Tag Archives: bride

The Right Helpmeet

“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”” (Genesis 2:18 NLT)

I can’t recall what had me pondering this well known verse several weeks back, but it was probably some little annoyance that had me taking a thought captive: you know those proverbial socks. This is usually the verse I ponder in those moments as I thank Father for my precious man. On this occasion, however, a question arose in my pondering heart.

“What original word is used for ‘man’ here? Is it a word meaning ‘the male of the species,’ or is it like most occurrences where the word used means mankind, human, or humankind?”

Last night, as I again found myself pulling this sword of praise out in that proverbial battle, I remembered the question and looked it up.

The Word for man in this verse is the word “adam” (little a), meaning Man (cap M), mankind, human, humankind. It can also be translated “any, anyone”. God is saying that it is not good for any of us humans to be alone. We need each other. We need not only companionship, but a helpmeet – helper for Life.

For one, it is obvious that the propagation of the species requires a male and a female. God’s design is for each male to find the female that best suits him and him her. They are intended to commit themselves solely to one another in holy matrimony, a picture of God’s unbreakable commitment to us, and together, to make a family.

A woman cannot have a baby without a man. Not even today, with artificial insemination, can it be done without some male, somewhere, donating his part in that process. A man not only needs the eggs of a female, but a womb. A “he” cannot make a baby without a “her”. We need each other.

Then there is the need of each other in living life. In my experience with my man, we so perfectly fit each other. He is good at needful things in life that I either can’t do or have no inclination towards. And he frequently tells people that he does not want my job as homemaker and mom, and how much he appreciates all I do. Now, he is very good to help me with things when I need it, or just to be nice and get me on the sofa with him quicker. But he is very thankful for the many things I do that he has no desire for doing. And I have him as my most frequently lifted source of gratitude in my thankfulness for God’s provision. We need each other.

But there’s more to this story.

“So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” (Genesis 2:21-25 NASB)

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” This clicks into place better with the understanding that we each, husband and wife, are helpmate to the other.

Children look to their parents through their growing up years to help them with their needs. They are used to running to mommy and daddy when they need something. When we marry, that reliance is meant by God to transfer to our mate. We are no longer to depend on our parents, but on each other.

A wife who runs to daddy instead of her husband for every little thing she needs breeds jealousy in her husband, belittles him as a man, and hinders his growth as a husband. A husband who belittles the wife, berating her for failing to be and do like mommy, breeds jealousy in his wife, belittles her as a woman, and hinders her growth as a wife. Such habits breed discord and hinder the unification this passage reveals as God’s will for us.

When we marry, it is intended that we each bring the best of our family forming resources and experiences to make our own family life. Done well, we make a home for ourselves and our children that is very possibly better and stronger, not necessarily in comparison to our childhood homes, but in recognition of our individual tendencies and preferences. We mold our home life to fit “us”.

As we work together, rely on each other, learn each other’s strengths, and incorporate the best of our childhood family rituals and practices, we build our own family and make a home. It most likely will not look exactly the same as our childhood family because of the differences our individuality brings to the table, but as we seek God and become one together with Him as our glue, it will be a home that is perfect for us.

“… FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.” (Ephesians 5:22-33 NASB)

The King is Coming! ~ A Vision

Yesterday morning, I had a vision that I believe to be from God. Lying in bed, hoping to go back to sleep, eyes closed, in that darkness I clearly see our bedroom filling with white smoke. Immediately following my asking the Lord, “What’s going on?” two angels step into the smoke and lift holy hands to God. I cannot hear what they are saying, but I sense worship in the air and step forward, joining the angel’s song. As I do, the image changes. I see many scenes of people all over the world, running in a panic from something. I get the strong sense that whatever is causing the fear and panic is allowed or sent by God. My heart of worship continues and the vision ends.

Last night, thinking on the vision from yesterday morning, I sought God for greater revelation. As I considered the scene of the Angel’s song, God pointed my heart to the position from and to which all occurred. Noting the position of things, I recognized the smoke, coming from the west, is the sacrifice of praise and worship coming from God’s people. The Angels came up into that worship from the southeast and turned to face due east. All the hosts of God’s creation who believe in and seek Him, were watching for and working to be ready for the King’s arrival.

I said above that I stepped forward to join the Angel’s song. I did not see myself do that. I was not seen in the vision, I was part of it, physically joining in the worship going on. It was a heart movement as I mentally and emotionally turned my focus to the East and began to worship God with full control of my very alert faculties.

As soon as I did that, the scene literally swiped away from the southeast where the Angels came from, to the northwest, being replaced as if seeing the screen of a video swiping up to replace the view of those worshiping God, changing to many scenes in a collage of views from everywhere on the earth.

The first, most evident scene was a woman, climbing a big hill or mountain covered with huge boulders, panic stricken, moving north. The next was a couple in a well-groomed, middle class neighborhood, running in a panic, the man looking over his shoulder to the west where the worship was coming from, dragging behind a woman with a panicked expression. Another had city skyscrapers surrounding many people on the run, with all I can recall seeing looking back as if to escape some approaching enemy, having facial expressions of panic. I vaguely remember scenes including a Japanese style building (a pagoda and huts), forest or wooded areas, and there was more my mind could not focus on before the vision quit.

God told me yesterday that the meaning of the vision would be found in my next portion of scripture reading. I finally got to focus on my reading last night, which was 2 Thessalonians. There, in chapter 1, verses 3-10, God reveals it.

“We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater; therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, AWAY FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD AND FROM THE GLORY OF HIS POWER, WHEN HE COMES TO BE GLORIFIED IN HIS SAINTS ON THAT DAY, AND TO BE MARVELED AT AMONG ALL WHO HAVE BELIEVED—FOR OUR TESTIMONY TO YOU WAS BELIEVED” ~ 2 Thessalonians 1:3-10.

Those who believe God run to Him in every avenue of life, their very being expressive of the true worship of God. Those who do not believe God run from any evidence of His presence and fight against the knowledge of God that makes Him evident.

I believe God is calling all who truly seek Him with a whole heart, desiring and recognizing His presence, to be more overt in our worship of Him in every way that the Scriptures reveal to be the true and evident heart of worship (1). Every part of our being must seek to possess and remain in the presence of the Lord through a holy life that truly and sincerely worships and honors Him as Lord. Those who do not want to know His presence will flee from us because they recognize and do not want the presence of the Lord. We are not to turn from worshipping God, as man pleasers, but as God-seekers, our focus is to be on the presence and power of our soon returning King.

Every act of our worship reaches out to Him as the savory aroma of the sacrifice of praise. Glorify the Lord with every breath, for the day of His return is nigh (very near to us, quickly approaching).

A few passages that instruct in the true worship seen in the saints of God: Isaiah 58; John 4:22-24; Romans 12:1-3; 1 Corinthians 14:24-25; Philippians 3 (esp. AMPCL).

Listening Prayer (Part 5) ~ The Purpose

Listening prayer is a lifestyle of ceaseless communication with God; making every step and every breath an act of obedience flowing from a living and active relationship with Him as our Lord, our very breath of life. This lifestyle is vital to our function in this age in which we live and to our ability to overcome the challenges of a world that is daily moving farther from Him. In closing out this focus today, I am reminded of the purpose and goal of such a vital, God-breathed lifestyle of prayer.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6.

The goal and purpose of listening prayer is to make all our being and all we do and think acknowledge God as Lord, knowing that He is our first and most vital need. He is our Treasure: our eternal Inheritance. To be still within, lifting every breath to Him, the One in whom we place our trust, acknowledges His right as God over us, and our need of Him in all our ways. Here in Proverbs, God promises that, as we acknowledge Him in all our ways, He will make our paths straight.

As I read this proverbs passage today, I found myself praying for God to reveal anything at the heart of my life that fails to acknowledge Him as Lord; anything hindering my seeking first His Kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33). Shortly after that prayer, a book I am reading led me to Deuteronomy:

“The Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live” ~ Deuteronomy 30:6.

Circumcising the heart is the removal of all that separates us from complete allegiance to and relationship with God. God reveals the things we lean on or want more than we do Him, and He begins the work of removing from our lives all that hinders our relationship with Him. Some things God graciously removes with hardly any notice of it or work on our part. We just suddenly lose all desire for that thing that interfered with our communion with our Beloved. However, there are some things where God will reveal the interfering offender and then tell us, “Circumcise your heart” (Deuteronomy 10:12-21 *vs. 16). Some things God requires us to do the work; He wants us to choose Him as much as He chooses us.

