Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” – [Gen 1:26 NASB]
A glove is made in the image of a hand, and according to its likeness. We were designed to be a Glove for God. God wants to get into us and fill us with Himself. The glove is the expression of the hand and we are to be the expression of God. The Glove is the Corporate Man and the Hand is the Triune God.
If we would be filled with God, for His full expression, His authority would be exercised.
Immediately, after God’s decision to make man in Their image, They state that men are to rule.
God’s authority always comes from His expression. If we are not expressing God, we cannot have His authority. Likewise, we must first be like a Glove, filled with God as our Hand. Then, He can exercise His authority through us.
What do you have to do to be a part of the Glove? Nothing. You were made to be a part of this Glove. You just need to cooperate with the Spirit, who dwells in your spirit, if you are in Christ. Let Him spread, renewing your mind with Himself, until Christ returns. Then, we will have new bodies and the consummation of God’s eternal desire.
- Disciples, Ministers, and the Stewardship (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
If we are to mature in the Lord, there are three stages that we must go through. These three are the same ones that Israel went through. Each of these stages is a recognition of an aspect of Christ and an experience of Him in a new way. Each step is necessary for us to grow into the New Man. Also, each step is taken by faith, just as Israel did in its journey.
Christ as Our Slain Lamb
Christ as our Slain Lamb is our initial step. When we recognize that He is the Lamb slain for the sins of the world, we put our faith in Him. This is the means by which we enter into Christ. Since, we have entered into Christ by faith, we are also included in His death and resurrection. Too many have seen this simply as an objective truth, but it must be a subjective experience if we are to be transformed into the Image of God through Christ. We can only experience it if, by faith, we take His death and resurrection as our own.
Christ as Our Manna and Living Water
Once we have this new life in Christ, we must learn to eat and drink of Christ. If we do not eat and drink Him, we cannot grow in Him. A dear brother in Christ, Michael has written a great blog on eating Christ here: Spiritual Starvation and the Manna that’s Already There. I highly suggest reading it. We don’t literally eat and drink Christ, since God is Spirit, we must eat and drink Him spiritually. First, we must recognize that our food and drink is not the true food and drink. Christ is the reality of these things. Then, we eat and drink Him by faith. We must learn how to do this through our constant communion with Him. This is how we grow in Christ. As we eat and drink Him, His Life is dispensed into us and He saturates us, nourishes us, and is our pleasure.
Christ as Our Promised Land
Christ as our Lamb, our Food, and our Drink are just partial pictures of Christ. There is no picture in the Old Testament that is as complete a picture of Christ as the Promised Land. As we are growing in Christ by eating and drinking Him, we must recognize that He is our Promised Land, God’s provision for our every need. He is the air we breathe, our milk and honey, the very land we walk on, and even our hills and valleys. He is everything to us. In Him, we live and move and have our being. Whatever we need, we already have it in Christ.
Just as each tribe of Israel was given a portion of Christ, so we have been given portions of Christ. We have the stewardship of the mystery of Christ, which is God in us. As stewards, we share our portions of Christ with each other, dispensing His Life into each other through the Spirit. Through this dispensing, the Body is being built up into the fullness of Christ, until we are His express Image.
Lastly, just as Israel had an enemy in the Promised Land, so we have an enemy that wishes to keep God from attaining His eternal desire. Since, we each have a portion of Christ, together we must put on the Armor of God, which is Christ Himself. When I lack faith, a brother or sister in Christ, will have faith to give me. When someone feels unrighteous, I can remind them that Christ is our Righteousness. The war must be fought in the Body, for the Armor of God goes on the New Man, who is the corporate Christ.
Having died and been resurrected with Christ, then eating and drinking our Lord, let us press on to the Promised Land, where Christ is all and in all.
 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.
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.
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? (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
- From Genesis 3 to Revelation 12: God’s Eternal Purpose (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
 The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life;  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.”  To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.”  Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.  “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field;  By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.” – [Gen 3:14-19 NASB]
 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars;  and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.  Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems.  And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.  And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.  Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.  And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war,  and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.  And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.  Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.  “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.  “For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.”  And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. – [Rev 12:1-13 NASB]
This woman is the one foretold of in Genesis. The woman is the entire Church. She is the beautiful Bride of Christ, awaiting His return. The sun, moon, and stars symbolize the universality of this Woman.
