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Faith Without Works is Dead, So We Have to Do More…Right?

And yet the best is yet to come. For as the saints assemble, each telling about their experience with the risen Lord, Christ himself appears in their midst! And together, as one body, they encounter Christ. – Joshua Lawson

Does your heart burn within you for the Lord Jesus? If it does, then you will enjoy Joshua Lawson‘s blog post, at In Search of the City, called The Fellowship of the Burning Heart. We all need to enjoy this fellowship with each other and our Lord. It’s His desire to give us such a hungry, burning heart and to satisfy us with Himself.

DSCN3909_1_72 - Plum Tree With Fruit on it.

DSCN3909_1_72 – Plum Tree With Fruit on it. (Photo credit: bterrycompton)

For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. – [Jam 2:26 NASB]

This verse from James’ letter is commonly used to spur saints on to do more works. Unfortunately, this lays a burden on saints and takes what James was saying out of context.

James’ exhortation to works is actually in the context of the gathering of the saints; in the context of the ekklesia.

The saints were treating each other in an evil way. Instead of showing each other love and mercy, in Christ, they were showing each other partiality and judgement.

Everyone has works. The question really is: What kind of works are you doing?

James was writing to saints that claimed to have faith in Christ, but treated each other in an evil, worldly, manner. Such a faith, resulting in evil works, is dead.

A living faith in Christ, results in works of love; in the fruit of the Spirit.

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. – [Gal 5:19-25 NASB]

Do you see that it is not about doing more works, but a change in works, because of the exchange of our natural life for the eternal Life, through faith in Christ?

Walk by the Spirit, dear brothers and sisters, and you will express Christ.

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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.

Growing in Christ

Flowering tree privet

Flowering tree privet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

We Bear Fruit by Abiding in Christ

English: Wine grapes. Español: Uvas de vino ro...

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. – [Jhn 15:5 NASB]

I’ve noticed that a lot of visitors arrive at my blog with searches pertaining to bearing fruit. Although, I have already written a blog post about bearing fruit “What Does it Mean For a Christian to Bear Fruit?”, I want to revisit this very important subject. Hopefully, I have experienced Christ to a greater extent, so that this post will flow with more of Him than the previous post.

In the above verse, we see that if we are to bear fruit, we must abide in Christ.

Yesterday, I read a good blog post on abiding in Christ by a dear brother in Christ. You can read Daniel Norlin’s blog post called “Abiding” at By His Feet. You should go read it. It has a great quote from Andrew Murray and its a quick read. Here is a quote from his post:

“…All the work is the Lord’s. All is done by the might of the Spirit (and we get to be vessels for Him and His power). Even remaining in Christ, remaining in Love.” – Daniel Norlin

Have you ever wondered what a tree must do to bear fruit? Does a tree have to find food? Does a tree have to go find water? Does it strive to reach the soil. What a silly idea! We are not even the tree. We are branches on the tree.

We are branches on the Vine Tree, the Tree of Life, the risen and living Christ.

In my previous post on bearing fruit, we saw that the fruit that we are to bear is the fruit of the Spirit.

So, now we see that we bear the fruit of the Spirit by abiding in Christ by the Spirit. We have the Spirit of Jesus Christ within us. We are deeply and intimately connected to our Life Source. Christ’s Life is in our Spirit and we just turn to our Spirit that the Life may spread and saturate us.

Let me get one thing out of our way that may cause us to stumble. Objectively, we are always abiding in Christ. But, I don’t think that is what Jesus was referring to. We may not always be abiding in Christ in our subjective experience.

If we are not living and walking by the Spirit, we are not abiding in Christ, and we cannot bear the fruit of the Spirit.

We must always be turned to our Spirit, seeking the will of our Father. There is no method. Even turning to the Spirit is nothing of ourselves, but it is Christ within us.

