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Putting the Flesh to Death

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” [Gen 3:15 NASB]

When they brought these kings out to Joshua, Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said to the chiefs of the men of war who had gone with him, “Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So they came near and put their feet on their necks. Joshua then said to them, “Do not fear or be dismayed! Be strong and courageous, for thus the LORD will do to all your enemies with whom you fight.” So afterward Joshua struck them and put them to death, and he hanged them on five trees; and they hung on the trees until evening. [Jos 10:24-26 NASB]

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us–for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”– [Gal 3:13 NASB]

Beloved saints, there is so much in the above verses. I just want to touch on a little of Christ in these scriptures.

Image

photo credit: don2g via photopin cc

We know that the Seed in Genesis refers to Jesus Christ. In Christ, our flesh has been crucified and the serpent has been crucified. But Joshua is about our experience of taking Christ as our Good Land, God’s provision for our every need. In Joshua there are peoples that represent the fallen flesh and their king’s represent the serpentine powers that dominate our flesh.

In Joshua, we see Joshua(Spirit) leading us and calling us to put to death the flesh(Canaanites) and the powers(Kings). We are to join with Him in overcoming the enemy and putting him under our feet. 

We don’t do this by following outward laws and rules and regulations. We follow a Lord within us! We follow the Law of the Spirit of Life. He is leading us inwardly to overcome our flesh. This is the application of all that He accomplished on the cross. What was objective to us, is becoming experiential as we follow our Lord inwardly. 

As we turn to the Lord and enjoy Him, we are experiencing Him and His shining is overcoming all of the darkness within us. But, we must turn away from all of the distractions that draw our flesh, that entice our minds and emotions; we must turn to the spiritual Life within us. As we do this we our gaining Him and He is gaining us, for our mutual enjoyment.

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Turning Your Heart to the Lord

“But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” [2Cr 3:15-18 NASB]

photo credit: Rovanto via photopin cc

photo credit: Rovanto via photopin cc

Day-by-day, moment-by-moment, we must turn our hearts to the Lord. This is God’s Way to save us, to transform us, to unite us with Himself in perfect Oneness.

To turn to the Lord is to set your mind on your spirit, which is united with God’s Spirit. Your spirit is the Holy of Holies; it’s the mount of transfiguration.

When you turn your mind to your spirit, it’s like sitting down in a chair. Before, you were walking in the world, but now you have overcome the obstacles that satan has put in the way of this Chair. With your will, you have turned your mind to the spirit, and you may have some enjoyment in your emotions. This is your place of Rest. Don’t be so caught up in the things of this world, that you fail to enter into His Rest.

As we turn our hearts to the Lord, we are taking Him in; we are eating Him for His enjoyment and our enjoyment.

Turning to the Lord is the purpose of reading the scriptures, singing hymns, and listening to preaching. But even in your work you can turn to your spirit and enjoy Christ as the Life-giving Spirit, within you.

Encourage one another to turn away from the worldly things, to the Spirit.

How to Read the Bible

photo credit: Ella's Dad via photopin cc

photo credit: Ella’s Dad via photopin cc

You may have noticed there has been a name change on this blog. So, on the new focus of Enjoying Christ, today’s post is on enjoying Christ through the Scriptures.

There are many ways that people read the Bible, but I want to share the best way that I have found. Your experience may differ :).

The most important thing is that you turn to the Lord Spirit in your spirit, when you read. It will only puff up your old man if you are reading with just your mind. I find it helpful to reject my own thoughts, silencing my inner self, and let the Lord know that I’m not here to gain more knowledge. I’m here to know Him…to experience Him…to enjoy Him…to gain Him.

When you are a new believer, it’s good to read a lot. It’s milk to the new believer and a child needs a lot of milk. By reading a lot, you may miss the details of the Painting, but you are able to see the entire Picture. The Old Testament is a living Picture of Christ and the New Testament is the explanation beneath the Picture.

As you grow, you need meat. You need to eat more slowly and chew more thoroughly. You should “chew the cud”. You may read the same chapter over and over again for a week. You may spend a month on a particular phrase. Read a chapter. Read a verse. Read a phrase. Read a word.It doesn’t matter so much, how much you read, because knowledge isn’t your goal. The intention of the Scriptures is to turn your heart to the Lord. The Scriptures become a springboard to enjoying Christ for our Father’s enjoyment.

