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Where in the Heavenly Places are We Seated?

I think that God did something wonderful in each heart as they learned to share and hear Christ. – John WilsonGathering in the Garden

Brother John Wilson, has written another wonderful blog post on an organic gathering of some young saints. It has a very fitting title, Gathering in the Garden. I think that you will enjoy it immensely. Pray that these little ones will be built together, with love, in Christ, as a place a place of rest for our Father.

Now for my blog post…

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, – [Eph 2:4-6 NASB]

Girl by PernilleH via Flickr

Dear saints, you may not feel like it, but you are seated with Christ in the heavenly places. Since you have believed into Christ, you have been utterly and eternally united with Christ. When our Father looks at you He just sees Christ. In Christ, you have been resurrected, ascended, and seated in the heavenly places.

But, what does it mean that we are seated in the heavenly places?

Where in the heavenly places are we seated?

Paul makes it clear that we are seated with Christ and in Christ. So the real question is: Where is Christ seated?

…Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him. – [1Pe 3:21-22 NASB]

O yes, dear brothers and sisters! Let’s shout with joy that Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Do you see the implications of this? Since Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of God, we are seated at the right hand of God.

Everything that is true of our beloved Lord Jesus, is true of us. When you are seated, you are resting. We are resting, in Christ, at the right hand of God!

I hope that you are enjoying Christ and resting in Him, as that is your rightful place. This doesn’t have to be a distant objective reality. We have His Spirit, within us. Turn your mind to the Spirit within you. Love Him and enjoy Him. God is not only in you, but you are in Him. Take pleasure in being in Him. The simplest way I know of turning to the Spirit, is to focus on Him and say, “Lord Jesus, I love You!” But, do not take this as a rule or a method. It doesn’t even require words. Just let the love that God has poured into your heart, flow back to Him. Tell Him how lovable He is. He is the delight of the nations! He is the healing of the nations! O glorious and beautiful Lord Jesus, you are our delight and enjoyment. Make our hearts burn within us, for You. Shine Your Face on us. May we be Your enjoyment. May we be Your delight. O thirsty and hungry Lord, enjoy a feast of our enjoyment of Christ.

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

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Introducing Prince, a Shadow of Christ

“In the journey of salvation, we do not transform ourselves … we are transformed by the indwelling presence of God.” – Bernie Webb

Bernie Webb at Believing IN Christ Jesus through ALL things wrote a blog post that relates very well to my post, today. His post, CAUTION: MEN AT WORK or … GOD AT WORK, is a quick and encouraging read.

About a week and a half ago, our little bird, Prince, went to be with Father. You may find it strange, but Prince was more than a bird to us. He was our one and only beloved son. He was so very unique. He was always so filled with life and love.

Today, I want to share Christ with you, through this small, beautiful bird, so loved and cared for by God.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. – [Mat 10:29 NASB]

The Love of Christ

Through Prince, I gained a glimpse of Christ’s love for us. Whenever I was sad, Prince would climb off of his cage and come try to comfort me with kisses. You could see the concern in his eyes for me. He treated me like one of his own. He would  pull on my beard hairs, like they were unopened feathers. He would try to take care of me by cleaning my face and straightening up my hairs. This little bird took me as one of his own and tried to take care of me the best that he could. Christ has taken us as His own and is caring for us, who are in Him.

An Example of How We Should Be Towards God

This is the most wonderful thing about my beloved, Prince. I was his daddy and he always wanted to be with me. He wanted to go wherever I went. If he couldn’t see me, he would cry out. He would yell when I left the house, and he would yell for me when I got home. My house is full of memories of Prince, because he was with me wherever I went. There was little that he wanted, but to be with me and to have my attention. Whenever I talked, Prince would talk. Whenever I laughed, Prince would laugh. He always wanted to be like me, doing the things that I was doing; He was always mimicking me.

To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours: – [1Cr 1:2 NASB]

Do you see that this little bird is a shadow of Christ? Prince was a son to me, like Jesus was a Son to the Father. Jesus always went where the Father went, did what the Father did, and said what the Father said. Jesus didn’t have to mimic the Father, because they were altogether One. But, Prince’s life was an example of that desire of the Son to be One with the Father.

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. “For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel. – [Jhn 5:19-20 NASB]

In Christ, whether male or female, we are all sons of God through the Sonship of Jesus Christ. As Prince always wanted to abide with me, we should always desire to abide in Christ. We should just want to go where our Father is going and do what our Father is doing. This is Christ in us as the Son, desiring to do the will of the Father.

