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Blessed are the Pure in Heart

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

The condition of your heart is so important for the Lord’s purpose.

The proper heart for the growth of Life

And not holding the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied and knit together by means of the joints and sinews, grows with the growth of God.

God’s Eternal Purpose is to head up all things in Christ and He is accomplishing His Purpose through His Economy, which is to dispense Himself into all the saints to be our Life and Life-Supply.

God’s Economy is what we see in Matthew 13. The Lord is dispensing Himself as the Seed into our hearts. He is uniting Himself with us in eternal Oneness.

In Matthew 13, the Lord gives a picture of the growth in Life concerning four heart conditions. These heart conditions are symbolized by the soils.

We see a few pictures in this parable: the Sower, the Seed(the Word), and the Life.

The Lord is the Sower.

The Lord is the Seed.

The Lord is the Word.

The Lord is the Life.

The Lord is everything for us. When we believe into the Lord, He comes into us as a small Seed. But, this Seed isn’t lacking anything. Within the Seed is the entire Tree. This Seed becomes One with the soil of our hearts. The Lord Spirit is mingled with our spirit in Oneness.

With the proper soil, water, and light this Seed will grow up to be the overcoming inner Man in us. You must understand that what grows forth from the Seed planted into our hearts is not just God, but also Man. The Plant that grows is God with us. It is God and us as One New Man. This Seed is planted in our spirit and will grow to fill and saturate our mind, will, and emotions.

I do think that we all have the experience of each of the different types of soils in Jesus’ parable. I encourage you to go read that parable now.

The Hard Soil

A hard heart is of no use to God. It gives Him no room to enter or grow.

The Rocky Soil

The rocky heart is somewhat hard and somewhat soft. It gives the Lord room to enter and grow, but the growth is too shallow.

The Thorny Soil

The thorny heart is a soft heart, but the thorns take away the nutrients for its growth.

The good soil

The good heart is gives the Lord plenty of room to growth. It receives His Living Water and His Shining Light. Root dig deeply down to strengthen the inner man. The Plant grows upward growing from glory to glory, until the ultimate expression is revealed: the glorious flower. Right now you may not look so beautiful outwardly, but if you have the proper heart for the Lord, someday you will be a glorious shining flower, displaying the beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ. We will express the fullness of God!

The proper heart for the flow of Life.

The Tree of Life grows in the River of Life. The Tree of Life is for growth of God’s Life and the River of Life is for the flow of God’s Life.

In Genesis 26, we have a picture of Isaac with his tent in Beersheba, where Abraham had planted a tamarisk tree. The Lord appears to Isaac and Isaac builds an altar and digs a well. We need to set our tents(our dwelling) in the Lord’s constant appearing by the tamarisk tree(a picture of the Tree of Life), building an altar and digging a well. The altar symbolizes the application of the cross and the well symbolizes our enjoyment of the flowing resurrection Life.

None of us have the proper heart by nature. So for God’s flow, we need to learn to be altar-builders and well-diggers.

Hidden deep beneath layers and layers of hardened dust, there is fresh Water. Every morning we must wake up and dig through our natural man to enjoy the flowing Life deep within our spirit. I just wake up in my flesh every morning. I don’t want to turn to the Lord. I don’t want to get up. I don’t want to work.

I do think that many of you have the same experience. So we must build an altar, leaving our old man there. And we must dig a well to keep our hearts soft and tender for the Lord’s flow. With such a soft heart, the Lord will be a fountain springing up within us to eternal Life. We will have the freshness of His flowing Life. He will even overflow out of us and water those around us.

But whenever their heart turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. And the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. But we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.

Keep turning your hearts to the Lord by Faith, dear ones. With a pure heart, a heart that’s single for the Lord, you are free to behold the Lord within you. The more time you spend beholding the Lord within you, the more you will shine. You will be transformed into the Lord’s image, expressing His glory more and more. How gloriously blessed are the pure in heart!

Putting the Flesh to Death

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

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

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

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

Image

photo credit: don2g via photopin cc

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

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

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

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

Understanding the Kingdom of God

A fish tank at the Oklahoma Aquarium

A fish tank at the Oklahoma Aquarium (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Each species has its kingdom. There is the human kingdom, the fish kingdom, the bird kingdom, the lizard kingdom, the monkey kingdom, and so on. Each kingdom is divided by its particular life. The human life is quite distinguishable from the fish life. This separates these kingdoms.

