In the beginning, God…
God is our Source, our Beginning. In Christ, we can receive and experience God. This receiving and experiencing God is always the beginning of our spiritual Life. Ever day, God must be our Beginning. We can’t do anything of eternal value, unless we have received God in our experience. But, if we are always receiving God, everything that we do will have eternal value, whether great or mundane. We must take Him as the Beginning, in everything that we do. Whether, we are speaking, cleaning, shopping, sleeping, eating, watching television, or working…we just take God, in Christ, as the Beginning. We should learn that there is no beginning without God. If we do something without God, we have done nothing. We have not even begun doing something. But, if we turn to the Spirit of Jesus Christ, and take God as our Beginning, it won’t matter so much what we are doing and how we are doing it, because it will be God doing it.
Do you look into the face of Christ, when you see your brothers and sisters, in Christ? If you don’t, you should check out Mark Champion‘s blog post, Letters :: Face. May all the saints see Christ, when we look at each other…just as our Father does.
Now for my blog post…
I saw at night, and behold, a man was riding on a red horse, and he was standing among the myrtle trees which were in the ravine, with red, sorrel and white horses behind him. Then I said, “My lord, what are these?” And the angel who was speaking with me said to me, “I will show you what these are.” And the man who was standing among the myrtle trees answered and said, “These are those whom the LORD has sent to patrol the earth.” So they answered the angel of the LORD who was standing among the myrtle trees and said, “We have patrolled the earth, and behold, all the earth is peaceful and quiet.” Then the angel of the LORD said, “O LORD of hosts, how long will You have no compassion for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which You have been indignant these seventy years?” The LORD answered the angel who was speaking with me with gracious words, comforting words. – [Zec 1:8-13 NASB]
Beloved saints, I have comforting words for you today. This blog post is as much for myself, as it is for you. Do you recognize this Man on the red horse, who is standing among the myrtle trees? He is the Angel of the Lord; He is Jesus Christ.
The book of Zechariah was written to the Lord’s People, who had been exiled. God’s People were so very low, while the nations were prospering. So, here you see God’s People as myrtle trees in a ravine. Myrtle trees, when chopped down, will shoot back up. You have to pull a myrtle tree out by the roots, in order to kill it. God’s People had been exiled, chopped down, and were as low as they could go in the bottom of a ravine. So where is the comfort?
Jesus, on a red horse, is among the myrtle trees! He is on a horse, symbolizing his swiftness in coming to His People’s aid. The horse is red, symbolizing the blood He will shed. You can compare this to the rider of the red horse in Revelation, who symbolizes war. Both symbolize blood that is shed. But, in Zechariah, it is Jesus’ blood.
Then, you have another picture of the Lord’s People in the three horses. Notice, that these three horses are following Jesus. There are three different colors of horses: red, reddish-brown, and white. Each one shows the progression of the saints. Some are red, like Jesus’ horse. This is because we are covered with His blood. Next, there are the reddish-brown horses, which shows that there is some mixture. Even though we are covered with His blood, we are not so pure yet. We are often still earthly and natural. Finally, there are the white horses. It is the Lord’s desire that we all be white horses. These horses symbolize purity. They have been washed by the blood, and have put off the Adamic fallen nature.
These horses have been spread throughout the earth and have a report for the Lord. The earth is peaceful and quiet, while the Lord’s People suffer.
While the evil people of this world prosper, we are often suffering. But, the Lord has gracious and comforting words for us, beloved brothers and sisters. He is not slow to come to our aid. He is even among us. Don’t think that He is far away. Even if you do not sense Him, He is intimately united with you in your Spirit. He has compassion on you and will lift you up. Even if you feel utterly worthless, you are a treasure to Him. You may feel hurt, broken, depressed, and like you have nothing to offer the world. Yet, Jesus would not throw you away. He desires to be your Doctor, your Lover, your Father; He desires to lift you out of the ravine and refresh you.
“A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. “He will not be disheartened or crushed Until He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law.” Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it And spirit to those who walk in it, “I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the nations, To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the dungeon And those who dwell in darkness from the prison. – [Isa 42:3-7 NASB]
- The Letter Kills, but the Spirit Gives Life (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
Today’s blog post is a short article written by T. Austin-Sparks in 1940 on a topic that is very wonderful: Entering Into God’s Rest. I enjoy reading all of T. Austin-Sparks’ writings free at austin-sparks.net.
Before getting into T. Austin-Sparks’ article, I want to share a beautiful post from a brother in Christ, Quincy Zikmund. I highly recommend his blog post, Learning From The Body, at Divine Discontent. In this post, Quincy shares an experience of Christ’s Body that is often missing in popular Christianity; every member of the Body of Christ functioning equally.