My Love for Prince an Example of the Father’s Love for Us

O, how my wife and I love our little Prince. There are many places that we have wanted to go. We have wanted to go on vacations, cruises, hotels, and other places, but we would not leave Prince. If Prince could not go and we would have to leave him for too long, we would not go. It wasn’t a loss to us, because we would rather be with Prince than go on the most fantastic vacation.

We are closer to our Father, than I could ever be with Prince. Prince could be with me, but he could never be in me. Likewise, I could never be in him.

Do you know that our Father is always with us and is even in us? Perhaps, you do know this, but do you realize that He wants to be with us and in us? He has put us into His Son and when He looks at us, He sees His beloved Son. He is not in us because He has to be, but because He has desired to have His eternal Life in us from eternity past.

We were created to be vessels containing God and expressing His immeasurable fullness. We were created to express God’s image and exercise His authority. We were created to be One with God, like a glove is one with a hand.

Psalm 119: A Psalm of Christ

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.

Jesus Christ, the Ram of God

Ouessant ram

[13] Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. – [Gen 22:13 NASB]

You have probably heard of Christ as the Lamb of God, but in the Old Testament, we see that He is even the Ram of God. Don’t think that the Lamb and the Ram are very different. They are both sheep. But, they show us different aspects of our dear Lord.

The Ram has horns, symbolizing Christ’s fighting power.

[53] “Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? – [Mat 26:53 NASB]

So what prevented Him from using such power?

Thicket

We see that this Ram’s horns were caught in the thicket. This thicket symbolizes fallen humanity. Christ had so much fighting power. He had power over nature, demons, illnesses, and even death. But, He was caught by our fallen humanity.

In order to attain His eternal purpose, God needs a People who express His image and exercise His authority. Fallen humanity, poisoned with sin and death, could never achieve God’s eternal purpose. So Christ laid down His horns, in order to suffer and die for us, becoming the Lamb of God.

Related articles

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

This image shows a red wine glass.

Image via Wikipedia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Why Have I Chosen to Meet Organically in Christ?

Bexley_Christ_Church

Image via Wikipedia

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

Image by cherie6c via Flickr

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!

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.

90 Days of God’s Goodness by Randy Alcorn

This is a wonderful book that I would recommend to all those who love Christ. It is a devotional book about God’s goodness in suffering. The narrator of the audiobook is Lloyd Jones, who’s voice is comforting in a book that describes so much suffering.

This book is based on Scripture, as well as stories of Christians who have suffered. At the end of each day is a prayer. Christ promised that all who followed Him would suffer and this book has many stories of Christians who have been faithful to Him, in spite of much suffering. Many of those mentioned in the book have found that they are now closer to God because of their suffering. Christ is our example of suffering, for He has suffered more than all of us combined.

There was more than one occasion in which this book caused tears to swell up in my eyes. It is a book of hope, joy, and love in the face of deep pain and sorrow. This is the hope, joy, and love that only Christ can give us.

Many think that suffering should be avoided at all costs. Indeed, suffering would be unbearable if our Father was not sovereign in it. Fortunately, He has measured all of our pains and troubles out for us and we can be assured there will not be too much nor too little of the trials in this life.

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

The Precious Riches of the Church

Also in the church in Rome was a godly man named Lawrence, who was a minister of the Gospel and in charge of distributing the church’s goods. Marcianus greedily demanded that Lawrence tell him where the church’s riches were hid, thinking he could take them for himself. Lawrence requested three days in which to gather the riches together and present them to the governor.”

“When the third day came, Marcianus demanded that Lawrence keep his promise. Whereupon Lawrence stretched out his arms over some poor Christians that he had gathered in the place with him and said ‘These are the precious riches of the Church. They are the treasures in which faith in Christ reigns, in whom Christ has His dwelling place. What more precious jewel can the Church have than those in whom Christ promised to dwell?’”

“…After many cruel torments, this meek slave of Christ was laid on his fiery bed. But in God’s providence, it was as a bed of soft feathers, and the godly Lawrence laid there and perished as if taking a nourishing rest.” – John Foxe, The New Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

Let Us Pray by Watchman Nee

Watchman Nee

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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?

Enjoying Christ

“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.

 

Let Us Be Content With Our Sufferings

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

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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.

