Faith’s Learning Curve

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Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to part asunder… Jesus in Matthew 10:34-35

Asunder comes from the Old English phrase on sundran, which means: into separate places.

Christ is the dividing line: before the Cross and after the Cross. There are two places we find ourselves and no more. Our hearts are either one of stone or one of flesh. Our spiritual life, the union with God in Christ, is either dead or it’s alive. Our lives are either in a constant state of motion and worry, or we have found Christ to be our rest. There are varying degrees of these two paths in every life, as I have stated before, this is progressive. We become. We grow. But Christ is the divider; the Sword separating us. The tension is real and undeniable; it is also painful. This is the part of the journey I find myself in these days. What I once was able to share so inclusively and affirmingly towards all is something that I am no longer able to find, though I’ve groped around in search of it. To be one with our Great Warrior means our entrance into the battle with and in Him. The religious carnage is massive. His blood cries out for mercy still. To hear His Voice to-day is not as common as one might think, given the availability of Christian-anything. It would shock us, and does shock us, when one with the most outward appearance of Christianity, one with a fountain of biblical (head) knowledge would hold the least peaceful position of heart; one more of distrust towards the Father; a beggar at His door. The tension becomes almost unbearable when faced with this in a family relationship. Sometimes to the point the enemy using the other’s religious anxiety to steal your peace in order to make you a slave again. (Galatians 2:4)

In Galatians chapter 2 verse 5 Paul says that he: ‘did not yield in submission to these even for a moment, that the truth of the Gospel might continue to be preserved for us in its purity.’ In other words, yielding in submission to any other spirit than that of Christ destroys the truth of the Gospel, making it tainted or dirty. This is rampant. Not easily discerned. We are, as a culture, as a humanity, in the death-grip of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Christians and non-Christians alike; denominations in abundance blindly following something other than the True Gospel. We are proud of our ‘goodness,’ imperfect and untouched by the Great Lovers Love; we’re dead men and women walking and we don’t even know it because we’re so busy in religious activity and Christian business. We watch our Christian movies and read our Christian books because we think they’re better, no F-bombs, no sex scenes. But it’s not resurrecting us, it’s not supposed to. We’re spinning in the abyss of deception, never really getting anywhere, just happy to know Jesus died for our sins, yet unwilling and uneducated, if I may say it that way, on growing up in Christ; going on to maturity, leaving the milk for the meat.

And as was stated in the last post, a blind man has no need for the light. What is needed first and foremost is life from death – Christ’s life. Not our theology of Christ’s life. Not our doctrine of Christ’s life. Not our memorized Scripture lines about the life of Christ. But the actual, risen, living, in-the-power-of-an-endless-life, life, alive in us. He, who learned obedience through what He suffered, and that experience now completed, perfectly equipped Him to be the Author and Source of eternal salvation to all who give heed and obey Him. (Hebrews  5:8-9) He is knocking on our hearts through our circumstances, quietly asking, gently inviting us to participate with Him – the Tree of Life. He will not cry out or shout aloud or cause His voice to be heard in the street. (Isaiah 42:2). He knows our hungry hearts can only find true satisfaction in Him. But we are slow to learn; more eager to quench our eternal thirst at the bottom of a bottle, or in the bed of a stranger, or in the umpteenth walk up the aisle at the alter call because the last one didn’t take.

Jesus Christ is sufficient in meeting our deepest spiritual needs, our cavernous spiritual appetites. But we don’t trust Him to, and the pulpits are so mixed and tainted and dirty, we have been made to believe we can pay our way to Jesus and God’s blessings; we can have our spiritual cake and eat it too;   or because we’re too ‘this’ or too ‘that’ we can’t go at all. Whatever the malady, Christ is the only cure. 

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, Because we know that Christ (the Anointed One), being once raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has power over Him. For by the death He died, He died to sin [ending His relation to it] once for all; and the life that He lives, He is living to God [in unbroken fellowship with Him]. Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus. Romans 6: 8-11 Amplified

We died with Him. We died in order that we might live. The death we die is to our old nature with all of its lusts…the life we now live is alive to God in unbroken fellowship with Him in Christ. This is not fire & brimstone. This is not legalism. There isn’t a heavy yoke being twisted around our necks. This is THE great liberation, the true gospel, that frees and awakens us; resurrecting us from a dead people to living ones, testifying of Christ Jesus our Lord.