Let me give you an example with Leviticus 14. Here is how I might read it with the Lord

“Then the LORD spoke(Lord you are the God who speaks) to Moses, saying, “This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing (I am just a dirty leper that needs to be cleansed). Now he shall be brought to the priest (You are my Priest, Jesus, and I am here before you), and the priest shall go out to the outside of the camp (Thank you for going outside the camp to heal me!). Thus the priest shall look, and if the infection of leprosy has been healed in the leper,” (I am in Christ and in your eyes I am clean and you have the true sight) [Lev 14:1-3 NASB]

After reading this with prayer, I may not have a need to read anymore, because I am in my spirit. Now, is the time to be quiet and just enjoy Him, inhaling Him and exhaling myself.

Oh Lord Jesus, how sweet You are.

The Letter Kills, but the Spirit Gives Life

 

This “new Canaan” is Jesus Christ, He is outside the “camp” of mans religion. The reports are to be mixed with faith, not in those making the reports, but in the One that is Faithful and True. – Jim Putney, The Treasure of New Canaan

Have you seen Jesus Christ as thew new Canaan, as our Promised Land? Whether you have already seen this or not, I think that you will enjoy Jim Putney‘s blog post: The Treasure of the New Canaan at Treasure in Jars of Clay. His words are encouraging and so is his quote from T. Austin-Sparks. Now for my blog post…

Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. – [2Cr 3:5-6 NASB]

First page of the Gospel of Mark, by Sargis Pi...

First page of the Gospel of Mark, by Sargis Pitsak, a Medieval Armenian scribe and miniaturist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, as I was getting into my car to leave a certain place, I saw a brother reading the Bible on the back of his truck. When I saw him, I was moved to fellowship with him. I went over to him and asked, “What are you reading?”. He replied, “The Bible”. So, I said, “Yeah, but what are you reading in the Bible?”. He answered, “I don’t talk to nobody when I am reading the Bible, so go ahead and get out of here”.

This brother was not only reading the dead letter, but he killed the fellowship that we could have had. We could have shared the Lord together. We could have read the Scriptures together, by the Spirit, to see Christ. But, all he had was the letter, so we didn’t enjoy any Life together. We were not able to partake of the Tree of Life together, because he was busy eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Many are reading the Scriptures in a religious way and the result is death. They are not only killing themselves, but they are killing others. Do not be like this brother, who rejected me for a book.

Don’t reject each other. Instead, love each other and shine your light on each other; let Christ within you be expressed through you.

You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. – [2Cr 3:2-3 NASB]

 

Book Review: The Voice New Testament (Kindle Edition)

The Voice New Testament by Ecclesia Bible Society

With so many Bible version already produced, I often wonder why anyone would create a new translation. Many of the translation available are too similar. But, if you are looking for a unique version of the Bible, you may be interested in The Voice New Testament. The Voice New Testament is certainly a unique translation of the New Testament, although it seems to have quite a few downfalls.

I didn’t read the entire Bible, word-for-word. I read some of my favorite books to get a feel for the Bible overall. I compared the translation to other translations, as well as the original Greek. Then, I attempted to read it to see if I could enjoy Christ through its words.

Previously most Bibles and biblical reference works were produced by professional scholars writing in academic settings. The Voice uniquely represents collaboration among scholars, pastors, writers, musicians, poets, and other artists. The goal is to create the finest Bible products to help believers experience the joy and wonder of God’s revelation. – Ecclesia Bible Society. The Voice New Testament (Kindle Locations 244-247). Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Some key features of The Voice New Testament are:

  • “Logos” or “Word” translated as Voice
  • “Christ” translated as “God’s Anointed, the Liberating King”
  • Daily reading plans
  • An introduction to the New Testament
  • Introductions to the books of the New Testament
  • Topical guide to the notes
  • Descriptions of the some of the titles of Jesus

My favorite aspect of The Voice New Testament is the translation of the Greek word “Logos” as “Voice”, rather than “Word”. I also enjoyed that it is easy to use and navigate, even in electronic format.

On the other hand, there are too many things that I don’t like about this Bible.

My first issue is the amount of words in italics. The words in italics are words added to the Scriptures, to make them more readable. Most versions have a few italics here an there, which is understandable, since languages don’t always translate smoothly. The italics in The Voice New Testament often impose the translators’ interpretation of the verses on the reader.

