Tag Archives: Royal Priesthood

I have a problem that sometimes loses friends.

I am saddened today as a result of losing a friend because of my problem. Here is my problem: I believe fully and completely every word within these covers…

Bible002

The Bible of Christianity is not a “politically correct” book in our day. Essentially, it says this…

“There is Only ONE”:

  • One TRUE God
  • One Savior, the Son of God, Jesus
  • One Spirit who unites believer to Father, Son, and each other for all eternity
  • One truth
  • One Righteousness
  • One pathway to heaven
  • One gate to the…
  • One kingdom of God
  • One Door to the Father of all eternity
  • ONE and only ONE

I believe these things, not because my momma told me to; not because of the circles of people I run with; not even only because it is what I choose to believe. I believe this word…

Bible004

…because I have experienced Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in a way that compels my belief and strengthens my faith through the experience. It is what gives me courage to speak up and risk rejection, persecution, and alienation.

This word instructs me to understand that the greatest love is to deny fear of losing a friend so-as-to share these things I believe true with those who I do not know have ever heard; and to encourage the faith of those who struggle to believe. From my standpoint, the greatest act of hate is to remain silent about this faith I possess in this truth I believe because, from my understanding of these pages, there is only ONE.

If the Atheist is correct and the truth is, “There is no God, no heaven, and no hell,” we don’t have to worry about it. One day we will die, turn to dust, and be none the wiser that we were following the wrong truth. If the Pantheist is correct and there are many Gods and many ways to heaven, we don’t have to fret. We are each on a path and will meet up in eternity. However, if this word is the ONE…

Bible003

…dare I be silent when given opportunity to say, “I believe…because…”?

It is my understanding that every devil behind every false belief has one goal: to keep as many as possible away from the ONE way, truth, and life.

As one who truly and fully believes the God of Holy Bible is ONE and only ONE, showing us the way, the truth, and the life, I cannot stand silent about what I know. I try never to push my beliefs on others, though my excitement and commitment may come across that way. Pushing would do no good, for God says we each must choose. However, I do have to share my beliefs as opportunity comes, for to do less is to participate in someone being separated from ONE for all eternity. If there is no interest in what I share, they made their choice and I move on to love them anyway, being the best friend I can be in the situation. If my sharing my faith insults another, I hate the insult, but I love the person too much to fail to share what I can.

One of Elvis Presley’s brothers spoke at a conference I attended. There he shared complaining to Elvis about his girlfriend continually telling him about Jesus and trying to get him to go to church with her; to which Elvis’ reportedly replied, “Brother, if someone loves you enough to tell you about Jesus, they REALLY love you!”

If my sharing plants a seed of truth that God later uses to help even one person find the path, I win a brother or sister. For me, as one believing the things I believe to be true, remaining silent is the true “hate crime”. In light of this, though I hate losing friends, I make no apologies for the faith I believe and proclaim because I truly love each one I am privileged to meet.

Bible001

We Thrive at God’s Side ~ Conclusion

“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand” ~ Colossians 3:1, NLT.

This series has been a challenge to write, with the busyness of life making it difficult to press forward from one post to the next. I wonder of the need of concluding thoughts, but desiring to bring full closure, we press to the finish line together, realizing that God honors us with the privilege of His right hand.

Today, as we close this series, let us rejoice with the realization that, because of Christ, we have the privilege of life lived with God, Thriving at His Side. Today, we take one final look at the life available for those with…

Sights Set and Kept Steady

As we set our minds and keep them set on the things above where Christ is (AMP version of Colossians 3:1), we take our stance as the people of God’s Own possession. We stand at His left in complete dependence on Him for what He will do. We stand at His right in complete reliance upon Him, made ready for what He would do through us. Knowing we already are the eternally established people of God’s Kingdom, representing Him and His interests in the world as God’s royal priesthood, ambassadors of Christ in the world, we draw near to His side for…

Abundant Life

“…13 How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding. 14 For her profit is better than the profit of silver and her gain better than fine gold. 15 She (Wisdom) is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her. 16 Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor. 17 Her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast…” ~ Proverbs 3.

It is wisdom to us when we learn to live life to the full at God’s side. Wisdom is vital to life with God, discerning His will and way for life abundant and full. To His right is longevity of life, for we can trust His care and provision to establish us on the path He designed us to walk. To His left is provision and the protection of those honored to set securely in His presence. There is abundance of life that supersedes every hardship for those who learn to grasp hold of godly wisdom that brings the good fruit of wisdom’s abundance to us (James 3:13-18). Of this wisdom, we are advised, “Happy (blessed, fortunate, to be envied) is everyone who holds her fast” ~ Proverbs 3:18, AMP.