God holds us as the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8). He loves us so much that He made a way for us to have relationship with Him by sacrificing His Son on our behalf (John 3:16). God’s desire is for us, not wanting ANY to perish, but ALL to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Repentance means to let go of one’s own way, aligning self with God and His ways, so that we walk beside Him in unity of mind and heart, fulfilling His purpose and plan. That requires us to love and desire Him as He does us.

The question is, do we hold Him as the apple of our eye – the center, most prominent treasure we seek to obtain and hold dearest to our heart when possessed? Do we desire relationship with Him so much that we willingly deny ourselves, and, taking up our cross of self-sacrifice daily, determine to follow Him at all cost (Luke 9:23, see AMPC)? Do we truly see God in all His triune essence as our first, most vital need and necessity, so that we choose Him above all else?

The goal and purpose of this call of God for us is that we may grow to love Him and desire Him above all else, fully possessing the eternal relationship He purchased for us. The love He calls us to grow in our possession of as we practice a living, life-giving, listening-prayer life that fully relates with and works alongside Him is best expressed in these words of Paul:

“Grace (God’s undeserved favor) be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with undying and INCORRUPTIBLE LOVE” ~ Ephesians 6:24, AMPC.

Loving God with a love so strong and sure, eternally binds us to Him. Nothing can draw us away from relationship with Him, corrupting our walk, when we come fully into this living, breathing walk of love with Him.

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24.

Holy Habitation: Living Continually Seated at God’s Feet ~ Hallowed the Name

“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven’”  ~ Matthew 6:9-10.

There are seasons and situations in this life that are just hard, and that can be stating it lightly. Can I get an “amen”!

In such times, it can be difficult to know even how to pray. That is when God most often leads me to the Model Prayer outlined for us by Jesus. Today, as He leads me anew to this format, I note that the first three parts of our outline all point us to realize who God is: His attributes, nature, reality, faithfulness, and sovereignty. Just as the names of God point us to all we can know true of Him, Jesus reminds us to remember these things ~ first and foremost ~ before ever considering our daily need.

Holy habitation remembers:

God is our Father ~ Jesus tells us that He is a Father we can trust to give us that which is best for us (Matthew 6:25-7:11). Believing this true, I know that when hard times come to our lives, there is a purpose from Father that we may not understand until we come through the fires to see His glory. I also believe the author of Hebrew, who tells us in chapter 12, verse 10, that our Heavenly Father disciplines our lives “for our good, so that we may share His holiness.”

The scriptures are one source of God’s discipline, being “inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Discerning the truth of His word is vital to our ability to walk through life and weather its storms.

“All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11). God is Father, doing what is best for His children, so that we are not condemned with the world (1 Corinthians 11:32).

God is in heaven above ~ This truth reminds us that as we enter into the intimacy of relationship with God as Father, we must always remember that He is Sovereign, Lord of all. Nothing in life happens without His notice, and all that happens He works to fulfill His purpose (Romans 8:28-39). When things get rough, it is not the time to fall short in our faith that God is Sovereign above all, working in and through our lives to bring us to His holiness. That is when we most need to look to Him for discernment of the work His hand is producing in our lives.

Hallowed be Your name ~ No matter the trouble we face in this life, we can trust God to be holy: to be who He says He is, doing all He says He will do. In times of trouble, I too easily see the trouble and think God is somehow losing the war. Yet true faith to believe God “is” and that He is the reward for those who seek Him, continues to trust, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.”

God is working an eternal purpose. He has more than the fleeting time we have in this life at heart. We may not fully understand His purpose for allowing the fires of testing or our times in the lion’s den, but He has eternal purpose with eternal perspective that is working for our good, not our harm. Failing to believe and trust Him when things get hard is to fail to know God.

“Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own” ~ Philippians 3:12, AMP.

Holy Habitation: Living Continually Seated at God’s Feet ~ Under Kingdom Banner

“… So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. … Moses built an altar and named it The Lord is My Banner. …” ~ Exodus 17:8-16.

Over every nation I know of flies a flag representing that country. That flag flies over capitals and government buildings. Displayed during special events or during governmental addresses, it inspires national unity. It goes with that nation into battle: whether in war or in sporting competitions. Everyone, from governing officials to the people of the land, desiring to show their allegiance, displays the flag of their nation. Often the displaying of it speaks hope of all the good that nation desires coming to completion.

The same is true for the Kingdom of God and in Exodus 17 we see that the Lord is that banner. Here in this account where Moses reveals a new name to memorialize God and the victory He brought to Israel, Moses uses the words “Jehovah-Nissi”: the Lord our Banner. When we lift God High for all to see His sovereignty in our lives, we align ourselves with His Kingdom and purpose and see His hand move, leading us to experience His victory. In Holy Habitation with God, we acknowledge His right to reign over us and we align ourselves with His desires, goals, and purposes, to accomplish His plans that build for Him a Nation of glory. Under the Banner of God’s Kingdom, we find inspiration to represent His interests as ambassadors of Christ. Inspired when looking upon our Banner, we find strength to trust His supply.

We lift Him up as our banner when we bring every thought to Jesus-Bride006obedience in Christ, take every step at His command, breathe the breath of His presence and glory into our daily lives and encounters, acknowledging our need of Him first and foremost with assurance of His supply for every need and good deed. Through Jehovah-Nissi, The Lord who says to us, “I AM your Banner”, we walk continually in Holy Habitation with God, bringing a glory to His name that He uses to inspire others to come in under our Banner with us.

Holy Habitation: Living Continually Seated at God’s Feet ~ Day 15

“Then Moses said, ‘I pray You, show me Your glory!’ And He said, ‘I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you…’”  ~ Exodus 33:18-20, NASB.

Happy New Year, beloved. I pray your Christmas was indeed blessed and that you are ready to press forward with God for another year of partnership with Him in the work of Life. As we begin our journey anew to develop a life in Holy Habitation with God, let us begin today with the glory of God seen in His proclaiming His name before us.

Beloved, to understand the importance of this aspect of God’s glory revealed to us, we must understand how vital the name of God is to us and how His name over, in, and through us empowers our lives. Before peeking at the proclamation of God’s names as seen in scripture, let us understand the purpose and power found there.

To begin, realize, beloved, that Jesus never taught us to pray to Him, but to the Father in Jesus’ name. “Our Father who art in heaven…” is the model Jesus gave us to follow in praying to God. And He instructs in John that we are to ask in His name: “Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full” (John 16:23-24; See also Matthew 6:9; John 14:10-14, 26; 15:16).

Here is the thing about our prayer life and holy habitation with God in Christ Jesus, beloved: all that we do, all that we pray, all that we say, and every thought we think is to be in Jesus name, as rightly and truly represents Him and His interests. There is power in the name of Jesus as we realize our call to be His ambassador’s, representing His interests and kingdom purpose in our lives, thoughts, prayers, and ministries. God grants power to those sent forth in the name of the King to do kingdom business. This is what we are, ambassadors with the authority of the King behind us.

Jesus is our example who tells us that He came and lived in the name of the Father, representing Him in the world: “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” (John 14:10).

He calls us to this same unity of life and purpose:

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him. … If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me” ~ (John 16:18-21, 23-24).

Jesus came to teach us of the Father. He did so by being a representation of God’s nature, purpose, work, and interests, in the power of oneness with the Father. He, as our example, calls us to do the same in representing Him and His interests, thus proclaiming His name in the world. Living, breathing, speaking, and moving in the name of Jesus is the power of God toward us, doing His work in the earth through us.

Holy Habitation: Living Continually Seated at God’s Feet ~ Day 9

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name’” ~ Exodus 33:17, NASB.

Walking in God’s favor empowers our lives and makes us fruitful as His people. It is a sign of intimacy with God, being a people after God’s own heart. Along with that is the increased intimacy of friendship with God as ones knowing each other well, privileged to call each other by name.

Known by name:

I know many people when I see them, but those I know best, I know by name; and those I am most intimate with, I know by their chosen or preferred name. This passage leads me to the understanding that it is the same with God.

Some have a shallow acquaintance with Him, while others draw near on a first name basis. People who possess a depth of knowledge as His chosen people that goes beyond mere acquaintance come into a friendship with God that is real and alive.

When God speaks to my heart, 99 times out of a hundred He begins by getting my attention as He calls out, “Darlene”. That sign of intimacy goes the other direction as the child of God learns the names of God, calling on Him with intimate knowledge of who He is (something we will look at closely in days to come).

Deeper intimacy still is found in a relationship that has God naming us according to His desire for us (Revelation 2:17). We see this in instances of people’s relationship with God in Scripture:

Abram (exalted father ~ Genesis 11:27, NASB footnote) becomes Abraham (father of many ~ Genesis 17:5, NASB footnote). Abram’s name change takes him from being the start of a nation to the promise of being the father of more than can be numbered.

