have and do not let fear get hold on you.

In reverse, do not let fear keep you from studying God’s word to discover the truth. If you have a tongue and are afraid you may discover it to be a false tongue, fear falling away from the living God more than the loss of a tongue that makes you feel special while it sets up strongholds in your life.

Take care, beloved, not to call tongues “evil” when God’s word clearly teaches it is a gift from His Spirit for a purpose. Know the truth that sets free indeed. Then walk in the faith that you have while waiting for ever-growing understanding in the deep things of God.

The Language of God

“For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries” ~ 1 Corinthians 14:2.

I believe the gift of tongues is still active in the body of Christ today. It was not until recently that I have sought the Lord for deeper understanding of this gifting. The teaching I have heard has downplayed this gift. It also has told me that this “tongue” is the language of the “angels” and that Satan cannot understand it. That never came across to me as true because Satan, fallen as he is, is an angel. He knows the language of the angels. That being true, to seek that gift and long for it rather than for greater experience of God puts one in danger of a false tongue. That raises up fear in me that hinders my desire for the gift.

I have heard stories of people who received a false tongue and the work of the demonic that came with that to hinder their effectiveness as God’s instruments. One such story reports from a missionary of a time on furlough when he stopped in for worship while traveling to his destination. The church he visited was a tongues speaking church. They had people come up to the interpreter with their tongue and the interpreter would expound on the message of the speaker. After one particular message, the missionary stood up. Apologizing for interrupting when he was but a guest, unknown by the body, he explained that he was a missionary to an Asian area of the world. Then he told them that the last person speaking was speaking in the language of the people group he worked with. He said, “In that language, this man just cursed God and Jesus.” Tongues can be falsified and work in the heavenly realm and on the earth to do harm if we are not careful to seek God rather than a language.

Nevertheless, I have experienced the gift of tongues and the interpretation of it enough to desire the closeness with God and I have prayed many times that, if I can have more of Him with it, I want it. Yesterday that desire increased as I contemplated the scripture above and God instructed my heart with understanding that corrected the teaching I have received. He brought to my heart the memory of the language of twins (triplets, etc.). On the earth it is observed many times that twins from the same egg often share a language that is known by no other than themselves. Parents and other siblings may pick up on the language as they observe the twins. The twins may teach the language to another, but it is their own voice, and no others. Suddenly I understand that the true “tongue” of God to His people is not the language of the angels, but the language of the Triune.

Now I see how no one else would know it, not even the devil. Wow! Now I see how awesome this gift is and my desire is increased by the understanding that this gift can only be had by those whose desire is for Him and greater understanding of the Triune Glory.

Now I see why tongues edify the person speaking it. It is a sign of the nearness of God, personal communion with Him in His personal language. Not even the angels have that. It is God’s gift to us who house the Spirit of God, given to those with whom the Spirit wills to share it. I experience the groaning of the Spirit often, even as I type this. How blessed it would be to me to know the language, not only to speak it, but to interpret it so my mind is edified and I can share it with others. Now I pray with increased understanding and faith in God, who can protect from the false, if it be Your will, O God, here am I.

“Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues. But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner” ~ 1 Corinthians 14:39-40.

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 6c

Read John 17

“As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. … Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”” ~ vs. 18-25.

Sent In Jesus Name

Concluding this look at John 17, desiring to be His people, His response to this prayer of Jesus for us, we acknowledge His work in us. God sends us into the world in Jesus Name to be a people sanctified by and set apart to live a life of truth, being in agreement with God, His will, and His way. God sends us into the world in Jesus name to be His image bearers, making His love known to all: For God so loved the world. Finally, today, God sends us into the world in response to Christ’s desire that we be…

Set in His Presence to Make Him Known

Jesus prayed that we may be with Him where He is and that we may see His glory. Yes, that is a prayer for us to join Him in the Kingdom He prepares for our eternity, and for us to see Him as He is, in fullness of glory. However, I also think of these words of Jesus regarding His work with the Father in the world:

“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” ~ John 5:19.

See self through God's eyes.
See self through God’s eyes.

Jesus knew the presence of God in His midst as He walked through life in the world, but not of it. He recognized the glory of God as He realized the work of God in His path. Jesus joined the Father in what He did in the world where He served Him to accomplish His purpose. Jesus is our example for life. I believe that as we surrender to the leadership of the Spirit, we too can know the presence of God in our midst and see the glory of His hand moving so that we can cooperate with Him to accomplish the purpose He has for our being in this age of the history of this world.

Beloved, God sends us into the world to contrast the character and nature of God against that seen in the world. He sets us apart to be a people of truth, led by and living in agreement with all God says is true, right, good, and worthy of praise. He sends us out as recipients and conduits of His love, making the love of God known in the world. God sends us into the world, but He does not send us out alone. We have the Spirit of God who gives us eyes to see His glory, ears to hear His instruction, and a heart made ready and willing to accomplish His purpose.

Father, You send us into the world to represent You and make You known, therefore we are InGodsHandssmenot to be of this world philosophy, acting in the ways deemed true by its wisdom and priorities. We who live for You, knowing Your presence and following Your lead, are Your response to this prayer of Jesus. Make us to know You that we may walk in Your ways and make You known, being a people after Your own heart, united as one in the power of Your Spirit at work in and through us. In Jesus, amen.

“I saw the Lord always in my presence; for He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted; moreover my flesh also will live in hope; because You will not abandon my soul to Hades, nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of gladness with Your presence” ~ Acts 2:25-28.

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 6a

Read John 17

“As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me…”” ~ vs. 18-25.

Sent In Jesus Name

In this part of the conclusion of Jesus’ prayer, His words instruct our hearts to know that, just as the Father sent Him into the world, so He now sends us, His followers, into the world. Like Him, we are in the world, but not of it. He deploys us into the world as soldiers of the Kingdom of God, charged with a strategy for making God, His love and His truth known.

God sent Jesus into the world because “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). We will cover more on the love aspect of His sending us in the next post. Suffice to say today that just as God sent Jesus, so He sends us, out of love and a desire to reach those lost to relationship. Today we focus on our deployment as those charged with the call to be His people…

Sanctified in Truth

With this realization in heart that God sent Him into the world because of His love for those of it, so Jesus sends us. That love leads to His praying, “For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.”

Truth is vital to unity, beloved, and unity with God and each other through Christ is the goal of truth’s sanctification. We cannot be one together as His body without guidelines that help us know Him, His will, and His way. That plumb-line we stand up to is the truth of the inerrancy of every word given in His Holy Bible.

Jesus chose to sanctify Himself fully to God for His use in fulfilling this Kingdom purpose for our sakes, providing us a pathway to a sanctified life through Christ. He chose for our sakes to know the truth of God, believe that truth, and live His life as led by that truth. Set apart to following the truth laid out by God, He led by example; thus, we now are His people, called and equipped to fully commit ourselves to truth in serving God, just as Jesus did.

Now with His example set to show us the way, He sends us into the world just as the Father sent Him. One thing the Father sent Jesus to accomplish is to correct the false understanding about Him, His will, and His way that was destroying His people, keeping them in discord and disunity. Thus, Jesus chose to know and live truth according to God’s intent, and He sends us into the world with the weapon of truth that protects unity. The question is, will we sanctify ourselves as He did, following His example in taking up the cross of self-denial in order to follow God’s truth in all things.

078In the remainder of John 17, we see that Jesus includes us living in this day in this prayer as He prays not only for those with Him in that moment, but for all who believe because of their testimony. Our response to those before us, who believed because of the testimony of these disciples of Jesus and who passed that testimony on with their personal testimony, makes us a part of God’s answer to this prayer of Jesus. In responding to the testimony of God in our day, we become the ones prayed for by Him, us becoming His “sent” ones to this generation in the world. Thus, the baton of faith is passed to us for this age, calling us to bear the testimony of this God who so loves us.

Now we are the deployed of God, sent to bear this testimony of a life of purpose chosen by us in Christ. God’s purpose in sending Jesus and Christ’s in sending us is because of their great love for all. Their purpose for sending us provides understanding for us who are the sent in Jesus name. God sends us so that others may know the truth about Father and His love. Therefore, we must seek to know the truth, setting ourselves apart to live as people of truth, bearing forth His testimony in the world as people alert to our being the beloved of God.

This is the first of our purpose in Christ as the sent: to choose as Jesus did to sanctify self in truth for the sake of those InGodsHandssmeHe sends us to, living and speaking the truth of God, so that others may come to know the Father and His great love.

Father, we choose today whom we will serve, whether the god of this world, or You, the true God of all creation. Grant us to choose You today as people set apart to live in truth, made complete in You and made one together as those sanctified in truth. In Jesus, amen.

In Jesus Name: a Look at John 17 ~ Part 5

Read John 17

“I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth” ~ vs. 14-19.

“Sanctified in Truth; Your word is truth.”