Powerful Life

“Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and braced himself against them, the one with his right hand and the other with his left” ~ Judges 16:29.

As I read of Samson’s final triumph, his use of both arms, strategically placed for one last victory, I realize the true source of Samson’s strength and supply. His ability to rely fully on God for all he needed and to apply God’s provision wisely is a picture for us of a powerful life in God. When we face life with faith in God and reliance upon Him, realizing where our strength comes from, we too have power for a life that accomplishes God’s purpose.

Another beautiful picture as we consider the life of Samson is that no matter the pit of despair our unwise choices put us in, we can finish strong when we set our sights on Him and learn to thrive at God’s side.

Protected Life

“Be very firm, then, to keep and do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, so that you may not turn asideJesus-Bride006 from it to the right hand or to the left” ~ Joshua 33:6.

As I read this use of the right and the left hand, I see the protection available to us when we choose to walk the path of God, each step taken at His side. This passage warns us to take care not to turn to going in one’s own way or to surrendering self to other gods. There is protection at the side of God that keeps us from personal harm and from harming others. A stance that keeps God as God, trusting, relying upon, and being well established in Him, equips and enables us to fulfill His purpose in life.

Refusing to turn to the right says to me that we do not fall to trusting our own strength and ways over God’s. Refusing to turn to the left says that we know from Whom our supply comes and do not trust our own or give credit to the conduit of God’s flow. Example: we know that though our job provides money for living (job = conduit of supply), God provides our job and our ability to work (God = Source of supply).

God receiving the glory due His name provides us with His protection, for it is He we rely upon and His name is on the line. He will not fail to do all His says He will. He is faithful to respond to even our mustard seed of faith in His good word and promise.

Embraced Life

Jesus-Bride008“Let his left hand be under my head and his right hand embrace me” ~ Song Of Solomon / Song of Songs 2:6 & 8:3.

All of this teaching on thriving at God’s side has my heart throbbing, so it speaks of intimacy in our relationship with God. It speaks of the journey of a couple who truly enjoy their companionship. God desires relationship with us. Thriving at God’s side happens as we love Him above all and, desiring to please Him, we stick close on His heels, ready on the spot to move at His command for the accomplishing of His purpose, fully trusting Him who is faithful in all things, being faithful to Him as He is to us. Intimacy comes to us as we walk at His side and rest in His arms.

“The eternal God is a dwelling place, And underneath are the everlasting arms; And He drove out the enemy from before you, And said, ‘Destroy!’” ~ Deuteronomy 33:27.

Father, I pray for all reading this series to be established by You as Your beloved, adequately equipped to Thrive at Your Side. In Jesus, amen.

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 6: Empowered

Beloved, God positions us at His side with eternal purpose, empowering us for success on the journey of life. The supply of our position, empowered first by growth in surrendered living that is dependent on Him and His supply for life, is abundant and full.

As we grow in our ability to surrender to and trust Him, He moves us to His right side where our apprenticeship as His servant-child begins. There we grow in our stability as His followers, coming up higher to understand our role as part of His royal priesthood and our responsibility in His royal court as stewards gifted with authority for His Kingdom purpose. Growing strong as His representatives, equipped as His ambassadors, we grow in our victorious journey as His lights, being in the world while living as people of His Kingdom, charged with power to fulfill His purpose in our day. As people who understand our responsibility in our left and right side stance with Him, we are…

Empowered and Endued with Authority to Accomplish His will in His way

“Who caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, Who divided the waters before them to make for Himself an everlasting name” ~ Isaiah 63:12.

Moses was the visible instrument in the hand of God, through whom His power flowed to produce miracles in the world. As we stand to God’s right side, in the position of responsibility with authority to act, God feeds us with full power to do all He calls us to accomplish in His name. With His resources flowing to our left hand side, the side of dependence and trust, He empowers and supplies all we need for stretching out our right hand of action and obedience, equipping us to fulfill His purpose for our lives. With Him empowering our right hand through our left hand dependence on Him, all things are possible for us who know and trust that nothing shall be impossible with God.

Simba-roar 2In understanding this power, I love the picture seen in the animated movie, “Lion King” where King Mufasa, standing behind his baby, Simba, adds his roar to his sons. Simba, facing an enemy assault, takes a posture of authority and power, letting out a roar to send the enemy off in fear. The king, knowing Simba was too small and weak to have any real influence against the assault, takes a stance behind him, roaring out in unison with the son. The kings roar added to Simba’s gifted the son with the authority and power necessary for the son’s actions to be effective.