The Man Child
The child that comes from the woman, is not only a male child, but a Man Child. This is the Seed of the woman from Genesis that is to bruise Satan. This is the beginning of the New Man. The believers who are more mature in Christ, than the others. They are more mature because they have received more of Christ. Christ has been thoroughly dispensed into them. You may say, “But I thought the Seed of the woman is Christ”. You would also be right, since Christ is the head of the New Man. This is God’s purpose: That we would be His expression. Note that a Woman does not conceive on Her own. The Life of the Bridegroom has been dispensed into the Woman, and She has given birth to this Man Child. He is part of the Woman, and has the Life of the Bridegroom.
The Great Red Dragon
Much time has passed since the garden and the Serpent has become a Great Red Dragon. How has this happened? In Genesis, it was said that the serpent would eat dust. Man is made of dust. Satan seeks to devour people. He has devoured many and has grown quite large and strong. This is also why the Dragon is red: From the blood of his victims.
The rapture of the Man Child is described as He is called up to heaven, directly to the throne of God. They will be taken by Christ, who has come secretly in a cloud. He has come like a thief in the night. A thief comes secretly and quietly. You will note that this rapture differs from that of the rest of the Woman, since they are to meet Christ in the air. Why won’t all of the believers be caught up together? Some are ripe and some aren’t. The ripe ones will be caught up so that they won’t be over ripe and the unripe ones must wait until they have ripened.
What is the purpose of this rapture? It is not to escape The Great Tribulation. The angels are awaiting the authority of Christ, through this Man Child, to cast the Accuser out of heaven. Thus the Man Child is called up to the throne in order to exercise the dominion given in Genesis, and regained by Christ on the cross. God has chosen to use His People to pass judgment on Satan, and Michael and the angels will carry out that judgment. Remember that the angels are to be under our authority.
The Persecution of the Rest of the Woman’s Children
The rest of the believers who were not prepared for the Lord, must be ripened. They will incur the wrath of the Dragon, was has been cast down by the Man Child. Through this persecution they will be ripened and ready to meet Christ when He appears in glory on the cloud.
- Is Jesus Christ the Strong Angel in Revelation 10? (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
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.
This blog post is a clarification of some tweets that I made. To be honest, these are some thoughts that I haven’t completely worked out in my mind, but I will do my best to explain them. Thus, you may take the word “clarification” lightly :). This isn’t an argument for my thoughts (I don’t like arguing), just a discussion.
I will begin with the definitions of the words, personal and corporate, that I have in my mind. I got these definitions from the Google Dictionary:
Personal – Of, affecting, or belonging to a particular person rather than to anyone else
Corporate – Of or shared by all the members of a group
Jesus Christ is not a personal Savior, but a corporate Savior.
I say, “Not saved for themselves but for the glory of Christ the Son.” It’s not about us at all — it’s all about Him! – Whitney McKendree Moore (@WhitneyMcKMoore)
First, I am not saying that God is impersonal, nor am I denying that we are saved as individuals. So what am I saying? I am saying that Jesus Christ does not save anyone for their own sake, but for Himself and His Body. It is obvious that we come into the Body as individuals, considering that a corporate body is made up of individuals. Truly, we are stones, made alive by God, to be put together into one Temple. A Building has individual stones, but they do not have any personal experience that does not affect the Building.
My next point is that salvation does not occur simply between you and Christ. How would anyone hear of Christ unless someone has already been sent to share Him? You may even have learned the good news from a Christian who is long dead, but a member of the Body none the less. Indeed, the Body of Christ shared the Head to you, who was revealed to you through the invisible workings of the Holy Spirit.
Third, we always exist in some form of corporate body. We were born in Adam, and thus have received His sin nature. Through the death and resurrection, we are reborn, by the Spirit, in Christ. Thus, in order to be saved you had to be included corporately in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, our dear Lord. Also, Christ died once for all, not over and over again for each person. We don’t have a separate and distinct experience of His death and resurrection, but share in the same act that was performed once for all.
Another thought that I have is if we were chosen in Christ before the creation of the world, were we not already His Nation before we considered ourselves a part of it? We were already chosen in Christ, and when He was revealed to us we learned of our true identity. The identity that was hidden in Him. We no longer think that we are poor peasants, but we see that we are kings, destined to reign with Christ.
Is anything really personal? Or is personal a delusion?
