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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.

The Priestly Order: Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Possess Your Own Vessel (Body)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Christ I am Crowned with Royalty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Religion: or Jesus?

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit ~ 1 Corinthians 12:12-13.

I arise early this morning with a flow of Spirit speaking what I believe to be truth to my heart over an issue that more and more becomes important to me, because it is used by enemy forces to tear asunder and dismember the body of Christ. We are called to be one, yet we are separated by religious doors. It breaks my pea picking heart, as my momma might say.

I have many friends and family members of many differing religious persuasions, and the one thing I find that draws us and closes the gap of our respective belief systems is unity of faith in Christ and common grounds of truth. Oh, I want so for this to flow to you as beautifully as it has to me. Lord, here am I, a conduit looking to You to flow through me.

I am thinking on this subject this early morn because of questions to a friend and Sister in Christ in a group we attend together where she is being asked to share about her religion of choice. Always unnerves me when the body starts talking religion. You see, as I look at this subject of religion or Jesus, what I see is that when we come together through the veil of Christ, we find bonds that bind us as one through the truth we unite under in faith of mutual belief. But religion exists because of differing opinions of truth. There is only one real truth: God’s truth; so how can this be? Where there are differing opinions of truth, at least one in a group of two is living behind a veil of falsehood.

God is truth, and in Him we find fullness of truth that unites. But Satan, the father of lies, throws little twists into our understanding of God’s truth, just enough to work separation and dismemberment in the body. A house divided will soon fall, right? Satan cannot destroy Truth, but he can throw a few wrenches in through weak flesh that is open to the allure of the lie and destroy the fullness of the effectiveness of the body to work together as one. So what is the answer?

This friend I mentioned earlier, I love her so much and I see and experience Jesus in her. It is where our bond comes from. But she was raised in and still resides in a religious faction that is very controversial in our day and is seen by the rest of Christendom as a cult. Now, from what I have been taught of that belief system, when held against the strictest defining parameters that separate the true church from the cultic practices, I cannot argue with that evaluation regarding her religion. But I can argue with any who would try to tell me that she does not know Jesus, the Savior, and God the Father, as I do.

Some others I love warn me, “Darlene, they are being taught how to talk Jesus so as to be more palatable to us Christians.” I have no doubt that can happen in any church, but the Spirit of God and the connection He brings to the equation cannot be mimicked or taught by human reason. I have experienced the sincerity of her faith. We are Sisters in Christ, I have no doubt, but we are divided by religious falsehood in some areas: whether hers or mine, God knows.

Now here is what God showed me that I found to be so beautiful as I awoke with this heartache over religion and its dismemberment of Christ’s body. I believe it is the solution to the division if we can grasp it to walk it out in the earth.

When Jesus gave His life, a propitiation for all sin, the instant He breathed His last breath of His earthly life, God, the Father, reached down to the temple of Israel and rent asunder for all time the veil that divided Him from those who seek His face. In the place of that veil stepped Jesus at the ordination and beckoning of God the Father.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life; He is the only Door by which we may be saved and have access to the Father; and all who desire to enter in to the holy of holies must first pass through Him by faith in the sacrifice of blood He paid. None who go through Him are turned away. All who go through Him have personal access to God, as Jesus is our advocate; and in Him we are raised up as part of the Royal Priesthood.  No man or human institution has right to restore the veil God removed in Christ. Any who would hold another back telling them they are not pure enough to enter the holy place of God’s presence are standing in falsehood and resurrecting the old veil, lacking understanding of the fullness of Christ to the equation of salvation and sanctification. How can I say that? (1 Peter 2:9; Hebrews)

There, in the holy of holies we find the purest of love, truth, righteousness, holiness, justice—a justice wrought through grace found in Christ, peace, unity, and wholeness. As I thought on this fact, I saw myself step through the Veil, Jesus, into God’s presence with my Sister in Christ, and I physically felt all the fetters of this life fall away: sin, falsehood, division, enmity, fear, distrust, and separation fell to the wayside and the only thing that mattered in that place was the common ground of the fullness of God’s truth coupled with faith to believe. We were one in Christ. All religion swept away. We both felt this burden removed and turned with amazement to the Door we just passed through in believing faith together.