With this in mind, suppose you had a fish tank. Every time you came near to the fish tank, the fish swam away in fear. Your desire was to tell these fish the good news that you would provide for all of their needs. Unfortunately, you had no way to speak to them. You would have to enter into the fish kingdom, taking on the fish life.

If you became a human fish, taking the fish life on, you would be able to communicate with the fish. You could tell them about work, laughter, war, cars, planes, televisions, and all the human things. But, the fish, being able to hear you, couldn’t have any understanding. All of these things are human things, belonging to the human kingdom, and the fish just couldn’t comprehend them. The fish might repeat the things that you said religiously. They might shout them with all of their fish lungs. Their little brains might be filled up with knowledge of human things. Yet, they would not be able to understand these things.

The fish would have to take in the human life. You would have to put your life into them, so that they may remain fish, but being able to understand and enjoy the human life.

Do you see that this is the same as what God did?

Jesus, God in the flesh, preached the Good News of God to many humans. But, even those closest to Him, didn’t comprehend the things that He was saying. He was telling them all about God’s Kingdom, but they had no understanding. They could only understand the human kingdom and they interpreted what Jesus’ said, according to the human kingdom. They completely missed everything that He said.

But, praise God! Jesus lived a human life, died, resurrected, ascended, and became the Life-giving Spirit to enter into us. He dispensed God’s Life into us, so that we may enter into the Kingdom of God!

We may now understand the things of God. Things that God has kept secret from eternity are now open to us, in Christ.

Jesus Christ, Life and Light

Before, I get into the blog post today, I want to share the deep writings of a wonderful brother in Christ, T. Austin-Sparks. All of his writings are free at The Online Library of T. Austin-Sparks. He was a mature saint, who suffered much, and through whom, Christ has been magnified to many. I highly recommend T. Austin-Sparks’ writings, The School of Christ, The Stewardship of the Mystery Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, and The Centrality and the Supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ. But, I think you will see more of Christ in all of his writings.

Brothers and sisters, I have always loved the song Silent Night. Since it is such a simple song, it is one of the first songs, that I am learning to play on the guitar. I realized that I don’t really care for the words too much anymore, considering Jesus Christ is far greater than that song shows Him to be. Thus, I wrote a new hymn to the tune of Silent Night called: Jesus Christ, Life and Light. Enjoy Him!

Jesus Christ, Life and Light
You’re our Calm, You’re our Sight
Around the Head, the saints gather
Holy ones loving each other
Rest in our Father’s House

Jesus Christ, Life and Light
Demons quake at the sight
Glories stream from Heaven within
Living stones sing Jesus, our Kin
Christ the Lord is displayed

Jesus Christ, Life and Light
In You there is no night
We look to You with unveiled face
Receiving Your Life as our Grace
Marriage of Christ and His Bride.

Life was a Lemon

Before getting into the my post, I want to share a great post from a brother in Christ, who I know personally. I can testify to you of seeing, hearing, and feeling Christ in this brother, so loved by God. His name is John Wilson and he blogs at JohnSWilson3. His most recent post “…SINCE WE ARE RECEIVING A KINGDOM THAT CANNOT BE SHAKEN…” is a great encouragement to all of us who are suffering.

When I was a teenager, I was trying to figure out what kind of music I liked. I looked through some of my step-dad’s CD’s to try out some of his music. I saw one that looked pretty cool called Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell by Meat Loaf.

I’m not writing this post to advocate Meat Loaf’s music, but to share something of Christ. The other day I remembered one of the songs that I had listened to on Meat Loaf’s album called “Life is a Lemon and I Want My Money Back“. Here are some of the lyrics:

It’s all or nothing, and nothing’s all I ever get
Everytime I turn it on, I burn it up and burn it out

It’s a never ending attack,
Everything’s a lie and that’s a fact
Life is a lemon and I want my money back

And we’re always slipping thru the cracks
Slippin’
Then the movie’s over, fade to black
Life is a lemon and I want my money back
Back, back, back, back!

In case you don’t understand the reference to life being a lemon, a lemon is a new product that has severe defects.

Do you feel that way about life? I imagine that some of you do think that life is a lemon and some of you think that it’s peachy.