We like things to be personal. We think that life is like a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut. We want to think that stuff is ours and we have our own little bubbles to walk around. It is an awful thing if someone enters your bubble. Honestly, I can’t think of a single thing that does not affect others. Everything that we do affects others. Even if you are absent, hidden away in the wilderness, there are people who will never hear your knowledge, be encouraged by your advice, or hurt by your cruelty. All of your experiences have included someone or something else. The truth is that nothing is really personal, nothing really belongs to us. All is given to us by our God, for the good of all. If you keep what He has given to you, others are hurt and if you give what He has given to you, others benefit.
First of all, let me explain why I am writing this post. I am writing this post because someone reading this post might have the same questions, and perhaps, God wants to give you the same answers through this post.
Background to first question: So, I have been facing some difficulties with work recently, that have caused me to wonder what I should do. I decided to ask God, “What should I do?”. Immediately, I got an answer, “Be patient”. So I thought to myself, “Gee, some answer!”. But, then I realized my mistake and announced that, “Jesus is my Patience”.
A little while later, I was wondering how I could go on. Sure Jesus is my Patience, but I don’t think that I can physically go on. Patience doesn’t seem to solve my difficulties. As I pondered these things, I received my second answer, “I am Enough”. With these words, Peace came upon me and the enemy fled.
Maybe you have something that seems like it is too much for you. Maybe the enemy is filling your mind with doubts as well. Indeed, it is too much for you. But, God has declared that He is Enough for all of our needs. Let me tell you that your feelings are not real when they conflict what God has said. What God says is absolute truth, even if you can’t see it. Christ is Enough for us.
1 Because I love Zion, I will not keep still. Because my heart yearns for Jerusalem, I cannot remain silent. I will not stop praying for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn, and her salvation blazes like a burning torch. 2 The nations will see your righteousness. World leaders will be blinded by your glory. And you will be given a new name by the LORD’s own mouth. 3 The LORD will hold you in his hand for all to see– a splendid crown in the hand of God. 4 Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City” or “The Desolate Land.” Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight” and “The Bride of God,” for the LORD delights in you and will claim you as his bride. 5 Your children will commit themselves to you, O Jerusalem, just as a young man commits himself to his bride. Then God will rejoice over you as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride. 6 O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray day and night, continually. Take no rest, all you who pray to the LORD. 7 Give the LORD no rest until he completes his work, until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth. – Isa 62:1-7 NLT
In these verses, the Lord displays His overwhelming love for His People, the City of God. How His heart yearns for us! Christ even ever lives to intercede on our behalf. He is so zealous for our righteousness and salvation that He will not stop praying for us. You may wonder what Christ is up to at any given moment. Here you have your answer: He is interceding for us.
But what is the purpose of this? He is going to blind the world with our righteousness and glory. Our righteousness and glory will shine more brightly than the sun. How can this possibly be? It is because Christ Himself is our Righteousness and our Glory. He is the Light that shines in us. When He is our All, when His fullness is displayed in us, all will see that His Brilliance is beyond measure.
Next, we find out that were are to have a new name. The Lord Himself is to give us this name. Our new name will be “The City of God’s Delight” and “The Bride of God”. This has been God’s purpose from beginning. Throughout Scripture you see the Father building a home. There is the garden, the ark, and the temple. All of these are but shadows of true House of God. The New Jerusalem, the City of God’s Delight, is a Living City. It is built of living stones. Each of us is a living stone and, together, we are this magnificent City that God so delights in. But, we see that is not our only name. We are also called the Bride of God. The Son came for a Bride, someone who He could be One with. He did this by giving us His very Life, so that we can share in His divine nature. What a beautiful Woman this Bride is! We are that Bride and Christ is our Bridegroom. What great names the Lord has given us.
But what does this act of naming us signify? First, it shows that we are the property of the Lord. He has paid our price on the cross, and purchased us by His blood. We are utterly and totally His. Next, He exchanges our name for a new name. Our old self is gone and replaced by one of His own making. Through Christ, our inheritance of death in Adam, has been exchanged for our inheritance of eternal life in Christ. We are truly a new creation in Christ.
How greatly our Lord rejoices in His new creation! We are His great pleasure. He holds us safely in hand and shows us off for all to see. We are like a crown to Him. Since Christ lives in us and Has filled us, He wears us as a crown so that all of earth and all the heavenly places may see this new creation that is made in His full image.