Jacob (heel catcher, trickster, supplanter) becomes Israel (he fights or persists with God in prevailing prayer). Jacob no longer relied on himself and trickery to get what was his. He learned to rely on God and receive from His hand.

Simon (he has heard) becomes Peter (rock – one who stands on what he knows and speaks what he believes).

And in my time, Darlene (Beloved) becomes Abigail (Rejoicing – One whose heart rejoices in God. One in whom the heart of God rejoices.) God gave me this name long ago during a time of drawing near to Him and it became my mantra, my life goal, to live so-as-to bring Him rejoicing as I rejoice in Him. For someone who has suffered much rejection and the fear of rejection, this name inspires hope and helps me to know that God does not reject me, but has chosen me, and He finds joy in my presence with Him.

Knowing God inspires faithfulness that wins favor. Him knowing us produces an intimacy that is deep and abiding, as face to face as we can possess in this life, based on a love that never fails.

Holy Habitation: Living Continually Seated at God’s Feet ~ Series introduction

“You in Your lovingkindness and goodness have led the people whom You have redeemed; in Your strength You have guided them with care to Your holy habitation” ~ Exodus 15:13, AMP.

I have, for years, had in my heart to do a series of devotional thoughts that lead the reader to their seat at the feet of Jesus, our Lord, and of the Father God. It amazes me the number of Christians who do not realize personally the nearness of God. I am not talking about a “feel good shiver”. I am talking about assurance of heart that has no doubt of His nearness.

People who fail to know God’s nearness too easily fail to recognize His voice: His way of communicating to them in personal and applicable, heart knowledge. That inability to recognize God speaking His instruction for life in our personal situations leads to our stumbling about in darkness, struggling to find our way to the other side of chaos.

I cannot fathom life without this knowledge of God, so real, near, and dear to me; and yet many go through life never achieving this deep and fulfilling relationship with the Father of all eternity. How very difficult our life is when recognition of His sure presence with us eludes us.

Recently Father reminded me of this call and desire to write devotionals intended to help the seeker of God to find this place of His sure presence, impressing upon me that now is my time for this project to flow forth from His heart, through mine, to you. As I began the journey, God led me back to this recently read Exodus 15 verse in which two key words grabbed me, drawing me to seek even greater, more consistent realization of God, His presence with me, and His desire for me.

The desire for God’s presence with us is a desire that will constantly see fulfillment and will not come to full satiety until we enter the eternal with Him. This desire for God is there to keep us seeking, wanting more of Him until we see Him face to face. Holy Habitation: Those words altered the title of this devotional focus and intensified its purpose.

In this devotional series, we will see how God’s glory is recognized in His lovingkindness and goodness expressed toward us. Out of that lovingkindness and goodness, Exodus 15:13 tells us that God supplies the power for us to come into this ‘holy habitation’ relationship with Him. Every detail of our lives is His instrument, carefully used to lead us to this place of understanding His reality with us, and His desire for our lives.

Holy ~ the word is pregnant with meaning: set apart to God; sacred; personal; unified oneness with the Eternal; commitment to His Likeness; obedience to His headship, as a hand moves with the impulses of the brain, as feet go where those impulses point. Holy…

Habitation ~ the state or process of living in a particular place: in this instance, being continually in this state of holiness. The act of inhabiting or the state of being inhabited. Note the unity of this a Holy Habitation: “me” in God and Him in “me”. Habitation is the work, process, experience and reality of possessing the Promised Land of God’s holy presence with us, now and forever made one together with Him.

Look up the word “Kingdom” on this site, and you will find many devotionals and articles on my journey to realizing that we are here and now a part of the Kingdom of God, with all of its resource and responsibility ours to possess and walk out each day. We are people of destiny, having eternal purpose in every experience of every breath. No trouble in this life is without this eternal purpose, providing us opportunity to fulfill our destiny.

LonelyCryNumber one in that purpose is to KNOW God as surely as you know the person most important to your reality. He is with us and for us. He longs to know us and for us to know Him. He reaches out to us, desiring we possess such great oneness with Him that we become the extension of His reality in the world.

When we enter the eternal Kingdom at the exhale of the final breath of this life, He wants us to recognize Him when we take our first breath on the other side of glory. He wants us to be one who has long known His voice and become accustomed to His features. The Eternal should not be strange, foreign, or different to us when we enter that Kingdom ~ though we will see completely who and what He is and have our desire for Him fully satiated only then, there should be familiarity that causes us to recognize Him as our most intimate, well known Lover, Companion, Life Partner.

Our entry into that eternal Kingdom should be the greatest homecoming ever experienced, fully entering into the familiar place of His eternal presence, having lived it every day in the Holy Habitation of God’s sure presence here and now. Are you ready? Watch for each excerpt of Holy Habitation: Living Continually Seated at God’s Feet.

PS: This introductory post will most likely be the longest post of the series of devotional length excerpts. Enjoy and be BLESSed, refreshed in His reality with you.

It Is Time To Grow Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

~*~

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

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

We Thrive at God’s Side ~ Part 7: Surprise Reversal

God feeds us our need at His left, flowing His power and provision for us to participate with His Kingdom purpose as we sit at His right, authorized and empowered as one of His Royal Ambassadors. However, God also has His position of…

Surprise Reversals

God is ambidextrous. His left arm is as strong and powerful as His mighty right. His right arm is as full of His supply as His ample left. He is able to reverse the picture we see in Scripture, often as a show of His might and as a surprise attack to overcome the enemy. We see this picture in the following Scriptural examples:

“Out of all these people 700 choice men were left-handed; each one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss” ~ Judges StormPilot20:16.

Right-handedness is the norm, as it is the most seen. In our day, the stats I saw in my google search reports only 10-15% of people to be left handed. In our story, we see that out of 26,000 the men of Benjamin found ready for war, these 700 God chose because they were left-handed. In the story, we are left with the understanding that, out of the 26,000 men ready for war, these where the only ones who were left-handed. It was a surprise tactic, not only in that the number was so few, but their blows in battle would come from the opposite side of norm.

As I consider the flow of God, I see the left-handed people of God standing to His right when dependent on Him for all things, then placed to God’s left in service, where His supply flows to them for their strength and authority in life. That through-flow is the norm as seen in Scripture. In researching the sides, God’s supply we are dependent on Him for is on one side, flowing through Him to the same side of His servant that pictures the storehouse of His supply. For right-handed people, God’s supply comes from His left hand, flowing through Him to His right where it pours to our left, then through us to the right hand that accomplishes His purposes. For left-handed people, the flow reverses, making their left arm strong and authorized for service, often a surprise reversal of God’s hand.

“But when the sons of Israel cried to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for them, Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man. And the sons of Israel sent tribute by him to Eglon the king of Moab. …Ehud stretched out his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh and thrust it into his belly” ~ Judges 3:15, 21.

Here God chose a man who was not normal to the flow of God in his positioning. His power flowed from right to left. As we read the story of this deliverer, we see that he dressed himself as if his strong arm was the normal right-handed flow. The reigning king then thought nothing of his moving with his left hand, not realizing the danger his left-handed thrust brought to the life of this evil king.

InChrist3Now take our understanding a step further as we picture us as the Body of Christ. Jesus takes His seat to the right of God, the place of authority as King of kings. We are the Body of Christ as pictured in scripture, thus the promise to Jesus extends to us, “Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet” (Hebrews 1:13). We are seated with Him in the heavenlies as His body, having His authority flowing to and through us.

Jesus continues His active and effective life through our service to Him as His Body. We are in him and him in us. Jesus moves His left hand to receive supply from God, which flows to us as His Body. Jesus moves His right hand of power that works His purpose through us as His Body, moving on His behalf in life. Thus, Christ lives on in us, accomplishing the “greater things than these” promised us in John 14:12. Through us, He has many feet moving throughout the earth. Through us, His hands reach farther than ever before. Through us, His voice resounds throughout the world. As God’s people, we stand to His right and to His left for supply and ability. In the power of the Spirit, we move as one in Christ.

For me, picturing this flow adds strength and assurance, as I understand the positioning of God with His purpose that authorizes and supplies me for life more abundant and full. I can sit at His right hand now, realizing that He has all of my life and the concerns that brings to me in His capable hand. He pours forth all the resources I need to take up the authority He gives me to accomplish His purpose, while fully trusting Him for all that is beyond my control and power to fix.