Beloved, there is a danger in the world today that threatens our ability to work and live as Name bearers for Christ: that is, failure to realize and live as people who believe God’s word is true; inerrant in every way. The two things threatened when we fail to believe that God breathed His word in full truth through the thoughts penned by His authors include our ability to receive His instruction and our ability to trust His promises.

Sanctified in Truth

Sanctification means to be set apart for a purpose, fully useful in the hands of God in accomplishing His work in the earth; fully surrendered to His will and way, desiring His work fulfilled in us.

When we fail to believe God’s word fully represents Him, His will, His way, and His truth, we will pick and choose what we want to believe from the pages of Holy Writ and fall short in our sanctification to Him as Lord. When we close ourselves off to the relevance of His word in our day, we become unteachable of spirit, unable to transform with the work of His word in us.

When we are unteachable, we refuse the transforming power that equips us to renew our minds (way of thinking and believing) and to know the will of God, which is good and acceptable and perfect. When we cannot discern the will of God because of unbelief, we cannot please Him. Sanctified living requires us to believe the inerrancy of God’s Word and its relevance in our day so we are equipped to love Him through full obedience that makes us adequate for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Romans 12:1-3; Hebrews 11:6)

God’s Word is Truth

When we fail to believe that God’s word is truth, we cannot fully receive, accept application to our lives, and walk with hope in the promises of God. They are without relevance if His word is a lie.

Jesus believed all God said was true of Him and His life purpose, thus He was able to withstand temptation to fall away from the path God laid out for Him. Believing God’s word to be true and that He would do all He promised, Jesus refused a lesser crown in this life. Bowing down from His high position to be a humble man, walking with the power of God’s supply to experience a cruel cross in order to purchase a people for His own possession as King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus is seated at the right hand of God because He believed God’s promises, taking Him at His word.

I am really excited that following this study of John 17, God is teaching me the significance of our sitting to His right and to His left. I don’t want to give it all away in this post, but suffice to say, Jesus believed God and He received authority to fulfill the purpose of God laid out for Him from before time began. Jesus is our example, beloved. We are to walk in Jesus name as a people sanctified and set apart to God for His purpose. The only way to accomplish that is to believe God, taking Him at His word to and for us.

Truth is truth. Walk ye in it.

Father, the world hates anything that is in opposition to it. Your word is truth, standing in direct opposition to the waysInGodsHandssme and wisdom of this world. Therefore, we who believe are the hated, reviled by the world, just as Jesus was. Truly believing God, taking His word as God-breathed, is not an easy road to follow, but it is the road to eternal purpose that is worth the reward it brings us. Grant us hearts that believe You, taking You at Your word, being teachable of heart, and trusting fully in every promise You give. To do otherwise is to fall into the hands of Your enemy, allowing Satan to win our lives as his to claim. In Jesus, may we truly and fully believe You so that we may see Your glory in the fulfillment of all You planned for us from before time began. Amen.

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

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 ~ Part 3

As we live within the hedge as people of God’s name, we possess a mind set on and driven by eternal purpose; and we bear His image, having His nature in heart and flowing out as adornment. Last in my thought for the hedge we have when we are In Jesus’ Name is found in John 15:

“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples” ~ vs. 8.

When we name our Children, we give them personal names that distinguish them as individual, but they are born automatically possessing our family name. It tells the world that this is Joseph of the family of Smith. Discipleship is the same. This is Peter, disciple of Jesus. Andrew was disciple of John until he united with Jesus, changing his alliance: he married into the family of Christ.

A family’s character is judged by the reputation of its family members, each making an impact on the reputation of the whole. Likewise, the teacher grew in reputation partly by the actions and behaviors of those aligned under his discipleship. That is what happens with us as we become disciples of Christ, we come under the name “Christian”, representative of that family name. People know of Christians what they see and experience of our actions and behaviors. Thus, they believe they know who Jesus is through that experience. Do we represent Him well? Our lifestyle is the answer that reveals the sincerity of connection with the Christ. It is not just words, but it is our actions and ways of living that reveal the truth.

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples” ~ vs. 1-8.

God has long had a people in the world, tasked with representing Him and His interests. They are called “the Children of God” and are of the lineage of that Name, disciples fed by His heart desires, through which the fruit of His Spirit at work in and through them makes Him known. That name comes with great responsibility and with the full resources of God for the fulfillment of our responsibilities as His representatives in the world. As we abide in the vine of Christ, possessing the family name He passes to us, we are His disciples, tasked with discipling others.

Like with the nation of Israel, others may see what God is doing for and through us, His great blessings toward us, and desire to take part in that. Their desire may draw them in with claims of possessing the family name, but they are weeds beside us, never fully grafting to feast on the vine in true commitment and surrender to Him. Such people are unproductive branches that sap the provision of God meant for feeding the vine.

Simply saying, “I belong to Jesus,” is nothing without fruit that proves adherence of the graft. The things we do and the words we speak have power that will reveal the vine upon which we feast. Beloved, if we call ourselves Christian, but live as one fed by this world’s philosophy, we blaspheme the name.

“The person who does anything defiantly, whether he is native or an alien, that one is blaspheming the Lord; and that person shall be cut off from among his people” ~ Numbers 15:30.

We can walk along side and claim the people of God as our own, but we cannot claim God without vitally uniting with Him. The truth of our unity with God will reveal itself by a life changed to agree with Him and His nature. The Amplified version of this verse in Numbers is scary to me:

“The person who does anything

willfully and openly, whether he is native-born or a stranger, that one reproaches, reviles, and blasphemes the Lord, and that person shall be cut off from among his people [THAT THE ATONEMENT MADE FOR THEM MAY NOT INCLUDE HIM].”

“Whether native born or a stranger.” Strangers hear and see the blessed of God and enter the fold to claim the blessing without wholeheartedly taking the marriage vows that make for vital union and right of name bearing. Likewise, we can be born and raised among God’s people, but without personally choosing relationship found in vital union with God through Christ, we cannot possess the family name in righteousness and truth.

If we truly belong to God in Christ Jesus, taking that family name through belief in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on our behalf, giving us life and a new name, it will show in our lifestyle, choices, words, thoughts and desires. We will faithfully feast on the vine of Jesus, bearing fruit that represents our God, Lord, Father, and King. If we fail to bear the fruit of abiding, we are impostors and not true Children, and we are in danger of eternal damnation, separated from God and His family forever.

“…To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF HIM who called us by His own glory and excellence.  For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature…. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you” ~ 2 Peter 1:1-11.

“Make certain of His calling and choosing you.” That suggests we can have a false encounter with God that tricks us into believing that we are safe and secure in that relationship. We cannot bear true fruit without real relationship. TheInGodsHandssme proof of relationship is in the fruit of our lives.

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, bearing Your name, flowing out of and adorned by Your nature, as righteous representatives of the family of God. 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 4b

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 ~ Part 2

Last post we covered that, as people living in the hedge of God’s name, we possess a mind set on and driven by eternal purpose. Focus on the eternal leads us to our need to clothe ourselves in our new nature through the internal flow and external adornment of the image of God.

“Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him…. So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart…” ~ Colossians 3:9-10, 12.

As the Beloved of Christ, made One with God through Him, we are to put off the old self and put on the new that bears the image of the One who is God. That image we put on flows from a heart that is changed and made One with Him.

The heart of our soul is the essence of our character and nature. Made new in Him, His new creation, having His image in us brought to life, the habits and character of our old nature that was dictated by fleshly, self-centered desires, is pushed out and overruled as we possess the nature that is God. The most quoted passage, speaking of the nature we possess in the power of God’s Spirit is Galatians 5:22-23.

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

The remainder of Colossians 3:1-17 describes these and other attributes of God’s image found living in us. These characteristics we possess as our own, allow the Spirit to freely live in and flow through us to express God’s glory in the world around us.

Note that when we have His nature living and active within us, that image we bear has no law that stands against it. Our fleshly nature fell under the dictates of many Laws of God set in place to rule the ways of humanity. Even in today’s world, it is too often laws that motivate us to do the right that is expected.

In our flesh, which is self-indulgent, we run from God and walk all over any who get in the way of our fulfilling our desires. However, God’s nature is perfect and holy, fulfilling eternal purpose based on God-centered desires for unity and glory, and His Spirit transforms our nature. Leaving the worldly behind, we walk with godly intent and purpose.InGodsHandssme We are no longer motivated by force of law, but by the power of a right heart in Christ. Possessing His nature fulfills the Law and reaps a harvest of glory, hedging us in the protection found as we live our lives in Jesus Name.

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, flowing out of and adorned by Your nature. 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 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 3

Read John 17

“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me. I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours; and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them.” ~ vs. 6-10.

Manifested Ownership

From the Name of God, to the Words He sent and the people He provided opportunity to share with, and I would add to the worlds goods provided for use in the ministry given Him, Jesus recognized that all was God’s and was given Him by God for His use in manifesting the name, will, way and glory of God. All belonged to God. It was given to Christ for Him to possess, manifest through His own life and ministry, and use as a gift to those in His sphere of influence.