Life is a lemon…the natural life that is.

We were all born with the sinful satanic life. From our first heartbeats, our fallen human life is defective. We are not born the way that we were suppose to be. We come into this world through pain and we often leave it in pain. For many, there is more pain in this life, than happiness.

I can understand why Meat Loaf was so dissatisfied. I find no lasting satisfaction in this world either. You may find satisfaction in a person, but then, they are gone. You may find satisfaction in an object, but then, it is gone. Every slightest grip on happiness seems to slip through the cracks. In a world without hope, what can be done?

When you have a lemon car, there is nothing you can do to change that car. It wouldn’t be worth it if you could afford the necessary changes. That’s why it’s a lemon; it leaves a sour taste in your mouth.

You can’t change a lemon, you can only exchange it. My grandmother had a car that was a lemon. The company didn’t offer to fix the car for her, it offered her a new car. We all need to exchange this lemon of a life for the Life that we were meant to have.

The eternal Life of God embodied in Jesus Christ is the Life that we were made for. Adam and Eve took a different life for us, a defective life, a lemon life. But, through His sacrifice on the cross, Jesus cleared the way to the Tree of Life, that we might eat from it.

Jesus Christ is the Tree of Life.

We were branches on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the Tree of Death. But, we have exchanged that lemon life for God’s Life. In Christ, we have died to that Tree of Death and we have been grafted onto the Tree of Life. We are here to abide in Him and to enjoy His Life; we are here to express Him. We grow with His growth and we bear fruit with His bearing fruit.

In Christ, we are now the enlargement of the Tree of Life.

Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. – [Rev 22:1-2 NASB]

Encountering Christ in Colossians by Frank Viola

Today, Christ has lifted my sorrowful face. He has encouraged me. He has been my Peace. On top of that, through Frank Viola‘s podcast, I have enjoyed a fresh sighting of the vastness and fullness of our Lord Jesus Christ. Check out His recent podcasts:

Encountering Christ in Colossians: Part I

Encountering Christ in Colossians: Part II

Encountering Christ in Colossians: Part III

Encountering Christ in Colossians: Part IV

Encountering Christ in Colossians: Part V

Here is my favorite quote from the second part:

Christ’s inexhaustible fullness is humanity’s sufficiency.

May the eyes of our hearts be enlightened to truly see and enjoy the reality of this immeasurable Christ!

You Are Who You Eat

Tree of Life

Tree of Life (Photo credit: Adamo Photography)

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]

We were not created as “Mankind”, but we were created according to God’s kind. We were created in His image and according to His likeness. The only thing we lacked was His eternal Life. We were an empty vessel, designed to be filled with Him. Like a glove, we were to be filled with a the heavenly Hand.

So God created a way for us to take His eternal Life into us.

Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. [Gen 2:9 NASB]

He placed two trees before us: The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. By eating of the Tree of Life we could take His eternal Life into us. Through the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, we could take Satan’s sin into our flesh and partake in His rebellion.

One Tree was of Life and the other Tree was of Death.

We chose the wrong Tree. We rejected God’s eternal Life and joined in Satan’s rebellion. We took something of the poisonous Satanic nature into our flesh. But, God kept a Way for us to come back to the Tree of Life, someday. First, He sentenced our flesh to death. Secondly, He guarded the Tree of Life, so that we couldn’t eat it and  be sentenced to eternal death.

Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— [23] therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. [24] So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life. [Gen 3:22-24 NASB]

O, but the eternal Wisdom of our God, that in Christ Jesus, He opened the way to the Tree of Life again! When we believe into Christ, we join in His death and resurrection. We die in Him and we are resurrected in Him. We have died to self. Our satanic flesh was crucified on the cross and Christ, who is the Tree of Life, has entered into us. He is now our eternal Life and our Life supply!

But, you may say that you still have the flesh. Even though you may not yet feel it, it is true nonetheless. It may be an objective reality to you right now, but if you press on to gain Christ, it will become something experiential. You must press on by faith. Faith is the substantiation of unseen things. We walk by Faith, not by sight.

By pressing on by Faith in Christ, Christ will be magnified in us. Christ is our Faith and He will be enlarged in us. He is immeasurably vast, but in our experience He may seem so very small. We must eat of Him, by Faith, as the Tree of Life everyday, all day.