In the last two verses mention, we see that the Lord desires for us to be watchmen over the Church. He desires His People to give Him no rest until His work is completed, which is that this New Jerusalem would be the pride of the earth. He desire that we would pray without ceasing. If you don’t know what to pray for, here you have it. Pray for the desire of the Lord’s heart to be fulfilled. Pray that His work in creating this glorious People, who are called by His Name, may be completed. When you grow tired, take heart, He is ever praying with us and through us.
Oh, how He loves us so!
- For He Has Done Wonderful Things (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
1 In that day you will sing: “I will praise you, O LORD! You were angry with me, but not any more. Now you comfort me. 2 See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The LORD GOD is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.” 3 With joy you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation! 4 In that wonderful day you will sing: “Thank the LORD! Praise his name! Tell the nations what he has done. Let them know how mighty he is! 5 Sing to the LORD, for he has done wonderful things. Make known his praise around the world. 6 Let all the people of Jerusalem shout his praise with joy! For great is the Holy One of Israel who lives among you.” – Isa 12:1-6 NLT
Here we are given a description of the age in which we now live, and what a glorious age it is! This is not the description of some future time, but this is the time in which we now live. Someone has come and made peace between God and us. God is no longer angry with us, but has become our Comforter, through our faith in Jesus Christ. Once, we were His enemies, but now we are His Family. What a change!
Who is this that Has saved us from His wrath? It is none other than God Himself. This Wonderful God has given Himself to us. He has become our All. What do we now have to fear? Nothing. Christ is our Strength. Christ is our Courage. Christ is our Song. Christ is our Victory. Christ is our Salvation. The list can go on and on. Everything we now have is a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. We have exchanged our ashes for Beauty.
Oh, the riches of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Fountain of our salvation. Everyday, He nourishes us. He is the great Refresher. Has your love grown cold? Are you defeated? The Son beckons you, “Come and drink of Me, for I am the Life-Giving Fountain”. It is our joy to drink deeply of Him. His depths are endless!
From these things flows our thanks and praise to the Lord. We share with others the amazing things that He has done in us and through us. The great might of the Lord is in how He has exchanged our old selves for Christ, that we may no longer live, but He lives in us. Never has such a thing been imagined, except in the mind of God. He has done the most wonderful things imaginable. He has given us His very Life to live by.
The last verse is most amazing. We, the Church, are that great People of Jerusalem. We are the New Jerusalem that descends from Heaven at the end of Revelations. We are the glorious City of God. What is the glory of this City? It is none other than the Holy One, the Christ that lives among us by His Spirit. The Father has indeed found a place of rest in us. Look, how He dwells among us, not just in us, but among us. As we gather, each believer is to share his or her portion of Christ, that He may be displayed among us. No one person can show the fullness of our Lord, but all of us together show His fullness.
- The Passionate Commitment of the Lord (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
1 Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory. 2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. 3 You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice. They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest and like warriors dividing the plunder. 4 For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. You will break the oppressor’s rod, just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian. 5 The boots of the warrior and the uniforms bloodstained by war will all be burned. They will be fuel for the fire. 6 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen! – Isa 9:1-7 NLT
Oh, how deep has the darkness been that has consumed the world since fall of humanity. We were without hope. But God gave us a promise through the prophet Isaiah. This promise was that He would send us someone to set us free. Indeed, He did send us someone to fulfill His promises. He sent us a son, His Son. How glorious is the Son of God! Our Lord Jesus Christ filled Galilee with His glory. He is the light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. His light has end our slavery to the powers of darkness. He shined Himself upon us, and all darkness inside us fled from His glory. He has taken our burden of sin off of our backs and upon Himself. We have no longer have any responsibility to appease the tyrant that was our flesh. This great tyrant has been overthrown and we have been given a Good King.
Who is this King? He is our Wonderful Counselor, for He always guides us in the best way to go. He shows us the narrow path. Indeed, He knows it intimately since He, Himself, is the Narrow Path. He is the Mighty God. He is all-powerful, eternal, the great I AM. Next, He is the Everlasting Father. Those who have seen the Son, have seen the Father. Earthly fathers pass away, but ours will always be there. He always was, is, and always will be. The last name listed is the Prince of Peace. He has brought peace by ending the old creation and creating a new one that displays the image of God in its fullness. There is no longer a division between man and God, but we are united to God through the Son and soon we will see our union with Him manifested in its fullness. This Kingdom of Peace will never end. The King of Peace has brought us into this Kingdom, so that He may display His glory through us now, and forever more.
