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We are Designed to Be a Divine Glove

A PVC-Glove

[26] 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.

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Why Read Books Other Than the Bible?

Standing upon the shoulders of giants

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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

Disciples, Ministers, and the Stewardship

Jesus in the Word

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And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. (Eph. 4:11-13 NASB)


What does it mean to make disciples? What does it mean to be a minister? What is the stewardship of the mystery?

In order to understand these things, we must understand God’s desire and how He is fulfilling that desire. God’s desire is to have an expression of Himself and to fill all things with that expression. Thus, all things will be filled with Christ, through His Spirit. This Christ, that is to fill all things, is the mystery of God and the Church is the mystery of Christ.

The Church is the beginning of this filling of all things with Christ. Through the Church, the entire creation will be an expression of God. God is filling the Church with Christ, by dispensing His Wealth and His Life into the Church. As the receivers of the Life of God, in Christ, we are stewards of Christ. As Christ has been dispensed in us, we also, dispense Christ into each other.

As containers of God, we must be emptied of self and clear. Without being emptied of ourselves, we cannot be filled with God. Thus, our old self was objectively placed on the cross with Christ and we subjectively experience that by faith. Next, we are clear containers because nothing of ourselves should be seen. When we are seen, only our contents should be seen. This is why New Jerusalem, in Revelation, is clear gold. The gold is that which is made of God and it is clear because our selves have died. With ourselves dead, God who is the contents of the Great City, is displayed for all to see.

The dispensing of Christ is what it means to be a minister. In order to minister to someone we must be living in Christ, learning Him, and experiencing Him. Ministering is not merely done with words and teaching, it is done by imparting something of Christ to someone. You cannot impart something of Christ to someone, if Christ is not being dispensed into you. Thus, as Christ is dispensed into us, we dispense Christ into each other.

Lastly, this is also what it means to make disciples. We are not making disciples of ourselves, but of Christ. If you are ministering to someone you are making a disciple. As you impart your portion of Christ into a person by the Spirit, that person is being filled Christ. Since, that person has received something of Christ from you, he or she will share it with someone else. So, making disciples is done by the dispensing of Christ, from your spirit to another person’s spirit, through the Holy Spirit.

 

May we all work so that the desire of God is obtained: The fullness of Christ displayed for all to see.

 

Personal, Corporate, or Both?

Living Stones

Image by Andesine via Flickr

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

1st Tweet

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.

2nd Tweet

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.

Why Have I Chosen to Meet Organically in Christ?

Bexley_Christ_Church

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Just a note, I will be discussing my ideas of organic church, which may not represent every person who meets organically.

The Supremacy of Christ

First of all, the supremacy of Christ over all things is at the very core of the organic gathering. If Christ is not supreme, then our gatherings are a waste of time. Christ must have supremacy in all things. If Christ is to be supreme, then we must submit to Him and His desires. When we meet organically, we lay down our own vision of what “church” is like, to see what Christ wants to do through us.

Christ is Zealous for God’s House

It would be pointless to meet under the supremacy of Christ, if He didn’t care about our gatherings. But, that is not the case! He wants to lead us into all righteousness and glory. Indeed, He is our Righteousness and Glory! No man will ever care about the Church as Christ does. We are the Bride, and He is our Bridegroom. He is consumed with love and passion for us.

Christ is Head

But, what does it matter that Christ is supreme and zealous for us, if He is not Head over us? We must realize that we are one Body, under His Headship. Only the Head is capable of leading the Body. Every believer is simply a body part. If one person leads, it is like a finger leading the body. If a group of people lead the body, then it is like a hand leading the body. Christ is more than capable of leading His Body through anything and everything.

All are Equal in Christ, the Corporate Man

Now that you have seen that Christ is supreme, that He is zealous for God’s House, and Head over the Body, let’s look at this Body. Is one part of the Body, greater than another? Never! All need to participate in the gathering of the Body. Every single body part is needed. Can a mouth speak, without the tongue and the neck and the lungs? Does the mouth speak by itself? Institutional gatherings assume that one person is the mouth and everyone else are the ears. What I am getting at is this: All the body parts are equal in Christ and all should have the opportunity for Christ to use them when we gather together. When Christ is allowed to use every person as He chooses, we will see the fullness of this great corporate Lord of ours. He ascended to Heaven for this purpose: That He may be a Corporate Man, in His People, through His Spirit.