Just FYI for you who are ambidextrous like God, the percentages I found reported through google search is 1-3%. Whichever side of God you find Your flow coming from, beloved, understand this fact seen in Scripture and go forth to serve with power in your arms. The thing we need to grasp is that we must depend on God in all things and trust His power to flow to and through us with authority to accomplish His purpose. It is vital that we understand the part He authorizes and equips us to accomplish as opposed to that which only He can do. Our beloveds must come to understand this flow for themselves, depending on Him for their supply. God will not allow us to take His place in their lives. So, yes, those we love will face challenges in life that is beyond us to fix, giving them opportunity to seek God and us opportunity to trust God. Which side are you on, beloved? It is vital that we learn to discern our position in Christ, for we thrive at God’s side. …

We Thrive at God’s Side ~ Part 4: Stability

“You have a strong arm; Your hand is mighty, Your right hand is exalted” ~ Psalm 89:13.

As I look at verses describing God’s arms and hands, I note that the right hand of God makes His strength and stability available to us. We are strong and stable at the right side of God.

“My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me” ~ Psalm 63:8 See Psalm 37:24.

God orders His creation. There is order found to the right and to the left side of God. He determines at any given moment the side on which we stand according to His purposed plan, our need, and His authority over our lives. He is the creator God who is Alpha and Omega, beginning and the end, the first and the last. All provision is in His hand and He teaches us to prosper at His right side.

Jesus-Bride006At His right side, as we learn of Him, we gain strength of body, character, soul, and mind. As we grow strong in knowing our God and trusting in Him, we grow stable, able to stand firm in Him even when the earth quakes beneath us, shaking up our lives, and tempting us to question and doubt our God, His faithfulness, His love, His power. Knowing God as an apprentice at His right side, He equips our…

Stability ~ Empowering Strength

“Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, Upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself” ~ Psalm 80:17.

In my dream shared in the introduction to this series, revealing the place of God’s positioning for me to possess, He has me at His right hand side, facing Him, having a throne of authority and responsibility that is just my size. All my concerns are before Him, all the people and things I seem impotent to influence in life. His positioning my throne to face His, Jesus makes it clear that there are things I must trust Him to deal with, trusting His “I’ve got this”. As I trust Him with all the things that concern me and rob of strength, keeping my focus on Him as my throne faces His, He empowers me to know the things for which I do have authority to influence, strengthening my stability and stance as partner with Him in His Royal Court. At His right hand, we learn to know our part and the power and authority He grants for doing our part in His will and way.

“Surely My hand founded the earth, And My right hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand together” ~ Isaiah 48:12-22.

God is the Perfect Coordinator of all things. He placed the planets in their orbit. He gave the birds their distinctive song. He knows the plans He has for us; plans for good and not for evil, to give us hope and future (Jeremiah 29:9-14). Trusting God’s direction equips us to stand with those who stand firm in Him, accomplishing His purpose and plan in our day. Trusting Him and following His instruction for life enables us to live eternity now as we prepare to enter His eternal Kingdom for all time. Trusting God stabilizes us while we walk in this world as people of His Kingdom, representing Him and His interests for eternity.

“…behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst. …the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” ~ Luke 17:21; Romans 14:17.

We Thrive at God’s Side ~ Part 3: Apprenticeship

“And as her soul was departing, for she died, she called his name Ben-oni [son of my sorrow]; but his father called him Benjamin [son of the right hand]” ~ Genesis 35:18, AMP.

I believe that God calls those who truly desire to surrender to Him as child and partner in Christ “The son / daughter of My right hand.” There is great significance to our placement at the right hand of God. We are heirs of God, fellow heirs with Christ, called and equipped to serve along His side in fulfilling Kingdom purpose. Our position as heirs, people of the Royal Court of God, begins with that left sided surrender, receiving from His hand of supply, trusting His care, protection and provision. In that place of trust in God, we find Him preparing us and moving us to the position of apprenticeship at His right side. Once we truly understand His trustworthiness, He places us at His right as His instrument for use in our days. We are each in training for our role in His Kingdom …

Positioned for Instruction / Understanding / Discernment

“Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me” ~ Psalm 139:10.

When God’s right hand lays hold on us, His hand places us to His right. The right hand, as we will see throughout the remainder of this series, is the place of action. While placement at His left side is the position of dependence, protection, and personal supply – the relational position of His ministry to each individual of us, the right hand of God places us in positions of usefulness and authority – the place where His supply pours out through us to affect those around us. There we are in training for the purpose of ministry and the fulfillment of His plans for us in our lifetime. His right hand flows all that we need to accomplish His will in His way with power and authority to be His instrument in our day.

“As is Your name, O God, So is Your praise to the ends of the earth; Your right hand is full of righteousness” ~ Psalm 48:10.

It is at the right hand of God that we learn righteousness. In this position, God begins the process of transformation, Jesus07changing us from the inside out, beginning with our way of thinking. Scripture instructs us to understand that transformation begins in our minds, equipping us to take every thought captive in obedience to Christ (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 10:1-6). Our thoughts effect our heart attitudes and desires, and from the heart flows the produce of our lives (Proverbs 4:23). At the right side of God we learn to recognize the difference between the wisdom that is false, coming from the flesh, the world, and demons, and that that is from God. Learning the true, right, godly, pure, excellent, worthy of praise thoughts that lead to good, righteous, and peaceful outcomes, changing the fruit of our lives, is the goal of our right hand position with God (Philippians 4:6-9; James 3:13-18).

“And in Your majesty ride on victoriously, For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; Let Your right hand teach You awesome things” ~ Psalm 45:4.

The right side of God is the fruit bearing side that effects life where we are living as in the world, but not of it. Experience is the greatest instrument in the hand of God for our training. As we experience Him at work in and through us, we grow strong of faith. As we learn to receive the instruction that comes to us at the right hand of God, we learn His ways that equip us to accomplish His eternal purposes where we are in life. As we live in agreement with His way of thinking and being, we see victory, truth, meekness, and righteousness in our day. The “awesome things” of God become our joy and song of praise to Him and that that brings His favor to us. Through that experience, His right hand flowing to us to affect the work of our right hand, we grow strong in Christ.

Apprenticeship through Christ makes us partners with God, set to learn His ways so we produce the good works He planned for us from the beginning of time (Ephesians 2:10). This surrender of “Yet not my will but Thy will” is the beginning of our journey to walk in the authority of Christ for His Kingdom purpose in us.

We Thrive at God’s Side ~ Part 1: Positioned

Positioning the Bride

Read Psalm 45

“Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies; At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir” ~ Psalm 45:9.

Before looking at what all is going on when God positions us at His right or at His left, we first need to realize that we who are His through Christ are the Bride of Christ, the queen at His side. Endued with power and authority as the queen Bride of Christ, we work Kingdom purpose at His side. This study is to help us understand what it means for us to stand beside our King-Ishi (Husband).

“Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies; at Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir. Listen, O daughter, give attention and incline your ear: forget your people and your father’s house; then the King will desire your beauty. Because He is your Lord, bow down to Him. …” ~ Psalm 45:9-13.

Jesus-Bride005First, we stand beside the King in gold from Ophir. We are not an ornament on His arm, with no intrinsic worth besides that of belonging to Him. We are the apple of His eye, valued as worth the price of relationship. He cherishes us and He nourishes us, not only meeting us at our need, but enriching our lives, empowering us to become all He designed us to be. He not only stands us beside Him as a show of ownership, belonging to Him as His wife, but He nurtures the good He places within us, equipping us to use the gifts and abilities He supplies with the authority we hold as ours to possess at His side.

Nurtured and empowered as we listen to Him; inclining our ear to receive instruction from His teachings and authority from His commands and promises, we live as His companion and helpmeet for Kingdom building.

“The Lord God has given Me the tongue of a disciple and of one who is taught, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He wakens Me morning by morning, He wakens My ear to hear as a disciple [as one who is taught]” (Isaiah 50:4, AMP).

As queen at the side of Christ, we work with Him to accomplish His Kingdom purpose in life here and now. We accomplish this best as we learn to not only listen, but to bow down to Him alone. We honor our parents as commanded by God, but there comes a time when the bride leaves the home of her father to join her husband in making a new home. We must leave our child-like submission to our parents and the authority they have, the opinions of other companions and the pull they have, to surrender ourselves fully to our King-Ishi. Our beliefs and practices no longer come from desire to please others, but we grow to develop our own beliefs and the practice of His ways based on personal relationship and surrender to Him.

God can use other relationships to instruct and teach and help us become His bride with strength, but we bow to the King at work through them, not allowing other relationships to have greater authority and power over us than He holds. No relationship should lead us away from bowing to His right of authority as King-Ishi. As we bow to Him, receiving His teachings and instruction, we join in agreement with Him to do our part as His companion in building the new home He desires to have with us.