Look at the last sentence of the quoted Scripture. What a great promise it is! “The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” It will happen. The Lord has declared it and is passionate to see it done. We are the beginnings of this great work of God. We are among the firstborn of this new creation, a creation filled with Christ. If only we believed that Christ is our Good King. We are His People and He reigns in our hearts. He will guard us jealously. We may not see the completion of these things with our eyes yet, but we see them through the eyes of faith.
Today I have decided to start posting about Jesus outside of the four gospels. The Scriptures are full of Him and through them we gain a full picture of who our Lord is.
1 For the choir director: A psalm of David. How the king rejoices in your strength, O LORD! He shouts with joy because you give him victory. 2 For you have given him his heart’s desire; you have withheld nothing he requested. Interlude 3 You welcomed him back with success and prosperity. You placed a crown of finest gold on his head. 4 He asked you to preserve his life, and you granted his request. The days of his life stretch on forever. 5 Your victory brings him great honor, and you have clothed him with splendor and majesty. 6 You have endowed him with eternal blessings and given him the joy of your presence. 7 For the king trusts in the LORD. The unfailing love of the Most High will keep him from stumbling. 8 You will capture all your enemies. Your strong right hand will seize all who hate you. 9 You will throw them in a flaming furnace when you appear. The LORD will consume them in his anger; fire will devour them. 10 You will wipe their children from the face of the earth; they will never have descendants. 11 Although they plot against you, their evil schemes will never succeed. 12 For they will turn and run when they see your arrows aimed at them. 13 Rise up, O LORD, in all your power. With music and singing we celebrate your mighty acts. (Psa 21:1-13 NLT)
Here we discover more of the greatness of our Christ. We see that the Father withholds nothing from Him. How joyful He is in His victory over sin and death! He entered back into heaven as a conqueror. His victory has brought the Father great honor. He has become the Eternal King, clothed with splendor and majesty. His victory has earned Him life everlasting. He is even too great for Satan and the world that Satan controls. He already has the victory and soon the fire of His wrath will consume His enemies.
Let us praise our great King who has shared His victory with us. We have done nothing, yet He has given all that He has to us. In Christ, we are more than conquerors because we share in this great victory of His.
“…The persecuted church is God’s gift to us in the West. Their understanding of God, their reverence for His Word, their dependence on prayer and worship, their daily immersion in authentic community, their biblical submission to authority, and their unbridled generosity of spirit can be tremendous resources for us if we only humble ourselves to adopt a spirit of learning” (p. 147).
This book is an opportunity for the church in the West to learn from our brothers and sisters in the persecuted church. Many of in the West have realized that there is something wrong with us. The persecuted church can be an example for us in how to meet in Christ. “Then Privilege of Persecution” will show you the major features that set the persecuted church apart from the church in the West.
I wish I could share with you all that I have learned in this book, but it would be too much for a book review. Here is a glimpse of what I found important in this book: They follow Christ, they enjoy prayer, oneness, slow your pace, and America no longer trusts God.
It is clear that the church in the West is in danger. We have lost our first love. The majority of the church in the world has to cling to Christ or face extinction. In the West, “Christians” can flourish without Christ. The persecuted church has shown its faithfulness in the face of death. We have shown our faithlessness in the face of wealth. Let’s return to Christ and in humility, learn what the persecuted church can teach us about what it really means to follow Him.
I received this book free from the publisher.
This is a wonderful book that I would recommend to all those who love Christ. It is a devotional book about God’s goodness in suffering. The narrator of the audiobook is Lloyd Jones, who’s voice is comforting in a book that describes so much suffering.
This book is based on Scripture, as well as stories of Christians who have suffered. At the end of each day is a prayer. Christ promised that all who followed Him would suffer and this book has many stories of Christians who have been faithful to Him, in spite of much suffering. Many of those mentioned in the book have found that they are now closer to God because of their suffering. Christ is our example of suffering, for He has suffered more than all of us combined.
There was more than one occasion in which this book caused tears to swell up in my eyes. It is a book of hope, joy, and love in the face of deep pain and sorrow. This is the hope, joy, and love that only Christ can give us.
Many think that suffering should be avoided at all costs. Indeed, suffering would be unbearable if our Father was not sovereign in it. Fortunately, He has measured all of our pains and troubles out for us and we can be assured there will not be too much nor too little of the trials in this life.
I received this book free from christianaudio.com through the christianaudio Reviewers program.
