All Scripture finds its organic center and unity in Jesus. – Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola, Jesus: A Theography
Do you know what happened before the foundation of the world? Go read Frank Viola‘s blog post, What Happened Before the Foundation of the World? at Beyond Evangelical, containing an excerpt from Leonard Sweet’s and Frank Viola’s new book Jesus: A Theography.
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel. He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.” Then I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the LORD was standing by. And the angel of the LORD admonished Joshua, saying, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘If you will walk in My ways and if you will perform My service, then you will also govern My house and also have charge of My courts, and I will grant you free access among these who are standing here. – [Zec 3:1-7 NASB]
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. – [Rev 12:10 NASB]
Dear saints, we all experience the constant accusations against us by the evil one. He accuses us day and night. What should we do, in light of his harassment? Should we run? Should we hide? Should we deny his accusations?
We feel ashamed because his accusations against us are true. By nature, we are dirty. We were born in sin. Indeed, when Adam and Eve joined in Satan’s rebellion, by eating from the Tree of Knoweldge of Good and Evil, we took the satanic nature into our flesh. Whenever we have tried to do good, our flesh has overpowered us. Thus, Satan has had ground to accuse us before the Lord. Has this been your experience? Have you lived in guilt under his accusations, whether in your mind or from the people around you?
We are standing there in filthy clothes before Christ, who is the Angel of the Lord. Satan is standing to our side, accusing us. Our embarrassment is multiplied as the multitude of angels watch.
Brothers and sisters, the answer is not to argue with Satan. The answer is not to hide ourselves. The answer is not to try to clean our filthy clothes.
Jesus Christ has the answer. He rebukes Satan and proclaims us as a brand, plucked from the fire. He takes away our filthy garments and He takes our iniquity away. We are cleaned to the uttermost, not just our robes, but our turban, as well. He doesn’t just give us ordinary clean robes, but festal robes. He turns our sorrow into joy; He turns our mourning into a celebration!
Jesus Christ is the answer. Joshua is us in this picture, but Joshua is also a picture of Christ. He was never dirty, but He put on flesh, as if He was. This picture of us as the High Priest is a foreshadowing of us as the Body of Christ. We are made clean because we are in Him, we are part of Him, we are utterly and intimately united with Him. We do not cleanse ourselves, but He cleanses us.
Just trust in our Lord Jesus. Let Him make you clean. He desires to wash your feet. He will rebuke Satan for His accusations. He will cast down Satan. You are now in Christ and your dirty robes have been buried in the tomb. Now, He will put robes of celebration on you!
- The Man on the Red Horse Among the Myrtle Trees (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” [Gen 1:26 NASB]
We were not created as “Mankind”, but we were created according to God’s kind. We were created in His image and according to His likeness. The only thing we lacked was His eternal Life. We were an empty vessel, designed to be filled with Him. Like a glove, we were to be filled with a the heavenly Hand.
So God created a way for us to take His eternal Life into us.
Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. [Gen 2:9 NASB]
He placed two trees before us: The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. By eating of the Tree of Life we could take His eternal Life into us. Through the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, we could take Satan’s sin into our flesh and partake in His rebellion.
One Tree was of Life and the other Tree was of Death.
We chose the wrong Tree. We rejected God’s eternal Life and joined in Satan’s rebellion. We took something of the poisonous Satanic nature into our flesh. But, God kept a Way for us to come back to the Tree of Life, someday. First, He sentenced our flesh to death. Secondly, He guarded the Tree of Life, so that we couldn’t eat it and be sentenced to eternal death.
Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—  therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.  So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life. [Gen 3:22-24 NASB]
O, but the eternal Wisdom of our God, that in Christ Jesus, He opened the way to the Tree of Life again! When we believe into Christ, we join in His death and resurrection. We die in Him and we are resurrected in Him. We have died to self. Our satanic flesh was crucified on the cross and Christ, who is the Tree of Life, has entered into us. He is now our eternal Life and our Life supply!
But, you may say that you still have the flesh. Even though you may not yet feel it, it is true nonetheless. It may be an objective reality to you right now, but if you press on to gain Christ, it will become something experiential. You must press on by faith. Faith is the substantiation of unseen things. We walk by Faith, not by sight.
By pressing on by Faith in Christ, Christ will be magnified in us. Christ is our Faith and He will be enlarged in us. He is immeasurably vast, but in our experience He may seem so very small. We must eat of Him, by Faith, as the Tree of Life everyday, all day.
All of our natural lives, we have eaten of Satan as the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in our flesh. We have not known any other way to live. But, in Christ we have the Tree of Life within our spirit. We must learn to turn to this Spirit, that we may take this Life into our souls.