Entering Into God’s Rest
by T. Austin-Sparks
Adam’s first day on this earth was a Sabbath day. God created man on the sixth day, and the first complete day that man had was the Sabbath, and that Sabbath day becomes the first day for man. Carried over to the New Testament, where God finishes and perfects His new creation work in the Lord Jesus, and enters into His rest, it is God’s Sabbath, and there we begin. That is our first day – God’s rest.
We begin in something that is already perfect. This is the ground of “the everlasting covenant”. To grasp the significance of that is to see what the “eternal covenant” is, to come right in on a perfect ground and start there. It is not how we regard ourselves or how we feel about it, but it is God’s place for us. The fact is, beloved, that in Jesus Christ you and I will never be more perfect than we are now. Those perfections may be wrought into us progressively, but, so far as the ground of our acceptance is concerned, we are “accepted in the Beloved One”, and He wholly satisfies the Father; the Father has come to rest in Him. The work is perfect.
Our acceptance is always on the ground of God’s end reached. Till that is settled, we have no steadying thing when God begins to work in us. Do not forget that. If, when God begins to deal with us in discipline and chastening, in training and moulding and formation, we begin at any moment to say, This is all because I am so bad, so wicked, and the Lord has got to do something with me in order that I may be acceptable, we have given our ground away. We shall never be more acceptable, however much the Lord does in us. We have been accepted, not on the ground of what we are, however bad or good that may be, but on the ground of The Beloved. “Accepted in the Beloved One”.
We sing – and I wish we would lay it to heart more and more – that His perfections are the measure of our own acceptance. That is where we start. Blessed be God, that is the ground of confidence, and when the Lord begins to take us in hand and we begin to feel what wretched creatures we are, that never implies for a single moment that we are not accepted. The eternal covenant means here, in the first place, that we are accepted on the ground of God’s satisfaction with His Son. If we were accepted on our own ground, where we stand in ourselves, there would be no eternal covenant, no ground of security at all. It would be a matter of how we might be tomorrow. But no, it is not a matter of how we are or shall be. The ground is settled in Christ. Now, God is only getting to work to make good in us what is true in His Son, but it does not change the ground. Do not let us give our ground away.
First published in “A Witness and A Testimony” magazine, Mar-Apr 1940, Vol 18-2
- An Interview With A New Testament Scholar (jamaljivanjee.com)
Have you ever read the Old Testament, in order to see Christ? All of the Scriptures are just about Christ. In Psalm 119, I have replaced some words with Christ. I replaced words such as, law, precepts, commandments, word, and ordinances. Christ is the Reality of these things. You can read more about that in Who or What is the Word of God? If you have never read Scripture in this way, I think you will find fresh Life through the Old Testament.
Aleph. How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in Christ.
How blessed are those who observe Christ, who seek Him with all their heart.
They also do no unrighteousness; they walk in His ways.
You have ordained Christ, that we should keep Him diligently.
Oh that my ways may be established to keep Christ!
Then I shall not be ashamed when I look upon Christ.
I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart, when I learn Christ.
I shall keep Christ; do not forsake me utterly!
Beth. How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Christ.
With all my heart I have sought You; do not let me wander from Christ.
Christ, I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.
Blessed are You, O LORD; teach me Christ.
With my lips I have told of Christ.
I have rejoiced in the way of Christ, as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on Christ and regard Your ways.
I shall delight in Christ; I shall not forget Christ.
Gimel. Deal bountifully with Your servant, that I may live and keep Christ.
Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Christ.
I am a stranger in the earth; do not hide Christ from me.
My soul is crushed with longing after Christ at all times.
You rebuke the arrogant, the cursed, who wander from Christ.
Take away reproach and contempt from me, for I observe Christ.
Even though princes sit and talk against me, Your servant meditates on Christ.
Christ also is my delight; He is my counselor.
Daleth. My soul cleaves to the dust; revive me according to Christ.
I have told of my ways, and You have answered me; teach me Christ.
Make me understand the way of Christ, so I will meditate on Your wonders.
My soul weeps because of grief; strengthen me according to Christ.
Remove the false way from me, and graciously grant me Christ.
I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Christ before me.
I cling to Christ; O LORD, do not put me to shame!
I shall run the way of Christ, for You will enlarge my heart.
He. Teach me, O LORD, the way of Christ, and I shall observe it to the end.
Give me understanding, that I may observe Christ and keep Him with all my heart.
Make me walk in the path of Christ, for I delight in Him.
Incline my heart to Christ and not to dishonest gain.
Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, and revive me in Your ways.
Establish Christ to Your servant, as that which produces reverence for You.