Secondly, I don’t like that the original grammar is changed in the translation. For example, a Greek noun is translated with an English verb. Translating Scripture, in this way, can change the original meaning.

Next, the notes are often superficial or impose the translators’ interpretation on the readers. Some of the notes and introductions had historical and cultural value. Unfortunately, much of the notes that I read, either restated the text in different words or interpreted it.

I am sure the translators had good intentions and believe that their interpretation is correct. But, I felt that the notes distracted me from the text and more importantly, distracted me from enjoying Christ through the text.

I could only recommend The Voice New Testament to those who find it the easiest Bible for them too read. Even then, I would not recommend it unless you had another version to read, as well. A few good aspects of this translation are overshadowed by the multiple ways that the translators’ interpretations are imposed on readers.

On the other hand, by all means, read The Voice New Testament for yourself. You may find that you disagree with my opinions. It may have more value to you.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Why Did God Rest on the Seventh Day?

On the seventh day, after six days of creating all things, God rested. I am sure many people have wondered why God would rest on the seventh day. Was God tired? By no means! That would not be much of a God. Was God setting a precedent for His creation? Should we work six days and rest on the seventh? That might be true under the law, but only partially true. That interpretation misses the real reason for this rest.

God had finished His work on the seventh day, so then He rested. But, what was the purpose behind His work?

God had a desire.

Indeed, He still does have this desire. Notice the last thing that God created: Man. In humanity, God had His eternal desire.

What was so special about us? We surely weren’t the largest, nor the most powerful. Our intelligence couldn’t compare to the craftiness of Lucifer.

God’s desire in humanity is two-fold.

First, we were created in God’s image. Thus, we were to be the expression of God. Just as a mirror reflects who you are, we were to be the mirror image of God, reflecting who God is to all of creation.

Second, we were given dominion over all the earth. Not only were we to be a reflection of who God is, but we were to exercise His authority. He would reign over all of creation through humanity, His representatives.

But, we joined with the rebellion of Satan.

Ever since that rebellion, God has been working to regain His desire. This is the Biblical story. This is the meaning of Life. God wants a Home on earth, where He can rest, having had His desired fulfilled.

In Christ, God has regained His desire. Through Christ, we are being built together in the New Jerusalem, God’s Sabbath Rest. He is conforming us into the image of His Son, into His complete expression. Also, He is bringing us to maturity, that we may exercise His dominion over the earth.

Let’s cooperate with God’s work in us and through us, that His eternal desire may be fulfilled. Then God will have His rest and we will enter that rest, of which, we now have a foretaste.

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The Revelation of Jesus Christ

[1] The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, – [Rev 1:1 NASB]

Today, I have a burden for you, my brothers and sisters in Christ. This burden is in regards to the book of Revelation. The problem is this: Many view Revelation as either divisive or unknowable. Neither of these is true. The problem comes from our perspectives of this book.

Divisive?

This book is by no means divisive. The division is because we are not reading the book through the lens of Christ. This book is the revelation of Jesus Christ! In it, He is being unveiled to the world and the spiritual powers. So is this book divisive? No. The problem lies in how we read the book. It is not merely end-times prophecy, but the method by which God will unveil His wonderful Son to the entire universe.

Unknowable?

This book is full of signs and symbols, but it is a book meant to be understandable. The reason that we don’t understand it is that we do not understand the rest of Scripture. None of the symbols in Revelation are new. This is not a new book, but a conclusion to the rest of them. You must read this book with God’s ultimate thought in mind, His eternal purpose. This book is how He is attaining His desire, that Christ might be all and in all.

In addition, do not forget that this book, like all of Scripture, is a spiritual book. You will learn very little by simply reading its letters. You must exercise your spirit, which is indwelt by the Spirit of God, in order to understand its writings. Read it over and over with prayer, asking God to reveal its meaning to you. Read the interpretations of others’ and discern which fit well with the rest of Scripture and the eternal purpose of God.

So, I hope this post will encourage any who read it, not to give up on the book of Revelation. We need to see and understand this revelation of Jesus Christ. With every day that passes, the coming of our Lord grows ever closer. Let us read this book, understanding the message that our Father has given us, and preparing ourselves for the return of our Bridegroom.

Is Jesus Christ the Strong Angel in Revelation 10?