Jesus’ realization of ownership began with self: “for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me.” He believed that He Himself belonged to God for His purpose, sent into the world to accomplish God’s will in God’s way.

Jesus is our example for life. We manifest Him in the same way He shared God with us, as people of God’s own possession, sent for a purpose. That begins with ownership. Jesus received the Name of God as His own. Salvation comes from God through Christ. Father is Immanuel, the Christ, Savior, Lord, Master. He gave rights to Jesus for Him to possess and manifest these characteristics in the world, thus being God with us, fulfilling His purpose as Christ, the Savior made Lord and Master as King of kings under God’s authority.

Jesus, in turn, puts His name on us as followers of Christ, and we are responsible to manifest His character, word, will, way, and stewardship in this age God birthed us to. We are under His authority, given authority with responsibility as stewards of all He gives for our use in living and being His representatives where we are living and breathing.

All that we have belongs to God. Our reputation, our words, our funds, every opportunity for good, our time, this day, our now moments, and every breath we breathe is His. We do well to realize all we have first belongs to God. Then we must realize that all He gives us is ours to possess and use in manifesting Him name and His glory in the earth. When we say we are “Christian”, people look to us to discover what that means. Represent God with every breath.

Beloved, when we frown at tithing, it is because we fail to believe and own the truth that “all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine,” given us for the purpose of this ministry of manifestation. When the need of others becomes inconvenience InGodsHandssmeinstead of opportunity, we forget whose Name and glory we possess. When anger, depression and other emotional issues take hold, leading us to say things that do more harm than good, we forget the Word gifted us for use in producing His glory and work in the world. When we waste our days and resources on menial things, we forget whose purpose we are to fulfill and the fruit we are to bear. He gives all to us for us to own in His name and use to His glory.

“So then, as occasion and opportunity open up to us, let us do good [morally] to all people [not only being useful or profitable to them, but also doing what is for their spiritual good and advantage]. Be mindful to be a blessing, especially to those of the household of faith [those who belong to God’s family with you, the believers]” ~ Galatians 6:10, AMP.

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.”

In Jesus Name: a Look at John 17 ~ Part 1

Read John 17

“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” ~ vs. 1-2.

Humbled and in awe of God, I bow.

Beloved, do you realize that if we are one with God in Christ, an answer from God to Jesus’ prayer here in John 17, we should have this prayer resonating within us? As I read this prayer this morning for the 100th plus time, it no longer belongs to Christ alone. This prayer became my prayer, rejoicing my heart at the thought of God answering this prayer in my life.

Beginning today with these 2 verses, let’s look at how we can continue this prayer in Jesus name.

InGodsHandssmeFirst, by way of reminder, Jesus instructed us to petition the Father in the name of the Son. “In Jesus name” is more than words we tack to the end of our want list. “In Jesus name” means that all we ask of God should represent Christ’s interests and heart desires. We are to grow past being children, crying out for everything that catches the attention of our childish – fleshly desire on the toy shelves or through worldly commercials. We are to understand God’s will and way and align our desires with His; most importantly, being as one with Him, God’s fulfillment of the John 17 prayer of Jesus’ heart cry.

If we are walking as God’s response to Jesus, beloved, we can join the heart of Jesus to pray this prayer as our own. Thus begins: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your daughter in Christ, that this daughter may glorify You, even as You gave me authority in Christ over all flesh, that to all whom You have given me in my sphere of influence, I may give eternal life by the testimony of Christ at work through me in the power of Your Spirit.”

In Jesus, we begin. And what a great beginning it is: to pray to glorify God to all He places within our sphere of influence, being an example of His glorious image, helping others to saving grace in Christ. May God so move in us, beloved.

Marked for Life

Listening to Ezekiel 9 the other day, verse 4 catches my attention. In it, God sends His angel out to “mark” the foreheads of those whose hearts are grieved over sin. Asking the Lord, “Why the forehead?” the question came to mind, “What is behind the forehead?” With thought of the frontal lobe of the brain, I look online at the anatomy of the brain:

The frontal lobe of the brain occupies almost half the space taken by the brain. It is associated with reasoning, motor skills, higher level cognition, and expressive language. At the back of the frontal lobe lies the motor cortex. This area of the brain receives information from various lobes of the brain and uses this information to carry out body movements. This is the area where we process knowledge and understanding for use in reasoning, decision making, expression and movement.

Years ago, God helped me to understand with greater clarity the work of the Spirit of God that helps us to discern “sin, righteousness, and judgment” (John 16:8). He inspired me to understand that this work of the Spirit is not just empowering our understanding of the gospel message and our need of a Savior. It is empowering our ability to recognize right from wrong and discern consequences for choices. The Spirit works with the frontal lobe to help us choose between life or death, good or evil, the blessing or the curse.

Behind our forehead is where that takes place. This gives new importance to our cooperation with God who says through Paul, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect”  (Romans 12:1-2).

Beloved, as we cooperate with God in the renewing of our minds, it marks us as His and equips us to bear fruit in keeping with righteousness. This is the reason it is vital that we not only write His words on our hearts, but on our “foreheads” allowing Him to change our minds. The greater our understanding of God and His ways, the more we think like Him, live like Him, and produce good works in keeping with righteousness and sound judgment.

“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 house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end” ~ Hebrews 3:5-6.

The Spirit working in us, training our minds with God’s thoughts and ways that are higher than our own convinces us and equips us to walk in unity with Him. It gives us confidence in the hope we possess because He marks our foreheads with sound reasoning and cognition. It empowers us to stand firm of faith, not easily swayed by every wind of doctrine. It is why we believe so firmly and stand so confidently in the things we believe.

Thus, by the power of the Spirit of God that marks us, “…We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ…” ~ 2 Corinthians 10:1-7.

The Priestly Order: Part 3-d

Wilderness times in life are difficult. The first step in traversing it is to realize where we are and draw near to God Who can lead us out to the cool of His garden place. I pray you discovered any wilderness places in your life, beloved, and that this first step is behind you. The days ahead, journeying with God to the end of the Wilderness Road, is full of glory that God will reveal as He leads you forward. Though it is a hard road to travel, the end result is worth the trouble. I am excited for you.

Be warned, the path ahead will most likely be rough, and you need to make sure to keep eyes on God, hand in His. You will know the instant you lose connection with Him, as confusion, fear, and weakness overtake your life. When it happens, stop where you are and wait. You will find Him faithful to reconnect with you as you wait patiently for Him, watch for His hand, and listen for His whisper, “This is the way; walk ye in it.” Sometimes what seems to us a delay is actually God providing a “Selah” moment: an Oasis where we rest a bit and calmly think on the things He is showing us while He refreshes us and prepares us to go forward. Though it may take time, be faithful to stay close to the side of your Good Shepherd and you will soon find yourself…

Walking in the garden in the cool of the day.

SOS1: “Awake, O north wind, And come, wind of the south; Make my garden breathe out fragrance, Let its spices be wafted abroad. May my beloved come into his garden and eat its choice fruits” (SOS 4:16).

When time on earth began, God set a garden within it where His chosen ones thrived. In the cool of the day, He came into the garden for a leisurely walk with His beloveds. We can still have that walk with Him today. In Song of Solomon, several things stand out that instruct us concerning time in the garden.

Here in chapter 4 we see that the wind of God’s Spirit comes into the garden and breathes out the fragrance of His presence and the scent of fruit bearing. He flows through the lives of those who know how to commune with Him in His garden, like the fragrance of the finest spices, ministering to us at the area of our need. From His garden, of which we are to Him, as He is to us, He enjoys its produce and bears it forth to nourish those around us.

Beloved, the fruit born out of our lives because we know how to abide in the Secret Place of God and walk with Him in the cool of the garden pours in two directions. First God pours to us as nourishment and through us to feed those around us. Then we flow out of that fruit bearing to produce a fragrance that blesses the Lord, causing His heart to rejoice over us.

Coming out of a wilderness experience is not the only garden God provides for us. God is an Oasis along the wilderness path. With Him at our side, we have frequent garden experiences, pauses on our wilderness journey where He feeds us and refreshes us so we may press onward and upward. Even out of our wilderness areas, His produce comes out of us to touch those around us and bring Him glory and gladness.

SOS2: “Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved? Beneath the apple tree I awakened you; there your mother was in labor with you, there she was in labor and gave you birth. …” ~ SOS 8:5-7. Selah ~ Pause and calmly think on that.

The wilderness is a place where we discover complete reliance on our Beloved. We leave the wilderness leaning on God who is our companion, bringing us safely to the garden. Beneath the tree of life, He awakens us. Hardship and struggle, like a mother, have birthed new life in us, giving us a ministry to use on His behalf. God never wastes the wilderness, but works in us to make us ready for the next phase of life as part of His Royal Priesthood.