Christ is in All

But, we must also believe that Christ is in all. Christ is not only in the pastor, nor, only in the prophet. Christ is in all! Every single believer, in Christ, has the Spirit of Christ living in him or her. Christ can speak through a young child, as He can through an elder. He doesn’t have favorites. He chooses as He wills, according to His wisdom. Indeed, your strengths will inhibit what the Spirit wants to do through you, but your weaknesses give Him free reign. May the weakest be the greatest among us!

Some Thoughts on the Pastorate

Considering that, there is much disagreement over the authority of the pastorate, I will say a few words about it. Let me say that I do, indeed, believe in the ministry of the pastor. But, a pastor, nor any other ministry, is not a title to be taken. You do not choose to be a pastor, pastors are chosen of God and you will act as one as you learn Christ. A pastor does not stand in front of the Flock, but is among it. A pastor is simply another body part, that is no more significant than any other.

Concluding Thoughts

Lastly, I would like to point out that the Church is a living organism, not a structure. It needs nothing, but Christ. All things flow from Him. He is our Life and our Light. If any one member of the Body is not present at any particular organic meeting, the Body is still able to meet without any hindrance. The member, who isn’t present. will be missed, but Christ will still be free to act through His Body. This gathering under the Christ, is a gathering of faith. By faith we see and hear Him through our brothers and sisters. Sometimes, He acts almost imperceptibly, sometimes through power.

I meet organically that Christ may be all and in all.

His Heart Yearns For Jerusalem

Brides

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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

Groom, Texas

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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.

God’s Story, Your Story by Max Lucado

There is one story and it is God’s story. He has invited us to be a part of that story. Max Lucado explains this in his book, “God’s Story, Your Story”:

Above and around us God directs a grander saga, written by his hand, orchestrated by his will, unveiled according to his calendar. And you are a part of it. Meaningless Munchkin? Not you. Stranded on the prairie in a creaky old farmhouse? No way. Your life emerges from the greatest mind and the kindest heart in the history of the universe: the mind and heart of God.”

I am convinced that Max Lucado is a skilled writer. He has a special way with words. He is able to take his life experiences and beautifully illustrate his points. Throughout “God’s Story, Your Story, Max Lucado uses personal stories, Scripture, and the stories of others to explore different aspects of this grand story that we are part of.

On of the most intriguing ideas in this book was this:

“As God’s story becomes your, closed doors take on a new meaning. You no longer see them as interruptions of your plan but as indications of God’s plan” (p. 123).

I think this quote describes someone who has denied self, and is consumed with the will of God. When we were included in the death and resurrection of Christ, His story did become our story. Likewise, our story became His.

Not every chapter was interesting. Some were interesting and some weren’t. Also, the flow from chapter to chapter didn’t feel smooth. At times, I was not even sure what point the author was trying to make. I enjoyed most of this book, but it wasn’t amazing or life-changing.

I received this book free from the publisher.


The Passionate Commitment of the Lord

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.

That Christ Might Be All and In All

Mountains of Creation

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At our organic meeting on Sunday, a brother in Christ asked a question that I would like to attempt to answer. The question was this, “If all babies go to heaven, then why should we try to stop abortion”. I know this is a hot button subject with many, so if you would like to comment, I would appreciate respectful and gentle answers. My first thought, concerning the question, is that I am not sure that all babies go to heaven. I have heard some Scripture quoted that alludes to this idea, but there seems to be no definite answer on the subject. I do know that God is good and just. Therefore, I trust Him and His judgment on this subject. But, that is not where I want to go with this post.

The real issue is an idea that Christian leaders have propagated for a long time. This idea is that our faith is about getting people into heaven. This falls far short of the goal, which is that Christ would be all and in all. Jesus Christ endured the cross, suffered death, and was resurrected for the joy of honoring His Father by having His glorious image displayed in all of creation. We are the firstborn of a new creation that is consumed by a Person, Jesus Christ. When the day of the Lord comes, that great day of disaster and shame for the people and powers of this world, the old creation will be judged and destroyed. In its place will be a creation that utterly and fully radiates the image of God. When we start from the position of God’s eternal purpose in Christ, we can see that abortion does not help to display the image of Christ.