1I saw another strong angel coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud; and the rainbow was upon his head, and his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire; 2and he had in his hand a little book which was open. He placed his right foot on the sea and his left on the land; 3and he cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars; and when he had cried out, the seven peals of thunder uttered their voices. 4When the seven peals of thunder had spoken, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them.” 5Then the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to heaven, 6and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, WHO CREATED HEAVEN AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE EARTH AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE SEA AND THE THINGS IN IT, that there will be delay no longer, 7but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets. (Revelation 10:1-7 NASB)

While listening to Witness Lee’s Life Study of Revelation, he mentioned that Christ would come secretly in a cloud before His coming in glory on a cloud. Rather than wait until Witness Lee got to the full explanation of these verses, I thought that I would take a look at this strong angel who comes in a cloud. While examining what Scripture says about this angel, I do have to admit it seems likes it is Christ.

Coming down out of heaven

We know that Christ will come down from heaven when He returns, since we know that He has ascended there for a time.

Clothed with a cloud

When I read this, the image that flashed into my mind, was that of God leading the Israelites through the wilderness. In Scripture, no one else is ever clothed in a cloud, but God.

The rainbow was upon his head

The rainbow was given by God as a covenant to all flesh on the earth, that there would never again be a flood to destroy the earth. The rainbow seems to indicate that the angel is here for judgment, but will not forget the covenant that was given. Interestingly, the rainbow is God’s bow, another indication that this angel is God.

13I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. (Genesis 9:13 NASB)

His face was like the sun

This reminds me of the shining of Moses’ face after he had been in the presence of God. Also, we know that in the New Jerusalem there will be no need for the sun, because God will be our light. Next, Christ is our Morning Star, but once the Morning Star has fully risen it is the Sun.

His feet like pillars of fire

As I move through the appearance of this angel it seems more and more like it is the One, who Ezekiel saw sitting on the throne.

26Now above the expanse that was over their heads there was something resembling a throne, like lapis lazuli in appearance; and on that which resembled a throne, high up, was a figure with the appearance of a man. 27Then I noticed from the appearance of His loins and upward something like glowing metal that looked like fire all around within it, and from the appearance of His loins and downward I saw something like fire; and there was a radiance around Him. 28As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. (Ezekiel 1:26-28 NASB)

He had in his hand a little book which was open

This may be the book from Revelation 5 that could only be opened by the Lamb. At this point the Lamb has already opened all of the seals, and thus the book is open.

He cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars

How wonderful this is: The Lamb who opened the book is also a Lion!

5and one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.” 6And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. 7And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. (Revelation 5:5-7)

Swore by Him who lives forever and ever

Who has the authority to swear by God, but God Himself?

34“But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING. (Matthew 5:34-35 NASB)

There will be delay no longer…then the mystery of God is finished

The oath of the angel is about the mystery of God. This is a reference to the fulfillment of God’s eternal purpose. The mystery of God is Christ (Colossians 2:2) and the mystery of God is also Christ in us (Colossians 1:26-27). God’s eternal purpose to have an expression of Himself in Christ, through His Body. Christ is all and in all.

After examining all of these symbols attributed to this angel, I have to agree with Witness Lee that it is, indeed, Jesus Christ. If the use of the term “angel”, is difficult for you to attribute to Christ, then it may be helpful for you to understand that the word angel means a messenger. It does not have to be an angelic being, as we know that Christ is much higher than all angelic beings. All of this fits well with the main point of Revelation: The revelation of Jesus Christ. 

Why Read Books Other Than the Bible?

Standing upon the shoulders of giants

Image by mushon via Flickr

And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” (Mat. 13:52 NASB)

 

Every once in a while I hear people saying things like: “I only read the Bible”. I went through a phase like this for a short time in my walk with Christ and now I realize how silly it was.

 

Scripture is the revelation of Jesus Christ and there is nothing to add to it. Likewise, it is clear that the Spirit is able to teach us all things, so we don’t need a teacher. We have Scripture and we have the Spirit, so why read anything else? This is actually similar to those who believe there is more importance to the words of Jesus of Nazareth, in the gospels, than in the writings of Paul and the apostles. This belief lacks the understanding that the same Jesus who spoke those words, became the life-giving Spirit, who spoke through Paul, the apostles, believers throughout the ages, and now us.