“…The daughter of Tyre will come with a gift; the rich among the people will seek your favor. The King’s daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is interwoven with gold” ~ Psalm 45:9-13.

As we, the people of God, bow down and surrender to the Lordship of the King, recognizing Him as Husband, and receiving the WOWauthority He gives for us to stand at His side and help Him in His work, God gives us favor with others. The more we grow in likeness to His heart desire, the more others seek us out in their journey to become His bride, partners with Him in the building of the Kingdom in which to dwell.

Jesus makes us all glorious within, able to bear His image as our outer adornment, representing Him and His interests in the world so that we become lights to draw others into the Kingdom with us. This understanding and surrender to Him as King is the first step in our journey to understand what it means to stand side by side with Him.

We thrive at God’s side as we bow down to the King, working with Him as queen Bride, having His heart desire as our own, accomplishing His desires in the authority He gives.

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.

Things Leading to Perfect Peace ~ Part 2

Kingdom Perspective

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]” ~ John 16:33, AMP.

Yesterday we saw that the first “thing” Jesus spoke of that empowers His gift of perfect peace and confidence to work in our lives is our trust in the reality, personality, and work of God the Father and Jesus the Christ. Our Triune God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is faithful because He cannot deny Himself by failing to be who He is. We can have peace in knowing God and trusting His faithfulness.

The second thing I see follows and is attached to the first. That key to peace is our Kingdom or Eternal Perspective.

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” ~ John 14:1-3.

075This is not our home, People of the Living God. If we are His, He has a Kingdom in which we will dwell with Him in Eternity, and to which we already belong. The circumstances in which we find ourselves are training ground. Some of you will say, “Again with the continuum!”, but it is a truth worth repeating. We cannot truly know with appreciation love, hope, faith, truth, etc., until we have experienced hate, despair, doubt, lie, etc. The only way to do that is to dwell in places that contrast God, who is love, the source of hope, our object of faith, because He is truth and truthful, etc. Therefore, we are in the world for a purpose: to learn that we are not of the world. Only as we enter into and have this hope of the eternal purpose can we face today’s trouble with hope’s peace.

In addition, Beloved, as I have told you before, now I tell you again: this eternity is not just something we look forward to entering when our life on earth is finished. Otherwise, why leave us to life’s difficulties? If there is no eternal purpose for leaving us in this life, why give opportunity for us to walk the continuum of peace vs. turmoil? God would just take us home where Perfect Peace resides. If we could fully know His Peace without understanding of its opposition, God would remove us from this place as soon as the “I do” was done.

The eternity we look forward to truly begins for each of us the instant we say, “I do” to Jesus, the Bridegroom. In that 076breath, we become the Bride, members of the Royal Court of God’s Kingdom: day one of our journey to eternal destiny. As we go through life here, learning to discern the godly end of the continuums of life, we discover who we are in Christ. Taking on our role as Ambassador of the eternal Kingdom of God, being in the world but not of it, we live His Kingdom reality into the earth by living at the godly end of the continuums of life, being of His Kingdom while not in it.

I hear of people, thrown in prison for their faith, who have peace in that season of hardship because they realize God has Kingdom business for them to do while there. Trusting God, they weather that storm in the Eye of His presence. The eternal perspective of being of God’s Kingdom, part of His Royal Court, while being His ambassador in the place He sets them, helps them face their time in prison with a perspective that brings peace found in purpose.

We may not all wind up in prison, but we all face the ungodly end of life’s continuums every day. Trouble comes to tempt us to despair, hate, unforgiveness, self-preservation, etc. Tucking self into one’s understanding of God and His Kingdom purpose, we find peace to persevere with faith and hope. That perseverance leads us to the godly responses that produce Kingdom fruit into the earth. Our fruitful lives then bear a testimony in the world that highlights the Kingdom of God. Others, seeing the product of His eternal purpose in us, receive the testimony of our lives in Christ and join us on the journey. This is the Kingdom perspective that produces peace from God that is unhindered by life’s trouble.

Beloved, if you are in a hard place in life, realize that God allowed it for a Kingdom purpose. God never takes us to places where His grace cannot keep us, because He always takes us where His purpose has need of us as His Royal Ambassador. We are always either on training ground, and / or in fields, white for harvest. He is either working to grow us on some continuum meant to help us understand the godly, and / or He desires to use us to help others on their journey. Wherever you find yourself today: wherever tomorrow leads you, take hope and enter into His peace. We can be in any hardship and produce fruit in keeping with righteousness when we have that perfect peace empowered by Kingdom purpose.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Possess Your Own Vessel (Body)

“Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to HOW YOU OUGHT TO WALK AND PLEASE GOD (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. For THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD, YOUR SANCTIFICATION; that is, that you ABSTAIN FROM SEXUAL IMMORALITY; that each of you KNOW HOW TO POSSESS HIS OWN VESSEL in sanctification and honor, NOT IN LUSTFUL PASSION, like the Gentiles WHO DO NOT KNOW GOD; And That No Man Transgress And Defraud His Brother In The Matter Because The Lord Is The Avenger In All These Things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. So, HE WHO REJECTS THIS IS NOT REJECTING MAN BUT THE GOD who gives His Holy Spirit to you” ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8.

Sexual immorality is rampant in our day, even among those who belong to God. Adultery, fornication, incest, pornography, homosexuality, rape and molestation of innocence: all these are addressed in God’s Word as being against His will for us, and we see it all in our day, in ever increasing prevalence, even among the people of God. I believe all these perversions of God’s ideal way sicken the heart of God who calls us to sanctification that has a vital purpose.

The institution of marriage and the act of marriage, as God intended it to be, is a picture of what our relationship is supposed to be like with our Holy God. It is the giving of oneself fully to one person, able to so greatly trust that person that we can be “naked” – fully exposed before them. Such intimacy is not meant to be shared with any other than the one we are intended for, the one we are to spend our life with. In likeness to our relationship with the One True God, we are to be saved and kept for the one we are meant to be with for all time.

Even to look on another so as to lust after them, which is the business of pornography, is to sin against God and against His holy institution. Premarital experience and fleshly lust rob of experiencing God’s best for us in our relationships and it hinders our ability to trust each other, which is vital to true intimacy. I know this for a fact, not only because of what the Spirit has taught me in God’s word, but unfortunately because of personal experience.

I was sexually active in my youth, not having anyone to teach me these things. I married unwisely to get out of that lifestyle and that marriage ended in divorce. When God brought my husband into my life – and He did! He has made this clear to us in many ways through our years – I struggled over my past as I began to learn the truth of God’s ideal. It hindered our intimacy for a long time, until God healed me of the consequence of my sin, delivering me from the guilt and shame, and set me free indeed. It is my hope in sharing these things that I can spare some of you the pain and struggle.

The pre-marital impurity done by or to those still waiting for their mate-in-Christ is the commission of sin against our Holy God and that intended mate. It is also sin against one’s own flesh, and I am not just talking about STDs or out of wedlock pregnancy.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases and the potential for pregnancy are just part of the consequences we can face. Sexual intimacy with another gets into the depths of our being. When we do find our mate, flashbacks of previous experiences can hit our hearts to bring us to shame. It can keep us from satisfaction with our mates and hinder our healing from that past.

With every act that is not sanctified and set apart in keeping self for one’s future partner, we do harm to these vital relationships as it affects our very personalities and expectations for marital relations. Needing to “practice” so we will be ready for our mate, knowing how to satisfy them, is a lie straight out of hell.

No two people are alike. What one likes and expects, another will abhor. If you “practice” with one and like certain things, then marry another who does not like those same things, you will be constantly dissatisfied with your mate, ill-equipped to satisfy them, and frequently tempted to go back to where your desires can be met. Sexual relations is one area where ignorance is bliss. If you come together in innocence and learn to please each other, you will be satisfied together. When you grow in your intimacy together, learn what each likes, and minister to each other’s needs, that very intimacy satiates desire and makes you one flesh together, protecting you from desire for another.

Realize, beloved one, that until a couple marries, they do not yet know that they will be married. Anything can happen to stop our plans for marriage between the proposal and the “I do”; so “we are getting married” is not a license to take to ourselves the privilege of marriage before we are legitimately wed together. TRUE LOVE WAITS! This false belief that “engaged” is the same as “married” has ruined the gift of purity for many young couples. From the instant of that first kiss of longing that makes one want to touch, all the way to the actual penetration, all of that act of intimacy is sex! It is a gift to be given on the wedding night, AFTER the “I do” is done. Scripturally, marriage does not begin until the parents give the bride to the groom and all human legalities that define marriage are fulfilled.