That is an awesome picture of our stance with God in Christ. Anything we accomplish of God’s kingdom purpose where we stand is His power flowing through us to make us effective. That power is ours to possess as we learn to thrive at God’s side. I see this dependent supply and empowered action pictured in the following passage:

“Then the priest shall take the one male lamb and bring it for a guilt offering, with the log of oil, and present them as a wave offering before the Lord. Next he shall slaughter the male lamb in the place where they slaughter the sin offering and the burnt offering, at the place of the sanctuary—for the guilt offering, like the sin offering, belongs to the priest; it is most holy. The priest shall then take some of the blood of the guilt offering, and the priest shall put it on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. The priest shall also take some of the log of oil, and pour it into his left palm; the priest shall then dip his right-hand finger into the oil that is in his left palm, and with his finger sprinkle some of the oil seven times before the Lord. …The priest shall also pour some of the oil into his left palm; and with his right-hand finger the priest shall sprinkle some of the oil that is in his left palm seven times before the Lord” ~ Leviticus 14:12-16, 26-27.

Blood pictures cleansing and oil pictures renewed relationship with God that anoints with authority and power for life made new in Him. Note the bowl of blood and the hand full of oil is in the priest’s left hand, showing supply from God. The work of ministry He pours through the priest’s right hand of obedience.

The priest then applies the blood of cleansing to the right ear, hand and foot of the person anointed for service to God. Right ear, hand, and foot shows left-sided dependence on God to make one clean and ready for right-sided service to Him. The anointing of the oil he sprinkles on the person as a whole, empowering them for service that depends on God’s supply.

Right ear hearing: That service flows to ears made ready and empowered to depend on God to make Himself heard. Given the ear of a disciple, to hear as a disciple, we then take that word to others made ready to hear God’s word sent through us.

Right hand working: The right hand cleansing pictures a person made ready to reach out with power to fulfill the will of God in ways that minister to those we reach to with His gracious supply. God then uses us to empower others to come to His side in likeness to our example, made ready to serve Him.

Right foot moving: With God’s supply that cleanses our feet, He makes us holy, setting us on a righteous path. We become His witness wherever He sets our feet to walk.

We no longer kill the fatted lamb; Jesus is that lamb for us, and He is the priest, reaching out His hand to touch us withJesus003 His blood of cleansing and empower us with His anointing oil of gladness, making us one with Him in purpose and service. God, through Jesus, supplies our left hand and empowers our right.

“When the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers, they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing, and cried, ‘A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!’” ~ Judges 7:20.

Note that in these last two passages for this post, as we thrive at His side, our lives meld into His. We become one with Him, our left hand as His own, filled with His supply, and our right hand moving with His, effective in ministry. The left hand of God is the place of His protection and provision; our left hands hold His supply. The right hand of God is the place of His authority, power, victory, and wisdom; our right side flows forth the revelation of His right hand power in us.

When God sets us on His left, grabbing us by our right hand, all is His to do as He leads us safely through this life. When God sets us on His right hand side, He shows us what we have authority to accomplish while empowering us to do so. There, He grants us wisdom to know and do our part as His representative in the world. There we have His authority as if we are His signet ring on His right hand (Jeremiah 22:24). There, we become His instrument for victory, His pouring forth to and through us with the power He gives us to win the day in His Name and to His glory.

In life lived for God, we truly are seated on both sides at all times, dependent on Him and moving in unison with the authority He pours through us at all times. At the right side of God, with the trust of His left side supply, we become His swords in the earth, rightly dividing the word of truth and influencing the world for good. Fully dependent on God, as good stewards trusting His supply, we live out our days as His instrument, accomplishing Kingdom purpose where we live.

But wait! We have an ambidextrous God…

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 3b: Apprenticeship

“Now what I mean is that as long as the inheritor (heir) is a child and under age, he does not differ from a slave, although he is the master of all the estate; but he is under guardians and administrators or trustees until the date fixed by his father. …But we, brethren, are children [not by physical descent, as was Ishmael, but] like Isaac, born in virtue of promise” ~ Galatians 4:1-2, 28, AMP.

Reading Galatians 4 this morning spurs further thought regarding our apprenticeship as people positioned as children of God, Heirs of Promise.