We are tripartite beings, consisting of body, soul, and spirit. You are a soul, in a body, and you have a spirit. Our bodies are poisoned, unredeemable. Our bodies are things of humiliation. But we must still take care of our bodies, so that we may live long on the earth for our Lord. The soul consists of the mind, will, and emotions. The spirit is where the Life-giving Spirit lives in us.
who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, [that it may be] conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working whereby he is able even to subject all things unto himself. [Phl 3:21 ASV]
By turning to the Spirit, daily, He spreads and saturates our soul. He fills us with Christ. Our mind, will, and emotions are renewed by Him. We die to our natural soul-life, which is governed by the flesh and we live by the Spirit.
So, we are still living between those two trees. A Tree of Death in our flesh and a Tree of Life in our Spirit. Satan lives in our flesh and Christ lives in our Spirit. If you eat fish all day, everyday, you will smell like fish. If you eat of the Tree of Life everyday, you will have the sweet fragrance of Christ. By eating of Christ, as the Tree of Life, we are the enlargement of Christ; so that He may grow and flow throughout the earth.
Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. – [Rev 22:1-2 NASB]
This will be a series of blog posts on God’s eternal purpose in the seven days described in Genesis 1 and 2.
In this introductory post, we will look at Genesis 1:1-2. Before we actually get into the days, I want to present a view of these two verses that will preface what we will see happening in the seven days.
 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. – [Gen 1:1-2 NASB]
The word “was”, in verse 2, can also mean “became” and I believe this to be the proper translation. There is sufficient evidence in Scripture to show that God did not create the universe in the way that we see it in verse 2. Let’s take a look at some of that evidence.
God did not create the earth as formless and void, nor did He create it in darkness and covered with water.
 For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), “I am the LORD, and there is none else. – [Isa 45:18 NASB]
“Waste place” in Isa 45:18 is the same Hebrew word used in Gen 1:2 for “formless”.
 But pelican and hedgehog will possess it, And owl and raven will dwell in it; And He will stretch over it the line of desolation And the plumb line of emptiness. – [Isa 34:11 NASB]
“Desolation” in Isa 34:11 is the same Hebrew word used in Gen 1:2 for “formless”. “Emptiness” is the same Hebrew word used in Gen 1:2 for “void”.
 I looked on the earth, and behold, it was formless and void; And to the heavens, and they had no light. – [Jer 4:23 NASB]
Jer 4:23 bears to most striking resemblance to Gen 1:2. The earth is both formless and void and the heavens are in darkness.
Isa 34:11 and Jer 4:23, in context, both describe the world under God’s judgment. Also, in Isa 45:18, we can see that God did not create the earth the way that we see it in Gen 1:2.
Further evidence that the world is under judgment in Gen 1:2 is that the earth is under water. This resembles the earth under the judgment of the great flood, during which, Noah and his family were saved in the ark. But, lets take a look at one more thing that is wrong with the picture in Gen 1:2.
God dwells in light, not darkness.
 which He will bring about at the proper time–He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,  who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen. – [1Ti 6:15-16 NASB]
Honestly, I’m not sure how I ever missed this. I just assumed God lived in darkness before the creation. But, according to Paul in 1 Ti 6, God dwells in unapproachable light. Indeed, in Revelation 22:5, it states that God will be our Light. Surely, if the consummation of God’s eternal purpose is that all things should dwell in His Light, He would not create a world in darkness.
So what happened?
The angels were present when God created the heavens and the earth.
 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding,  Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it?  “On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone,  When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy? – [Job 38:4-7 NASB]
It seems likely that, during this unknown period of time between Gen 1:1 and Gen 1:2, Lucifer rebelled and God passed judgment on the heavens and the earth because of his rebellion.
Creation happened in Gen 1:1, the creation is under judgment in Gen 1:2, and what we see in the following seven days is the regeneration of a fallen heavens and earth by the Spirit.
The Spirit was brooding.
Above, in Gen 1:1, it states that the Spirit was moving. This word “moving”, may also mean “brooding”. He was brooding over the problem of this creation under judgment. I think both meanings, “moving” and “brooding” are appropriate.
Don’t you know that the Spirit brooded and moved over you?
We were a fallen people under judgment, but the Spirit came to regenerate us and make us a New Creation! This is what we will see in the seven days.
These seven days are about God’s eternal purpose in and through Christ to attain His desire.
- The Seeds of God’s Eternal Purpose in 7 Days: Day 1 (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
On the seventh day, after six days of creating all things, God rested. I am sure many people have wondered why God would rest on the seventh day. Was God tired? By no means! That would not be much of a God. Was God setting a precedent for His creation? Should we work six days and rest on the seventh? That might be true under the law, but only partially true. That interpretation misses the real reason for this rest.