The next portion of our passage, “That No Man Transgress And Defraud His Brother In The Matter Because The Lord Is The Avenger In All These Things” speaks to me of the insult we do to others through failing to possess our own vessels in sanctity for our marriage partner.

Defraud: to use deceit, falsehoods, or trickery to obtain money, an object, rights or anything of value belonging to another. From the premarital encounter that destroys the gift of purity meant for another, to rape, sexual immorality done with another’s mate or against one’s own mate, any sin of immorality that is done by force against another ~ all of these are transgressions that defraud another. And all of these defraud God, for in that instant we insult the One who loves us most and rob Him of our wholehearted intimacy with Him as God and Lord.

If we are His child, such acts grieve and quench the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. Since God is always with and for the believer, we cause pain to His Holy Presence, who is made to experience our sin by virtue of His intimate knowledge of us. Such acts do great harm to our relationship with Him. And it is an act of blasphemy, as it gives God’s name in us, “Christian”, a bad reputation.

I believe the “brother” in this statement toward those we defraud could be translated “brethren,” which would mean: our brothers and sisters in Christ; our family and those we are kin to; those of the same people group; any people whose lives are touched by our sin. Even the angels in heaven who are watching God’s people and the triune-God with whom we are one are adversely affected by our sin.

When we commit adultery, we sin not only with the person we partner with in the act, but we sin against their present or future mate, their children, and all who will be touched by the pain of the consequences brought about by the sin done and exposed to light. And what does it say? “The Lord is the avenger in all things.” So the consequences that come against us because of our sin come from the very hand of God. STDs that destroy our bodies; out of wedlock pregnancies that sideline our plans for the future; marriages ended because of hurt and lack of trust; these consequences and more are allowed by God because of our sin. HE WHO REJECTS THIS IS NOT REJECTING MAN BUT GOD.

Pray as God leads you today for yourself, those you love, and all God brings to your heart today. If you have committed these sins already, repent, stop what you are doing, get right with God and seek godly council to help you correctly deal with the sin done.

Pray for the body of Christ to be sanctified and set apart in purity, delivered from perversion, and to know how to possess their own body in obedience to the Father. It is better to be a eunuch by choice than to commit acts of such sin and face the wrath of our Holy God.

Jesus-Bride006If you are one who has been hurt by such sin, forgive for your own sake, so that you can be in right standing with God, able to get His perspective on the issue, and seek godly council to help you find healing and strength to carry on. Unforgiveness, bitterness and anger will hurt you! Do not hold on to these but seek the healing power of God to equip you to entrust these hurts to Him.

Whichever side of the insult you are on, beloved, whether the sinner or the one sinned against, God will heal you. He will enable you to love and to trust again as you seek His face and His grace, which is sufficient for ALL THINGS. And, as I can attest to, His healing can establish your ability to experience true intimacy with your mate, renewing the gift He intended you to give to each other alone.

The Stand ~ Hillsong: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kV5iZBTNYrk&list=PLfiEjLIYhJ9BycuYe34CTDe-q9HZzszNs&index=4

Word of Life: Review and Final Word of Encouragement

This series started as God spoke to my heart things I need to remember and put into practice as I see things in our day that disturb the heart and have me watching more steadily to the East for the Rising Son. Then, as I shared in our intro, the Spirit led to realization that something coming upon the earth will happen soon, causing the hearts of even the elect to quake. In preparation for knowing how we are to face such days, this study began.

By way of review, our study began in the intro with a call to remember that God is God and we are not, therefore we must trust in, lean on, rely on and be confident in Him. As the Architect and Builder, He holds the plans for all eternity in His Holy hands. He alone has the full blueprint. We see in part and know in part, but He sees fully with full knowledge. We must trust Him in these days that even the chaos and the quaking yet to be revealed are birthing pangs leading to the great things of God. (See the intro)

In our days together, we have covered many Words for Life that will see us safely through the birthing process. To come through this time of new birth, we must to ACTIVELY ABIDE in all that God’s word instructs us to abide in, especially in His Light. As things around us grow steadily dark, signaling the passing of the old and the birthing of all God’s design and desire, it is vital that we remain in His Light and be His Light to dispel the dark and draw those in who are open to the truth. (See blog post 2 of this series)

One reason we must be faithful to abide in His light is because darkness can cause even the elect to question whether He even exists and if His saving grace is real. God is weeding and pruning in these days, revealing those who say they have faith, but, having a head knowledge of God,  do not truly believe from the heart (see 1 John 2:18-19; John 15:6); and pruning off branches from those who do truly believe, but still hold to the old that hinders fruit bearing (John 15:1-8).

In the Light of God we are able to know that He is faithful and His Saving Grace through Jesus is true; the full payment – propitiation for sin. To weather the coming storms, we must TRUST THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD AND HIS PROVISION for our eternal destiny. And we must trust with believing hearts that JESUS IS OUR ADVOCATE, forever and always interceding before the throne of God on our behalf, day and night. (See blog post 3 of this series)

Blog 4, “Sanctified – Set Apart”, reminds us that, like Esther, we are here for such a time as this. God has a purpose for us to fulfill in working with Him as builders on His eternal project. To fulfill our purpose we must have our minds and hearts set on the things above, the higher things of God’s eternal purpose and plan.

A major aspect that is needful for our living Sanctified – Set Apart lives is learning that we are called and EQUIPPED to BE as He is (blog 5). We are given His Spirit whose number one work in us is to restore the IMAGE we were meant to have: that of being like God in all aspects of our character and nature, will and purpose, thought and emotion / desire, deed and action. Scripture calls us the Body of Christ. We are to be an extension of all that He is, able to complete the work of Christ in the earth as His hands, feet, heart, mouth, etc. It is vital in these days that we find our place in His body and become all He desires us to be for His use in these days.

Then the blog posted yesterday on “Kingdom Reality” (blog 6) calls us to realize if we haven’t already, that our eternity began the day we said “I do” to Jesus, becoming part of His bride that is being made ready for Him. In that instant, we became citizens of the Kingdom of God, having authority and responsibility as part of the Royal Court to fulfill Kingdom purpose in this world. Like Queen Esther, we are here for a purpose. If we truly know Jesus as Savior and the triune Godhead as Lord, we are now and always will be of God’s Kingdom, and not only of God’s Kingdom, but of the Royal Court of Christ, working out of His authority. So act like it. Remember it. Let that reality direct our decisions and actions, our thoughts and desires, and our way of treating others.

In this final blog, I must remind us, as John did, “Children, it is the last hour,” and antichrist is alive and well in our day (1 John 2:18-23).

The war of terror brought by “radical Islamists” is the spirit of antichrist. People like one of my nieces, who say, “no god is my judge”, is ensnared by the spirit of antichrist. All who come against Christendom and the Jewish population out of which the Christ was birthed, whether a people group or a philosophy, that true enemy force is antichrist. All that seeks to lead God’s people from their faith and the truth we are to live is antichrist. Thus it is vital in our day that we:

Test our faith (2 Corinthians 13:5): *1 John*; Romans; *Galatians* – Colossians; these are excellent texts to read, praying for the Spirit to bring us to true and right evaluation of ourselves as to our hope in Christ and whether we are of true faith (Romans 12:3).

Just believing that Jesus is, is not enough beloved. Even the demons believe and they shudder (James 2:19), but their faith is not that of one who is saved for all eternity, one with Christ in His Body and part of the Bride – citizen of His Kingdom. There is more to it than just believing Jesus is / was. If our faith in Him does not bring His Spirit to possess us (1 Peter 2:9; John 16) and change us from the inside out to be as He is, producing the fruit of God in us (Matthew 7:15-23), we need to make sure of our position in Him. Today is the day of salvation, beloved, for JESUS IS returning at an hour we do not know, and on that day it will be too late to make that decision. Be sure of His calling and equipping you for all eternity.

Test the spirits (1 John 4:1): “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” ~ 1 John 4:1-6.

Beloved, I can’t say it better than that. If the Spirit of God resides in us, He testifies with the truth. If what I have shared is truth, the Spirit of God in you has done summersaults within you, confirming for you that these things are of God and convicting our hearts that these truths are to be heeded with understanding and with determination to do them. Even testing to see if we have the Spirit of God can be done by simply asking, do I truly believe all that Jesus says about Himself and all that others of scripture profess as truth concerning Him and is that understanding effecting the way I live, think, and prioritize life?

When we do doubt, and even the strongest can have moments of weakened faith, the Spirit quickly rises to assure the heart of the one who is truly His through Christ. If the Spirit within confirms our faith, we have hope of eternity and are called and equipped to become as He is, the very image of God, bearing the fruit of it. If we have doubt that remains, today is the day of salvation!