Turn away my reproach which I dread, for Christ is good.
Behold, I long for Christ; revive me through Your righteousness.
Vav. May Your lovingkindnesses also come to me, O LORD, Your salvation according to Christ;
So I will have an answer for him who reproaches me, for I trust in Christ.
And do not take the word of Christ utterly out of my mouth, for I wait for Christ.
So I will keep Christ continually, forever and ever.
And I will walk at liberty, for I seek Christ.
I will also speak of Christ before kings and shall not be ashamed.
I shall delight in Christ, Who I love.
And I shall lift up my hands to Christ, Who I love; and I will meditate on Christ.
Zayin. Remember the word to Your servant, in which You have made me hope.
This is my comfort in my affliction, that Christ has revived me.
The arrogant utterly deride me, yet I do not turn aside from Christ.
I have remembered Christ from of old, O LORD, and comfort myself.
Burning indignation has seized me because of the wicked, who forsake Christ.
Christ is my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.
O LORD, I remember Your name in the night, and keep Christ.
This has become mine, that I observe Christ.
Heth. The LORD is my portion; I have promised to keep Christ.
I sought Your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to Christ.
I considered my ways and turned my feet to Christ.
I hastened and did not delay to keep Christ.
The cords of the wicked have encircled me, but I have not forgotten Christ.
At midnight I shall rise to give thanks to You because of Christ.
I am a companion of all those who fear You, and of those who keep Christ.
The earth is full of Your lovingkindness, O LORD; teach me Christ.
Teth. You have dealt well with Your servant, O LORD, according to Christ.
Teach me good discernment and knowledge, for I believe in Christ.
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Christ.
You are good and do good; teach me Christ.
The arrogant have forged a lie against me; with all my heart I will observe Christ.
Their heart is covered with fat, but I delight in Christ.
It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Christ.
Christ is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
Yodh. Your hands made me and fashioned me; give me understanding, that I may learn Christ.
May those who fear You see me and be glad, because I wait for Christ.
I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
O may Your lovingkindness comfort me, according to Christ to Your servant.
May Your compassion come to me that I may live, for Christ is my delight.
May the arrogant be ashamed, for they subvert me with a lie; but I shall meditate on Christ.
May those who fear You turn to me, even those who know Christ.
May my heart be blameless in Christ, so that I will not be ashamed.
Kaph. My soul languishes for Your salvation; I wait for Christ.
My eyes fail with longing for Christ, while I say, “When will You comfort me?”
Though I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget Christ.
How many are the days of Your servant? When will You execute judgment on those who persecute me?
The arrogant have dug pits for me, men who are not in accord with Christ.
Christ is faithful; they have persecuted me with a lie; help me!
They almost destroyed me on earth, but as for me, I did not forsake Christ.
Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, so that I may keep Christ.
Lamedh. Forever, O LORD, Christ is settled in heaven.
Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations; You established the earth, and it stands.
They stand this day according to Christ, for all things are Your servants.
If Christ had not been my delight, then I would have perished in my affliction.
I will never forget Christ, for by Him You have revived me.
I am Yours, save me; for I have sought Christ.
The wicked wait for me to destroy me; I shall diligently consider Christ.
I have seen a limit to all perfection; Christ is exceedingly broad.
Mem. O how I love Christ! He is my meditation all the day.
Christ make me wiser than my enemies, for He is ever mine.
I have more insight than all my teachers, for Christ is my meditation.
I understand more than the aged, because I have observed Christ.
I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Christ.
I have not turned aside from Christ, for You Yourself have taught me.
How sweet is Christ to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
From Christ I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.
Nun. Christ is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
I have sworn and I will confirm it, that I will keep Your righteous Christ.
I am exceedingly afflicted; revive me, O LORD, according to Christ.
O accept the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me Christ.
My life is continually in my hand, yet I do not forget Christ.
The wicked have laid a snare for me, yet I have not gone astray from Christ.
I have inherited Christ forever, for He is the joy of my heart.
I have inclined my heart to perform Christ forever, even to the end.
Samekh. I hate those who are double-minded, but I love Christ.
You are my hiding place and my shield; I wait for Christ.
Depart from me, evildoers, that I may observe the Christ of my God.
Sustain me according to Christ, that I may live; and do not let me be ashamed of my hope.
Uphold me that I may be safe, that I may have regard for Christ continually.
You have rejected all those who wander from Christ, for their deceitfulness is useless.
You have removed all the wicked of the earth like dross; therefore I love Christ.
My flesh trembles for fear of You, and I am afraid of Your judgments.
Ayin. I have done justice and righteousness; do not leave me to my oppressors.