In conclusion, if all babies do go to heaven, supporting the abortion of babies so that they would go to heaven is building the kingdom with one hand, while tearing it down with the other. We are not to sin that grace may abound. In the same way, we do not support the murder of the innocent, so that there will be more people the kingdom of God. May Christ be all and in all.

Penetrating the Darkness by Jack Hayford

"Satan Sowing Seeds" by Felicien Rop...

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In “Penetrating the Darkness”, Jack Hayford explains the authority Christ has given to us over the powers of darkness. We are not engaged in a war with flesh and blood, but with principalities in spiritual places. Thus, our warfare with the enemy is conducted by the Spirit, through prayer. Spiritual warfare in prayer is the major topic of this book. The audiobook that I listened to was narrated by Tim Lundeen. His voice was not boring, but soft enough to enjoy listening to during rides to and from work.

Some of the topics that the author discusses in this book are: Intercession, supplication, binding and loosing, and the keys to the kingdom. Jack Hayford uses a mix of Scripture, word study, and personal experience to explain these difficult topics. The author doesn’t distort these topics with a “name it and claim it” theology. Instead, the entire book is based on the power and the authority given to followers of Christ by His Spirit, through the blood and the cross.

If you are tired of being accused by the accuser, sick of seeing relationships ruined by the spirit of division, or angry at the blood of the righteous that has been spilled by the murderer, you will want to read this book. It will explain what Christ has given to you for the battle that the forces of heaven are engaged in against the forces of hell. If you think that spiritual warfare doesn’t involve you, then Satan will bring it to your door. You don’t have to be a victim. In Christ, each of us has been given the power to transform the lives of people around us and even the lives of those far away. We bring the light of Christ into the darkness, and the darkness cannot stand against it.

I received this book free from christianaudio.com through the christianaudio Reviewers program.

Is God’s House Safe From Earthquakes?

A cornerstone with bronze relief images

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Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says:
“Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem,
a firm and tested stone.
It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on.
Whoever believes need never be shaken. (Isa 28:16 NLT)

The Foundation Stone has come. He was tested in all the ways that we are tested, yet He was without sin. Christ is the precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. He has proven Himself strong and sturdy. The church that is being built together on Christ will not be shaken. It cannot fall. We, His Temple, can only be built together on Christ, the Lord’s Foundation Stone. Earthquakes will come to test your foundation. Many will fall because their foundation was built by man and not by God. Will you believe in the Foundation that God has sent, or will your trust in one of the many foundations that man has produced?

The Privilege of Persecution by Dr. Carl Moeller & David W. Hegg

Persecution of the Christians

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…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.

90 Days of God’s Goodness by Randy Alcorn

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.

Shadows of Christ

Shadows of flowers

Image by Broken Simulacra via Flickr

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.

The Radical Disciple by John Stott

The Radical Disciple” is a decent book. I can’t say that there is anything extraordinary within its pages. Instead, it is a solid picture of a disciple of Christ. The narrator of the audiobook, Grover Gardner, had a pleasant voice and made the book enjoyable to listen to during drives to and from work.

The religious might take this book on how to be a disciple. That would be a grave error. This book should be an aid to disciples of Christ to remember some neglected aspects of the Christian life. That being said, there are eight chapters that describe some of the “neglected aspects of our calling”. These aspects are: noncomformity, Christlikeness, maturity, creation care, simplicity, balance, dependence, and death. It can be said that there are many more aspects to being a disciple, but these are ones that the author views as most neglected in our day.

I would suggest this book to any Christian who wishes to have a more well-rounded view of what a disciple of Christ looks like. Do not take this book to be all that a disciple is, but use it to learn how to follow Christ in ways that you have neglected in the past.

The aspect that moved my heart the most was dependence. In a society where independence is championed, it is difficult to feel alright being dependent on another person. Independence is a result of pride and has no place in the life of a Christian. Some even pretend to be content with being dependent upon God, but refuse to be dependent upon other people. This is not true dependence, considering Christ lives in His People and expects us to live as a loving community. If you are to follow Christ, you will have to lay down your old man, and rejoice in your dependence on God and His People.

For those of us still learning Christ, this book might just show you something that you have missed in you walk with Christ.