In my journey to understand this position in Christ, I began with the understanding that I am no longer slave to sin, but slave to Christ. Under the guardianship of God’s Spirit, having teachers entrusted as trustees of my growth, I learned to no longer allow myself to be slave to lusts of the flesh or to demands of others, but to do all as slave of Christ and slave to righteousness (1 Corinthians 7:22; Ephesians 6:5-6; Romans 6:16-19).

Once I understood my need to surrender myself to God in all things as a slave to a Master, God began teaching me the difference between a slave and a bondslave (Exodus 21:1-6; Luke 1:38; 1 Peter 2:16). The difference between the two is subtle. A slave is a slave that wins the heart of the Master, receiving His favor by choosing obedience out of realization of one’s need to please the Master so as to receive the benefits gifted for a service well done. A bondslave is one who falls madly in love with the Master. Trusting that he is better off as a slave of God than without Him, and having as one’s greatest desire that of pleasing and tending well to the business of the Master despite any difficulty that may mean for the bondslave of Christ, they surrender themselves to His ownership for life. Love and trust trumps trouble, and surrenders to the Master for all eternity.

Once I understood slavery to Christ for life because of loving trust, God led me to understand that I am a child by His choice, child of promise through Christ.

“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him” ~ Romans 8:16-17.

Jesus01“We, brethren, are children [not by physical descent, as was Ishmael, but] like Isaac, born in virtue of promise” (Galatians 4:28). We are children of God and heirs with Christ forever. Learning that, now, finally, from age 58-60, God is bringing fuller comprehension of the responsibility and authority I have as child of God and heir with Christ. We are children in the Royal Court of God and His Kingdom, having full authority in Christ and responsibility under God to represent the interests of His Kingdom in our here and now life and throughout eternity. As we discover our heritage as children, we understand that we are no longer slaves, but owners of the Kingdom with Christ. Our responsibility moves from that of ones commanded, to ones who possess and protect the Kingdom of our heart. We are in the world, not of it, for we are child-heirs, part of the Royal Court of God’s Kingdom, fulfilling Kingdom purpose for Kingdom prosperity to the glory of Father God and King-Ishi. Thus, we are…

Positioned as Children

In this Galatians 4 passage, we learn that our training in Christ leads us to understanding of God as Father and our ability to draw near to Him as a beloved child climbs into the lap of her daddy.

“Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God” (vs. 6-7).

The goal of God in our apprenticeship under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit is to equip us to make this transition from “slave of God in Christ” to “Heir apparent”. Having full assurance of our security in Christ, we realize our position in the Royal Court, fully possessing our authority to carry out our responsibilities as His representatives where He has us stationed in the world.

“But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?” ~ vs. 9.

God is God, all knowing and all-powerful. He knows who we are, but this scripture instructs that as we serve Him well, Jesus05that service catches God’s attention, growing the closeness of our relationship with Him as we draw nearer still to Him, and making us one He knows with a favor that makes us stand out as His representatives in life. I am sure you know a Christian whose relationship with God inspires you to know Him better. Those who know God well, trusting Him fully, not being easily swayed by false doctrine or the desire to please others, and that He draws near to because of that close, personal relationship stand out as His children of Light (Ephesians 5:7-10).

“…you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus Himself” ~ vs. 14b.

The one who is heir with Christ realizes that many will only come to know Him for themselves as they see Him in us and experience His presence through us. We are conduits of all that represents God, His will, way, purpose, and Kingdom. When we come into this position of letting Christ live through us, we are near to the heart of God, well known by Him and recognized by others as “having been with Jesus” (Galatians 2:20; Acts 4:13).

“So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? They eagerly seek you, not commendably, but they wish to shut you out so that you will seek them. But it is good always to be eagerly sought in a commendable manner, and not only when I am present with you. My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you—but I could wish to be present with you now and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you” ~ vs 16-20.

Children of Light, Heirs of God in Christ, grow in stability, following God’s truth, having full faith in Him. Here we see that those who were speaking religious legalism to the children were luring them away from the truth of God. Paul reminds them that it is good, being sought after commendably. To me that means we are to be that example of Christlikeness that draws others to seek us as teachers, examples worth following, as they seek Christ for themselves.

SeniorPartnerHowever, these followers of Christ found themselves sought out by those wishing to draw them into religious legalism that denies faith’s assurance in Christ. Instead of trusting Christ fully for saving-grace and the path to son-ship, growing strong in their relationship with God, pleasing Him, they fell back into the old covenant of law, trying to add Jesus plus works of the flesh as necessary for true salvation, seeking to please those religious leaders. That leads to constant struggle as we try to balance the pleasure of other people with pleasing God. Assurance of our position in Christ is difficult to realize when wavering between relational-faith that produces the fruit of the Spirit and good works that make one a pleasure to man’s ideology.