“As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning (the Word of God and the Spirit of Truth). IF WHAT YOU HEARD FROM THE BEGINNING ABIDES IN YOU, YOU ALSO WILL ABIDE IN THE SON AND IN THE FATHER. This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.

“These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. As for you, the anointing (Spirit) which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing (Spirit) teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him (in God by the Spirit of God)” ~ 1 John 2:24-27 (Authors notes of understanding).

BE Strong and Courageous:

“Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him. See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, THAT WE WOULD BE CALLED CHILDREN OF GOD; and such we are.

“For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. …”

Antichrist is all that does not know or acknowledge God in all His fullness, especially the Christ who is our propitiation. The “world” is all that is dictated by the wisdom of the spirit of antichrist. That world sees that we are the Children of God because of our faith in Christ that brings to us the hope of eternity with Him, making us to be as He is; and being convicted, they hate us because they hate Christ because of the spirit of antichrist within them. That world spirt will come against us more and more as the day of Christ’s return draw near. Therefore we must be strong and courageous, drawing ever nearer to God, assured of the Spirit and the faith that is in us, filled with His Spirit, and ready to give an account for the hope that is in us, in season—when it is popular, and out of season—when it is not popular.

The birthing pangs we are experiencing are those of the coming tribulation that will usher in the 1000 year reign of Christ and the final and forever defeat of Satan and his evil. And, unfortunately, it will bring the destruction of all who are enslaved by the spirit of antichrist and fail to turn to receive the Spirit of Christ. But 7 years of tribulation will lead into that final hour of judgment and condemnation of antichrist in all its forms.

I am of the belief system that we who are now in Christ will be raptured out at the beginning of the tribulation period. Scripture seems most to teach that philosophy. But there is precedence for a later rapture time, and we must be ready for either scenario. We must test our faith and the Spirit in us to be sure that we are ready when He comes to go with Him, ready to stand before His throne with confidence in Him and His advocacy for us. And we must be strong and courageous, so if we are part of the tribulation saints who will suffer those days, we will have the ability to stand firm in our faith even when antichrist comes to kill us. That spirit of evil is doing and will do all he can to destroy those who truly and sincerely believe with whole heart.

“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” ~ 1 John 2:28-3:3.

Cling to the Hope that is within you, and let no one and no thing steal IT from you or you from IT! Realize these are the last days, and many are perishing because of the spirit of antichrist that rules the world and it philosophy / wisdom. Be bold and courageous to share your faith wherever you are able, with hope that the Spirit of God will use it to deliver yet another ensnared by sin before it is too late.

Word of Life: Kingdom Reality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Representation of God’s Nature

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Strong and COURAGEOUS! ~ Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joy is Strength. Right?

I read a devotional thought by Joyce Meyer yesterday that spurred concern for the people of God who might read it without understanding. Now I have sat under Joyce’s teaching for many years and I know her heart was on target, but for someone who may not know the Lord well or be one who will look at the scripture for themselves, this particular devotional fell short of where it needed to be, as I see it.

The_Comforter2In this particular devotion from her “Power Thoughts” devotional book on February 10, Joyce is covering a thought from Proverbs 17:22, “A Happy Heart is Good Medicine.” In her thoughts on the subject, she says, “Joy is vital! Nehemiah 8:10 tells us joy is our strength.”

I agree 100% that joy is vital to us, as vital as unconditional love and peace that passes understanding, both of which come from God alone. We will struggle to make it in this life without these: peace, love and joy. But it is not joy that is our strength, it is the joy of the Lord that is our strength.

“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’” ~ Nehemiah 8:10.

There are many things that can bring us joy: people, relationships, sporting events, hobbies, books, movies, etc. But each of these can also let us down and bring us to much grief. We can feel stronger at the time we are enjoying these, but when some grief comes along, the joy is robbed and strength is gone.

The joy of the Lord transcends all other joy we may have. There are two things I know about the joy of the walking-with-godLord that makes this a joy beyond understanding and comprehension, just like the peace Jesus leaves us and the love that God is. This joy finds its supply in the very storehouse of God. It is not dependent on anyone or anything but God who freely gives it; therefore no heartache on earth can rob us of it. This joy is not even dependent on my emotional state or my ability to possess it. It is found and received when God is our delight, bringing us to seek after and trust Him first and foremost.

Rejoicing in the Lord comes from knowledge of Him that brings us to trust Him despite the trouble that comes our way in this life. Rejoicing in the Lord comes from the knowledge of His presence that is always with us and for us, and will never leave us or be taken away from us. Rejoicing in the Lord comes when we trust His hand knowing that despite the fires of testing that often come, He has a good plan for us and He is working all things for the good of those who truly love Him and are called by His name, as a bride takes the name of the Bridegroom.

There is a teaching in the religious right today that does promote joy in itself as strength. It has people feigning rejoicing in hope of gaining a little strength, then feeling let down by God when the strength they find is fleeting. The only true joy that will be with us despite any grief and will strengthen us is the joy of the Lord, fully focused on and supplied by a close, trusting, loving relationship with Him that transcends to overcome the world.

Love is Not Jealous

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-5, NLT.

This is one of those passages that, without the Holy Spirit to instruct us, makes scripture look like it is contradictory. Here it says that “love is not jealous”. But “God is love” and God, “whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God”. So what’s up with that? (1 John 4:8; Exodus 34:14)

As I read it this morning, I see the movie “Sleeping with the Enemy” in these words of instruction. You see, God does love us fully, and He is only jealous when we take other gods in His place. For example, God does not mind that I really love and cater to my husband, because He knows my heart has Him in first place even as I love on my man. In fact, it is my love for God that thoroughly equips me to love my man in right ways. But when Father slips to second place in my affections and loyalty, that is what leads to Him becoming jealous over me. I have given myself to Him as my First Love. I belong to Him even before my husband. And He has every right to be jealous when I take that part of me that is His alone and I give it to another.

The jealousy spoken of in 1 Corinthians 13 is not a righteous jealousy, like when God is jealous. It is unreasonable. That type of jealousy says, “If you even look at another, though you are innocent in intent, I will lash out at you with jealous fervor.” This jealousy refuses to trust the love of another. It is suspicious, accusing, and vicious. It has nothing to do with truth or true love, and everything to do with unrighteous possessiveness that too often and easily seeks to rule over the object of its wrath, demanding to be as a god in their lives. It is unreasonable and only truly giving of love to self as it either demands its own way at the expense of the need of the other, or it holds oneself back from the other out of false perceptions that breed insecurity in the relationship.

Unrighteous jealousy can lash out in obvious ways, like the enemy Julia Roberts’ character found herself sleeping with, or it can be more subtle, like so many of us who are sneaky in our ire. Joyce Meyer often tells of when she was jealous of the time her husband spent enjoying sports, how she would decide to vacuum the floor in the room where he was trying to watch a game. We can be sneaky in our jealous tempers, but it is as evil toward the one we profess to love as when those who are overtly jealous beat their mate for their perceived offence, because jealousy of this type breeds discord, hardship, bitterness and anger.

Do I have a right to be jealous if my husband enters into a bad relationship with another woman, or even with an overboard focus on sporting events that rob me of him? You bet I do. We have a license that makes us exclusive as a couple both with God and with man, and we each have right to the others time and attention. There are certain ways in which he is mine alone, and I alone have right to him in those areas of life. There has been a time when I had to warn him that I could tell that another woman was after him, and he was shocked when he discovered it was true. Forewarned was forearmed and he stood faithful. Instead of the other woman’s obvious attraction to my man making me jealous in harmful ways, I knew my rights and was used of God to prepare my mate for the challenge by simply mentioning that she was enamored with him and he needed to be on the alert. I did not badger him or make demands of him. I simply warned him. He was honestly shocked and could not believe it, but when her advances took a clear turn, he was ready with the right response.

My husband went from working mostly with men to a job where he is working with a lot of women and there have been times when I had to deal with the green-eyed monster within; but there have also been times when the jealousy I felt had a righteous seed to it. When he started this job he worked with a very friendly, fun loving man, who was very flirtatious toward women. On one occasion I observed my husband seemingly to fall into that flirtatious fun. Yes, I had to fight off a little jealousy there, and with the Lord’s help, when we were alone, I gently told him that his joking around with them came off to me as flirting. I told him those single women are in the market and that they could well perceive the “fun” as flirting, just as I did, and think he is available, which could end in temptation for him. My husband had an obvious Tim-the-tool-man, aha moment that changed the way he behaves.