Be surety for Your servant for good; do not let the arrogant oppress me.
My eyes fail with longing for Your salvation and for Your righteous Christ.
Deal with Your servant according to Your lovingkindness and teach me Christ.
I am Your servant; give me understanding, that I may know Christ.
It is time for the LORD to act, for they have broken Christ.
Therefore I love Christ above gold, yes, above fine gold.
Therefore I esteem right Christ concerning everything, I hate every false way.
Pe. Christ is wonderful; therefore my soul observes Him.
The unfolding of Christ gives light; He gives understanding to the simple.
I opened my mouth wide and panted, for I longed for Christ.
Turn to me and be gracious to me, after Your manner with those who love Your name.
Establish my footsteps in Christ, and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me.
Redeem me from the oppression of man, that I may keep Christ.
Make Your face shine upon Your servant, and teach me Christ.
My eyes shed streams of water, because they do not keep Christ.
Tsadhe. Righteous are You, O LORD, and upright are Your judgments.
You have commanded Christ in righteousness and exceeding faithfulness.
My zeal has consumed me, because my adversaries have forgotten Christ.
Christ is very pure, therefore Your servant loves Him.
I am small and despised, yet I do not forget Christ.
Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Christ is truth.
Trouble and anguish have come upon me, yet Christ is my delight.
Christ is righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live.
Qoph. I cried with all my heart; answer me, O LORD! I will observe Christ.
I cried to You; save me and I shall keep Christ.
I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Christ.
My eyes anticipate the night watches, that I may meditate on Christ.
Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness; revive me, O LORD, according to Christ.
Those who follow after wickedness draw near; they are far from Christ.
You are near, O LORD, and Christ is truth.
Of old I have known from Christ that You have founded Him forever.
Resh. Look upon my affliction and rescue me, for I do not forget Christ.
Plead my cause and redeem me; revive me according to Christ.
Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek Christ.
Great are Your mercies, O LORD; revive me according to Christ.
Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, yet I do not turn aside from Christ.
I behold the treacherous and loathe them, because they do not keep Christ.
Consider how I love Christ; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your lovingkindness.
The sum of Christ is truth, and Your righteous Christ is everlasting.
Shin. Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of Christ.
I rejoice at Christ, as one who finds great spoil.
I hate and despise falsehood, but I love Christ.
Seven times a day I praise You, because of Your righteous Christ.
Those who love Christ have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble.
I hope for Your salvation, O LORD, and do Christ.
My soul keeps Christ, and I love Him exceedingly.
I keep Christ, for all my ways are before You.
Tav. Let my cry come before You, O LORD; give me understanding according to Christ.
Let my supplication come before You; deliver me according to Christ.
Let my lips utter praise, for You teach me Christ.
Let my tongue sing of Christ, for Christ is righteousness.
Let Your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen Christ.
I long for Your salvation, O LORD, and Christ is my delight.
Let my soul live that it may praise You, and let Christ help me.
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, for I do not forget Christ.
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.
- Continuing on in Christ (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
 Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. – [1Cr 11:1 NASB]
 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.
 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]
 “I and the Father are one.” – [Jhn 10:30 NASB]
Jesus of Nazareth lived by the life of the Father.
 “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.
 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.  “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.
- Is Jesus Christ the Strong Angel in Revelation 10? (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
- The Revelation of Jesus Christ (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
- Disciples, Ministers, and the Stewardship (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
- Why Read Books Other Than the Bible? (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
If we are to mature in the Lord, there are three stages that we must go through. These three are the same ones that Israel went through. Each of these stages is a recognition of an aspect of Christ and an experience of Him in a new way. Each step is necessary for us to grow into the New Man. Also, each step is taken by faith, just as Israel did in its journey.
Christ as Our Slain Lamb
Christ as our Slain Lamb is our initial step. When we recognize that He is the Lamb slain for the sins of the world, we put our faith in Him. This is the means by which we enter into Christ. Since, we have entered into Christ by faith, we are also included in His death and resurrection. Too many have seen this simply as an objective truth, but it must be a subjective experience if we are to be transformed into the Image of God through Christ. We can only experience it if, by faith, we take His death and resurrection as our own.
Christ as Our Manna and Living Water
Once we have this new life in Christ, we must learn to eat and drink of Christ. If we do not eat and drink Him, we cannot grow in Him. A dear brother in Christ, Michael has written a great blog on eating Christ here: Spiritual Starvation and the Manna that’s Already There. I highly suggest reading it. We don’t literally eat and drink Christ, since God is Spirit, we must eat and drink Him spiritually. First, we must recognize that our food and drink is not the true food and drink. Christ is the reality of these things. Then, we eat and drink Him by faith. We must learn how to do this through our constant communion with Him. This is how we grow in Christ. As we eat and drink Him, His Life is dispensed into us and He saturates us, nourishes us, and is our pleasure.