Pressing On

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Consider this an addendum to or a follow up on From Blindness to Sight. How often it feels the words come across harsh, the peanut gallery taunting: Your rough edges are showing. There is still so much to learn, such a distance yet to travel, so much more of the Father’s Love yet to receive into my being. It is obvious that we need stepping stones to get where we’re all going. Some are drawn to one thing, others are drawn to another; be it an author or church or particular brand of speaker. Lately the writing that comes isn’t so gentle and full of grace. Not that there isn’t grace, there is – oh! there always is! What once moved me at the (re)start of this journey back in 2007 and 2008 is nothing that attracts me today. It seems the deeper His draw, the smaller the circle becomes. (After knowing a larger circle, the temptation is to believe this is a lost way.) It is as if He is showing me He is all I need. I know that goes against the themes of community and fellowship, but the experience of the last 12 months has been that closing doors and walking away from people, places and things, has been met with gargantuan rewards unbeknownst to me at the start. This is not an isolated or self-centered stage of the journey, far from it. It has been increasingly narrowed and crucifying, yet not ending there, for it is Life He is after. As Paul wrote in Philippians 3:13-14: But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. I am coming to see, though, that this pressing on is a lonely road. But this experience of mine is not isolated! It’s being played out behind closed doors all over the globe with His sons and daughters. I trust it is His way.

It is a different time; in the history of things, the framework of this country, this world, and in Christianity. My mother and I were discussing something the other day and she shared with me how faith and God and prayer were the fabric of this country once upon a time. President’s would call for prayer. Interviews with certain people were on display without editing out ‘offensive’ words like Christ. And it’s just not that way any longer. But we are headed somewhere, the King is at the Head. What was once so easily put on display and is now seemingly offensive and becoming hidden, and may become even more so, is going to ask of us something that our mere humanity is unable. It must be a vital and living union with the Living Christ, that goes beyond anything we may be able to ‘prove’ outwardly, that carries us onward in the dark world. We are immersed in a culture that is making claims to fake news, what is true and what is false is becoming a hot topic. We cannot make mere claims to truth unless Truth has made His home in us; the Cross has had a personal application in our hearts and lives; the Spirit being our guide; the Father our keeper.

What I once needed to soothe the wounded parts of the legalism I had been privy to is not where I am any longer. Coming to know the Truth as a Person – Christ – has healed me of much, there is still healing to be had, He knows. Christ’s call to our hearts is not to accept Him and then live any way we want to. Oh, what a painful truth that has been to a former rebel who loved to do her own thing, her own way, in her own time. Correction is nothing I took, not from anyone. The Cross has broken my once resistant spirit. I now am able to see it clearly all around, and it saddens and burdens me. In order for an individual to continue living their own life, they must walk away from Christ. We can do this in one of two ways: reject Him altogether as Savior and Son of God; no longer recognizing Him as we once did, or continue to recognize and acknowledge Him for what He is and live a life of selfishness and sin. This is not the Father’s desire for any of us!

The road is indeed narrow.

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:8

And as faith sees the beauty and the power of the truth in Christ, it hungers for conformity to Him in this His highest moral glory, and becomes itself the root of an inward self-sacrifice, a continual offering, of itself to God and His holiness; because it is nothing less than a real, living union with Christ the High Priest Himself […] the inward spirit and disposition of self-sacrifice is born within us by His Spirit, breathed in us every day where there is true communion with Him […] the great lesson of the Epistle (Hebrews) is: the way into the Holiest is opened up, we can live and abide continually in the presence of God. Andrew Murray

 

 

 

From Blindness to Sight

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“[…] the more you see, really see, the more overwhelmed you feel about the whole thing, because you know that you have come to the borders of the land of far distances, lying far beyond a short lifetime’s power of experience.” T. Austin-Sparks