If we are to abide in Christ, we must rely on the Spirit every moment. Turn to the Lord in your Spirit and speak words of love to Him. Listen for His voice. Talk to Him about everything you do. Just sit quietly and enjoy Him. Share Him with your brothers and sisters in Christ. There are no rules to abiding in Christ and bearing fruit, but whatever the Spirit is prompting you right now.

Let God do all for you, in you, and through you.

“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]

The Spirit as the River of Life, is the flowing Life of God. Open yourself up to Him and drink in the Living Water. Christ as the Tree of Life is the growing Life of God. Open yourself up to Him and eat of Him. You will find that the River of Life and the Tree of Life are inseparable and you cannot experience one without the other, for they flow and grow together, spreading the eternal Life of God.

So by turning to our Spirit, the Life of God flows and grows in us and through us, saturating us and spreading to everyone that we contact. This Life, which is just Christ Himself, brings forth the fruit of the Spirit from within our innermost being.

but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. – [2Cr 3:16-18 NASB]

We are Designed to Be a Divine Glove

A PVC-Glove

[26] Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” – [Gen 1:26 NASB]

A glove is made in the image of a hand, and according to its likeness. We were designed to be a Glove for God. God wants to get into us and fill us with Himself. The glove is the expression of the hand and we are to be the expression of God. The Glove is the Corporate Man and the Hand is the Triune God.

If we would be filled with God, for His full expression, His authority would be exercised.

Immediately, after God’s decision to make man in Their image, They state that men are to rule.

God’s authority always comes from His expression. If we are not expressing God, we cannot have His authority. Likewise, we must first be like a Glove, filled with God as our Hand. Then, He can exercise His authority through us.

What do you have to do to be a part of the Glove? Nothing. You were made to be a part of this Glove. You just need to cooperate with the Spirit, who dwells in your spirit, if you are in Christ. Let Him spread, renewing your mind with Himself, until Christ returns. Then, we will have new bodies and the consummation of God’s eternal desire.

Related articles

Why Read Books Other Than the Bible?

Standing upon the shoulders of giants

Image by mushon via Flickr

And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” (Mat. 13:52 NASB)

 

Every once in a while I hear people saying things like: “I only read the Bible”. I went through a phase like this for a short time in my walk with Christ and now I realize how silly it was.

 

Scripture is the revelation of Jesus Christ and there is nothing to add to it. Likewise, it is clear that the Spirit is able to teach us all things, so we don’t need a teacher. We have Scripture and we have the Spirit, so why read anything else? This is actually similar to those who believe there is more importance to the words of Jesus of Nazareth, in the gospels, than in the writings of Paul and the apostles. This belief lacks the understanding that the same Jesus who spoke those words, became the life-giving Spirit, who spoke through Paul, the apostles, believers throughout the ages, and now us.

 

There are many Christians who have spent their lives studying Scripture and when we learn from them we are standing upon their shoulders. For example, Witness Lee who stood on the shoulders of Watchman Nee, was a Christian for seven decades. When we read his writing we stand on his shoulders, rather than going back and starting where he began. Someday people will stand on your shoulders, as you stand on the shoulders of others. Don’t go back to the beginning of the revelation of Christ, but stand upon the shoulders of the ever-increasing revelation of our Great Lord until He returns.

 

You should choose wisely whose shoulders you will stand on.

 

Here are some shoulders that I think you would be wise to stand on:

Brother Lawrence

Frank Viola

T. Austin-Sparks

Watchman Nee

Witness Lee

Disciples, Ministers, and the Stewardship

Jesus in the Word

Image via Wikipedia

 

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.

 

Two Questions, Two Answers

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

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

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

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

Why Have I Chosen to Meet Organically in Christ?