Christians: Don’t be Dismayed by Your Differences

A simplified chart of historical developments ...

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For as long as I can remember that God has been guiding me on the path I now walk (although I walk it very imperfectly), I have wondered why other Christians do not see things the same way as I do. Is one of us right, and the other wrong? How can that be if we are both walking with God? Does God tell us different things? Yes, God does tell us different things, as we are ready for them. He leads every person along a different path, according to His Divine wisdom. He uses each of us for a different purpose, in order to fulfill His eternal purpose.

We should not be divided by our differences. Instead, we should learn from each other, and glorify God for the diversity of His new creation. We should not try to force the calling God has given us on another person. Although, you will meet others who have a similar spiritual calling to yours, and you will have a deeper bond with them, than with other Christians.

What really matters is Christ, and that we love Him and love each other, through the love that flows from Him.

 

The Spirit is Our Teacher

But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie–just as it has taught you, abide in him.
(1Jn 2:27 ESV)

Many people search books to learn about God. It is good to learn from others, what God has revealed to them about Himself. This is much easier for those who have not learned to listen to God. But, those who have walked with God long enough, should be able to move on to learning from God Himself. Of course, the Spirit uses books to teach us, but He is able to use anything to teach us. Also, He will use others to teach you, especially if you are not listening. Sometimes, words cannot even express what He shows You about the glories of Christ. Use Scripture to evaluate what you believe the Spirit is telling you, in order to ensure you are not being deceived by Satan.

If you are willing to practice His presence in humility and for no reason but out of love for Christ, He will share Himself with you in abundance.


We Should Not Shrink From Suffering

Brother Lawrence

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That he expected after the pleasant days God had given him, he should have his turn of pain and suffering; but that he was not uneasy about it, knowing very well, that as he could do nothing for himself, God would not fail to give him the strength to bear it.” – Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God

My brothers and sisters in Christ, we should not shrink back from pains and sufferings in this life. We should embrace them as great graces from God, which He is using to sanctify us. If only we could understand, in the hour of difficulty, the blessings God is pouring on us.

When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.
(Act 14:21-22 ESV)

There is no reason to search for pain. God will give what is needed. If it is necessary for your growth, then it will come. If your difficulties become too great, know that God will give you strength to bear them. Often, He will use other Christians to strengthen you.

If we are in a situation where our pain will alleviate the pain of someone else, we should wholeheartedly embrace it. There are people who will not suffer a little discomfort for the life of another person. All of us have chosen ourselves over others at some point in our lives. This is not the way of Christ. This is not the way of love. If we wish to save our lives, we must lose them. We must die to self, that Christ may live through us.

If our Father reserved the greatest sufferings for His beloved Son, we should expect that, as heirs with Christ, we should suffer something as well.

The Dark Night of the Soul Revisited

Dark Forest

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I have gone through the dark night of the soul previously. Unfortunately, it never seems to be any easier. It is the reason that I have not written on this blog recently. I have nothing from God to write. The dark night of the soul is a time that God seems distant, even unreachable. It is like He is hidden behind a veil, and His light does not shine upon you. I know that He is there and is taking care of me, but He does not show Himself to me. Fortunately, there are brief moments where His light shines upon me and I am encouraged to carry on. These are times of growth. After these dark times, His light seems to shine brighter. I look forward to walking in His light again, when He has decided that I have walked through the night enough.

Whatever You Do

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
(Col 3:17 ESV)

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
(Col 3:23-24 ESV)

Whatever you do, do it for Jesus. We should devote all of our actions to Him. If we go to work, we should work for Him. If we brush our teeth, we should brush them for Him. If we fellowship with one another, we should love each other for Him.

We should not live our lives for Jesus out of guilt or a sense of duty, but out of joy. Doing everything for Jesus should be the natural outflow of our love for Him. As we walk in His presence, He will be increasingly on our minds. The more we speak to Him and delight in him, the more we will remember Him. His Spirit will always ensure that our minds are drawn back to Him. Soon it will be natural to devote everything we do to Him.

We can dedicate all of our actions to Him, letting our lives be a pleasing sacrifice to Him.

An Organic Church Meeting

I have to say Christ taught us a lot today as the brothers and sisters gathered together in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ was so real. Christ is reality was the thought that comes to mind, a thought that He had been showing to me this past week.” – John Wilson

This is a quote from a brother’s blog on our last organic church meeting. Here is the link to the full post: Life and Death in Organic Church Life.

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