In the last post I expressed being overwhelmed by “the breadth and width and depth of Christ that goes beyond our ability to rightly express it.”  Then adding that, “On one hand I am thrilled and want to shout it from the mountaintops in the form of song and laughter, but on the other hand it feels so much larger than myself (because it is) I couldn’t possibly communicate the breadth and width and depth in one blog post clearly.” Let me make it plain that these are not the only two ways of reacting to this being overwhelmed, for there are times I have been utterly doumbfounded; recognizing, quite possibly for the first time, the depths of my own unworthiness of receiving the enlightenment taking place in what was once an impenetrable, unyielding, and resistant heart. Something I believed was once impossible for someone like myself with so little brilliance or smarts in the mindHow could this be happening to the likes of me? It is parallel to the parting of the Red Sea (Exodus 14); to the dry bones coming to life (Ezekiel 37:1-14); to Christ speaking for Lazarus to come forth, then, Free him of the burial wrappings and let him go. (John 11:38-44). This is something only the Father can accomplish. We are participants, but we do not, and cannot, bring any of this about. That’s what continues to just floor me: what busybodies we are in attempting to do what only He can. All the while denying the Father’s power available to us in Christ because we can do it ourselves. We’re like four year old’s, demanding: I can do it mine self.

Last week there was a news story about a ten year old boy in Iowa who had been born colorblind. His entire world was presented to him in black and white, with various shades of gray. His parents, having researched online, found some special glasses from a company based in California that peaked their interest enough to purchase them for $300. The mom recorded the moment her son put on the glasses. He stood on the back deck of their home, dad standing next to him; mere seconds passed before the boy, visibly emotional, and appearing almost too weak to stand alone, turned to hug his dad.  The article states the boy as saying: It was instant. I knew right away something had changed, how bright everything was. The boy’s father saying: Just to be able to see, all of a sudden, a whole new world opened up for him. The boy adding: That day changed my life. In the video (link) you can see clearly the dad’s reaction too. Emotional, grateful, embracing his son because he can now see what dad has known all his life. Whoa.

What a beautiful illustration for spiritual sight as well. There was nothing that boy could do to change the way he saw the world around him. But once his view was altered, he knew instantly that something had changed. As if his sight had been resurrected from death unto life. He knew that there was no use going up to anyone color blind and demanding them to see what he could now see. Oh! The article stated that he had seen his first (colorful) sunrise and would eventually see his first rainbow. Which is a good reminder for spiritual sight as well: we don’t see all at once. We begin to see, first seeing this, eventually coming to see that. And on and on and on. It is always afresh with the Spirit. Never stale, never has-been. Familiarity breeds contempt. It’s when we think we know that we stop being receptive to the shifting winds of the Spirit. Not that this will ever be something new per se, it will be an ever-widening, ever-deepening, view of Christ. And what a need there is for that today.

We live in unprecedented times with regards to information and our ability to retrieve it. Have a question? Google it. We can find out anything about anything any dang time we want to. Even in the realm of Christianity, the information available is unprecedented, which can be viewed as a positive thing, unless it is not ‘full, personal, precise and correct’ knowledge of God and of Christ that is being made available. We have a slew of churches and websites and colleges and seminaries and podcasts and blogs available, writers galore sharing things of ‘Christian’ and cultural interest. But what of it? Oh, this is a dangerous question, I know. I think back on my own journey these last two years; having once written so real and so eloquent with quite a following (these are things others have said to me. I am not attempting to say anything about myself here!). Then, being impelled to walk away, what has transpired has not been easy on my flesh (death), and there have been times I wish I could just write something nice and pretty that would attract those same people again. But I can’t. He has shown me too much, and what has been shown to me has been Life to me, Life that I was desperate for but didn’t know it, really. And it is for that reason I am even writing still today.

Life. It’s what dead people need. Sight. It’s what blind people need. 

Watching a movie over the weekend, an actor playing a blind character, and a scene where someone visiting his house tried all the light switches to no avail. Another character saying that the blind man forgets to change the bulbs because the light makes no difference to him. Oh! Light makes no difference to a blind man. It’s those with sight who need the light. Again, another tremendous illustration for spiritual sight.