Paul reminds them that those true children, filled with the Spirit and following the dictates of God in the Spirit’s power do not need legalistic ritual added to their salvation. We are free in Christ to be God’s children, but if we choose to believe salvation through law, we must keep all the law without fail (Galatians 3:1-14). We cannot claim trust in Christ and the earning of our way into God’s kingdom. Instead, our trust in God through Christ, as empowered by the Spirit, produces in us the good works of God’s desire for us. Works of a righteousness of our own making do not save us. Our salvation is in Christ who is our righteousness, and through that, we are empowered to live righteous lives for the glory of God as pleasing Him. This is the heart of the one who understands their position as a Child of God and Heirs with Christ.

“Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. … you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise” ~ vs. 21-31.

“As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love” ~ Ephesians 4:14-16.

The hour is near for Christ’s return. Time grows short for us to shine the Light of God so all who will enter into this Kingdom life with us may come. It is time for us to grow up in full understanding of who we are in Christ, heirs with Him, given charge to represent Kingdom interests wherever God stations us in life. God positions us as children with Kingdom purpose where He places us. Some of those places are hardened soil, challenging to our holy feet, but we must grow strong in knowledge of Him so we may live in ways that make us known as His lights, children of God’s favor.

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.

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

Read John 17

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

Sent In Jesus Name

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

Sent in Love to Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read John 17

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

“Sanctified in Truth; Your word is truth.”

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

Sanctified in Truth

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

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

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

God’s Word is Truth

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

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

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

Truth is truth. Walk ye in it.

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

We are His KINGDOM People: In the World, Not OF It

As I watch the news today, my heart breaking for our nation as it steps farther from God, I find myself praying, “Here am I, O God. Help me to know how to be a Christian, in love with and serving You, being one who is in the world, but not OF the world.”

Today in this nation, same sex marriage gains approval in the court of human appeal. As one who believes God means it when He tells us that marriage is one man to one woman, having purpose in that union, it makes my heart sad to see this decision come to our nation. However, the thing that God reminds me of is the fact that God’s ways and Laws are given to distinguish those who are His from those belonging to the world. We are People OF His Kingdom, on assignment IN this world, charged not to be OF its system. Beloved of God, this world is dictated by a different wisdom and principles than God leads us to possess.

The world has every right to be the world. That is the nature of THE BEAST. Why are we so shocked when the world in which we live behaves in agreement with its nature? Our challenge is to remain in the nature God calls us to possess as people of His Kingdom.

The travesty is that too many of our children are going the way OF the world. That breaks my heart still more. However, Beloved, like it or not, this is their right of choice, given them by God.

“See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes AND HIS JUDGMENTS, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them” ~ Deuteronomy 30:15-20.

Our children and all those in each age have right of choice, to choose whether they will believe God, love Him and adhere to His ways, or whether they will serve the god of this world. What is our choice and responsibility as Kingdom people who are in the world, but not of it? As Paul said in his days of challenge, so must we say, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge” ~ Acts 4:19. We are responsible before God to make our choice and set an example for our children to follow. In so doing, as parents we are responsible to give our children the seeds of truth they need to possess so they can make their own, well-informed decision.

It is vital that we make a distinction between the ways of this world and those given us by God. Our children need to realize the choices set before them and the consequences when making them. They need to know that to choose God is to choose not to be of this world and its ways. They need to understand the difference available to us in God’s Kingdom. If we fail to help our children have understanding of what it is to be of God’s Kingdom, Children of the Royal court, tasked with eternal purpose, we will lose a generation of our children.

Watching the way of the world unfold and take hold in our nation is scary to me, for it signals failure to choose God and His way, which signals consequences that will come in behind those choices. That fear makes me want to lock my children and grandchildren away and protect them from this world. I want to make their choice for them to protect them from the fallout coming on the world. The problem is that God does not give me that right. He only grants to me the right and responsibility of a parent and grandparent tasked with setting a good example and training those He gives me in the ways and truths of the Lord.

Our nation is in trouble: not because I say so, but because God says so in His warning to those who follow Him, found and outlined throughout His word. The hope of our children lies with God, and we must do all we can to give them the resources they need to make the choice that is for their best “today” and their eternal destiny.