God had finished His work on the seventh day, so then He rested. But, what was the purpose behind His work?
God had a desire.
Indeed, He still does have this desire. Notice the last thing that God created: Man. In humanity, God had His eternal desire.
What was so special about us? We surely weren’t the largest, nor the most powerful. Our intelligence couldn’t compare to the craftiness of Lucifer.
God’s desire in humanity is two-fold.
First, we were created in God’s image. Thus, we were to be the expression of God. Just as a mirror reflects who you are, we were to be the mirror image of God, reflecting who God is to all of creation.
Second, we were given dominion over all the earth. Not only were we to be a reflection of who God is, but we were to exercise His authority. He would reign over all of creation through humanity, His representatives.
But, we joined with the rebellion of Satan.
Ever since that rebellion, God has been working to regain His desire. This is the Biblical story. This is the meaning of Life. God wants a Home on earth, where He can rest, having had His desired fulfilled.
In Christ, God has regained His desire. Through Christ, we are being built together in the New Jerusalem, God’s Sabbath Rest. He is conforming us into the image of His Son, into His complete expression. Also, He is bringing us to maturity, that we may exercise His dominion over the earth.
Let’s cooperate with God’s work in us and through us, that His eternal desire may be fulfilled. Then God will have His rest and we will enter that rest, of which, we now have a foretaste.
- From Genesis 3 to Revelation 12: God’s Eternal Purpose (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
- The Revelation of Jesus Christ (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
 He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field;  and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR come and NEST IN ITS BRANCHES.” – [Mat 13:31-32 NASB]
This parable comes in a line of negative parables about the kingdom of heaven. So I was researching online about the mustard tree, and it seems that there really isn’t a mustard tree, but more of a mustard bush. So it seems that the mustard plant growing to the size of a tree is something unnatural. God did not create it to be a tree, but a bush. A bush should never be a tree. Not only that but the tree is a home to the birds of the air.
 And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow;  and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. – [Mat 13:3-4 NASB]
 “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. – [Mat 13:19 NASB]
 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. – [Eph 2:2 NASB]
It seems that this little seed has grown into a great haven for Satan.
Any thoughts on what the mustard seed might represent? It seems to be some small, seemingly insignificant addition to the kingdom that makes a place for Satan.
 Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. – [1Cr 11:1 NASB]
 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; – [Eph 5:1 NASB]
There is a famous book called “The Imitation of Christ”. Many people have tried to imitate Christ and they have found it impossible. Sure, you might be able to do good for days, months, or even years, but eventually you will fail. Why is it impossible? He lived a perfect life. How can we possibly imitate someone who lived a perfect life?
The problem is that we view the life of Jesus of Nazareth through a religious lens. We try to imitate His actions, instead of learning how He did the things that He did. The life in Christ is altogether anti-religious. If you attempt to combine Christ with religion, your religion will be torn apart. There is no power in religious acts, but there is power in living by the indwelling Christ.
Paul said to imitate him as he imitated Christ. Then in Ephesians, he wrote to imitate God. If Paul was imitating Christ, then to imitate Paul would mean to imitate Christ. So, lets look at what it means to imitate Christ.
 Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. – [Jhn 5:19 NASB]
 “I and the Father are one.” – [Jhn 10:30 NASB]
Jesus of Nazareth lived by the life of the Father.
 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. – [Gal 2:20 NASB]
In Galatians, we see that Paul really did live by the life of Christ.
 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.  “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. – [Jhn 6:56-57 NASB]
What the Father was to Jesus, so the risen Christ has become to us. By eating and drinking Christ we are receiving His Life into our being and He is saturating us with Himself. This is what it means to imitate Christ: To live by Life of the God who indwells us.
- Is Jesus Christ the Strong Angel in Revelation 10? (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
- The Revelation of Jesus Christ (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
- Disciples, Ministers, and the Stewardship (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
- Why Read Books Other Than the Bible? (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
 The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life;  And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”  To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.”  Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.  “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field;  By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.” – [Gen 3:14-19 NASB]
 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars;  and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.  Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems.  And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.  And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.  Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.  And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war,  and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.  And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.  Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.  “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.  “For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.”  And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. – [Rev 12:1-13 NASB]
This woman is the one foretold of in Genesis. The woman is the entire Church. She is the beautiful Bride of Christ, awaiting His return. The sun, moon, and stars symbolize the universality of this Woman.