It is even more so today than it was when Sparks wrote this article in 1942-1944, we have, “[…] voices, voices, voices, a confusion of voices, but not the specific voice with the specific utterance of God for the time….” A couple of blog posts ago I told the Lord, “Oh! If I am sharing anything that is not true, stop me! If I still have an ax to grind, release me from it!” It is no longer my desire to just throw something out there for lamenting or attention or followers or comments or even for myself. This is not something already perfected in me. But in all things, brothers and sisters, we keep on, lest we fall back.

Ministry, as we have said here before, is a matter of spiritual helpfulness. Any ministry which is not a matter of spiritual helpfulness is not true ministry, and anybody who is spiritually helpful is a minister of Christ. […] we, to be spiritually helpful, have to see, that others may have the ground provided for seeing. I put it that way; because we may see, and we may give out what we see, we may be living epistles, but others may not be seeing. But there is the ground for their seeing, and if they are honest in heart and unprejudiced, really open to the Lord, He will give them to see what it is the Lord has revealed to us and in us, and is seeking to reveal of Himself through us. He must have living epistles, men and women in whom He can be read. That is ministry. T. Austin-Sparks (link)

It is not my intent to speak only of myself. This is all so brand new and thoroughly other than what I ever believed it was or even could be. There is no spiritual resume in my history; nor any worldly resume. There is a slew of sins and failures that were forgiven and still being redeemed for His glory and purpose; and a hard heart softened by the presence and grace of the Father. I was blind and now I see! With no effort or striving, but could be said, rather, a complete incompetency of either on my part….I couldn’t even fake it. There is nothing to offer here but Christ.

Father, I ask that You give us eyes that see, really and truly see, Your Son, the truth of who He is and what You have made us to be in and through and by Him. I know that this is not an easy road, for what we believe we see, or have been taught in the wisdom of humans to see, will have to go. Speak to us as Jesus did to Lazarus: Come forth! Free us from our burial clothes of religion and this world. Amen.

Partakers of the Divine Nature – Morning Star Rising

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Nothing can be a proof of anything but that which partakes of the nature of the thing proved. Thus it is with faith and the spiritual world. Andrew Murray

Reading 2 Peter 1; Hebrews 7:20-22

We have been experiencing some unseasonably warm and dangerously dry weather lately. A couple of weeks ago I put out a large and deep clay pot saucer filled with water in my backyard for the birds. Later that day or the next day (I do not recall), standing in my kitchen looking out the back patio door, I saw a bird sitting on the saucer’s edge dipping their beak down into the water for a drink. I was giddy with excitement. Yes! That’s exactly why I made the water available! For you to quench your thirst and find refreshment, birdie! In a flash I caught a minuscule glimpse into the Father’s heart.

May grace (God’s favor) and peace (which is perfect well-being, all necessary good, all spiritual prosperity, and freedom from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts) be multiplied to you in [the full, personal, precise, and correct] knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue).

By means of these He has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them you may escape [by flight] from the moral decay (rottenness and corruption) that is in the world because of covetousness (lust and greed), and become sharers (partakers) of the divine nature. 2 Peter 1: 1-4 Amplified

“[…] in the full, personal, precise, and correct knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”

It is possible to have a partial, impersonal, inaccurate, and false knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. And what destruction and spiritual death is heaped onto the lives of many via the partial, impersonal; inaccurate and false ‘knowing’ or believing. Jesus said that a thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. But that He came to give life and life more abundantly (John 10:10).

“He has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them you may […] become partakers of the divine nature.”

It was curious to me what exactly these precious and exceedingly great promises were that Peter wrote of. In essence he said that through them we become partakers of the divine nature. The word become here is important to take note of and keep in mind. This life in Christ is progressive.

Barry D. Smith (link) writes, “[…] the new covenant has two basic characteristics: an internal spiritual transformation resulting in a new relationship with God and a new possibility of obedience and forgiveness of sins.”

To have a spiritual understanding of this radically changes every aspect of our lives.

Brothers and sisters, it is often I am overwhelmed by the breadth and width and depth of Christ that goes beyond our ability to rightly express it. On one hand I am thrilled and want to shout it from the mountaintops in the form of song and laughter, but on the other hand it feels so much larger than myself (because it is) I couldn’t possibly communicate the breadth and width and depth in one blog post clearly.