All of our natural lives, we have eaten of Satan as the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in our flesh. We have not known any other way to live. But, in Christ we have the Tree of Life within our spirit. We must learn to turn to this Spirit, that we may take this Life into our souls.

We are tripartite beings, consisting of body, soul, and spirit. You are a soul, in a body, and you have a spirit. Our bodies are poisoned, unredeemable. Our bodies are things of humiliation. But we must still take care of our bodies, so that we may live long on the earth for our Lord. The soul consists of the mind, will, and emotions. The spirit is where the Life-giving Spirit lives in us.

who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, [that it may be] conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working whereby he is able even to subject all things unto himself. [Phl 3:21 ASV]

By turning to the Spirit, daily, He spreads and saturates our soul. He fills us with Christ. Our mind, will, and emotions are renewed by Him. We die to our natural soul-life, which is governed by the flesh and we live by the Spirit.

So, we are still living between those two trees. A Tree of Death in our flesh and a Tree of Life in our Spirit. Satan lives in our flesh and Christ lives in our Spirit. If you eat fish all day, everyday, you will smell like fish. If you eat of the Tree of Life everyday, you will have the sweet fragrance of Christ. By eating of Christ, as the Tree of Life, we are the enlargement of Christ; so that He may grow and flow throughout the earth.

Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. – [Rev 22:1-2 NASB]

Growing in Christ

Flowering tree privet

Flowering tree privet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[3] And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; [4] and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. [5] “Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. [6] “But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. [7] “Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. [8] “And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. – Mat 13:3-8 NASB

I named this blog post “Growing in Christ”, but I want you to understand that it could equally be called “Christ Growing in You”. The two names are synonymous.

Lately, I have been impressed with the importance of the inner Life. This inner Life is the inner experience of Christ. The parable of the sower stresses upon us the need of having a deep inner experience of Christ.

You will find a better and more practical explanation of what I will talk about by a great brother in Christ, Milt Rodriguez, at The Rebuilders. His blog post is called Root Before Fruit and I highly recommend it.

Let’s begin with the Seed. The Seed contains the Life. Everything is there in the Seed. Whether it is a flower, a bush, or a great tree, it is contained within that Seed. If you have the Seed, you have the everything!

The Seed planted within us is Christ. If you have Christ you have everything. But, how small He seems at first! He starts as a little Seed inside of us. But, if we would we allow Him to grow in us, to fill and saturate us, how He would be magnified within us and through us!

A glorious mystery is that the Plant that grows forth from the Seed and the soil is our expression of Christ. That Plant is Christ. That Plant is you. That Plant is the beautiful mingling of divinity and humanity. That Plant is the enlargement of the Plant, who died to spread its Seed.

[19] …holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God. – Col 2:19 NASB

I am not talking about Christ in an objective way, but in a subjective way. I think you all know how great Christ is in a objective way, but we need to experience this Christ in a subjective way if we are going to continue on to maturity.

Back to our Lord’s parable, it is obvious that the different outcomes are due to the difference between the soils. There was no lack in the Seed. Three of the soils were lacking. The Seed must be planted in the innermost being of the soil. Then that Seed must be allowed to grow and spread in the inner being of the soil. From the inner growth of the Seed, its outward expression bursts forth.

We see this outward expression in two, maybe three of the cases. We definitely see some outward expression of the Seed in the shallow and good soil, maybe even in the thorny soil. But, I want to focus on the difference between the shallow soil and good soil. Without deep roots, the outward expression dies. It is by the inner growth of the roots that the outward expression grows. The shallow soil did not allow Christ to grow in its inner being. It tried to express Him outwardly before it had the deep inner experience of Him. With that kind of attitude, we will not experience Life, but death.

[6] Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, [7] having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. – Col 2:6-7 NASB

Brothers and sisters, do you see what I am getting at? Do you want to express the glory of this Seed? From the inner growth, comes the outer growth, and eventually brings forth flowers and fruit, which are the Plant’s glory!

[18] I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, [19] and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might [20] which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, [21] far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. [22] And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, [23] which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. – Eph 1:18-23 NASB

Blogging Again

Life (NBC TV series)

Image via Wikipedia

It really hasn’t been too long since I decided to stop blogging and I am already contemplating blogging again. Let me explain to you what this has been all about. I don’t want to share with you just knowledge. Instead, I want to share something of the living Christ that I have experienced.