SOS3: “…Put me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, Jealousy is as severe as Sheol; its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord. Many waters cannot quench love, nor will rivers overflow it; if a man were to give all the riches of his house for love, it would be utterly despised” ~ SOS 8:5-7.

From wilderness’ starting point to garden’s quickening, the ultimate purpose is our unity and commitment to the Beloved and our coming to understand His for us. Walking with God as our first most vital love, we realize our need of Him and are fully committed to Him, sealed shut to any other would-be god. Having our Beloved’s scent upon us, bearing the fruit of His love, He marks us with the seal of His image, making it clear to all that we are His.

Marked by the assurance of this love, we know that no other love will satisfy like His love, none else will fill the banks of our being to produce the flow of love that we have with Him. Any attempt of some other suitor trying to break the seal of our commitment to our beloved and lure us away we despise. We have danced with our beloved in the garden having come through the wilderness victorious, and no one can steal us away.

SOS4: “‘We have a little sister, and she has no breasts; what shall we do for our sister on the day when she is spoken for? If she is a wall, we will build on her a battlement of silver; but if she is a door, we will barricade her with planks of cedar.’ I was a wall, and my breasts were like towers; then I became in his eyes as one who finds peace” ~ SOS 8:8-10.

Breasts are instruments of nourishment. The little sister represents those still young in their faith who have yet to find the Secret Place of His presence, giving their full commitment to Him, seeking sustenance only from the garden of His provision and pleasure. As the young in the Lord find their relationship with God and keep it pure, not giving self to another god, they make of her a “dowry” or “battlement” of silver.

Transcripts that translate the Greek word to “dowry” give rise to instruction that such a person has something to give to the Beloved: something to add to their union. Battlement speaks of security and trust. One whose life is a battlement has no other God. Kept safe behind the parapet of Love’s rampart, they live fully satisfied. Such love is greatest treasure, worth protecting at all cost.

The young who are loose, like a swinging door, easily swayed by every passing whim, God encloses for their own protection. God often will hedge us in until we mature in our relationship with Him.

Once mature, we enter fully into our union with God and rise up as a tower where love is secure, treasured and made to thrive, being lit up for all to see. There God’s peace is the produce for life. Safe in the arms of our Beloved, fear and insecurity gives way to love made sure and pure. No matter what goes on around us, we always have our tower made bright with love’s unity, useful in drawing others attention, desiring to see what powers the Light within us.

SOS5: “Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon; He entrusted the vineyard to caretakers. Each one was to bring a thousand shekels of silver for its fruit. My very own vineyard is at my disposal; the thousand shekels are for you, Solomon, and two hundred are for those who take care of its fruit. …” SOS 8:11-14.

As with the woman of our text, it is our choice how we use our garden and whether we keep it for Him alone. Solomon, in our analogy, represents God. God has a vineyard in the world: our lives. We are the caretakers of our area of His vineyard. He expects to receive the produce of the vineyard.

We are each responsible for our vineyard: it is our choice whether we cooperate with God and glorify Him with our lives. We do so by bearing fruit that makes us breasts of nourishment: first to God, feeding His need for our love through relationship: giving praise, worship, our attention and commitment to Him. Second, to others who, like babes in arms, are in our sphere of influence. Together we help and encourage one another to find our Secret Place with Him and to come to His garden where fruit is born to His glory.

Note that God’s due from our vineyard is five times that we are to give to others. The majority of our attention, focus, and energy must go into our relationship with Father. He is our life, abundant and full. He is our joy and delight, bringing strength to our existence. He is with us and for us 24/7. We must be with and for Him in kind. Then we will have what we need to live fully with surplus to give to others in helping them at the point of their need.

SOS6: “… O you who sit in the gardens, My companions are listening for your voice—Let me hear it! Hurry, my beloved, And be like a gazelle or a young stag On the mountains of spices” ~ SOS 8:11-14.

Beloved, Father longs for us and seeks after us, desiring us to be His beloved in a one on one, personal and intimate relationship that cannot be broken. Are you watching for Him, listening to hear His voice; calling out “Come quickly, my beloved”? If we will faithfully seek after Him, He will come to us in the fullness of His glory. With the fragrance of His essence permeating us, He readies us for life and ministry as part of His Royal Priesthood, making us productive of the fruit of His garden.

The Priestly Order: Part 3-c

Beloved, did you hear the voice of God yesterday, beckoning you to walk with Him in a vitally personal and real love relationship like none other and to greater depths of understanding than ever before known? With every thought of His desire for relationship, heart soars and I want more. God lovingly takes us on paths that will help us discover the “more” of the depth He desires with us. Looking at two such paths, today we begin by…

Walking with Him in the wilderness with shade from His Cloud protecting and Pillars of Fire directing.

“And Jesus said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.’ (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.)” (Mark 6:31)

The most vital need we have for relationship with God to flourish and grow is time alone with Him.

This life is so full of busyness that we neglect the one thing we need most: God, who nourishes us and brings us into His rest, supplying our need so we can continue with His full resource. Scripture speaks of many occasions in which God calls us to enter into the “secret place” of His presence, encouraging us to come away with Him.

In times of trouble, God protects us in the secret place of His presence where He places our feet on the Rock of our assurance and hope (Psalm 27:5). In that place our heart finds protection against strife and harsh words meant to hurt us (Psalm 31:20). His answer comes to us in the secret place of His presence, and we who dwell there find shelter under the shadow of our Almighty, against whom no foe can stand (Psalm 81:7; 91:1-2, AMP). In the Psalms alone my heart soars with joy over God’s provision of the secret place of our personal habitation.

“O my Dove, in the clefts of the rock, In the secret place of the steep pathway, Let me see your form, Let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, And your form is lovely” (SOS 2:14).

Life too often is a steep path that challenges our ability to cope and our supply for progress forward. It is vital that we practice daily drawing near to God and finding that hiding place with Him where intimacy is ours alone with Him. This is the only way we will have supply to make it up that hill. And He is our supply: covering us to protect us from the heat of life’s challenges, placing us protectively under His wings where sustenance and provision exists, giving light to the dark places, bringing us to His cleansing Fire. Thus, it is vital we learn how to enter the secret place of His presence with ease. That comes with daily practice.

In nursing school, instructors told us that when the crunch is on and an emergency requires us to move quickly, we will do by habit what we do in daily practice. Therefore, do right at all times and we will do it right when the brain stresses. It is the same with our relationship with God.

I recall a story said to be of a young troop under Patton, if memory serves. He slipped out of his tent at night to find a secluded place of prayer. When caught coming back in, they doubted his story, accusing him of being a traitor. Then Patton instructed him to say an audible prayer before sentencing. His prayer done, Patton released the young man, saying, “One would not drill so well had he not drilled often.” Practice makes us believable and functional.

The KJV version of Mark 6 records Jesus’ words this way, “…Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while….”

Beloved, sometimes God calls us to go into desert places, a wilderness time with Him: dry, hot places of rough terrain. God leading us through hardship ALWAYS has a purpose.

It can be a time of respite. Some of us will not slow down to feed our own souls until something happens to make us do so. God knows we need sustenance, and the greatest nourishment we need is He. He will allow a wilderness to enter our lives if that is what it takes to help us seek Him.

Another reason for God leading us to a desert place is for transformation: working our Egypt out of us.

God is creating for Himself a people after His own heart. We get so caught up in worldly pursuits, so full of the false wisdom of flesh, world and the demonic, that just as with the people of Israel, it sometimes takes extraordinary means to remove us from the worldly and it from us.

Some roots of our old nature or sin habits run deep and wide. It may take many wilderness experiences to dig that root out, but God is gracious, taking care against destroying us in the process of freeing us.

Many such roots link to wounds from long ago that have festered with infection and must heal before the root of that infection that reveals itself through sin can die out. Like leprosy, those infected hurts deform our very person, removing any likeness to God far from us. God loves us, therefore He works healing in us letter upon letter, line upon line, and precept upon precept; here a little, there a little, He uproots weeds and applies the ointment needed for healing until our transformation is complete and we look like our Father as He intended.

The number one thing that will bring us to a wilderness experience is some habit of reliance on anything but God. God is our greatest need and necessity. He is the first and foremost. He knows Himself as our greatest need, and He will do whatever it takes to bring us to Himself in our understanding of our first, most vital Need and Necessity.

Life is hard. Jesus, knowing this fact, warns that trouble will come. However, Peace is His promise for our day. We find that peace as we practice dwelling in the Secret Place of His presence where we learn of Him and come to rely on Him as First. He will do what it takes to bring us to possession of our Greatest Need, whether that requires us to be in the wilderness alone with Him, or while…

Walking in the garden in the cool of the day.

We pick up here tomorrow as we continue the journey to our priestly role of increased intimacy with God. Meanwhile meditate on these things, Beloved. Are you in a wilderness alone in any area of your life? No matter how alone you feel, look for God’s presence. He is there with you, waiting to walk alongside you to the garden of life. Is your whole life a wilderness? God is there with you, waiting for you to draw near to Him with sincere and whole heart, seeking Him for companionship and help in coming through to your garden.