In the book The Holiest of All, Andrew Murray writes:

The old covenant which God made with Israel had proved a failure. At its establishment they were most ready to promise, All that the Lord hath said will we do and be obedient (Exodus 19:8). But how soon was the covenant forgotten and the promise broken. They had undertaken what they could not perform; the vow and purpose availed nothing without the strength. In course of time God promised to establish a new covenant, and in it provide for what had been wanting, for the power to obey, and so to keep the covenant. It would be a covenant of life – giving that new life into the heart, out of which obedience would naturally spring. […] The surety of a better covenant. It is this Jesus has come to do, to give the covenant its security, and to undertake that its engagements shall indeed be fulfilled. He is surety of the covenant on both sides. Surety to us that God will keep His promise, and give us His life and law and Spirit in our heart; surety to God for us, He will ensure our obedience and our keeping the covenant. Become a Priest with an oath. It is in the priesthood of Jesus that the covenant and the suretyship have their power. It is the Priest for ever who deals with sins and takes it away in the power of an endless life. It is the Priest for ever, the Son of God, perfected for evermore, who has opened a new and living way, a new state of life, and works all in the power of an endless life, in whom we have a divine surety that every promise and every obligation of the better covenant will be fulfilled by God and by us.

Murray ends this particular chapter (55) with this:

The one thing we have to strive after, as we move on in the path the Epistle opens up to the inner sanctuary, is that our faith stand not in the wisdom of men, in our own thoughts of the way or the measure in which God will fulfill His promise, but only and entirely in the power of God. What needed an oath of God to assure us of it, needs and has the power of God to work it.

As I already mentioned, to have a spiritual understanding of this radically changes every aspect of our lives. In what way? Let’s look at 2 Peter 1:16-19. Peter is writing that what he says of Jesus Christ is not ‘cleverly devised stories;’ but that he was an eyewitness to Christ’s honor and glory, hearing the voice of God saying (and I love The Message translation here), This is My Son, marked by My love, focus of all My delight. Peter then adds: And we have the prophetic word [made] firmer still. You will do well to pay close attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dismal (squalid and dark) place, until the day breaks through [the gloom] and the Morning Star rises (comes into being) in your hearts.

When Peter wrote this, there was no Bible as we have today. The ‘prophetic word’ he spoke of then could only be the prophecies in the Old Testament concerning the Messiah. To bring Peter’s call to our modern age, and keeping in mind that prophecy is, as Sparks writes (link): Prophetic ministry is a much larger thing than the predictive. Perhaps it would be better if we said that the prophetic function, going far beyond mere events, happenings and dates, is the ministry of spiritual interpretation.

We would do well to pay close attention to the ‘spiritual interpretation of Christ’ (or the promises of God fulfilled in Christ) as to a lamp shining in a dismal (squalid and dark) place, such is our world today. And we do this until the day breaks through [the gloom] and the Morning Star rises (comes into being) in our hearts.

We then are as the little birdie in my backyard. Not sitting on the edge of a saucer, but diving down into the mystery, immersed in God in Christ where our real lives are hidden, drinking deeply of the Living Water. We can hear the Father now, giddy with excitement, if I may say it that way: Yes! That’s exactly why I made Myself in Christ available to you. For you to quench your thirst and find refreshment and life more abundant.

May the Lord make this  clear to our hungry hearts.

A Call to Christ

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Water is the softest thing yet it can penetrate mountains. Whatever is soft and yielding will overcome what is rigid and hard.” Author Unknown 

It is imperative to state at the onset of this blog post, the heart of its writer. This does not come from having arrived (God forbid), but having been awakened; and that done by the only One qualified to wake us from our death-nap. What follows is written in the tone of astonishment, not from a stance of condemnation or even self-righteousness (God forbid). My heart continues to be humbled at the continuous recognition that no one can come to any of this on their own.