The Man Child
The child that comes from the woman, is not only a male child, but a Man Child. This is the Seed of the woman from Genesis that is to bruise Satan. This is the beginning of the New Man. The believers who are more mature in Christ, than the others. They are more mature because they have received more of Christ. Christ has been thoroughly dispensed into them. You may say, “But I thought the Seed of the woman is Christ”. You would also be right, since Christ is the head of the New Man. This is God’s purpose: That we would be His expression. Note that a Woman does not conceive on Her own. The Life of the Bridegroom has been dispensed into the Woman, and She has given birth to this Man Child. He is part of the Woman, and has the Life of the Bridegroom.
The Great Red Dragon
Much time has passed since the garden and the Serpent has become a Great Red Dragon. How has this happened? In Genesis, it was said that the serpent would eat dust. Man is made of dust. Satan seeks to devour people. He has devoured many and has grown quite large and strong. This is also why the Dragon is red: From the blood of his victims.
The rapture of the Man Child is described as He is called up to heaven, directly to the throne of God. They will be taken by Christ, who has come secretly in a cloud. He has come like a thief in the night. A thief comes secretly and quietly. You will note that this rapture differs from that of the rest of the Woman, since they are to meet Christ in the air. Why won’t all of the believers be caught up together? Some are ripe and some aren’t. The ripe ones will be caught up so that they won’t be over ripe and the unripe ones must wait until they have ripened.
What is the purpose of this rapture? It is not to escape The Great Tribulation. The angels are awaiting the authority of Christ, through this Man Child, to cast the Accuser out of heaven. Thus the Man Child is called up to the throne in order to exercise the dominion given in Genesis, and regained by Christ on the cross. God has chosen to use His People to pass judgment on Satan, and Michael and the angels will carry out that judgment. Remember that the angels are to be under our authority.
The Persecution of the Rest of the Woman’s Children
The rest of the believers who were not prepared for the Lord, must be ripened. They will incur the wrath of the Dragon, was has been cast down by the Man Child. Through this persecution they will be ripened and ready to meet Christ when He appears in glory on the cloud.
- Is Jesus Christ the Strong Angel in Revelation 10? (thekingspresence.wordpress.com)
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.
3 You are my rock and my fortress. For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger. – Psa 31:3 NLT
I doubt there are many who believe in Christ who would say, “Christ is not my Rock” or “Christ is not my Fortress”. On the other hand, how few among us actually experience this? How few of us stand firm during the great storms of life? How few of us feel guarded by His walls when the enemy rages against us. So the question is this: Why don’t we experience Christ as our Rock and our Fortress?
The problem is that we don’t enter into the Fortress by faith. Inside, there is nothing for us to do. Inside of His walls, we can only rest. Instead of entering into this Great and Mighty Rock, we cling to it. We say, “God is my Rock and I will cling to Him with all of my might”. Do you see the problem, brothers and sisters? With this kind of thinking, Christ is only our Rock as long as we can hold onto Him. Unfortunately, we are unable to hold onto Him for long in the midst of the hurricane of life or during the onslaught of the enemy.
We certainly dwell within the objective Christ, and He will see us safely through. But, that is often not our subjective experience. You can only entire this Fortress, the greatest of all fortresses, by faith. Not by trusting in yourself, but by fully trusting in Him. Stop holding onto the Rock in your own strength and enter into the Rock. Entire now and you will find Rest.
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.
In “Penetrating the Darkness”, Jack Hayford explains the authority Christ has given to us over the powers of darkness. We are not engaged in a war with flesh and blood, but with principalities in spiritual places. Thus, our warfare with the enemy is conducted by the Spirit, through prayer. Spiritual warfare in prayer is the major topic of this book. The audiobook that I listened to was narrated by Tim Lundeen. His voice was not boring, but soft enough to enjoy listening to during rides to and from work.
Some of the topics that the author discusses in this book are: Intercession, supplication, binding and loosing, and the keys to the kingdom. Jack Hayford uses a mix of Scripture, word study, and personal experience to explain these difficult topics. The author doesn’t distort these topics with a “name it and claim it” theology. Instead, the entire book is based on the power and the authority given to followers of Christ by His Spirit, through the blood and the cross.
If you are tired of being accused by the accuser, sick of seeing relationships ruined by the spirit of division, or angry at the blood of the righteous that has been spilled by the murderer, you will want to read this book. It will explain what Christ has given to you for the battle that the forces of heaven are engaged in against the forces of hell. If you think that spiritual warfare doesn’t involve you, then Satan will bring it to your door. You don’t have to be a victim. In Christ, each of us has been given the power to transform the lives of people around us and even the lives of those far away. We bring the light of Christ into the darkness, and the darkness cannot stand against it.
I received this book free from christianaudio.com through the christianaudio Reviewers program.
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?
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.
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.