Beloved, our nation is in trouble because it chooses more and more to go the way of this world’s system, and that is the fulfillment of prophesy long ago warned of as the end of days draws ever closer to its conclusion. The question is, are we following God as Kingdom People, or are we toying with life as part of the world and its philosophy, afraid of taking our stand with God for fear of losing our position in this life or connection with those in it?

“Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; BUT AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, we will serve the Lord” ~ Joshua 24:14-15.

We each have our choice to make. Choose today whom you will serve and be the people of God’s Kingdom despite the ways of this world. In that decision, be head under God in your own home, refusing to allow the ways of the world to find refuge there. Realize, parent, that the father of the prodigal had to release the son to the world for a time, allowing him his fill so he could realize the caregivers in charge of hogs have it better in the Father’s house than one can have in the world. We all must die to self before resurrection in Christ can come. They must make their choice just as we had to do.

Our choices have consequences, be it blessing or curse. Our nation in this world is toying with the curse, in keeping with the dictates of this world. However, Beloved, the world has no hold on us who are the Blessed and Beloved People of God’s Kingdom. Walk as Children of Light (Ephesians 5:7-10; 1 Peter 2:9-10).

“…Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE Lord, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ” ~ 1 Corinthians 2:12-16 (read 1 Corinthians 1-2).

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

Read John 17

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

Hedged by His Name ~ Part 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read John 17

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

Hedged by His Name ~ Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read John 17

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

Hedged by His Name

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Jesus Name: a Look at John 17 ~ Part 3

Read John 17

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

Manifested Ownership

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read John 17

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

Father, The Hour Has Come!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read John 17

“Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life” ~ vs. 1-2.

Humbled and in awe of God, I bow.

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

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

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

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

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

Things Leading to Perfect Peace ~ Part 5

Called Friend ~ Deepening Relationship

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another” ~ John 15:12-17.

Hear these words of Jesus, beloved. “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.”

What did the disciples have that made them friends instead of slaves? They possessed a vitally growing relationship with Christ. This reality of growing in relationship with God that makes us friends He shares His life with is ours to have and possess in Christ by the power of His Holy Spirit working in and through us. That reality begins with understanding this love that God has for us, a love that lays down His life on our behalf. That love is the perfect love that casts out all fear.

Think about your most trusted friend. What is it about your relationship with that friend that helps you know that wherever you go, whatever you do, that relationship will always be there? For me that ingredient that makes for true and lasting friendship is trust in the love they have for me and me for them.

walking-with-godI have three friends who moved off many years ago. These friends stay in touch through our marvelous technologies that span space and time to bring us closer together. I can be who I am with these friends and know they love me as I am, even when I am not my best self. We may not see each other often, but when we do, it is as if we never parted company. We may not always like what the other does, but we love each other anyway. And we know that when we struggle, there is always the other to reach out a loving hand to help us to come up higher in life as God’s chosen friend.

That is another thing I look for in a human friendship. I look for a growing relationship with God. I want people around me who know Him and are able to encourage my walk with Him. One reason for that is not only that these friends have a growing relationship with God that makes them ably equipped to counsel me from His perspective, but they possess His abiding presence, being available instruments to Him, allowing Him to reach out and touch me through their lives: and me to them. Just now I received a text from one of them that I do not hear from often, but she knows when she is in need, I am here for her, just as she is for me.

Beloved, that is what God wants with us. This desire for a relationship that is vitally growing and available, able to encourage and help to rise up to greater heights is not foreign to God. It is His image at work in us. God is love. Love’s most vital need is someone to give itself to and for; and its greatest desire is to find that love returned in kind.

When we have this growing reality at work in us, knowing God and being known by Him, mutually loving and giving self to bring the other higher, Him lifting us to higher ground as we lift Him to greater glory, shining ever brighter, we have friendship with God and a love that casts out fear.

Fear cannot reside where true love’s trust abides. God loves you. You can trust that even when you are in a pit of despair because of poor decisions that caused you to fall away for a time. He reaches out in love, desiring to grab your right hand and help you to higher ground. When we move away from Him, He is still there, waiting to hear from us andJesus 01 - water walk reach out His hand of love, help and companionship.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Nothing means NOTHING! Not even the bad decisions we make in falling away from Him can remove His love from us. His sacrifice of love remains even in our darkest days. Though He hates where we are and what was done to put us in such a state of affairs, He still loves us and longs for our presence. So reach up and trust His love to grab you and help you be your best self to the glory of Him who loves you more than life itself.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another” ~ John 15:12-17.

