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From Genesis 3 to Revelation 12: God’s Eternal Purpose

[14] The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; [15] 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.” [16] To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.” [17] Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. [18] “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; [19] By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.” – [Gen 3:14-19 NASB]

[1] A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; [2] and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth. [3] Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. [4] And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. [5] And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne. [6] Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. [7] And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, [8] and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. [9] And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. [10] Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. [11] “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. [12] “For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.” [13] And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. – [Rev 12:1-13 NASB]


The Woman

This woman is the one foretold of in Genesis. The woman is the entire Church. She is the beautiful Bride of Christ, awaiting His return. The sun, moon, and stars symbolize the universality of this Woman.

 

The Man Child

The child that comes from the woman, is not only a male child, but a Man Child. This is the Seed of the woman from Genesis that is to bruise Satan. This is the beginning of the New Man. The believers who are more mature in Christ, than the others. They are more mature because they have received more of Christ. Christ has been thoroughly dispensed into them. You may say, “But I thought the Seed of the woman is Christ”. You would also be right, since Christ is the head of the New Man. This is God’s purpose: That we would be His expression. Note that a Woman does not conceive on Her own. The Life of the Bridegroom has been dispensed into the Woman, and She has given birth to this Man Child. He is part of the Woman, and has the Life of the Bridegroom.

 

The Great Red Dragon

Much time has passed since the garden and the Serpent has become a Great Red Dragon. How has this happened? In Genesis, it was said that the serpent would eat dust. Man is made of dust. Satan seeks to devour people. He has devoured many and has grown quite large and strong. This is also why the Dragon is red: From the blood of his victims.

 

The Rapture

The rapture of the Man Child is described as He is called up to heaven, directly to the throne of God. They will be taken by Christ, who has come secretly in a cloud. He has come like a thief in the night. A thief comes secretly and quietly. You will note that this rapture differs from that of the rest of the Woman, since they are to meet Christ in the air. Why won’t all of the believers be caught up together? Some are ripe and some aren’t. The ripe ones will be caught up so that they won’t be over ripe and the unripe ones must wait until they have ripened.

 

The War

What is the purpose of this rapture? It is not to escape The Great Tribulation. The angels are awaiting the authority of Christ, through this Man Child, to cast the Accuser out of heaven. Thus the Man Child is called up to the throne in order to exercise the dominion given in Genesis, and regained by Christ on the cross. God has chosen to use His People to pass judgment on Satan, and Michael and the angels will carry out that judgment. Remember that the angels are to be under our authority.

 

The Persecution of the Rest of the Woman’s Children

The rest of the believers who were not prepared for the Lord, must be ripened. They will incur the wrath of the Dragon, was has been cast down by the Man Child. Through this persecution they will be ripened and ready to meet Christ when He appears in glory on the cloud.

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Is Jesus Christ the Strong Angel in Revelation 10?

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

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

Coming down out of heaven

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

Clothed with a cloud

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

The rainbow was upon his head

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

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

His face was like the sun

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

His feet like pillars of fire

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

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

He had in his hand a little book which was open

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

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

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

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

Swore by Him who lives forever and ever

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

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

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

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

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

Why Read Books Other Than the Bible?

Standing upon the shoulders of giants

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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.

 

Ephesians 1

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

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

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

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


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.

Two Questions, Two Answers

question mark

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First of all, let me explain why I am writing this post. I am writing this post because someone reading this post might have the same questions, and perhaps, God wants to give you the same answers through this post.

Background to first question: So, I have been facing some difficulties with work recently, that have caused me to wonder what I should do. I decided to ask God, “What should I do?”. Immediately, I got an answer, “Be patient”. So I thought to myself, “Gee, some answer!”. But, then I realized my mistake and announced that, “Jesus is my Patience”.

A little while later, I was wondering how I could go on. Sure Jesus is my Patience, but I don’t think that I can physically go on. Patience doesn’t seem to solve my difficulties. As I pondered these things, I received my second answer, “I am Enough”. With these words, Peace came upon me and the enemy fled.

Maybe you have something that seems like it is too much for you. Maybe the enemy is filling your mind with doubts as well. Indeed, it is too much for you. But, God has declared that He is Enough for all of our needs. Let me tell you that your feelings are not real when they conflict what God has said. What God says is absolute truth, even if you can’t see it. Christ is Enough for us.

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.


Is Christ Really Your Rock and Fortress?

3 You are my rock and my fortress. For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger. – Psa 31:3 NLT


I doubt there are many who believe in Christ who would say, “Christ is not my Rock” or “Christ is not my Fortress”. On the other hand, how few among us actually experience this? How few of us stand firm during the great storms of life? How few of us feel guarded by His walls when the enemy rages against us. So the question is this: Why don’t we experience Christ as our Rock and our Fortress?