All that we see are but mere shadows. The good things are shadows of Christ, whereas the evil things are shadows of hell.
I will begin with how evil things are shadows of hell, before we get into the much greater topic of how good things are shadows of Christ. Some have decided that pain and suffering in this world is hell, but that is not so. Pain and suffering warn us of hell. Hell is much worse than what we experience on earth. The greatest pain here will not compare to that of hell. That is why it is by far better to pluck out your own eye that causes you to sin, than to be cast into hell with both eyes. That horrible pain of plucking out your own eye is but a shadow of the pain of hell. But, let’s move on to greater things than hell.
All good things are shadows of Christ. Each good thing reveals Him in a different way and in a different measure. There is not a place that you can look without seeing Christ. The highway may be the way you get to work, but Christ is the true Way. There are many signs that show you where to go on the road, but Christ is the real Sign that directs us. We dwell in houses, but Christ is our true Home. You feel relief from a cool breeze in the heat of summer, but Christ is our true Relief. The sun gives us light and warmth, but Christ is a Light to our path and gives us
His warmth. A tree is lifeless in the winter, but comes to life in spring. There you see a shadow of His resurrection.
The entire land is a great shadow of Christ. From the land, mankind receives everything it needs. The land gives us food, water, materials for building, precious jewels, and the list can go on. The land is abundant. Christ is our Land, and from Him comes everything we need in abundance. Are you hungry? He is your Food. Do you need shade? He will cover you. Do you need your Spirit lifted? He is far more pleasant to look upon than any wildflowers.
Do you understand? Look anywhere and the shadow of Christ is obvious for those who look through His Spirit. He is the ultimate Reality and all that you see and naturally experience is a lesser reality.
“Also in the church in Rome was a godly man named Lawrence, who was a minister of the Gospel and in charge of distributing the church’s goods. Marcianus greedily demanded that Lawrence tell him where the church’s riches were hid, thinking he could take them for himself. Lawrence requested three days in which to gather the riches together and present them to the governor.”
“When the third day came, Marcianus demanded that Lawrence keep his promise. Whereupon Lawrence stretched out his arms over some poor Christians that he had gathered in the place with him and said ‘These are the precious riches of the Church. They are the treasures in which faith in Christ reigns, in whom Christ has His dwelling place. What more precious jewel can the Church have than those in whom Christ promised to dwell?’”
“…After many cruel torments, this meek slave of Christ was laid on his fiery bed. But in God’s providence, it was as a bed of soft feathers, and the godly Lawrence laid there and perished as if taking a nourishing rest.” – John Foxe, The New Foxe’s Book of Martyrs
In “Let Us Pray”, Watchman Nee brings us into the deep waters of the mystery of prayer. He reveals that “the prayer which a believer utters on earth is but the voicing of the Lord’s will in heaven”. Any expression of our own will that is not God’s will is not prayer at all and will be ineffective.
Using examples from Scripture, Watchman Nee shows the importance of prayer in the lives of Christians, because “all the actions in heaven are governed by the actions on earth!” Although, God has His eternal will, which He will complete, He will wait to act until His People join with Him in prayer.
Watchman Nee uses the parable of the widow, who repeatedly bothers the judge because of the oppression of her enemy, to show the importance of praying against Satan. This is a type of prayer that Jesus prophesied would be rare when He returns.
I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
(Luk 18:8 ESV)
Watchman Nee continues throughout the book showing the importance of prayer, offering examples of effectual prayers, explaining types of prayers, and revealing the schemes that Satan uses to harm us.
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting too much when I started reading this little book. I have quite a few books on prayer and there comes a point when you have to ask: “Is there anything else that someone can say about prayer?” Watchman Nee has showed me my many failures in prayer. I understood that prayer is always to be according to God’s will, but I didn’t realize He waits for our prayers before He acts.
How unfaithful to my Lord have I been in this matter! I have not been praying for His return. I have not been praying for Satan to be bound and cast into the pit. I have not begged our Father to rebuke the evil one with all of His wrath for causing all kinds of pains and sufferings on His Children. Christ has revealed to me that He wishes for us to join in His work and is willing to delay the fulfillment of His will, because we don’t yet care enough to pray about His desires. How the army of heaven has suffered, because we have been unwilling to aid them in their battle against the enemy of Christ.
If Christ is always interceding for us, how can we justify not joining with Him in fulfilling the eternal purpose of God?