Christ as Our Promised Land
Christ as our Lamb, our Food, and our Drink are just partial pictures of Christ. There is no picture in the Old Testament that is as complete a picture of Christ as the Promised Land. As we are growing in Christ by eating and drinking Him, we must recognize that He is our Promised Land, God’s provision for our every need. He is the air we breathe, our milk and honey, the very land we walk on, and even our hills and valleys. He is everything to us. In Him, we live and move and have our being. Whatever we need, we already have it in Christ.
Just as each tribe of Israel was given a portion of Christ, so we have been given portions of Christ. We have the stewardship of the mystery of Christ, which is God in us. As stewards, we share our portions of Christ with each other, dispensing His Life into each other through the Spirit. Through this dispensing, the Body is being built up into the fullness of Christ, until we are His express Image.
Lastly, just as Israel had an enemy in the Promised Land, so we have an enemy that wishes to keep God from attaining His eternal desire. Since, we each have a portion of Christ, together we must put on the Armor of God, which is Christ Himself. When I lack faith, a brother or sister in Christ, will have faith to give me. When someone feels unrighteous, I can remind them that Christ is our Righteousness. The war must be fought in the Body, for the Armor of God goes on the New Man, who is the corporate Christ.
Having died and been resurrected with Christ, then eating and drinking our Lord, let us press on to the Promised Land, where Christ is all and in all.
 The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life;  And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”  To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.”  Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.  “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field;  By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.” – [Gen 3:14-19 NASB]
 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars;  and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.  Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems.  And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.  And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.  Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.  And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war,  and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.  And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.  Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.  “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.  “For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.”  And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. – [Rev 12:1-13 NASB]
This woman is the one foretold of in Genesis. The woman is the entire Church. She is the beautiful Bride of Christ, awaiting His return. The sun, moon, and stars symbolize the universality of this Woman.
The Man Child
The child that comes from the woman, is not only a male child, but a Man Child. This is the Seed of the woman from Genesis that is to bruise Satan. This is the beginning of the New Man. The believers who are more mature in Christ, than the others. They are more mature because they have received more of Christ. Christ has been thoroughly dispensed into them. You may say, “But I thought the Seed of the woman is Christ”. You would also be right, since Christ is the head of the New Man. This is God’s purpose: That we would be His expression. Note that a Woman does not conceive on Her own. The Life of the Bridegroom has been dispensed into the Woman, and She has given birth to this Man Child. He is part of the Woman, and has the Life of the Bridegroom.
The Great Red Dragon
Much time has passed since the garden and the Serpent has become a Great Red Dragon. How has this happened? In Genesis, it was said that the serpent would eat dust. Man is made of dust. Satan seeks to devour people. He has devoured many and has grown quite large and strong. This is also why the Dragon is red: From the blood of his victims.
The rapture of the Man Child is described as He is called up to heaven, directly to the throne of God. They will be taken by Christ, who has come secretly in a cloud. He has come like a thief in the night. A thief comes secretly and quietly. You will note that this rapture differs from that of the rest of the Woman, since they are to meet Christ in the air. Why won’t all of the believers be caught up together? Some are ripe and some aren’t. The ripe ones will be caught up so that they won’t be over ripe and the unripe ones must wait until they have ripened.
What is the purpose of this rapture? It is not to escape The Great Tribulation. The angels are awaiting the authority of Christ, through this Man Child, to cast the Accuser out of heaven. Thus the Man Child is called up to the throne in order to exercise the dominion given in Genesis, and regained by Christ on the cross. God has chosen to use His People to pass judgment on Satan, and Michael and the angels will carry out that judgment. Remember that the angels are to be under our authority.
The Persecution of the Rest of the Woman’s Children
The rest of the believers who were not prepared for the Lord, must be ripened. They will incur the wrath of the Dragon, was has been cast down by the Man Child. Through this persecution they will be ripened and ready to meet Christ when He appears in glory on the cloud.
- Is Jesus Christ the Strong Angel in Revelation 10? (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
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.
First of all, let me explain why I am writing this post. I am writing this post because someone reading this post might have the same questions, and perhaps, God wants to give you the same answers through this post.
Background to first question: So, I have been facing some difficulties with work recently, that have caused me to wonder what I should do. I decided to ask God, “What should I do?”. Immediately, I got an answer, “Be patient”. So I thought to myself, “Gee, some answer!”. But, then I realized my mistake and announced that, “Jesus is my Patience”.