Ask Him the purpose of this season, the root cause for being in this place and time, and begin today to cooperate with Him in all He reveals. The purpose of the wilderness is to bring us to the garden, the paradise of our existence in Christ. Tomorrow we go there together.

The Priestly Order: Part 3-b

“My beloved responded and said to me, ‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along” ~ SOS 2:10.

Our greatest priestly role in Christ is to find our own very personal and very real, one on one relationship with the God of all creation, who beckons unto us, “Come with Me”. We will only survive the chaos of this world to the degree that we come into this personal knowledge of God: not just knowing about Him, but knowing HIM in the fullness of His glory.

I know about the President of the USA, but I do not have personal experience of him that equips me to know the greater depths of his heart. Only one on one relationship with him would allow me to grow to know the man.

IntimacyThe journey we are on together in these next several days will lead us to increased understanding of the God we profess to know. Even if you are one who knows God intimately, being a long time in this faith, there is always a greater depth of His essence to discover. He is beyond comprehension to our finite minds, so we cannot, this side of heaven, learn all there is to know of Him. But we can certainly progress toward the blessing of knowing and fully…

Walking in our boundless, incomprehensible God of Glory.

The thing truly amazing about God is the fact that time and space cannot limit Him. There are no boundaries to His existence.

I love many people, but my love actions are limited by time, proximity and the demands in my day. God has no limits. He is fully with me at all times while simultaneously being fully with you. His resource is mine to tap into and possess just as it is yours. While He satisfies my need as He satisfies each of you, He never runs low on supply. As for each of us in reaching a desire to be the best “me” that “I” can be, it is necessary for us to grow in intimate knowledge and realization of God’s presence with us individually. The reality of God’s presence belongs to each of us.

A vital, growing relationship with God equips me to spread myself farther for His name’s sake, ministering to others on His behalf, having priorities aligned with His desires. Together, as we each work toward this end, we make up His body, fulfilling the work to accomplish in bringing about His kingdom purpose in our day / age. We are one together with God in Christ, each having equal access and full supply of His attention and resource.

The remainder of this study of our priestly role will look at two glorious places in which our relationship with God flourishes as we realize the fullness of His personal presence with each individual of us. In these places of His provision for our knowing and understanding Him, as we deliberately walk through this life hand in hand with our King, we grow stronger in possessing Him and becoming His possessed ones, having His desires as our own. To keep this from being gods-loveexcessively long and to give time to process each part, this portion of our study will break down into three parts: today’s Present reality, followed by tomorrow’s wilderness walk, and the next day’s garden experience.

Today I encourage you to meditate on the fact that God is fully with you as He is fully with me, desiring we possess intimate knowledge and understanding of His sure presence and partnership in life. You have all of God at your side through Christ and within you through the power of His Spirit: you are His temple – His dwelling place. Think on this today. Do you fully believe the truth of this fact? If not, what hinders you? Talk with the Father about this and ready your heart for the journey of a lifetime as tomorrow we begin…

Walking in the wilderness with shade from His Cloud protecting and Pillars of Fire directing.

The Priestly Order: Part 3

Thus far we discovered how Jesus fully accomplished His role as High Priest. He takes us from being under the second order of priesthood, which is intermediary in its relationship with God, returning us to the first order, which is that of personal intimacy and knowledge of the God-Head. That personal relationship with God, the Father, through Jesus, The Christ, in the power of His Holy Spirit brings us into a relationship that holds an appointment for us in Christ:

“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; 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” ~ 1 Peter 2:9-10.

As people of God in Christ Jesus, we are each a part of His Royal Priesthood, called and equipped to carry on the work of Jesus in the earth as representing Him and His interests. This means that we too must be busy about the Father’s business just as He did in setting the example for us (Luke 2:49). We are ambassadors of Christ, called, equipped, empowered and endued with authority to take care of Kingdom business in the earth.

There are many things to learn of the role of the priest, but we will cover the aspects of our priesthood as exemplified in Christ here in our Hebrew’s focal passage. Looking again at the first four verses of Hebrews 5, we find our instruction for ministry as priests unto God Most High in Jesus’ name:

“For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness; and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself. And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was” (vs. 1-4)

Jesus is High priest forever. He is the head. We are the body, under His authority, given charge to complete the work of service in partnership with Him. Like Jesus and as His body, we are:

Appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God.

We are here in this life for God and others: intended by God to help others to know and live for God, bringing glory to God by setting an example that honors Him as God of our lives. That is our call and equipping. We are gifted by God’s Spirit for the purpose of serving God as we meet the needs of others around us, and we are empowered to do so as represents God. Thus it is vital that we take every opportunity to study so we may know and understand both our spiritual gifts and how they function in the power of His Spirit. Also we need to understand the fruit of the Spirit, surrendering to His work within, enlivening the image of God in us. It is the gifts of God placed within us and the experiences He uses to train us that help us to come into our appointment from God.

Appointed in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins… Obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself:

Since Jesus paid the full price for sin, delivering us from sins death, we no longer make animal sacrifice. In Christ, it is no longer necessary. And we cannot take the place of Jesus on the cross.

There is a popular song that asks if we will take His place on the cross. My response is always “no”. Though I would love to spare Him paying for my shame, I could only cover my own guilt and sin offering by paying the price I deserve to pay. I am not pure enough to pay for the sin of all others, as He did. So though I would spare Him my shame if I could, my trying to take His place would condemn others to have to do the same for themselves. I am very grateful that God spared me that horrid end by giving His perfect Son on my behalf. And I care enough for others to know that I cannot rob them the gift purchased in Christ. Only Jesus will do for the way of saving grace. So how is it that I fulfill the role of sacrifice for others, so also for self?

We do offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins when we use the gifts and abilities God placed in us to serve Him and others so that they may know Him. We offer up gifts and sacrifices anytime we say as Jesus did, “Not my will but Thy will be done.” Laying down my life when it is inconvenient, so that I may minister to the need of another in Jesus name, makes sacrifice for their salvation: that they may know Him (Luke 9:23; John 15:12-14).  Putting the interests of others before my own, especially when it will lead to increased knowledge of God and His ways, is sacrifice that can save others from sin ~ separation from God (Philippians 2:1-18).

When we forego what we want in order to minister to the need of another for Christ’s sake, and in that sacrifice we reveal Father, Son and Holy Spirit to them, we fulfill this role of our priesthood. God fills us up and spills us out so that we and those around us may know Him. We are His lights, set on a course to make Him known so that others may enter in to this provision of God through Jesus.

Appointed to deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness:

Why do bad things happen to God’s people? For one thing, we live in a world troubled by evil. For another, in cleaning up, God begins with His own house.

God never promised to spare us the touch of evil. In fact, Jesus warns us that we will have trouble in this life, and He says that the only way to avoid it is to leave this world (John 16:33; 17:11-19). Trouble, difficulty, hardship, struggle, temptation, and end of life issues are ours to go through and cope with as God empowers and equips us. Just as with Jesus, experience allows us right of passage to minister to the need of others. Doing so with God as our source of strength, supply, and hope, helps us to know Him. Knowledge of Him encourages our obedience to Him. That experience equips us to make Him known. Thus, like Jesus, we learn what true obedience is through the things we suffer, and that experience is used by Him to influence the lives of those around us (Hebrews 5:8). It is personal understanding of God’s deliverance in our experience of evil in our fleshly estate that gives us compassion with understanding for the struggle seen in those to whom we minister.

As we who are weak and flawed experience God at work in and through us as a result of our relationship to Him through Christ, the difficulties He brings us through makes us uniquely qualified to help others in similar situations. People want to know how we know that there is a God. It is through our experience of Him that we know Him, and we experience Him as He empowers and equips us to deal with situations of this life. The troubled waters of life are not without purpose. They are used by Him to give us a hope in our final outcome, training in righteousness, and opportunity for ministry.

No one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was:

God calls us to the things we are to do in accomplishing the work He planned for us (Ephesians 2:10). Likewise, He equips His servants for all He calls us to do. When God calls, we don’t have to fret the “how” and “with what”. God supplies all we need for the things He calls us to in due season, making us able to stand as His servant (2 Corinthians 9:8; Romans 14:4). All we need is wise discernment for right priorities with His supply; and just a mustard seed of faith to trust His sure hand. Our degree of faith grows as we come to know Him intimately, empowering us to trust Him completely.

If you recall, Part 2 ending with the following thought:

“Beloved, through Christ we are of the first order of priests, the order of Melchizedek – set free to have personal relationship with Father-God!”

Our number one role as part of the Royal Priesthood under High Priest Jesus is to be priests unto God, having intimate relationship with Him, knowing Him as Father-God by experience. Our growth in that relationship equips us to help others come into their own as we share our experience with them.