Jealousy can be a warning that leads us to realize and take action in protecting our rights, or it can be an ungodly emotion that leads us to behave in ways we have no right to. This emotion we often deal with requires the Spirit of God to instruct us in realizing which jealousy we are in and how to properly address the issue at hand.

So there are two lessons in today’s ponderings:

One, jealousy can be a righteous right, but often is unrighteous and destructive when we fail to get God’s heart on the issue. It is important that we discern the difference and follow God’s example and the Spirit’s lead so we give true love to those around us.

And two, scripture can appear to contradict itself, thus we need the Rabbi-Spirit to instruct our hearts so we know the truth that sets free indeed and realize the continuity of God’s teachings.

The Goal is God

John 16:12-15 ~ “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.”

This quote from Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling in the January 19 devotional captured my thoughts, and I am still meditating on it today. Speaking as in the voice of Jesus, Sarah encourages:

“I am the goal of all your searching. When you seek Me, you find Me and are satisfied. When lesser goals capture your attention, I fade into the background of your life. I am still there, watching and waiting, but you function as if you were alone. Actually, My Light shines on every situation you will ever face. Live radiantly by expanding your focus to include Me in all Your moments. Let nothing dampen your search for Me.”

God has truly been impressing upon my heart the absolute necessity in this time of life that I understand and comprehend that I am one with the Father in the power of His Spirit through the gift of Christ. We are one with Him and with each other just as Jesus was one with Him when He walked the earth. Heaven is not my / our future. It is our now reality because God is heaven and He places heaven within us. We are here and now one with Him in His Kingdom reality. But our life situations and circumstances in the flesh overpower our comprehension of this and keep us from experiencing this unity and the Kingdom life we have right now.

This thought came to me with the impression, as example, of applying it to my journey to a healthier lifestyle. I have a goal of eating healthier, developing a healthy lifestyle of exercise, hopefully losing weight, and definitely feeling better. God spoke to me through this thought process He has me in and through Sarah’s devotional thought to say, “Darlene, don’t separate searching for the greater depths of understanding Me from your common place journey to health. Seek Me, to know and understand Me more, to experience Me in great depth of realization even in that mundane, fleshly need, and You will find Me. Make growing in unity with Me and knowing Me the main goal even there, and You will not only find Me, but you will find Me faithful in equipping and helping you to success in the journey to health.”

No matter the situation we face, instead of focusing on it, I sense strongly that having unity with the Father and living Kingdom purpose now requires us to face every situation with realization that the main goal is God: to find Him there, to learn of Him, and to come into unity with Him in that situation.

“Live radiantly by expanding your focus to include Me in all Your moments. Let nothing dampen your search for Me.”

Here am I, Father. I long to know You better and live Your will and way more fully through the situations and circumstances of life. Whatever challenge comes my way, help me to look for You and what You would have me learn of Your ways through the experience. You waste nothing. Help me to reap the full benefit so whatever struggle there is produces the lasting, Kingdom fruit of becoming vitally united with You. In Jesus, amen.

In Christ I am Crowned with Royalty

Jesus-Bride006Yesterday we discovered that through Christ we are lifted from the position of dust, to that of sons and daughters. We saw that we are exalted through Christ from created beings made a little lower than the angels, fallen to the position of a dust particle, and raised to be co-equals as the children of God with the sons of God in the angelic forces. All of God’s children glorify Him, live for His purposes, and stand with Him in battle. This is who we are.

One thing I have noticed in the earthly realm, which mimics the heavenly, in the royal family, there are children of the kings of nations, princes and princesses, but not all are eligible for positions on the throne of the kingdom. This fact is the distinction we will see today that exalts our positions and establishes the next step in understanding who we are in Christ that makes a distinction between us and the angels, who also are sons of God.

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready” ~ Revelation 19:7.

Scripture uses so many terms to describe our unity through Christ with the Father and with the Son. Two terms that describe our unity with Christ are us being “the body of Christ” and our being pictured as “the bride of the Lamb.” Scripture teaches of this union in Genesis 2:23-24, as Adam says…

“‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”

As the Bride of Christ we are united with Him as one flesh. We complete one another. We can do nothing apart from Him. And He chooses to use us as a suitable helper in his ministry of reconciliation and the work of His Kingdom. He is King of kings. As His bride, what does that make us?

The Kingdom of God is shown throughout scripture to be established as a hierarchy. Jesus, as reward for His sacrifice for the Kingdom of God in fulfilling the purpose of God for the redemption of God’s creation, was raised up with God and seated with Him as the crowned King of the kingdom. Thus we, as the people of God’s fold, lifted through Christ to the position of the children of God, chosen by God to be the Bride of Christ, are once more lifted up to a position of royalty in the hierarchy of the Kingdom of God.

As I think on that, it brings new meaning to me as to the title of Christ who is King of kings. As one who is ever mindful that I am the creation of God, a sheep in His fold, it is difficult to realize my royal blood in Christ and say that we are kings and queens under King Jesus, but that is the picture we are given. And it lifts us a little bit higher in the hierarchy of the Kingdom, a little higher than the angels.

Jehovah is God the Father. There are none higher than He. Jesus is God-Son the King. He submits to none but the Father. Holy Spirit is the power of God that binds all together and empowers the completion of all things. He submits to Father and Son. And by the power and seal of the Spirit, we are sons and daughters of God the Father, united as one with the Son and King, Bride of the King of kings and seated with Him in the heavenly realm. We submit to Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The seal of God is placed upon us and within us, and we are given authority through our position to fulfill Kingdom responsibilities.

Now let me tell you, that does not raise up ungodly pride in me, but godly fear and reverence for the God of all creation who set these things in motion: raising mere dust to a position of royalty in the Kingdom of God! That realization makes me acutely aware of my responsibility to God, which we will address as we continue to look at who we are in Christ tomorrow.

Matthew 11’s Dot to Dot

Reading chapter 11 of Matthew, suddenly all these dots begin to connect. You know what? Matthew 11 is one exciting chapter of scripture! Picture this:

John the Baptist is imprisoned, probably being mistreated, ridiculed and scorned, and I am sure he realizes his time on earth is short. So, like most of us would do, he begins to wonder if his ministry was really what he thought it was. So he sends his most trusted disciples to Jesus to ask, “Are You truly Him?” How does Jesus answer?

“Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”

Jesus not only taught that the tree (or true believer) will be known by its fruit, whether it be good or evil, but when asked if He is HIM, He did not simply say “Yes, I AM”, He said “Tell him of the fruit you see that proves Me to be.” In so doing, Jesus assured the heart of John to believe he himself is who he was sent by God to be: the voice in the wilderness preparing the way for Messiah.

Once they left, Jesus turned to the crowed and told them the fruit born through John that proved who he was, in essence saying, “In fact, he is Elijah, returned in flesh as promised.” In so doing, he removed the speculations of those who wondered if John was truly a prophet of God or what. Afterall, if he is God’s profit, wouldn’t God deliver him from the hands of his enemy?

Then Jesus prayed to the Father, and what does He say? Essentially He says, “Father, no one else truly knows who I AM, but You know Me and I know You. So it doesn’t matter to Me what others may say about Me. My assurance is in You.” And why did He pray so? He was giving example to us, as was a large part of His purpose in the world.

Training Yoke
Training Yoke

And what comes next but that well known and beloved passage, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

What do I hear here, in light of the previous connected dots of those wondering who they or another truly are? I see Jesus saying, “When life in this world gets so rough that you begin to question not only your own worth and who you really are, along with whether the produce of your hands is accomplishing any good thing – but also maybe you begin to wonder if I am truly who I AM, then come to Me. I will remind you who I am and who you are, and you will find rest and restoration when you yoke with Me in assurance of faith.”

And what is accomplished by yoking with Him? I see:

†   The cooing of love for His betrothed child of God made sure to you who believe.

†  Growing our faith in Who He is.

†   Firming up what He knows to be your person and purpose.

†   Training in righteousness, restoring the image of God through Christ and in the power of His Spirit.

†   Assurance of purpose.

†   Strength and supply for success in accomplishing all God’s will in all God’s way.

†   Intimacy of relationship.

†   Safety of presence.

†   Aid in time of need.

†   Unity from the heart.

†   Undeniably proof of being in the eternal Kingdom now and forevermore.

Beloved, if no one recognizes the work of God born into the world through you, like Jesus you may take courage in knowing that the Father knows you and you know Him, and He is faithful to assure our hearts. And when life is so difficult you begin to wonder, “Lord, are you truly Him and am I truly Yours,” He has a yoke that is light and easy to bear, where you can stand hand in hand with Christ, finding assurance and supply along with rest for your weariness.

Come, beloved. Yoke with Christ today, receiving assurance of who He truly is, and the beauty of who you are in Him.