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2Co 12:7-10 ESV)
In order for the eternal purpose of God to be made manifest in us, troubles, trials, difficulties, and sufferings are allowed to come to us. God is never the originator of evil. Instead, Satan is the author of evil.
Evil is not something created, it is the lack of good. In the same way as darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of goodness. You can’t turn on darkness, but you can turn on light.
Satan cannot act against God’s Children, unless it is by the permission of God. God can prevent or stop any trial, whenever He pleases.
You may suffer because of sin, to become more Christlike, to glorify God, or a combination of these. Don’t assume that you are suffering just because you have sinned, for we suffer because we live in a fallen world, where there is an unseen war being waged by powers and principalities beyond our understanding. If you suffer, seek God and He will give you understanding by His Spirit.
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.
(Joh 9:1-3 ESV)
God used a messenger of Satan to keep Paul from becoming conceited and to reveal to Him that the power of God is perfected in our weakness. When we do experience any momentary trouble, or lasting difficulty, we can trust that God is using it for our good. Let us be content with our weaknesses, when trouble is upon us, knowing that our loving Father is in complete control. We see from Paul’s example that it is not wrong to ask God to remove our thorns, but that we must be resigned to His will if He chooses not to.
Who are we to question God, whose ways are not our ways and who is beyond or full understanding? We know He is always good and does what is best for us. Let’s walk in peace and contentedness no matter what our circumstances are because we are in Christ.
“That he expected after the pleasant days God had given him, he should have his turn of pain and suffering; but that he was not uneasy about it, knowing very well, that as he could do nothing for himself, God would not fail to give him the strength to bear it.” – Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God
My brothers and sisters in Christ, we should not shrink back from pains and sufferings in this life. We should embrace them as great graces from God, which He is using to sanctify us. If only we could understand, in the hour of difficulty, the blessings God is pouring on us.
When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.
(Act 14:21-22 ESV)
There is no reason to search for pain. God will give what is needed. If it is necessary for your growth, then it will come. If your difficulties become too great, know that God will give you strength to bear them. Often, He will use other Christians to strengthen you.
If we are in a situation where our pain will alleviate the pain of someone else, we should wholeheartedly embrace it. There are people who will not suffer a little discomfort for the life of another person. All of us have chosen ourselves over others at some point in our lives. This is not the way of Christ. This is not the way of love. If we wish to save our lives, we must lose them. We must die to self, that Christ may live through us.
If our Father reserved the greatest sufferings for His beloved Son, we should expect that, as heirs with Christ, we should suffer something as well.
Today, on the day of my birth, I am reflecting on my anticipation of death. I look forward to death. Though, it may be painful, the joy of putting off this body will be more worth it than is imaginable.
Now, I am limited in my sight of Jesus. I can see Him through my brothers and sisters in Christ. I can see Him through the Holy Spirit, who declares His greatness and riches. I can see Him through the testimony of those who physically saw Him. I can see Him by faith.
Someday, I will see His fullness. On that day, the joy in my heart will be complete. I will be at home with Christ. No more pain, no more sorrow. I will spend all eternity in utter bliss, reflecting the image of my Creator and my Lover, with my brothers and sisters in Christ. What love there will be on earth! All of our deepest needs and desires will be met in our Beloved. He will enjoy us and we will enjoy Him. There will be such a holy passion among us, that we cannot yet understand it.
In this life, we get just a mere taste of the life to come. We are still hungry and thirsty for righteousness. We are still hungry and thirsty for Jesus. Though we taste our Lord now, and He satisfies us. Someday, we shall feast on Him, and know His fullness.
I feel sorrow for the sadness, that my death will cause in those who love me. But, I am convinced that the One who has comforted me, will comfort them in my absence. It is better that I am removed from anyone who relies on me for anything, so that they may utterly rely on our dear Father. I don’t think that my death will be soon (by earthly standards), for God has much work to do in me still.
The gospel is Jesus. Jesus is the good news. There is nothing that can be added to Him. He lives in us and through us. We have died with Him, and we share in His divine life. We do not follow a list of rules, because He has written His law in our hearts. We can’t help but love Him, because He is constantly pouring His love out on us. Everyday our love for Him increases. We can see Him in everything. But, most of all, we see Him in each other. He fills us with so much love, we must share it with each other. None of us can fully show the image of Jesus, but together we show Him to each other, and the world. We are in Jesus, and Jesus is in us. Jesus is life itself, everything else is death. He is our joy, our hope, and our love.