Knowledge is gained easily, but profits little. We need Wisdom and Understanding, which come from our experience of Christ. Indeed, Christ is our Knowledge, Wisdom, and Understanding.

I really appreciate those of you who have encouraged me and stuck with my blog through this little break.

I don’t plan to blog on a regular schedule, because then it feels forced. I will probably blog rather erratically.

Whenever I feel that I have something of Christ that I would like to share with you, I will write a blog post.

The Seeds of God’s Eternal Purpose in 7 Days: Days 3-7

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am done blogging. This blog post is to finish off the remaining days in the series and will be an overview, rather than an in-depth post.

Day 3

[9] Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. [10] God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good. [11] Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so. [12] The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. [13] There was evening and there was morning, a third day. – [Gen 1:9-13 NASB]

Day 3 is the third day of division. The land coming out of the water on the third day is a picture of the resurrection of Christ. He is the Good Land and the waters represent death.

This growth of plant life represents our experience of the resurrected Christ. We are plants that abide in the Good Land and bear fruit.

Day 4

[14] Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; [15] and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. [16] God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. [17] God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, [18] and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. [19] There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day. – [Gen 1:14-19 NASB]

Day 4 is the fourth day of division and is the day of experiential light. We saw that on Day 1 God made light, yet it was something objective. Here we have a way to really experience that light. The Sun is a picture of Christ as the manifestation of God. The Moon is a picture of the Church. The Moon has no light of its own, but only reflects the light of the Sun. The Stars are the overcomers, shining examples to all of what it means to express Christ. If we are to experience God’s light, we must do it through these three lights. Although, the lights of these three may seem different, in actuality there is only one Light.

Day 5

[20] Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.” [21] God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good. [22] God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” [23] There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day. – [Gen 1:20-23 NASB]

Day 5 is the increasing growth of life. On Day 3, we saw some growth in the plant life, but on Day 5 we see even more growth. As the creatures in the sea we are able to live in the seas of the world, without dying. Salt water is something of death to us, but we have Christ as our Life to live in this dead world. As the birds of the air we are able to ascend over the trials and difficulties of this life. Although, we must go through them, we are in the heavenly places in Christ. He is our joy through the most difficult of circumstances.

Day 6

[24] Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so. [25] God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. [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.” [27] God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. [28] God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” [29] Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; [30] and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. [31] God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. – [Gen 1:24-31 NASB]

Day 6 is the final growth of life and fulfills God’s eternal purpose. In Day 5, we saw the fish and the birds, but on Day 6 we have the beasts of the earth. As the beasts of the earth we are able to carry each others’ burdens. This is a higher experience of Christ than in the previous day. In carrying each others’ burdens, we have something of the experience of the Corporate Christ.

Finally, we come to the fulfillment of God’s eternal desire. On Day 6, we see Man expressing God’s Image and Exercising His Dominion. This is not a single man, but a Corporate Man. This Corporate Man is composed of the male and female life. The Male is the Bridegroom and the Female is the Bride, coming together as the Corporate Christ, a New Man.

Day 7

[1] Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. [2] By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. [3] Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. – [Gen 2:1-3 NASB]

On Day 7, God has attained His eternal desire and rests. As we can see, He does not attain His desire at once, but there is a process. These 7 days show us this process, in its simplest form, that God takes us through to achieve His desire. This day of rest is both God’s rest and our rest. This Rest is just Christ and the Church mingled together forever.

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The Seeds of God’s Eternal Purpose in 7 Days: Day 2

Impact of water in a water-surface

[6] Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” [7] God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. [8] God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day. – [Gen 1:6-8 NASB]

This is the third post in a serious of posts. Links to the previous posts are at the bottom of this post. Let’s do a quick review. In Day 0, we saw that the universe, that God created, had come under His judgment. Then, we saw the Spirit brooding over this problem. In Day 1, we saw God made light, even though the sun, moon, and stars had not yet been made. Thus, this light was an objective light.

We are looking at these days the lens of God’s eternal purpose and what He is doing in us to achieve that purpose.

Now, for Day 2!

Day 2 is the second day of division. In Day 1, we saw the division of the light and darkness. Now, we see the division of the waters below and the waters above.