I long for a place like that. The only way I see of finding it in our earthly existence is to lay down all of our preconceived ideas of truth and walk through the veil. Only as we begin to see churches rise up with only one name over their doorway will we find it. Only as we step through the door of Jesus together and enter into the presence of God with open hearts to full truth will we find healing to bind up the brokenness in the Body of Christ in our day.

My heart breaks as I see lines drawn that seem to say, “Follow me in my religious beliefs and understanding if you want unity with me, even though our separation works disunity in Jesus’ body.” And a flipside to this that furthers the gap between us is the watch groups who are so bent on pointing out the falsehood they see in others, when all that is needed is to present truth and let God draw the hearer through the veil. What separation we breed when we raise the hair on the neck of those who feel they have to fight for their religious right. Truth unites. Speak truth and watch God bring down the veils of separation among us.

I have had the privilege through ministries God has placed me in to walk in the doors of many differing churches of most every differing religious faction. What I have found is this: though I may not agree with all I hear, when I walk in to hear from God, I will receive something, some truth I can cling to that inspires my day and helps me on my way. There I find common ground with believers in that place. When I enter those doors with Jesus-love in heart, I always find, without exception, a brother or sister connection with others who have believing faith on common grounds of truth too.

Religion: or Jesus? Won’t you come through the veil with me where we find wholeness of truth and faith to believe? Let us cast off our preconceived ideas of the things that separate us and bring them to the holy of holies where truth is found. If God is God…and He is…if He desires truth…and He does…don’t you think He will teach our hearts unity of faith to believe and be one in Christ’s beautiful body?

Father, teach us truth that we may be whole and accomplish Your purpose in the earth. In Jesus, the veil, the only true door, we pray. Amen.

The Gift

Truth about sensuality, sex, and marriage.

Watch video: Touching Animation of a Dying Man’s Final Words of Love to His Wife – True Story!

There is something important I want to tell my grandchildren, and the video above sets it off. Watch the video and note the gift of love shared in a life together.

Kids, Meeme loves you, so I am going to speak quite frankly to you about a difficult subject: sex and marriage.

Jesus-Bride001The sensual intimacy of sex, when approached God’s way, is beautiful and fulfilling. It is the greatest, deepest level of giving one’s self to another that can be shared. God has given you one gift that you can give back to Him and to one other in life: that gift is all-that-you-are; the greater depths of the intimate expression of yourself out of love for another.

You will give a part of yourself to many people throughout life, as needs arise and God inspires you to for their encouragement and to help those people through a time in their life. You can give encouragement to many; you can give love to all; you can give expressions of emotions in time of need: but all you are in mind, heart, emotion, thought, sensuality, will, soul, strength belongs to only two, God and the mate He brings to you.

The one part of you that God requires you save for Him and your mate is your sensuality: that special intimacy that is deep and abiding. That part of you that becomes one-flesh with the one with whom you share it. When we fall to temptation to give any part of our sensual self to another before we are united as one in God, we lose a part of ourselves that cannot be fully restored. When you give any part of your sexuality to another outside of marriage, you link with that one in a way that will forever haunt you to rob of the joy of intimacy with God and the husband or wife He has for you.

What the world calls “petting” takes part of the gift God has given you for sharing with husband or wife and robs the purity of the gift.

The pornography many turn to causes expectations that can destroy our ability to fully give self, or to give sincere acceptance of the one who gives themselves to us. Porn gives a false impression of how people should look, how the act of marriage should be experienced, and it robs of the beauty of the emotional connection that marital union should possess.

And by the way, oral sex is still sex.

Do not let the devil lie to you and tell you that as long as you have sex with the belief that you are one in God that you are married of heart and it is okay. If that were the case, there would be no need of the law that says fornication is sin (1). There is a ritual that is seen over and over through scripture that designates two as married to become one in unity with God. That picture is the giving of the bride to the groom by the father.

We see this in the Garden of Eden as God, the Father of Eve, gives her to Adam to be his wife and helpmeet, the completion of him as they become one in union (Genesis 2).

We see it as the servant goes to get a bride for Isaac from the people of Abraham. The head of household, Rebekah’s brother, in the absence of her father, and her mother, after making sure she was agreed to the union, gave her to be wed to Isaac (Genesis 24).