In Chapter 4 of John, the Samaritan woman at the well is introduced to the true God by Jesus. Taking her priestly role found in that intimate experience of the Father through Christ, she told the people of Samaria about her experience. Her shining the light of God before them drew them out to meet this Jesus for themselves, after which they proclaim to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world” (vs. 42).

Beloved, one of the most fulfilling roles we have as priest with Jesus is found in helping others grow in their personal relationship with Father. It is exciting to watch their growth. And it can be a shock to the system when they reach that point of no longer needing our input. But that is the goal of our ministry, and it is the greatest proof of our fulfilling our Priestly role.

I thought this to be the conclusion of our study on this subject, but then I took a break that allowed me to meditate further on this topic. Thus, I will see you back here tomorrow with greater depth in Part 3-b of the Priestly Order.

The Priestly Order: Part 2

“In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek” ~ Hebrews 5:7-10.

As I consider our next portion of this subject, verses 7-10 above seem to proof-text Christ’s priesthood. In order to discern what I mean and get a picture of His High Priestly role, we need to compare it with verses 1-4, which outline the qualifications for those called to the role of high priest.

“For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness; and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself. And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was” ~ Hebrews 5:1-4.

Comparing these things with our first verses, here is what I find”

“For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins…” (vs. 1-4): compares with “In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. …” (vs. 7-10).

Jesus came in flesh to fulfill the priestly role of being “taken from among men” as one “appointed on behalf of men” to intercede in “things pertaining to God.” He fulfilled this role in many ways, beginning with prayers and supplications, not only for the people God sent Him to minister to on His behalf, but for Himself.

We are told in Holy Writ that He often went away by Himself for time with the Father, preparing Himself for the days and challenges ahead. And as He went to the cross, He wept before the Father with such anxiety of heart that He sweat blood with thought of the cross in His path, crying out, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” He sets the example for us when we face a CROSS-road. Jesus went through life as example to us, and He went to the cross on our behalf, fulfilling His High Priestly role. (See Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46)

Next, in verse 1-4, we read that the high priest taken from among men is so appointed because “…he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness….”  Of Jesus in verse 7-10 we are told, “…Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. …”

The High Priest must be able to relate with the struggle that is common to every person. They need to be able to deal with people with the degree of grace and understanding that comes from personal experience of the struggle our flesh brings to the equation. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard people say, “You can’t understand unless you have lived it.” Experience allows us right of passage to minister to the need of others. Therefore The Christ having experience of life as a person of flesh is a vital part of the requirement for His Priesthood.

I am struck by this statement concerning Christ, “…Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. …” Although He was God incarnate by the Father – Son relationship He had that is difficult for us to fully fathom, He “learned obedience” through suffering. That tells me He knew suffering. His deity as God did not protect him from hurting when He stubbed His toe, getting angry when He saw injustice, or sweating blood at the thought of His cross. His flesh was fully flesh, and He felt it. He learned through experience what it was like to be in these flesh-shells. To meet the requirement He had to learn by experience what it was like to deal with the flesh and remain true to the God-Head. Because of that experience, He has the ability to give compassion with understanding of our struggle.

Our role is somewhat reversed from His. He came as God and learned of the flesh and how to deal with the flesh while remaining in God despite the flesh. We come as fleshly beings and, once we receive the Christ and His Spirit that unites us with the Father, we learn how to know and understand this Immortal and remain in Him despite our flesh. Because Jesus chose to come and live in a flesh body, He understands our “despite the flesh” struggle, thus His Priestly role continues as He ever lives to intercede, standing in the gap before the Father on our behalf (Romans 8:33-34).

“…and because of it (his understanding of our struggle and his call to stand on our behalf) he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself. …” (vs. 1-4 – parenthesis added by author, reminder of previous thoughts added). “…And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation…” (vs. 7-10).

Jesus filled this role like no other in that He not only offered up a sacrifice, but He became the sacrifice, paying the price required for life with God on behalf of all flesh.

I never thought of it before now, but that would include covering the weakness He experienced in His own flesh. Though He lived in victory over His fleshly struggle, being perfect in all His ways, He still lived fully in human flesh. He kept the Levitical Law perfectly: That would include going with His sacrifice in hand on holy days throughout His life among us, thus He offered up sacrifice for Himself in keeping with the Law. Despite His deity, when called “good,” He replied, “No one is good but God alone” (Mark 10:18), so He apparently considered His own fleshly existence to be as frail and faulty as anyone else’s because of the weakness and struggle that flesh presents to living. So His sacrifice of His own flesh at Calvary could well fulfill the call of the high priest to offer up sacrifice “as for the people, so also for himself”.

“…And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was” ~ Hebrews 5:1-4.

It just dawned on me, as I read here that Jesus was called to His priesthood just as Aaron was that God sent Aaron across the wilderness to meet up with Moses before he was placed as a priest over Israel (Exodus 4). Jesus, too, started His earthly ministry after 40 days of prayer and fasting in the wilderness. Just an interesting thought.

Our pastor instructed recently that the purpose of the 40 day fast is for one to come fully into the authority they have from God. Jesus had great power because He trusted Himself to God and trusted God to give full authority to His fleshly existence so that He could fulfill His call as Christ.

The High Priest must live in purity and work out of His full authority in God. In the second order of priesthood started by Aaron, a high priest entering the Holy of Holies, having any impurity in his life, fell dead instantly. But if he fulfilled the call of purification, he went in with full authority to do so in safety, fully empowered to fulfill his priestly role. Jesus fulfilled His High Priestly role by entering fully into His purification and authority in God, just as Aaron did.

All these things in play, God says of Jesus, “… ‘YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU’; just as He says also in another passage, ‘YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK’” ~ Hebrews 5:5-6.

Jesus is our High Priest. We need no other. He ever lives to intercede on our behalf, calling and empowering us to live fully for God with whole heart, and through Him we receive our purification from sin, being set free from its death and set free from constantly having to make blood sacrifice for sin.

Wow. There it is! I kept feeling that there was something more to this “order of Melchizedek” than I was seeing or being helped to see by commentaries read. Here it is!

Melchizedek was of the first order of priests. In that role we are not told of any sacrifice for sin being made or required. Then enters Aaron at the call of God: Through Aaron and the Levitical priesthood God sets up the second order of priests, in which blood sacrifice was required for the covering of sin and other issues given the people through Levitical Law. This order of the priesthood was set up by God for the purpose of providing a holy people out of which the Christ would come, the Holy Seed of God.

It was also set up for the people to have an intermediary between themselves and God. If you recall in the account of Israel’s experience in Exodus, the people feared God in an unholy way, being afraid of His presence and power, so much so that they feared relationship with Him. So they told Moses to talk to God on their behalf, refusing the personal intimacy God had for them to possess. I believe this is why God made arrangements for a priesthood to stand in the gap and intercede for the people: the second order being intermediary. (See Exodus 20:18-21; 34:29-35; 2 Corinthians 3)

In comes Christ, who fulfilled the role of High Priest perfectly, setting the example of godliness and calling all around Him to wholehearted, personal intimacy in their relationship with God as Father. Through His holy life and sacrifice, the full payment for sin is made, and we are back to the order of priesthood that no longer has need of the ritualistic cleansing of the second order. Jesus keeps us safe and covers us by His own blood sacrifice so we can enter into the very presence of God without fear: back to the first order of personal intimacy with God.

Beloved, through Christ we are of the first order of priests, the order of Melchizedek – set free to have personal relationship with Father-God! That is our topic of discussion for Part 3 of our focus on The Priestly Order.

The Priestly Order: Part 1

Read Hebrews 5:1-10

“Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You’; just as He says also in another passage, ‘You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek’” ~ Hebrews 5:5-6.

This passage of Hebrews is deep and wide to me and I do not pretend to fully understand this truth. I have mulled over it for days now during a busy season on the home front with writing it hindered. Pondering the beauty of this passage I see three topics to cover concerning this Priestly Order. We begin today with seeking the Lord to understand the designation of Christ as “Priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.” He is now the High Priest through whom we go to the Father. But what is the significance of this “order of Melchizedek”?

Melchizedek is found in Genesis 14. Abraham rescued Lot and all those with him who were taken in a raid on Sodom and Gomorrah. Upon his return with the people he saved from captivity, he met with the King of Sodom and with Melchizedek, the King of Salem. Melchizedek means “king of righteousness.” Salem means “peace”. So Melchizedek, who was a priest to the God Most High, was called king of righteousness and king of peace, being a likeness of the Christ. To Him, as thank-offering to God, Abram gave the first tithe.

Hebrews 7 tells us concerning Melchizedek that he was “Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually” (vs. 3). And vs. 11-17 instructs us that, like Melchizedek, Jesus is priest, not in accord with Levitical Law, “but according to the power of an indestructible life”. In this order of priests, Jesus’ heritage is beyond comprehension, and He is designated High Priest forever, having been raised again to newness of life that is eternal with the Father.