The waters below, or the sea, represents the world. It is something of death. Salt water is not good for drinking. If you drink salt water, you will die. Ironically, your death would be from dehydration. As people drink in the salt water of the world, they think that they are being hydrated. Instead, with every drink, they are more and more dehydrated.

On the other hand, the waters, which were above, represent the elect of God. We are the heavenly waters. The waters above are fresh water. Water that is good for drinking. We are these fresh, heavenly waters because we have the Living Water within us. The Spirit is a well of Living Water within us, saturating us, and flowing from us. How Christ quenches the thirst of those who come to Him!

The division on the second day is the Spirit separating us from the world. We are no longer in the seas of death, but we have ascended to the heavenly waters.

[36] Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” – [Jhn 18:36 NASB]

We have died to this world and are now sojourners. We live in tents, looking forward to the City to come. If you cling to this world, then you will be like Lot’s wife, who looked back to Sodom.

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Remember Lot’s Wife!

Lot's Wife on the Dead Sea Shore

[24] Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven, [25] and He overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. [26] But his wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. – [Gen 19:24-26 NASB]
[29] but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. [30] “It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. [31] “On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back. [32] “Remember Lot’s wife. [33] “Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. [34] “I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left. – [Luk 17:29-34 NASB]

Sodom was a picture of the coming judgment on the world. Abraham had long separated Himself from the likes of Sodom. He was abiding in Christ, our Promised Land. But, Lot and his family had slowly drifted into Sodom. First, Lot had chosen to live near Sodom. When the judgment of Sodom was announced, the angels, who were sent by God to bring him out of the doomed city, found him sitting at the gates. The gates of a city were the place of authority. Not only had Lot moved into Sodom, but he was a leader in that evil city!

Sadly, Lot was even hesitant to leave, but the Lord’s angels brought him and his wife out of the city and sent them away. On their way out, Lot’s wife trailed behind him, then looked back. Thus, Lot’s wife become a pillar of salt, a symbol of shame for all generations to see.

So why does our Lord Jesus was us to remember Lot’s wife? Lot’s wife escaped the judgment of Sodom that typified the coming judgment of the world and its inhabitants. She was saved from that judgment. Surely, all the things that she held dear were still in Sodom. She is a warning to all those who are in Christ, but still hold onto the world. As a pillar of salt, she is forever a warning of those who lose their saltiness.

[13] “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. – [Mat 5:13 NASB]

If you believe into Christ, but refuse to be conformed to the Image of Christ, don’t think that all will be well with you when Christ returns. Some will be put to shame when Christ returns. They held onto the world, and therefore, they must be disciplined. This discipline is so that they may be conformed to the Image of Christ and join in the New Jerusalem. They will not join in the Sabbath Rest of the Millennial Kingdom, since they are not yet fit to reign with Christ.

If you believe into Christ, you cannot lose your eternal life. But, you must be conformed to the Image of Christ for God to attain His eternal purpose. This will either happen in this life, or at the judgment seat of Christ.

Remember Lot’s wife and her shame for turning back to the Sodom!

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The Dark Night of the Church Age

the "Morning Star"

[19] So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. – [2Pe 1:19 NASB]

If we look back at the history of the Church, we will see that we have been going through the night. This is why the churches are lampstands. You don’t need a lamp during the day, but you need a lamp very much during the night!

While Jesus Christ was here, it was still day. Christ is our Sun. He is the Light of the world.

The Church is the Moon. The Moon has no light of its own, but it reflects the Sun.

Just as the Moon comes out when the Sun is gone, so the evening of the Church began when Christ ascended. Scripture shows us that there was great light for the Church, even right after Christ ascended. Unfortunately, Scripture and history also show us that the Church began to decay. Eventually, the Church illegitimately married the world system under Emperor Constantine. What a dark night it was for the Church! This historical period is even called the Dark Ages.

There were a few Stars that shined during this period. They gave off light when the Moon was so dimly lit. You can read about many of these faithful witness of Christ in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. They shined brightly in the dark night of the Church Age, but they will shine even more brightly in the age to come.

With Martin Luther, the Moon began to brighten. Since then, many great truths have been recovered. Even greater still, many are gaining a great vision of Christ. The eternal purpose of God has been regained in the sight of the Church, and it has been put into the hearts of many to see it fulfilled. Christ has begun to shine as the Morning Star. Soon the Morning Star will rise into full view. Then we will see the Sun, shining for all to see.