The problem is that we don’t enter into the Fortress by faith. Inside, there is nothing for us to do. Inside of His walls, we can only rest. Instead of entering into this Great and Mighty Rock, we cling to it. We say, “God is my Rock and I will cling to Him with all of my might”. Do you see the problem, brothers and sisters? With this kind of thinking, Christ is only our Rock as long as we can hold onto Him. Unfortunately, we are unable to hold onto Him for long in the midst of the hurricane of life or during the onslaught of the enemy.

We certainly dwell within the objective Christ, and He will see us safely through. But, that is often not our subjective experience. You can only entire this Fortress, the greatest of all fortresses, by faith. Not by trusting in yourself, but by fully trusting in Him. Stop holding onto the Rock in your own strength and enter into the Rock. Entire now and you will find Rest.

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.

Our Lord’s Victory

The crown of King Christian IV of Denmark, cur...

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Today I have decided to start posting about Jesus outside of the four gospels. The Scriptures are full of Him and through them we gain a full picture of who our Lord is.

1 For the choir director: A psalm of David. How the king rejoices in your strength, O LORD! He shouts with joy because you give him victory. 2 For you have given him his heart’s desire; you have withheld nothing he requested. Interlude 3 You welcomed him back with success and prosperity. You placed a crown of finest gold on his head. 4 He asked you to preserve his life, and you granted his request. The days of his life stretch on forever. 5 Your victory brings him great honor, and you have clothed him with splendor and majesty. 6 You have endowed him with eternal blessings and given him the joy of your presence. 7 For the king trusts in the LORD. The unfailing love of the Most High will keep him from stumbling. 8 You will capture all your enemies. Your strong right hand will seize all who hate you. 9 You will throw them in a flaming furnace when you appear. The LORD will consume them in his anger; fire will devour them. 10 You will wipe their children from the face of the earth; they will never have descendants. 11 Although they plot against you, their evil schemes will never succeed. 12 For they will turn and run when they see your arrows aimed at them. 13 Rise up, O LORD, in all your power. With music and singing we celebrate your mighty acts. (Psa 21:1-13 NLT)

Here we discover more of the greatness of our Christ. We see that the Father withholds nothing from Him. How joyful He is in His victory over sin and death! He entered back into heaven as a conqueror. His victory has brought the Father great honor. He has become the Eternal King, clothed with splendor and majesty. His victory has earned Him life everlasting. He is even too great for Satan and the world that Satan controls. He already has the victory and soon the fire of His wrath will consume His enemies.

Let us praise our great King who has shared His victory with us. We have done nothing, yet He has given all that He has to us. In Christ, we are more than conquerors because we share in this great victory of His.


“Revise Us Again” by Frank Viola

Are we living by the script of Jesus Christ, or have we strayed from the script given to us by God? In “Revise Us Again”, Frank Viola points out some of the problems that he sees in the script, by which, many modern Christians are living. I enjoyed listening to the audiobook version of this book. Adam Verner is the narrator. He narrated the book well and had an enjoyable voice. The book was quite short and I was able to listen to it several times.

In my opinion, the major issue in this book is overcoming the differences that separate us as Christians. These differences have formed denominations and have hindered unity. Two of the differences mentioned in the book are: how God speaks through us and our spiritual conversation styles. If only we saw that many of our differences are given to us by God and reveal to us a fuller image of Christ. Other differences, the ones that are born of ourselves, should be laid aside if they hinder unity. Unfortunately, we are too focused on ourselves and not focused on Christ and His eternal purpose. If we were, we would be united in Him. Lets embrace our differences as Christians and learn to see Christ in others that are different from ourselves.

In my opinion the last chapter of the book is the most important. This chapter describes three gospels that people believe in. These three gospels are: libertinism, legalism, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Libertinism is attractive to the flesh, because you are free to sin. Legalism is attractive to the will, because it is your will accomplishing the work. Neither libertinism, nor legalism, are real gospels. Instead, they are false gospels. The true gospel, which the apostle Paul preached, is Christ. He is the narrow path, our highway of holiness.

The chapter on the dark night, was one that I wish I had read before I experienced it. This is a time when it seems as if God has walked off the stage. The dark night is like removing the spiritual training wheels. When you are reliant on the felt presence of God, He removes that feeling of His presence, and it can be world-shattering. We must keep faith in Him, even when we can’t feel His presence.

I enjoyed “Revise Us Again”. Not everything in the book moved me, but I think there is something in it for everybody. I am sure that, if you read it with an open mind, you will learn something from this book.

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

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.

Shadows of Christ

Shadows of flowers

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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.

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