Oh, beloved. What great peace it is that comes to the heart of the one who truly understands, receives, believes, trusts and grows strong in this friendship found in a deep and abiding love relationship with God the Father through Jesus the Son in the power of the Spirit abiding within us. And we know this love abides in us as we come to desire His will over our own, laying down our lives by picking up His desire for us and making that our possession for a life of abundance with Him.

HE LOVED THEM TO THE END

Opening the word, something caught my attention yesterday in chapter 13 of John that I am drawn to revisit.

“Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, HE LOVED THEM TO THE END” ~ John 13:1.

Looking closely at that wording, the footnote says “to the end” means “to the full extent.” He loved fully, all the way to the finish line. The Amplified version of scripture seems to interject that fact best.

“Now before the Passover Feast began, Jesus knew with full awareness that the time had come for Him to leave this world and return to the Father. And as He had loved those who were His own in the world, HE LOVED THEM TO THE LAST AND TO THE HIGHEST DEGREE.”

“So it was that during supper, Satan having already put the thought of betraying Jesus in the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, that Jesus, knowing fully that the Father had put everything into His hands, and that He had come from God and was now returning to God, Got up from supper, took off His garments, and taking a servant’s towel, He fastened it around His waist” ~ John 13:1-4, AMP.

Pondering this scene with knowledge of what is coming to the life of Christ next, I recognize that this is the eve of the greatest hardship of Jesus’ life. In just a few hours, He will take His disciples to the garden for a time of prayer as He prepares for what is ahead of Him. He knows that the weight of the sin of the world will be on His shoulders and that His Father will turn away. He knows the difficulty ahead, and being fully man with all the sensory receptors and emotions of any other, the stress of it affects Him. In just a few hours, that stress will leave Him crying out to God with beads of bloody sweat flowing from every pore of His body. During that time of prayer, it is said of Christ that, “He began to show grief and distress of mind and was deeply depressed” (Matthew 26:37, AMP).

I don’t know about You, but when I know something hard to cope with is coming on me quickly, depression takes hold as the body’s stress chemistry comes into play. Depression too easily hinders my hands and feet, hindering my doing what I need to do while waiting to do what I must. That was not the case for Jesus. Out of love, He sat the good example to the end.

In our focal passage it says, knowing His time was upon Him, that He loved His people to the end, all the way to the finish line, with all the fervor of love possible. Out of His love, He put on the servant’s towel and began washing the feet of the guests. Take a moment to realize, please, that among the guests present, there is Judas Iscariot, the one He knew would betray Him. Jesus loved on His betrayer. (Selah ~ Pause and calmly think on that.)

It was customary when guests entered a home that the lowest servant in the house put on a towel, get a basin of water and wash the feet of the guest. Reportedly, this was the worst job there was to do. Why?

I don’t know if you have ever tended to another’s dirty feet, but it is not a pleasant job to do. In Bible days, people walked most everywhere on dirt paths in sandaled or bare feet. Their feet got nasty. Yes, it was a dirty job; proven in part by the fact that Jesus did not just put on a towel, but he first took off His garments. He knew He would get dirty doing the work of washing feet, so He removed His outer garments to protect them. On this day, no one took it upon himself to tend to the feet of the guests. It was a nasty job and no one wanted to do it, so, as a last act of love, Jesus put on the servant’s towel and did the lowly job of tending to dirty feet.

Pondering this act of Christ, I discern several reasons for His choosing to put that towel on, instead of asking another to do it.

  1. It set an example of selfless service. Asking another to perform that particular service would have embarrassed the one asked, considering it an insult. Jesus, being guest of honor, put the towel on Himself and showed all there that love chooses to do the lowliest, least desirable acts of kindness for those loved. Love is selfless.
  2. Jesus used the opportunity to teach His followers, and us through this account, that the cleansing power of their relationship with Him is complete. Completely cleansed from all sin by Christ, we need only the touch up cleansing when a new soiling of sin occurs. Thus, as they say, it is vital that one stay prayed up with God in their battle against sin. This discourse is one proof for those of us who believe that once we enter into salvation by the blood of Christ through faith to believe Him for it, we do not lose our salvation with every struggle against the nature of sinful flesh. Our spirit is secure for all eternity in Christ. (See John 13:6-10)
  3. It is my belief that Jesus chose to do this job himself because it was opportunity for some one-on-one time with each of His disciples. I do not believe that Peter was the only one Jesus had a conversation with while washingtheir feet. I believe each one responded out of their own fleshly impulse, need, and nature; and Jesus used the opportunity to minister personal lessons all around, encouraging the growth and faith of each one, according to their
    "You gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair." (Lk. 7:44)
    “You gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.” (Lk. 7:44)

    need. This account with Peter is just the one on which we get to listen.