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

The Supremacy of Christ

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

Christ is Zealous for God’s House

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

Christ is Head

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

All are Equal in Christ, the Corporate Man

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

Christ is in All

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

Some Thoughts on the Pastorate

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

Concluding Thoughts

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

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

His Heart Yearns For Jerusalem

Brides

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1 Because I love Zion, I will not keep still. Because my heart yearns for Jerusalem, I cannot remain silent. I will not stop praying for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn, and her salvation blazes like a burning torch. 2 The nations will see your righteousness. World leaders will be blinded by your glory. And you will be given a new name by the LORD’s own mouth. 3 The LORD will hold you in his hand for all to see– a splendid crown in the hand of God. 4 Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City” or “The Desolate Land.” Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight” and “The Bride of God,” for the LORD delights in you and will claim you as his bride. 5 Your children will commit themselves to you, O Jerusalem, just as a young man commits himself to his bride. Then God will rejoice over you as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride. 6 O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray day and night, continually. Take no rest, all you who pray to the LORD. 7 Give the LORD no rest until he completes his work, until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth. – Isa 62:1-7 NLT

 

In these verses, the Lord displays His overwhelming love for His People, the City of God. How His heart yearns for us! Christ even ever lives to intercede on our behalf. He is so zealous for our righteousness and salvation that He will not stop praying for us. You may wonder what Christ is up to at any given moment. Here you have your answer: He is interceding for us.

But what is the purpose of this? He is going to blind the world with our righteousness and glory. Our righteousness and glory will shine more brightly than the sun. How can this possibly be? It is because Christ Himself is our Righteousness and our Glory. He is the Light that shines in us. When He is our All, when His fullness is displayed in us, all will see that His Brilliance is beyond measure.

Next, we find out that were are to have a new name. The Lord Himself is to give us this name. Our new name will be “The City of God’s Delight” and “The Bride of God”. This has been God’s purpose from beginning. Throughout Scripture you see the Father building a home. There is the garden, the ark, and the temple. All of these are but shadows of true House of God. The New Jerusalem, the City of God’s Delight, is a Living City. It is built of living stones. Each of us is a living stone and, together, we are this magnificent City that God so delights in. But, we see that is not our only name. We are also called the Bride of God. The Son came for a Bride, someone who He could be One with. He did this by giving us His very Life, so that we can share in His divine nature. What a beautiful Woman this Bride is! We are that Bride and Christ is our Bridegroom. What great names the Lord has given us.

But what does this act of naming us signify? First, it shows that we are the property of the Lord. He has paid our price on the cross, and purchased us by His blood. We are utterly and totally His. Next, He exchanges our name for a new name. Our old self is gone and replaced by one of His own making. Through Christ, our inheritance of death in Adam, has been exchanged for our inheritance of eternal life in Christ. We are truly a new creation in Christ.

How greatly our Lord rejoices in His new creation! We are His great pleasure. He holds us safely in hand and shows us off for all to see. We are like a crown to Him. Since Christ lives in us and Has filled us, He wears us as a crown so that all of earth and all the heavenly places may see this new creation that is made in His full image.

In the last two verses mention, we see that the Lord desires for us to be watchmen over the Church. He desires His People to give Him no rest until His work is completed, which is that this New Jerusalem would be the pride of the earth. He desire that we would pray without ceasing. If you don’t know what to pray for, here you have it. Pray for the desire of the Lord’s heart to be fulfilled. Pray that His work in creating this glorious People, who are called by His Name, may be completed. When you grow tired, take heart, He is ever praying with us and through us.

Oh, how He loves us so!

For He Has Done Wonderful Things

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1 In that day you will sing: “I will praise you, O LORD! You were angry with me, but not any more. Now you comfort me. 2 See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The LORD GOD is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.” 3 With joy you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation! 4 In that wonderful day you will sing: “Thank the LORD! Praise his name! Tell the nations what he has done. Let them know how mighty he is! 5 Sing to the LORD, for he has done wonderful things. Make known his praise around the world. 6 Let all the people of Jerusalem shout his praise with joy! For great is the Holy One of Israel who lives among you.” – Isa 12:1-6 NLT

Here we are given a description of the age in which we now live, and what a glorious age it is! This is not the description of some future time, but this is the time in which we now live. Someone has come and made peace between God and us. God is no longer angry with us, but has become our Comforter, through our faith in Jesus Christ. Once, we were His enemies, but now we are His Family. What a change!