It is seen when Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, after being raped by Shechem, was given to him as his wife. They were not married by the rape or sex act, they were married by the giving of the bride to the groom (Genesis 34).

I believe Jacob chose to give her to spare her the shame for something that was not her fault. Back then the shame of the loss of virginity by choice or by force made a young girl less than likely to be chosen as a wife, as they were considered impure. Jacob’s eldest two sons disagreed with Jacob’s decision and used the agreement between Jacob and Hamor, king of the land and father of the groom, which required them to be circumcised, as opportunity to kill the men and get Dinah back. They lost their birthright because of their breaking of the covenant of marriage made by Jacob.

The giving of the bride is also seen as Jesus prepares to give His final sacrifice as kinsman redeemer of all mankind. Those who follow Him are often depicted as the Bride of Christ. In His prayer in John 17, He says in verse 6, “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.” We are told in scripture that none may enter into relationship with Christ unless the Spirit of God woos or draws them (John 6:44). God, the Father, gives the Bride of Christ to the Groom, Jesus.

Until your earthly father, parents, or guardian give you in marriage to your groom, sensual relations are fornication or adultery, a sin Jesus-Bride006against God and against your own body and the groom or bride God has for you.

You are a precious gift of God to us, but you have right to give all that you are to only two, God and the beloved He has for you to marry and become one in unity of flesh; and only then after you are given by right and ritual. And no one has the right to steal that gift from you. Protect that gift. It is precious. Realize the joy of this gift God has given you, and keep it wrapped for the one who shows that they love you enough to wait and do things God’s way.

You are constant in my prayers!

Much love,

Meeme

PS: If you have fallen or been fallen upon, God has provided a way for cleansing and rebirth of spiritual virginity in Christ. As Jesus said to the woman He helped to escape stoning, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more” (John 8:1-11). Consider your renewal in Christ, remember His grace when times of haunting come, and hold yourself for Him alone and the one He has for you to spend your life with as one flesh together with Him.

Definitions:

Fornication: two unmarried people in sexual relations.

Adultery: two partners in sexual sin, not married to each other, but at least one of them married to another person.

The Dream – Part 1

The Battle Revealed

 

Father, the dream, it is pregnant within me, filled with meaning and power. Here am I, O God. Help me to write it. I can do nothing on my own, but only as You give utterance can I.

~*~

Last night I had a dream that I believe is vital for our day. In my dream there were three main characters: the Groom, the Bride, and the enemy suitor that took many forms and had many faces, all coming at the Bride and Groom at one time.

~*~

Now you have the characters, here is the setting:

The Groom has a Bride that He is absolutely mad about. He loves her more than life itself and she is His by promise and by right. All that He does, He does for her, giving even life and breath to show His love and care for her.

The Bride loves the Groom like no other and desires Him above all. Her heart soars at the site of Him, and her greatest delight is His pleasure.

But there is a rival to the Groom who is constantly trying to separate them from one another and woo the Bride away. This enemy suitor puts on appearances of having love and care for the Bride like that of the Groom’s, but his motives are sinister. Though she is not swayed, this rival suitor is relentless in his pursuit.  

~*~

Now you have the setting, here is the dream.

The suitor is constantly pulling at the Bride. She frantically reaches for the Groom who is chasing hard after her as His rival works to separate Him from her presence, but every time they get near to a firm grip on one another, she is swooshed away by the suitor in some new form or many. The Groom runs hard after her, never doubting her faithfulness to Him as He sees in her eyes her desire, and knows her heart for Him.

As the Groom chases His Bride, the enemy suitor takes His legs from Him. Each time he does, the Groom yells, “I believe!” to His Father, and His legs grow back fully restored. He starts His pursuit of the Bride again with ever increasing fervor. Over and over, the enemy suitor takes the Grooms legs, the Groom cries out His faith to the Father who responds to His faith, restoring His legs with power to perform, and the chase goes on.