A little while later, I was wondering how I could go on. Sure Jesus is my Patience, but I don’t think that I can physically go on. Patience doesn’t seem to solve my difficulties. As I pondered these things, I received my second answer, “I am Enough”. With these words, Peace came upon me and the enemy fled.
Maybe you have something that seems like it is too much for you. Maybe the enemy is filling your mind with doubts as well. Indeed, it is too much for you. But, God has declared that He is Enough for all of our needs. Let me tell you that your feelings are not real when they conflict what God has said. What God says is absolute truth, even if you can’t see it. Christ is Enough for us.
1 Because I love Zion, I will not keep still. Because my heart yearns for Jerusalem, I cannot remain silent. I will not stop praying for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn, and her salvation blazes like a burning torch. 2 The nations will see your righteousness. World leaders will be blinded by your glory. And you will be given a new name by the LORD’s own mouth. 3 The LORD will hold you in his hand for all to see– a splendid crown in the hand of God. 4 Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City” or “The Desolate Land.” Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight” and “The Bride of God,” for the LORD delights in you and will claim you as his bride. 5 Your children will commit themselves to you, O Jerusalem, just as a young man commits himself to his bride. Then God will rejoice over you as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride. 6 O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray day and night, continually. Take no rest, all you who pray to the LORD. 7 Give the LORD no rest until he completes his work, until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth. – Isa 62:1-7 NLT
In these verses, the Lord displays His overwhelming love for His People, the City of God. How His heart yearns for us! Christ even ever lives to intercede on our behalf. He is so zealous for our righteousness and salvation that He will not stop praying for us. You may wonder what Christ is up to at any given moment. Here you have your answer: He is interceding for us.
But what is the purpose of this? He is going to blind the world with our righteousness and glory. Our righteousness and glory will shine more brightly than the sun. How can this possibly be? It is because Christ Himself is our Righteousness and our Glory. He is the Light that shines in us. When He is our All, when His fullness is displayed in us, all will see that His Brilliance is beyond measure.
Next, we find out that were are to have a new name. The Lord Himself is to give us this name. Our new name will be “The City of God’s Delight” and “The Bride of God”. This has been God’s purpose from beginning. Throughout Scripture you see the Father building a home. There is the garden, the ark, and the temple. All of these are but shadows of true House of God. The New Jerusalem, the City of God’s Delight, is a Living City. It is built of living stones. Each of us is a living stone and, together, we are this magnificent City that God so delights in. But, we see that is not our only name. We are also called the Bride of God. The Son came for a Bride, someone who He could be One with. He did this by giving us His very Life, so that we can share in His divine nature. What a beautiful Woman this Bride is! We are that Bride and Christ is our Bridegroom. What great names the Lord has given us.
But what does this act of naming us signify? First, it shows that we are the property of the Lord. He has paid our price on the cross, and purchased us by His blood. We are utterly and totally His. Next, He exchanges our name for a new name. Our old self is gone and replaced by one of His own making. Through Christ, our inheritance of death in Adam, has been exchanged for our inheritance of eternal life in Christ. We are truly a new creation in Christ.
How greatly our Lord rejoices in His new creation! We are His great pleasure. He holds us safely in hand and shows us off for all to see. We are like a crown to Him. Since Christ lives in us and Has filled us, He wears us as a crown so that all of earth and all the heavenly places may see this new creation that is made in His full image.
In the last two verses mention, we see that the Lord desires for us to be watchmen over the Church. He desires His People to give Him no rest until His work is completed, which is that this New Jerusalem would be the pride of the earth. He desire that we would pray without ceasing. If you don’t know what to pray for, here you have it. Pray for the desire of the Lord’s heart to be fulfilled. Pray that His work in creating this glorious People, who are called by His Name, may be completed. When you grow tired, take heart, He is ever praying with us and through us.
Oh, how He loves us so!
- For He Has Done Wonderful Things (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
1 In that day you will sing: “I will praise you, O LORD! You were angry with me, but not any more. Now you comfort me. 2 See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The LORD GOD is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.” 3 With joy you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation! 4 In that wonderful day you will sing: “Thank the LORD! Praise his name! Tell the nations what he has done. Let them know how mighty he is! 5 Sing to the LORD, for he has done wonderful things. Make known his praise around the world. 6 Let all the people of Jerusalem shout his praise with joy! For great is the Holy One of Israel who lives among you.” – Isa 12:1-6 NLT
Here we are given a description of the age in which we now live, and what a glorious age it is! This is not the description of some future time, but this is the time in which we now live. Someone has come and made peace between God and us. God is no longer angry with us, but has become our Comforter, through our faith in Jesus Christ. Once, we were His enemies, but now we are His Family. What a change!