Sometimes it feels like we’ve been knocked over by a feather, slow and gentle like. At other times it feels more like a trampling of angels, a rush of something otherworldly – they’ve kicked up the dust of our deeply rooted human pride, and in their holy wake, instead of getting stuck with our own death-stench, we catch the heavenly scent of the God-Man who embodies Life and Truth and Grace. We are from then on ruined for the lesser in pursuit of the greater.

This comes in stages. It is progressive. Let us go on, lest we fall back.

What are we preaching? What is being preached? What are we listening to? What is the object of our faith? What is the agenda of our hearts? Are we simply well-intentioned? Or are we well-informed? (Not to be confused with mere human or carnal wisdom. We are discussing the topic of heavenly matters, not earthly ones.) Maybe it would be better expressed as well-infused. For some time now it has been like a burr under the saddle of my heart; bothered by something I’ve not been able to put my finger on; disturbed by a very real sense in the air that somethin’ just ain’t right, both with myself and others. I am convinced that it is in the dissatisfaction’s of life and faith where this Heavenly Man pursues us, for He is our only faithful and true satisfaction. Unless and until we are convinced of that (something we can only yield to, never create on our own), we are tempted to believe the whole thing is a farce. All the while the enemy’s sinister laughter echoes in the realm where he is king.

We are so accustomed to our world, to the culture that encompasses us; we are so immersed in, and occupied by, the things of this earth we’ve blindly succumbed to their ways. We may have the words of faith on our lips, we may have biblical knowledge, our lives may have outward expressions of all the right activities, but our hearts are in bed with one whom we are not married.

The law has found its home in our modern day world. It’s hard to sniff out for it looks nothing really like the law that is written. But it’s dangling around the necks of the lost and the dying. Believers who talk the talk, yet have no resurrection life. Unbelievers who have abandoned their search, for those given the message of reconciliation have largely become truth-monitors without ever allowing the Truth Himself to be manifested to and in and finally through us.

What frees us? The constant dull roar of all that is wrong? Does shame free us? Does pointing to the obvious? We are so afraid, forgetting that perfect love casts out fear. We are, quite possibly unknowingly, fearing others away from the only Perfect Love in the universe.

Enough of that. The world spins its negative web of lies. That is not the purpose here.

Christ’s intention is the perfecting and fully equipping of the saints to do the work of ministering toward building up His Body, the (invisible) Church. (Ephesians 4:12) How is that done? Verse 13 tells us, and I love the Amplified Classic here: until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the [full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.

“the comprehension of the full and accurate knowledge of the Son of God”

“the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.”

The full and accurate knowledge of what, or, rather who? The fullness and completeness found where?

Outside of this full and accurate knowledge of the Son of God, without the fullness and completeness found in Christ, (Again, this comes in stages. This is progressive. Let us go on, lest we fall back!) where I have once lived and moved and had my being, we can do some good stuff, we can preach some true stuff, we can even write and publish bestsellers, but what is it leading to? What is it that we are seeing as the fruits of our labor? An increase of Christ and His resurrection life? Even if only in minuscule portions. Or are we circling like buzzards, the blind leading the blind, heavenly sweetness on our lips but with toxins of the very visible world and our adultery with it in our hearts?

Paul continues in verse fourteen what the side-effect or fruit of this full and accurate knowledge of the Son of God, and the fullness and completeness found in Christ is; he writes: So then, we may no longer be children, tossed [like ships] to and fro between chance gusts of teaching and wavering with every changing wind of doctrine, [the prey of] the cunning and cleverness of unscrupulous men, [gamblers engaged] in every shifting form of trickery in inventing errors to mislead. My, my, my. If that doesn’t describe many of our histories in this life of faith! And the present reality of the masses.

If we really see the Lord Jesus, we shall be emancipated […] So we do not say, ‘Change your system.’ But we do say, “Ask the Lord to reveal His Son in you.’ Then the great work of emancipation will begin. T. Austin-Sparks (link)

It is written that the labor, or work, of God is to trust in the Son, or the One whom He sent. (John 6:29) That is our labor, to trust in Christ. And oh, what a labor it is some days! But we must first know or comprehend Him. Not know about Him or have certain things memorized that merely point to Him. It’s the full and accurate knowledge that is so transforming and liberating. Later in Ephesians (chapter four verse 20-21) and after putting on display what spiritual apathy looks like, Paul writes something that consummates it all:

Assuming that you have really heard Him and been taught by Him, as [all] Truth is in Jesus [embodied and personified in Him],

It is when we hear Christ and have been taught by Christ, as all Truth is in Christ, for it is He who embodies and personifies Truth, that we are no longer enticed by that which is not Christ, religious or not. 