Melchizedek was a man designated by God as priestly-king of God Most High before the Levites were even on the scene of life and Levitical Law put in place: thus he is from the first order of priest. Jesus was born to a virgin, of the house of Judah, heir to the throne of David – not Levi, thus He, being a man, is designated by God as Priestly-King of God Most High, who says to us, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” (Matthew 17:5).

The birthright of Jesus the Christ is laid out for us in Scripture. He is King of kings through the lineage of David, birthed through God as Lord of lords, designated by the Father as Priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. Next post we look at His Priestly role.

(References: Hebrews 7; 1 Timothy 2:5; Genesis 14; Zechariah 6:12-13; Isaiah 11:5-9)

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 Hard Places of Life

I have learned much in my 60 years of life. God used many people to train me up. From my daddy, I learned faithfulness and frugal living. From Aunt Peggy and Aunt Shirley I learned how to care for a home. From Aunt Maxine I learned the importance of Scripture to daily life. From Aunt Edna and Uncle Bobby, I learned the importance of living those Scriptures through a faithful, Christian walk. In the power of His Spirit, God has used His Word to instruct me, His Church to build me up, and His people to encourage and help me. God uses many things in this life and in our situations in order to grow and mature us. Today my thoughts are on the hard places He takes us to for His purposes and our good.

Why am I thinking on such and side tracking from my pondering of Hebrews? Two reasons:

During what I call my “Prescription walk” I am currently listening to the book of Jeremiah. In it, over and over again, God uses Jeremiah to warn the people of Israel and Judah of His hand coming against them, sending them into captivity. Over and over they are told to give themselves freely to their captors or suffer destruction. With each warning comes promise that if they will willingly surrender to God’s will and put themselves under the taskmasters He is sending to enslave them, that in their time of captivity they will find their lives fully restored.

That’s one reason I am pondering our subject today. And these words catch my attention for the second reason.

I have a friend who is facing a very difficult decision, one in which he has to choose whether he will surrender himself to captivity, or fight to see if he can win his freedom. I don’t envy his decision one bit: in fact I grieve it for him and all involved terribly. Nor do I know the answer. Only God does. But as I think of his situation in light of the words in Jeremiah, this I do know:

In any situation we face where the choice is to surrender ourselves to go through a very hard place in life or fight to see if we can win our freedom, the opinion of God is vital. He knows which direction is our ideal soil for growth, maturity, service, obedience, and the glory of the Lord. He has a purpose in the mountains, and He knows which way will bring true freedom.

Sometimes God calls us to go around a mountain and avoid it at all cost. Sometimes He leads us to go over that mountain and defeat it by fighting our way to the other side. And sometimes He calls us to go through that hard ground to the other side, trusting His hand for us.

If we choose to fight when He says to surrender, we fail to trust His hand and His purpose, and we find ourselves actually fighting Him. So discernment of God’s will is vital. If we are called by Him to surrender to a challenge or enemy force, it is truly Him we surrender ourselves too. And God is faithful. He will see us through those difficult places and bring us through with greater understanding of who He is and how faithful He is to us who choose to trust Him. If we choose to fight when He says “surrender”, we may find ourselves facing the very terrors we fear.

In my times of surrendered trust in God, as He took me through the middle of my hard places in life, I found these reasons for His doing so:

Sometimes it takes the crushing things in life to remove those deeply imbedded, huge roots of sin that we often do not even realize we have. God is always at work to make us into the image of God, and if that means captivity for a time so that we can be made truly free, that is what He requires. Cooperation with Him is the only way to survive such experiences.

Sometimes there are things and people in our lives that we value more than God, making them an idol. God will take us through hard places in order to lead us to trust Him alone, to relinquish our idols, and to more fully bond with Him as our first, most vital necessity. These are the times He calls us to realize Him as our greatest desire above all else, choosing first His Kingdom and His righteousness. And once we make that choice, we find more of all the good things in life, only they are rightly prioritized, having no power to pull us from Him as the One possessing first place in everything. Having Him first and foremost as our greatest desire makes everything else taste sweeter.

CrossDaily05And then there is the reason of His need of our special gifting and life experience to bring light into dark places. Sometimes our captivity is nothing more than a mission field and opportunity to bring Him glory.

Many of us have hard decisions to make from time to time. Before balking at a place that looks like enemy captivity that will harm and destroy you, stop to ask the Lord His opinion. Get His heart for the situation. Hear His promises for the call of the captive. If He is there, in the hard place before you with some purpose of His own in hand, your only choice is whether to surrender to Him there and have His help for the journey, or fight against Him where you are. Whichever side of the issue God is on, that is the safest place to be. Discern where God is standing; enter into His rest through faith-filled, believing obedience; and follow Peace to the pastures of His choosing.

“Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you” ~ James 4:10.

Pondering Restful Pastures: 2

Read Hebrews 4

“To whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief. Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard” ~ Hebrews 3:18-4:2.

Yesterday we looked at the keys found in Jesus’ example to us for living a life of obedience that leads to our entering into and remaining in the restful pastures of God’s provision. Today as I read Chapter 4, which continues the teaching on living in God’s rest, I am impressed with the connection obedience to God has with faith in Him.

Our level of obedience is directly related to the degree of faith we have to trust Him and take God fully at His Word. So when restful pastures elude us, the first place to look is to our faith: Are we fully believing God, taking His word to us to heart, and walking it out to completion with complete understanding of the intent of His Word?

I think to fully grasp this in a fallen world where trouble is promised to us and seems to rob of rest we need to discern this rest that God speaks of: what is God’s rest?

“For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, ‘As I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest,’ although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all His works’; and again in this passage, ‘They shall not enter My rest’” ~ verses 3-5.

Here is what I discern as God’s rest, beloved. God spoke and it was done, fully and completely, nothing of His intent lacking. So on the seventh day, He looked over all His works with the satisfaction of knowing it was complete. There was nothing more to be said, nothing more to accomplish but to enjoy the view and watch for the fruit to bear out of the finished product.

There are things He has spoken that we are waiting to see fulfilled in the earth through the bearing of the fruit of His Word, but when God speaks it, it’s intent is finished. We can take His Word to the bank knowing it is sufficient for every need and will bear fruit into our lives as we walk in faiths obedience.

When we have faith to believe God, even while waiting to see the fruit of His instruction and promise to us, obedience flows freely to complete the task with assurance of faith for the fulfillment of all things in Him. His Word is finished in us when our faith is complete, even while awaiting the fruit of it. So while waiting to see all He says come to pass, when we fulfill all obedience with faith, we can look over all that is before us and smile even in the midst of a storm tossed sea, knowing the produce of God’s word will be seen in due season.

“Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, He again fixes a certain day, ‘Today,’ saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, ‘Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.’ For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His” ~ verses 6-10.

Joshua did well in leading the people into the Promised Land, becoming one of our patriarchs of faith, but he fell short of full obedience in several areas and, therefore, did not succeed at leading the people to the promised rest. I.e.: they too frequently fell short of their call to destroy all God told them to, so their enemies remained in their midst to cause hardship for them, tempt them away from God, and hinder the rest God desired for them. The people of Israel suffer the consequences for this shortfall still today, as does the whole world set in chaos by terrorism.

We too often forget God’s instruction to us or fall short of understanding its intent: thus we fail to fully believe and take His word seriously, and fall short of full obedience with faith. Such half-hearted obedience is what keeps us from the rest God desires for us.

The other day I found my rest and peace greatly disturbed in the area of my struggle with feelings of rejection. I wrote several weeks ago about that struggle and shared all God instructed me with regard to that issue, and I have walked in great freedom and peace since then. But approaching a friend after church to share something with her, I was left feeling she was uninterested and like I was bothering her.

Now I realized she was tired and that I stopped her as she was heading someplace to do something. I too have trouble relating with others when my mind is set on a course. I realized this quickly and set it aside as a non-issue, but peace and rest remained disturbed within me.

As I asked the Lord why I was feeling such unrest, with that spirit of rejection rearing up anew, He instructed me again that He is the one who gives me favor with man. When He told my heart that, I discerned two things: I was failing to fully trust God’s promise to me in that moment and peace was hindered by lack of faith; and desire for favor with man can become a God to me if I am not careful to realize God’s instruction that I am to seek His favor, not mans.

WALK-WITH-GOD“For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ” ~ Galatians 1:10.

The intent of God for me / us is to seek after His favor, not concerning self with pleasing mankind. Full obedience for me in this area is to keep focus on the favor of God, walking in it, and not concerning myself with favor from man. When I fail to fulfill the intent of God’s word through obedience to seek the favor of God alone, I leave the restful pastures and am disturbed and hindered by every appearance of the lack of favor.

“Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” ~ verse 11-13.

God sees our hearts. He knows when we are truly and fully following Him in obedience of faith. And He is ready with His Word to help us discern what is hindering our remaining in the restful pastures of His presence and peace. Not only that, but He assures our hearts through Christ for those times when we falter and fall:

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” ~ verse 14-16.