Who is this that Has saved us from His wrath? It is none other than God Himself. This Wonderful God has given Himself to us. He has become our All. What do we now have to fear? Nothing. Christ is our Strength. Christ is our Courage. Christ is our Song. Christ is our Victory. Christ is our Salvation. The list can go on and on. Everything we now have is a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. We have exchanged our ashes for Beauty.
Oh, the riches of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Fountain of our salvation. Everyday, He nourishes us. He is the great Refresher. Has your love grown cold? Are you defeated? The Son beckons you, “Come and drink of Me, for I am the Life-Giving Fountain”. It is our joy to drink deeply of Him. His depths are endless!
From these things flows our thanks and praise to the Lord. We share with others the amazing things that He has done in us and through us. The great might of the Lord is in how He has exchanged our old selves for Christ, that we may no longer live, but He lives in us. Never has such a thing been imagined, except in the mind of God. He has done the most wonderful things imaginable. He has given us His very Life to live by.
The last verse is most amazing. We, the Church, are that great People of Jerusalem. We are the New Jerusalem that descends from Heaven at the end of Revelations. We are the glorious City of God. What is the glory of this City? It is none other than the Holy One, the Christ that lives among us by His Spirit. The Father has indeed found a place of rest in us. Look, how He dwells among us, not just in us, but among us. As we gather, each believer is to share his or her portion of Christ, that He may be displayed among us. No one person can show the fullness of our Lord, but all of us together show His fullness.
- The Passionate Commitment of the Lord (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
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.
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.
This is a wonderful book that I would recommend to all those who love Christ. It is a devotional book about God’s goodness in suffering. The narrator of the audiobook is Lloyd Jones, who’s voice is comforting in a book that describes so much suffering.
This book is based on Scripture, as well as stories of Christians who have suffered. At the end of each day is a prayer. Christ promised that all who followed Him would suffer and this book has many stories of Christians who have been faithful to Him, in spite of much suffering. Many of those mentioned in the book have found that they are now closer to God because of their suffering. Christ is our example of suffering, for He has suffered more than all of us combined.
There was more than one occasion in which this book caused tears to swell up in my eyes. It is a book of hope, joy, and love in the face of deep pain and sorrow. This is the hope, joy, and love that only Christ can give us.
Many think that suffering should be avoided at all costs. Indeed, suffering would be unbearable if our Father was not sovereign in it. Fortunately, He has measured all of our pains and troubles out for us and we can be assured there will not be too much nor too little of the trials in this life.
I received this book free from christianaudio.com through the christianaudio Reviewers program.
All that we see are but mere shadows. The good things are shadows of Christ, whereas the evil things are shadows of hell.
I will begin with how evil things are shadows of hell, before we get into the much greater topic of how good things are shadows of Christ. Some have decided that pain and suffering in this world is hell, but that is not so. Pain and suffering warn us of hell. Hell is much worse than what we experience on earth. The greatest pain here will not compare to that of hell. That is why it is by far better to pluck out your own eye that causes you to sin, than to be cast into hell with both eyes. That horrible pain of plucking out your own eye is but a shadow of the pain of hell. But, let’s move on to greater things than hell.
All good things are shadows of Christ. Each good thing reveals Him in a different way and in a different measure. There is not a place that you can look without seeing Christ. The highway may be the way you get to work, but Christ is the true Way. There are many signs that show you where to go on the road, but Christ is the real Sign that directs us. We dwell in houses, but Christ is our true Home. You feel relief from a cool breeze in the heat of summer, but Christ is our true Relief. The sun gives us light and warmth, but Christ is a Light to our path and gives us
His warmth. A tree is lifeless in the winter, but comes to life in spring. There you see a shadow of His resurrection.
The entire land is a great shadow of Christ. From the land, mankind receives everything it needs. The land gives us food, water, materials for building, precious jewels, and the list can go on. The land is abundant. Christ is our Land, and from Him comes everything we need in abundance. Are you hungry? He is your Food. Do you need shade? He will cover you. Do you need your Spirit lifted? He is far more pleasant to look upon than any wildflowers.
Do you understand? Look anywhere and the shadow of Christ is obvious for those who look through His Spirit. He is the ultimate Reality and all that you see and naturally experience is a lesser reality.
“Also in the church in Rome was a godly man named Lawrence, who was a minister of the Gospel and in charge of distributing the church’s goods. Marcianus greedily demanded that Lawrence tell him where the church’s riches were hid, thinking he could take them for himself. Lawrence requested three days in which to gather the riches together and present them to the governor.”