Spiritual revelation always provokes hostility – tradition never does. Orthodox religion never does cause trouble, but if you are a man or a woman living in the power of the resurrection life, with your eyes wide open, you will meet trouble, and, as I have said, that trouble will come from the religious people. T. Austin-Sparks (link)

Father, that You would reveal Your Son to and in us. That we would yield to Your perfect and timely work in us; that the watching and dying world would not be effected by our accuracy, nor put off by our imperfections, but be moved to their depths by the very manifestation of the only One who saves. Your gift, Father, Christ in us, the hope of glory. Thank You, and amen.

Knowing God as Father

It was a week ago or more that I watched a program honoring the life and music of country music legend, Merle Haggard. In attendance were his three sons, Marty, Noel, and Ben. The host of the show asked the oldest, Marty, “Who was Merle Haggard to you?” Marty replied, “That’s like asking Jesus who God is to Him, He was His Father. Merle was my Dad.”

That continues to gnaw at me on a deep level. On a worldwide scale Merle Haggard was famously known as Merle Haggard, but to his sons, his children, he was…Dad.

My mom told me a story that struck her as she watched the parade after the inauguration of our 45th President in January. Donald Trump’s son, Barron, saw something that he wanted his dad to see but his dad, who was standing next to him, was in discussion with a man who looked to be a general dressed in his impressive uniform. Barron started tapping his dad on the shoulder to get his attention, completely unimpressed and uninhibited by the man in uniform…he wanted his dad’s attention, he wanted his dad to turn around and look. This wasn’t about disrespect, it was a picture of a child trusting their relationship with their Dad. Barron continued tapping – tap, tap, tap – and soon the President turned around to see what his son needed, at which point Barron pointed off camera with a big grin.

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus in Matthew 18:3

I once read that God as a name can be used in any fashion we wish until we come to see Him through Christ. That’s when all the falsities and facade’s drop off. It may take a while for all the muck & mire to fall from the eyes of our hearts, but it is only in Christ that we truly see the Father. Jesus says as much in John chapter 14 verse 9: Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. As it was so it continues to be. Until we see Christ we cannot know God as Father. We may use the word Father but it comes not from our true hearts unless and until we see Christ. And this, oh brothers and sisters, this is not something we do! The mystery that goes beyond human language and even human control must be revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.

In Andrew Murray’s book, The Holiest of All, which has been the main focus for me since last fall, he writes (with regards to Hebrews 6:16-18): The oath of God plainly proves that the thing He seeks above everything is – faith; He wishes to be trusted (emphasis mine.) He goes on: He is ready, He longs, as God, Himself to work in us all that He has promised. He cannot do this except as we open our hearts to Him, and yield ourselves in stillness and surrender for Him to do His work. Until this faith takes possession of us, we are always seeking to do His work, and we hinder Him. Faith teaches us in deep humility and dependence, in meekness and patience, to place ourselves in God’s hands, to make way for Him, and to wait His time. Faith opens the whole heart and life in expectation and hope. Then God is free to work; faith gives Him His place as God, and honours Him; and He fulfills the promise, Him that honoureth Me, will I honour. And a little while later he writes: He knows how little our darkened hearts trust Him; His promises are so large, so divine, so heavenly, that we cannot take them in.

My darkened heart has trusted Him little. This I know. Yet this gnawing continues since hearing Marty Haggard. Like a level of rumbling hunger that has yet to be satisfied. I am being made aware of the tone of my heart and my life, so rebellious and angry and resentful and unforgiving. But these things don’t live in the Light, they can’t survive in an environment of Love. What we often don’t grasp of God’s all-consuming fire is that it’s not to destroy us, though it very much feels that way as that which the fire consumes has in themselves consumed us so we believe He’s taking our very lives. And yet He seeks not to destroy but to resurrect. He desires not death but Life.