 

There are many Christians who have spent their lives studying Scripture and when we learn from them we are standing upon their shoulders. For example, Witness Lee who stood on the shoulders of Watchman Nee, was a Christian for seven decades. When we read his writing we stand on his shoulders, rather than going back and starting where he began. Someday people will stand on your shoulders, as you stand on the shoulders of others. Don’t go back to the beginning of the revelation of Christ, but stand upon the shoulders of the ever-increasing revelation of our Great Lord until He returns.

 

You should choose wisely whose shoulders you will stand on.

 

Here are some shoulders that I think you would be wise to stand on:

Brother Lawrence

Frank Viola

T. Austin-Sparks

Watchman Nee

Witness Lee

Ephesians 1

1. This letter is from Paul, one sent by Christ Jesus, by the desire of God, to the ones in Ephesus, set apart and faithful in Christ Jesus. 2. Favor to you and rest from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3. Worthy of praise is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in Christ with every kind of spiritual gift in the heavenly places, 4. inasmuch as He chose us in Himself before the foundation of the universe to be set apart and without blemish before His face. In love, 5. He marked us out beforehand to sonship for Himself, on account of Jesus Christ, according to His desire. 6. He did this for the praise of the glory of His favor, which He bestowed freely on us by the Loved One. 7. In Him, we have redemption because of His blood and complete forgiveness of sins, according to the wealth of His favor. 8. He superabounded this favor to us in all wisdom and understanding, 9. having made known to us the mystery of His desire, according to His good pleasure. He purposed this in Himself 10. for the stewardship of the fullness of the times to sum up all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on earth 11. in Himself.

In Him we have received a share, having been marked out beforehand according to the predetermination of Him, who works everything according to His deliberate wisdom, 12. so that we who have first hoped in Christ are to the praise of His glory. 13. In Him, you also having heard the message of truth, the good news of your salvation, in whom also having put your faith, were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise. 14. The Holy Spirit is a guarantee of our inheritance, for the redemption of the full possession, for the praise of His glory.

15. On account of this, having heard of the faithfulness among you in the Christ, and to all the saints, 16. I don’t cease expressing thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers 17. so that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18. having the eyes of your heart enlightened. This is so that you perceive what is the expectation of His calling, what is the abundance of the glory of His inheritance with the saints, 19. and what is the surpassing greatness of His power among us who believe, according to the working of the power of His might. 20. He worked this in Christ, having raised Him up from the dead and seated Him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21. far above every ruler and authority and power and lordship and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the coming age. 22. He placed everything under His feet and appointed Him as head over all the 23. Church. The Church is His Body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.


Translating Scripture

Joshua 1:1 in the Aleppo Codex.

Image via Wikipedia

So I am making my own translation of the Bible. I enjoy translating. I do have experience translating, just not Greek or Hebrew. As I translate the Bible, I will post my translations chapter-by-chapter. I welcome your input and critique of my translation.

 

I am setting out to make my translation a mix of word-for-word and readable. Since Paul has some very large run-on sentences, I will try to cut them down into smaller sentences. I will do this so that they are more readable, but while maintaining the original meaning.

 

I am not a Greek scholar, nor do I have experience with Greek, so be patient with me. You may be wondering why I am doing this. A few reasons really. First, I want to get a better feel for what the writers of the Bible were saying and this is only possible by looking at the multiple meanings of the words that they used. Words in one language do not translate smoothly into another language. What takes one word to say in one language, may take multiple words to say in another language. Second, I want to give you, whoever is reading this, a different view of Scripture. Hopefully, my translation will be different enough to give you a richer reading of Scripture, without having to do the translation yourself (unless you want to). Third, I have found that I just enjoy translating it. It even seems kind of weird to me, but don’t we all have our own brand of weird?

The Spirit is Our Teacher

But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie–just as it has taught you, abide in him.
(1Jn 2:27 ESV)

Many people search books to learn about God. It is good to learn from others, what God has revealed to them about Himself. This is much easier for those who have not learned to listen to God. But, those who have walked with God long enough, should be able to move on to learning from God Himself. Of course, the Spirit uses books to teach us, but He is able to use anything to teach us. Also, He will use others to teach you, especially if you are not listening. Sometimes, words cannot even express what He shows You about the glories of Christ. Use Scripture to evaluate what you believe the Spirit is telling you, in order to ensure you are not being deceived by Satan.

If you are willing to practice His presence in humility and for no reason but out of love for Christ, He will share Himself with you in abundance.


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