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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 Did God Rest on the Seventh Day?

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

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

God had a desire.

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

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

God’s desire in humanity is two-fold.

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

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

But, we joined with the rebellion of Satan.

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

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

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

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The Bread and the Wine are Better Than the Manna and the Water

This image shows a red wine glass.

Image via Wikipedia

The manna from heaven and the water from the rock are both Old Testament shadows of Christ. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ reveals Himself to be edible, saying that the bread symbolized His body and the wine His blood.

So, why is there a change in the images of Christ from the OT to the NT?

The manna was provided by God straight from heaven. Likewise, the water came out of the rock that followed the Israelites in the wilderness. Both were God’s provision for the Israelites and shadows of Christ.

But, do you know how much better the bread and the wine are? Bread does not start out as bread, now does wine start out as wine. Bread and wine must go through a process to become what they are.

The manna started out as manna and the water started out as water. But, bread starts out as wheat and goes through a process to become bread. In the same way, wine starts out as grapes and goes through a process to become wine.

Do you know that Jesus had to go through a process? As God, He had to put on humanity, live a sinless human life, die on the cross, be resurrected, and ascend to the very throne of God, taking His humanity with Him. Now, the One who sits on the throne is both the Son of God and the Son of Man. Like the bread and the wine, which symbolize the way that we are to partake of Him, our God is a processed God.

Through this process, we are now able to partake of His divine nature. Also, by eating and drinking of Him by the Spirit, we are going through a process to be like Him.

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How to Imitate Christ

[1] Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. – [1Cr 11:1 NASB]

[1] Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; – [Eph 5:1 NASB]

There is a famous book called “The Imitation of Christ”. Many people have tried to imitate Christ and they have found it impossible. Sure, you might be able to do good for days, months, or even years, but eventually you will fail. Why is it impossible? He lived a perfect life. How can we possibly imitate someone who lived a perfect life?

The problem is that we view the life of Jesus of Nazareth through a religious lens. We try to imitate His actions, instead of learning how He did the things that He did. The life in Christ is altogether anti-religious. If you attempt to combine Christ with religion, your religion will be torn apart. There is no power in religious acts, but there is power in living by the indwelling Christ.

Paul said to imitate him as he imitated Christ. Then in Ephesians, he wrote to imitate God. If Paul was imitating Christ, then to imitate Paul would mean to imitate Christ. So, lets look at what it means to imitate Christ.

[19] Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. – [Jhn 5:19 NASB]

[30] “I and the Father are one.” – [Jhn 10:30 NASB]

Jesus of Nazareth lived by the life of the Father.

[20] “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. – [Gal 2:20 NASB]

In Galatians, we see that Paul really did live by the life of Christ.

[56] “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. [57] “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. – [Jhn 6:56-57 NASB]

What the Father was to Jesus, so the risen Christ has become to us. By eating and drinking Christ we are receiving His Life into our being and He is saturating us with Himself. This is what it means to imitate Christ: To live by Life of the God who indwells us.

Continuing on in Christ

Landscape near the village of Kera (Crete, Greece)

Image via Wikipedia

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.

Are Your Windows Open Towards New Jerusalem?

Girl reading a Letter at an Open Window (fragment)

Image via Wikipedia

[10] Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously. – [Dan 6:10 NASB]


Daniel had his windows open toward Jerusalem, because the return to Jerusalem was God’s desire for His People in exile. This is why God kept Daniel alive in the lion’s den: So that Daniel could continue praying according to God’s will. Daniel was faithful in praying for God’s eternal purpose, in as much as he understood it.

Man’s prayer is just to pave the way for God’s move to go on. – Witness Lee

[2] And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. – [Rev 21:2 NASB]

At the end of Revelation, the ultimate desire of God is revealed: New Jerusalem. This isn’t a physical city but a spiritual city. It is the mingling of God and man. I am not saying to open your window when you pray, but that God’s desire for this Great City should always guide your prayers. God is waiting for His People to join with Him through prayer. He will delay the accomplishment of His will until His People pray. He has revealed to us His desire for the Bride City so that we may prayer for it to be prepared.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ

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

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

Divisive?

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

Unknowable?

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

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

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

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