Jesus is the fulfillment of all things through God, beloved. He understands the fleshly, worldly, and demonic battle we are in and the weakness of our flesh, how easily distracted and forgetful we can be. He knows we are a work in progress this side of heaven’s glory.

Beloved, in Christ, God’s word concerning the work of Christ and Him crucified has completed His work in us already as far as eternity is concerned. But in our earthly reality where war with God’s enemy is in play, we are a work in progress. The blood of Christ has completed the work of our eternal cleansing. The Spirit of God is doing the work day by day of purging the sin from our earthly existence. Thus it is vital in cooperating with the purging work of the Spirit that we heed His promptings and follow quickly in obedient faith so as to experience today the restful pastures of God.

Jesus is fully aware of the reality of our weakness. Thus, because of the Word of promise fulfilled in Him, we always find grace when we, being reminded of His word to us, bow at the foot of His throne in order to rise and walk in full obedience of faith anew.

Unhappy in your marriage, beloved? Bow down and seek Him for His word for your relationship. Unhappy in your job, beloved? Bow down and discover what is lacking of faith filled obedience to God.

God’s word has fulfilled all its good will and purpose, and it bears fruit in the earth to become our reality as we walk in faith-filled obedience to the intent of God. Such living allows us to kick back with God at the end of each day and rejoice in the work well-done even while watching for the fruit of it.

Pondering the Angelic

“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.

Jesus is the manifest presence of God come in flesh for the purpose of sanctification.

Manifest ~ Easily noticed or perceived; obvious; plain. To show plainly; reveal or display. To prove beyond doubt. Of a disembodied spirit: to appear in visible form.

Yesterday’s blog mentions the fact that Jesus is the Word of God, the Message of God sent to accomplish all of the Father’s purpose. He is the Messenger of God revealed in the Old Testament as The Angel of the Lord, manifesting the presence of God in the earth, the visible proof of the invisible God.

In the New Testament, this manifestation is named Jesus, the exact representation of the Father. When Philip asked, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us,” Jesus replied, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:7-9)

Jesus is the manifestation of the Father in the earth, exactly representing Him and His interests in every way. Jesus is The Angel of the Lord, the Living Word of God, a true and clear Manifestation of the Father in skin. And here in Hebrews, we see Him given the righteous scepter as King over the Kingdom, anointed with the oil of gladness above His companions, the angelic hosts of heaven included.

Angels: manifest spirit ministers, are seen throughout scripture. The Angel of the Lord was the manifest presence of God, sent to His people for the purpose of imparting to them the Word of His will in their hour of need – He was always recognized as God standing before the person He was sent to. Many other angels are mentioned in scripture, being also God’s creation with a purpose to fulfill. But Jesus, having fulfilled His purpose, is lifted above all God’s angelic hosts, given a name above all names as King of all God’s creation.

Here in Hebrews we are instructed of the reality of God’s angelic hosts. They are said to be winds; God’s ministers that go out as a flame of fire…having power from God. And they are ministering spirits, sent out to render service.

We live in a day when many are enamored by the thought of angels watching over us. And they do watch over us, being given charge to guard all the ways of those they are sent to minister to (Psalm 91). According to Hebrews 1:13: angels are sent into the earth to render service to those who will inherit salvation. Salvation is inherited by those belonging to God through Jesus, the Christ. They are servants of God charged with the care and service of us who believe. As such, they are not to be worshiped by us, for these, too, were created by God to be His worshipers, worshiping God as God and Jesus as King through service, praise, adoration, and honor.

God is teaching me a lot about these ministers in life, revealing how He gives them charge for my care, and how He gives me authority to call on them to fulfill their charge.

As I have shared before, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a diagnosis given to a group of symptoms with an etiology yet to be understood. Since the true cause is unknown, there is no real treatment. The only treatment is to deal with the symptoms.

The enemy of God often uses this disease process to hinder God’s people and hold them back from life and living. I have often felt it to be as much a spiritual battle as a physical one.

Recently God used the story of Lazarus to instruct me with regard to my struggle with fibro. The words, “This sickness is not unto death, but is for the glory of God” drew my heart to the fact of this being true of my Fibromyalgia. Then the Spirit instructed me to start speaking as Jesus did when Lazarus came forth, “Unbind him and let him go!” Only I was instructed to say, “Unbind ME and let ME go.”

At first that was hard for me to do. I kept wanting to say, “Jesus says for you to unbind me…”. Then God told me that He has given me the authority to speak the command as representing Him, and I am to do so boldly. So I do.

To begin, I thought I was saying this to the demons or the sickness. But then the Spirit asked me, “Darlene, who was I speaking to when I said that concerning Lazarus?” Jesus was speaking to His companions there with Him.

Jesus-Bride006As I discerned that truth, I realized that 1) I do the same when I share with others who pray with me for my release from the bonds of Fibro. But 2) when I am alone and speak the command against a flare, I am speaking to the Spirit of God who has power to set free, and to the angels of God who are given charge to fight the enemy in the spiritual realm.

I seldom have a flare these days, and when I do, my faith in God for this weapon given me to wield in the Spirit has greatly increased. I see very fast results as the Spirit and the angels so charged deliver me from this enemy that would bind me.

The angelic hosts are not for us to worship. These are brethren in the fact that they also are God’s created beings with us. And in the heavenly kingdom of God, they are the army of God that fights the enemy of God known as the demonic forces, and they are charged with our care. We can call on them to fulfill their charge in the power and authority of God’s Spirit. And we do so in the name of JESUS, the name above all names who is seated on the throne of God’s kingdom, charged as overseer of all His will and way.

Jesus, the manifest, exact representation of God: He set the example for us to follow. We are called to be His representatives in the earth, just as He represented the Father. And we are to do so with power, in the authority He gives.

Even the angels of God show their understanding of this truth when they are sent with God’s word for a person and that word is shunned. I think of the time Gabriel came to Zacharias with word of the birth of John. Zacharias, being small in faith, couldn’t believe his eyes or his ears as this angel stood before him telling him he would have a son in his old age by a barren wife, just as experienced by his father, Abraham. He questioned the validity of the word. The angel did not run to God and say, “He didn’t believe me. What should I say?” He stood on the power of God’s word, in the authority of his charge from God, and he handled the problem:

“I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.”  ~ Luke 1:19-20.

Beloved, all of God’s created beings are intended to be His manifest presence in the earth, being the exact representation of His nature, bringing Him glory. When we said “I do” to Jesus as Savior and King, the image of God was restored to us fully in the Spirit and is being manifested day by day as we surrender to Him. Therefore, when people are with us, they should have a God encounter. When we speak, we should hear His voice and speak His words with the authority He gives us.

The angels also watch for the manifest presence of God in us, and they are here, charged by God, to help us achieve that goal. Being His witnesses in all the earth and making disciples is accomplished as we represent Him in all His glory, will, and way, being one with Him in the Power of the Spirit so that He is seen and heard in the earth. This is our calling and equipping in the name of Jesus.

“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; 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”  ~ 1 Peter 2:9-12.

Sanctified “For Their Sakes”

“As you sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. FOR THEIR SAKES I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth” (John 17:18-19).

Sanctification – being set apart with a purpose. We are set apart BY God for His use in His intended purpose. He is creating for Himself a Kingdom of people, and we are part of that, if indeed He is our God and us His people. We are set apart by God for His purpose, and we are set apart TO God by right of our choice. He gives us choice, the right of determining to bow the knee now, and to work with and for Him in fulfilling His glory in the earth and bringing His Kingdom purpose to pass.

Jesus was Sanctified and set apart by God to be our Savior. Jesus here lets us know that He was set apart to God by His choosing to follow God’s will for the sake of us who are the object of His desire. Because He loves us, Jesus wants us, and He wants us to be sanctified in truth, therefore He chose to live a sanctified life in fulfilling the purpose of God for Himself so that we, too, may be sanctified in truth.

As I read this today, Father instructs my heart that this is my call and purpose as well: to be sanctified, set apart, fully consecrated by God for His purpose; and to choose sanctification through cooperation of obedience for the sake of those in my sphere of influence, so that they too may find, know and enter into their sanctification in truth and righteousness. For me this truth and call of God in this day is instructing me to have right priorities in all I choose to do and say, so that I may be His vessel, fully surrendered for His use in making Him known in the world.

My life is too scattered right now. I have felt that for a while and have prayed, seeking the Father for right priorities and focused living, for Him to aim me at the target of His design so I do not fail to fulfill His purpose. This teaching through the life example of The Christ comes to me as God’s answer, to focus my choices on “sanctification for your sakes” so I have right priorities in these last days.

What about you, beloved of the Lord? Who have you sent out into the world today? Did you sanctify yourself in your encouragement of them so that they have an example of set apart living? As you live as in the world, though not of it today, choose now to live in such a way as to encourage and give example to a life dictated by sanctification to Father God through Jesus The Christ.

“If anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21).

(For a biblical definition of sanctification, read http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/sanctification/)