Determined to win the battle, the suitor turns and takes the legs up to half of the pelvis of the Bride. The Bride, impregnated begins to show signs of her pregnancy as the fetus grows strong within her. The suitor tells her the child is his, to be raised up for his intent and purpose. Missing half of her body, the Bride puts the whole of her life energy into the focus of growing the child within her to be birthed healthy and strong. She has lost sight of her Groom in her pain and stopped reaching for Him, putting all her energy into growing a healthy child within, trusting that something will happen to free her from the pain as she gives her life for the child.

Meanwhile the Groom is calling to her, reaching and fighting to get to her side only to be hindered and fought at every turn by the enemy suitor’s many forms and faces. Calling out to her, as she focuses to grow the child, she hears with recognition the voice of her Beloved, shouting, “Only believe!” Her focus on delivering a healthy child, filled with hope, increases.

Finally the Groom breaks through to the Bride grabbing hold of her hand and assuring her, “The child is ours! We will raise it to our intent and purpose.” Her legs grow back, full and strong, and the suitor with its many faces and forms steps back for a bit as the child is born. I awake to the scenes of the Bride holding the child close and protected; and the Groom standing guard and fighting off the enemy that is now intent on steeling the child.

As I wake, I come quickly to discern the meaning of the dream. The Groom and the Bride are, of course, Jesus and His Bride, the Church. The enemy suitor is Satan and all he uses to lure the Bride away from the Groom, with all their many forms and faces. They try to stop Jesus from complete, intimate, and faithful union with His Bride, but Jesus looks always to the Father who protects His ability to pursue her and get to her. The Bride is impregnated by the Groom with the seed of Righteousness that will work His intent and purpose in the earth. But we have the enemy suitor that is doing all he can to hinder our union with the Groom and get hold on the fruit of our lives, souring it for his intent and purpose, to hinder the birthing of Righteousness in the earth and the bearing of the good fruits of the Kingdom and Crown.

So what are these hindrances used of Satan to cut the legs to half the pelvis off of the Bride? Next post we will look at some I believe are the biggest influences that make the birthing of Righteousness a challenge to be overcome by faith to “Only Believe.”

The Royal Wedding – by Adele Simpson

As I watched England’s Royal Wedding I kept being drawn to dwell on “The Marriage Supper of the Lamb” where the groom is Christ Himself and the bride is the Church.

There was great mystery and anticipation surrounding Catherine’s wedding gown.  In Revelation 19:7 & 8 NKJV we can understand how important the wedding garment is:   “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”

Prince Williamwas dressed in red which reminded me of the blood of the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.

Catherine kept being referred to as a “commoner” and I thought about “gentiles” being grafted into Christ with Israel.

The music was beautiful ending with the hymn, “Jerusalem”. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  God is our song and has become our salvation.

Westminster Abbey was adorned with trees. JESUS is the Tree of Life.

The couple was exhorted from God’s Word throughout the wedding. Catherine’s brother read from Romans 12. May all the world know that heaven and earth are passing away but God’s Word abides forever.  May Prince William and Princess Catherine and all the world know that man is like the flowering grass.  The grass withers and the flowers fade but the Word of God abides forever.  May they and we build our lives on the eternal. 

England’s Royal Wedding cost millions of dollars and was a labor of love. We are purchased with God’s very own blood—THE ULTIMATE LABOR OF LOVE.

It is estimated that 2 billion people watched “The Royal Wedding” but someday every eye will SEE JESUS.

Only the Holy Spirit can prepare us for “THE DIVINE WEDDING”.  May we be putty in our Father’s hand allowing Him to make us like Christ.  May we be ready for the Wedding of all weddings where there will be unspeakable joy, full of glory for all of eternity.

People at the The Royal Wedding were from all walks of life from all over the world.  The Kingdom of God is made up of every tongue, tribe and nation. The invitation is open to all.  God is not willing that any should perish but all should have everlasting life.  He stands with open arms ready to receive unto Himself all who will repent of sin and receive Him as LORD.  He is LOVE.

Soldiers riding horses were prominent at the celebration of The Royal Wedding.  In Revevelation 19:11-14 NKJV we read: “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse.  And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.  His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns.  He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.  He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood and His name is called The Word of God.  And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.”

Yes, the King is coming—BE READY!!!

Take a righteous R & R with Romans and Revelation and BE BLESSED!!

Written by Adele Simpson, Pastor’s wife in Oklahoma. © 4/30/11. Used by permission.