Beloved, a lowly, unpalatable job is not a shame for us in Christ. It is opportunity to make oneself available to God for purposes of His own. It is a chance for some one-on-one ministry time with those around us who can benefit from the perspective we have in Christ. It is love’s greatest act of sacrifice when we do the lowliest job with eternal purpose as exemplified by Christ, our Savior, King, and Lord.

What is it that He said in another example of sacrificial service? Oh, yeah!

“Now go and do the same” ~ Luke 10:37.

The Priestly Order: Part 3

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

“You are A CHOSEN RACE, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of GOD; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” ~ 1 Peter 2:9-10.

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

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

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

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

Appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Priestly Order: Part 1

Read Hebrews 5:1-10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Need of the Graphic

Since yesterday’s blog post, where I shared a peak into my youth and exposed a little of myself to you, I have been thinking about graphics.

I am sure you realize, Christian brothers and sisters, that we live in a terribly graphic society. Movies and even games get increasingly realistic. The more real the graphics appear, the better these do at the box office. The news shows us real life action of the storylines of our day. And our graphic society is made most evident in the live-action footage shared on U-Tube type sites where the day’s good and evil acts are posted for all to see: from beheadings, to our grandbaby’s birthday celebrations and their cute antics, all shone in brilliant, lively color.

We are a very graphic society, except where we most need to be.

jesus-stripes
Jesus died graphically that we might be saved. Fear not living graphically that others may know.

As I have considered this topic, I realize that we, the church, are too often muted. I am not just talking about being too quiet. Some of us shout well enough, but we fail to speak the language of the day. I am talking about failing to be clear and real enough to be noticed. We fail to tell people the details of our lives and how God has moved to deliver us, often out of shame, and sometimes because we believe people see enough evil in the world without seeing “mine”. I’m not talking about play by play, gory detail, but enough detail so they understand and see our experiential understanding of the world they live in and the difficulty they face. Beloved, if we cannot match the graphics of the day, not as hanging our dirty laundry out there, but showing the detail of the dirt and contrasting the work of God in delivering us from it, how will we catch the attention of those who are captivated by a very graphic world.

I have often wondered how much stuff my children might have been spared experiencing if I had been more graphic in my instructing and teaching them. It is one thing to tell them, “Save yourself for the marriage bed.” It is another still to say, “1 Here is the mistake I made. 2 Here is how it affected me. 3 This is God’s way that I learned too late. 4 You learn it now so you are spared the mistake. 5 God is faithful and gracious, and here is how He has restored me. 6 But I wish I would have had someone to tell me what I am telling you today so I could be spared the shame and regret and the struggle. 7 I am thankful that God used the struggle to reveal Himself to me in this way. He is gracious, and I am set free. Live the freedom I am teaching you today and spare yourself the need of the grace to heal the wounds of the sin and shame.”

By the way, that I just stated as example is the outline for a graphic testimony. Hang the dirty laundry with the cleaned up version right beside it. Let the contrast be used of God to catch the attention of those looking for help in a world that seems hopeless. People are asking us, “How do you know there is a God.” In a world of graphic evil, destruction, heartache, sorrow, and many whoas, they need to see very graphic proof of God’s work in us.

First Corinthians 14:6-9 fits here, brethren: “Dear brothers and sisters, if I should come to you SPEAKING IN AN UNKNOWN LANGUAGE, How Would That Help You? But if I bring you a revelation or some special knowledge or prophecy or teaching, That Will Be Helpful. Even lifeless instruments like the flute or the harp must play the notes clearly, or no one will recognize the melody. And if the bugler doesn’t sound a clear call, how will the soldiers know they are being called to battle? It’s the same for you. If you speak to people in words they don’t understand, how will they know what you are saying? You might as well be talking into empty space.”

Paul is talking about speaking in tongues, but the same can be applied to our too often religious speeches. We must learn to speak the language of the people so they can understand. In a graphic society, graphic truth is needed, spoken loud and clear above the roar of the world. People need to hear how we know there is a God. Shout it out above the roar, beloved, by speaking clearly and distinctly so as to be heard and understood, and be not ashamed to show graphic proof of how God has made a difference in you.

“Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you” ~ 1 Peter 3:15.

~~*~~

Seeking to please man instead of God, our fear of being found out may well be the weapon used against us that is hindering our providing another with the graphic proof of God that will save them the trouble of sin.

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 Representation of God’s Nature

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Radiance of God’s Glory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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