Who is this that Has saved us from His wrath? It is none other than God Himself. This Wonderful God has given Himself to us. He has become our All. What do we now have to fear? Nothing. Christ is our Strength. Christ is our Courage. Christ is our Song. Christ is our Victory. Christ is our Salvation. The list can go on and on. Everything we now have is a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. We have exchanged our ashes for Beauty.

Oh, the riches of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Fountain of our salvation. Everyday, He nourishes us. He is the great Refresher. Has your love grown cold? Are you defeated? The Son beckons you, “Come and drink of Me, for I am the Life-Giving Fountain”. It is our joy to drink deeply of Him. His depths are endless!

From these things flows our thanks and praise to the Lord. We share with others the amazing things that He has done in us and through us. The great might of the Lord is in how He has exchanged our old selves for Christ, that we may no longer live, but He lives in us. Never has such a thing been imagined, except in the mind of God. He has done the most wonderful things imaginable. He has given us His very Life to live by.

The last verse is most amazing. We, the Church, are that great People of Jerusalem. We are the New Jerusalem that descends from Heaven at the end of Revelations. We are the glorious City of God. What is the glory of this City? It is none other than the Holy One, the Christ that lives among us by His Spirit. The Father has indeed found a place of rest in us. Look, how He dwells among us, not just in us, but among us. As we gather, each believer is to share his or her portion of Christ, that He may be displayed among us. No one person can show the fullness of our Lord, but all of us together show His fullness.

Our Lord’s Victory

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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.


Shadows of Christ

Shadows of flowers

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All that we see are but mere shadows. The good things are shadows of Christ, whereas the evil things are shadows of hell.

I will begin with how evil things are shadows of hell, before we get into the much greater topic of how good things are shadows of Christ. Some have decided that pain and suffering in this world is hell, but that is not so. Pain and suffering warn us of hell. Hell is much worse than what we experience on earth. The greatest pain here will not compare to that of hell. That is why it is by far better to pluck out your own eye that causes you to sin, than to be cast into hell with both eyes. That horrible pain of plucking out your own eye is but a shadow of the pain of hell. But, let’s move on to greater things than hell.

All good things are shadows of Christ. Each good thing reveals Him in a different way and in a different measure. There is not a place that you can look without seeing Christ. The highway may be the way you get to work, but Christ is the true Way. There are many signs that show you where to go on the road, but Christ is the real Sign that directs us. We dwell in houses, but Christ is our true Home. You feel relief from a cool breeze in the heat of summer, but Christ is our true Relief. The sun gives us light and warmth, but Christ is a Light to our path and gives us
His warmth. A tree is lifeless in the winter, but comes to life in spring. There you see a shadow of His resurrection.

The entire land is a great shadow of Christ. From the land, mankind receives everything it needs. The land gives us food, water, materials for building, precious jewels, and the list can go on. The land is abundant. Christ is our Land, and from Him comes everything we need in abundance. Are you hungry? He is your Food. Do you need shade? He will cover you. Do you need your Spirit lifted? He is far more pleasant to look upon than any wildflowers.

Do you understand? Look anywhere and the shadow of Christ is obvious for those who look through His Spirit. He is the ultimate Reality and all that you see and naturally experience is a lesser reality.

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

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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.

 

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.


Walk in Christ

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
(Col 2:6-7 ESV)

Receiving Christ is only the beginning of something magnificent. Together, each body of Christians is to walk in Christ, be rooted in Him, and be built up in Him. These things require that we be well established in our faith in Christ. No individual can do these things on his or her own. Each one of us is given a portion of Christ, according to God’s grace. As we experience the living Christ with other Christians, we increasingly display His splendor.

Don’t be fooled into thinking there is a method to growing in Christ. It takes time, love, and lives spent in the presence of God.

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.

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