I received this book free from christianaudio.com through the christianaudio Reviewers program.

 

The Precious Riches of the Church

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

Slave by John MacArthur

In “Slave” by John MacArthur, Christians are reminded that we are slaves to Christ. This is a fact that has been ignored by modern Christianity due to the Greek word “doulos” being mistranslated as servant. The translators most likely avoided the term “slave” because of the western preconceived notions of slavery. In western society, slavery is an offensive idea, because of the evil that has occurred in western slavery.

 

Slaves of Christ should be understood in the context of Greco-Roman and Hebrew slavery. Many slaves were treated very well, although, there were slaves that were treated cruelly. Slaves with wealthy and influential masters enjoyed a high status in society because of their masters’ statuses. If the Cesar’s slaves were proud to be his slaves, how much more should we enjoy being the slaves of Christ?

 

John MacArthur also supports his view that we are slaves of Christ with the testimonies of faithful Christians throughout history. Early Christians boasted of the freedom that they found in being slaves of Christ. Martyrs could not deny their Master, because He had purchased them. Throughout history Christians have enjoyed a privileged position as slaves of Christ.

 

If you are not a slave of Christ, then you are a slave of sin. Sin is a harsh taskmaster, whereas Christ is pleased to welcome His slaves as members of His own family. Indeed, slaves of Christ are His brothers and sisters.

 

Let us be faithful slaves while our Master is away, so that He will be overjoyed upon His return.

 

I received this book free from christianaudio.com through the christianaudio Reviewers program.

Aids to “Revelation” by Watchman Nee

Watchman Nee

Image via Wikipedia

…The reader of this book must keep his heart pure- that is to say, he is not to read it out of curiosity concerning future events. He ought instead to peruse its pages with the desire to know more of God’s word so that he may keep God’s will and may receive whatever He intends to give through His word.” – Watchman Nee

In Aids to “Revelation”, Watchman Nee opens our eyes to see that “…the book of Revelation is not one of secrecy but one of disclosure.” This opposes the modern view that Revelation is one of mysterious symbols that cannot be understood. To show that Revelation is indeed a revelation, Watchman Nee points out that more than half of the symbols in Revelation are already explained in its pages.

This book in not an in depth study of Revelation, but is rather, as its title states, an aid. Watchman Nee briefly examines the various interpretations of Revelation and decides that the Futurist position is most satisfactory. Although, He refuses to “argue which interpretation is right and which is wrong”. The true interpretation of Revelation is to be found in its own pages.

The key to understanding Revelation, according to the Watchman Nee, is in Revelation 1:19:

Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.
(Rev 1:19 ESV)

Therefore, Watchman Nee divides the books into these three categories: Things that you have seen, those that are, and those that are to take place after this. As he describes these divisions, Watchman Nee explains how the prophecies of Daniel, Jesus, Peter, Paul, and John are all complementary and speak of the same things. In addition, Watchman Nee describes the meaning and significance of numbers and uses Scripture to reinforce the meaning of each number.

This book is a great encouragement to those of us who are overwhelmed by the complexity of modern interpretations and the belief that this book is not understandable. If you don’t agree with Watchman Nee’s understanding of Revelation, in spite of His Scripture references and use of historical sources, this book will at least encourage you that the book of Revelation was meant to be understandable for those who love God.

A Look at Fasting Pt. 1

Considering that we are entering into the time when some people participate in Lent, I thought I would take a look at fasting. (I will look at fasting in parts, since I really don’t like long posts.) This is not only in regards to fasting during Lent, but fasting at anytime. If you fast during Lent do it for Christ and His eternal purpose. If you fast some other times, do it for Christ and His eternal purpose. What I do respect from Lent is that it is a corporate fast of the Body, for those who wish to participate. I do think fasting has been neglected in our times, although it is important in the life in Christ. We will start with what Christ had to say about fasting, since He is Everything to us.

Jesus fasted.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
(Mat 4:1-2 ESV)

Jesus prophesied that we would fast.

And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.” And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.”
(Luk 5:33-36 ESV)

Christ, as our example, fasted in the wilderness. He also expected us to fast after He had been taken to His Father. We wait for the return of our Bridegroom, when we will have no need to fast. For now, He has not returned, so we continue in our prayers and fasts.

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