“When the third day came, Marcianus demanded that Lawrence keep his promise. Whereupon Lawrence stretched out his arms over some poor Christians that he had gathered in the place with him and said ‘These are the precious riches of the Church. They are the treasures in which faith in Christ reigns, in whom Christ has His dwelling place. What more precious jewel can the Church have than those in whom Christ promised to dwell?’”
“…After many cruel torments, this meek slave of Christ was laid on his fiery bed. But in God’s providence, it was as a bed of soft feathers, and the godly Lawrence laid there and perished as if taking a nourishing rest.” – John Foxe, The New Foxe’s Book of Martyrs
In “Let Us Pray”, Watchman Nee brings us into the deep waters of the mystery of prayer. He reveals that “the prayer which a believer utters on earth is but the voicing of the Lord’s will in heaven”. Any expression of our own will that is not God’s will is not prayer at all and will be ineffective.
Using examples from Scripture, Watchman Nee shows the importance of prayer in the lives of Christians, because “all the actions in heaven are governed by the actions on earth!” Although, God has His eternal will, which He will complete, He will wait to act until His People join with Him in prayer.
Watchman Nee uses the parable of the widow, who repeatedly bothers the judge because of the oppression of her enemy, to show the importance of praying against Satan. This is a type of prayer that Jesus prophesied would be rare when He returns.
I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
(Luk 18:8 ESV)
Watchman Nee continues throughout the book showing the importance of prayer, offering examples of effectual prayers, explaining types of prayers, and revealing the schemes that Satan uses to harm us.
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting too much when I started reading this little book. I have quite a few books on prayer and there comes a point when you have to ask: “Is there anything else that someone can say about prayer?” Watchman Nee has showed me my many failures in prayer. I understood that prayer is always to be according to God’s will, but I didn’t realize He waits for our prayers before He acts.
How unfaithful to my Lord have I been in this matter! I have not been praying for His return. I have not been praying for Satan to be bound and cast into the pit. I have not begged our Father to rebuke the evil one with all of His wrath for causing all kinds of pains and sufferings on His Children. Christ has revealed to me that He wishes for us to join in His work and is willing to delay the fulfillment of His will, because we don’t yet care enough to pray about His desires. How the army of heaven has suffered, because we have been unwilling to aid them in their battle against the enemy of Christ.
If Christ is always interceding for us, how can we justify not joining with Him in fulfilling the eternal purpose of God?
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
(Psa 46:10 ESV)
Some of my most enjoyable times with Christ, have been in silence. To sit still and see Him by faith is a wonderful thing. It doesn’t take words to worship Him. You can worship Him by just enjoying Him. To forget the troubles of the world, if even for a moment, and turn your gaze to Him, honors Him much. Instead, of bringing Him your laundry list, you can bring Him yourself and seek Him for no other reason than because you want to enjoy His Presence. If only we turned our focus from our outward duties to God more often, we would surely be consumed with a holy passion for Him. Somehow, during this time, He fills us with contentment, while filling us with more desire. If only we knew how important this quiet time is to Him, perhaps we wouldn’t consider it wasted time.
- The Old and the New Creation Through Christ (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
- We Should not Shrink from Suffering (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
- What Does It Mean for a Christian to Bear Fruit? (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
- Let Us Be Content With Our Sufferings (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
- Walk in Christ (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2Co 12:7-10 ESV)
In order for the eternal purpose of God to be made manifest in us, troubles, trials, difficulties, and sufferings are allowed to come to us. God is never the originator of evil. Instead, Satan is the author of evil.
Evil is not something created, it is the lack of good. In the same way as darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of goodness. You can’t turn on darkness, but you can turn on light.
Satan cannot act against God’s Children, unless it is by the permission of God. God can prevent or stop any trial, whenever He pleases.
You may suffer because of sin, to become more Christlike, to glorify God, or a combination of these. Don’t assume that you are suffering just because you have sinned, for we suffer because we live in a fallen world, where there is an unseen war being waged by powers and principalities beyond our understanding. If you suffer, seek God and He will give you understanding by His Spirit.
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.
(Joh 9:1-3 ESV)
God used a messenger of Satan to keep Paul from becoming conceited and to reveal to Him that the power of God is perfected in our weakness. When we do experience any momentary trouble, or lasting difficulty, we can trust that God is using it for our good. Let us be content with our weaknesses, when trouble is upon us, knowing that our loving Father is in complete control. We see from Paul’s example that it is not wrong to ask God to remove our thorns, but that we must be resigned to His will if He chooses not to.
Who are we to question God, whose ways are not our ways and who is beyond or full understanding? We know He is always good and does what is best for us. Let’s walk in peace and contentedness no matter what our circumstances are because we are in Christ.