There are quotes and articles out there that point to the way we speak to our children becomes their inner voice. It’s so poignant as I look back on my life and hear my inner voice, not as a blaming finger on my earthly parents, but that shameful and disappointed and absentee voice was laid over the top of God and that’s the lens through which I saw Him and in truth still tend to see Him. And yet this deep down gnawing is something I cannot escape. To know God as my Father, to trust in and rely on and lean my entire personality on the safety both now and forever more in Him as my Father, would alter every other lens I’ve ever had of anything or anyone. But more specifically…myself.

Jim Morrison of the Doors is quoted as saying, “The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”

Put a spiritual spin on that and…whoa!

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He Who Sows to the Spirit

Do not be deceived and deluded and misled; God will now allow Himself to be sneered at – scorned, disdained or mocked [by mere pretensions or professions, or His precepts being set aside]. He inevitably deludes himself who attempts to delude God. For whatever a man sows, that and that only is what he will reap. For he who sows to his own flesh (lower nature, sensuality) will from the flesh reap decay and ruin and destruction; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Galatians 6: 7-8 AMPC

Yesterday’s post (link) was on the better and lasting possession; taken from the language of Hebrews 10:34, the context going back to verse 32: But be ever mindful of the days gone by in which, after you were first spiritually enlightened, you endured a great and painful struggle […] It is important here to grasp the words, spiritually enlightened. For it is when or after we have become spiritually enlightened by the Holy Spirit that we endure a great and painful struggle- not by a prayer we have prayed or a commitment we have made to the Lord, for these things are oftentimes our own doing. We may be saved for years before we are spiritually enlightened by the Holy Spirit. The great and painful struggle may be persecution, or it may be as it is written in verse 34, you bore cheerfully the plundering of your belongings and confiscation of your property, in the knowledge and consciousness that you yourselves had a better and lasting possession.  (Emphasis mine.)

One of the reasons I appreciate T. Austin-Sparks is the uncanny ability of the Spirit in his writings to drive a point home to me more than any other writer/speaker/pastor I have ever read, listened to or known. It may be something that has bothered me for years that with a line or two clarity is brought in to the depths. Or it may be something that I’ve lived and experienced with a great and painful struggle with no real sense or reasoning as to the why of it, and an entire paragraph or article brings the fresh breeze of the Spirit speaking to me from Sparks’ decades ago speaking or writing settling me in the depths. This morning was no different as I read, “Lord, Lord.” (link) He writes:

Entering into Life is a very different thing. Life is something into which you enter, eternal Life is something into which you enter, but it is like this Matthew 7:13. What the Lord is saying now is only putting into other words what He said in Matthew 7:13: “Enter ye in at the straight gate; straight is the gate and narrow is the way, which leads unto life…”. Narrow and straightened is the way to Life, but enter in by the narrow and straight way if thou wilt enter into Life. What is the way into Life? It is the way in which we prove that we are prepared to let everything go in our estimate and valuation of the Lord Jesus Himself. “Go, sell that thou hast, and give to the poor and come and follow Me.” “Am I more to you than all your other having?” That is really what the thing issues in: whether the loss of all things and the gaining of a vital fellowship with the Lord Jesus is held in far greater esteem than all the possessions without Him. “He that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven.” “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” You see, the will of the Father in heaven, when it is brought to some crystallised, concrete definition, is faith’s living union with the Lord Jesus as something far more than all other possessions for which you are quite prepared to let everything else go. That is the crucial test. And the straightened, narrow gate just will not admit of those bundles and parcels of personal interest that so many have in coming to the Lord and in trying to serve the Lord. Oh yes, this young man came along simply bulging with his parcels of personal interest, personal possessions, and when he came to the narrow and straitened gate he could not get in sideways – he bulged in all directions, and it showed that this man must be stripped of everything of himself and his own interests, ambitions, quests and considerations in order that he might come to the fulness of Christ.

Good gracious Lord!  “What is the way into Life? It is the way in which we prove that we are prepared to let everything go in our estimate and valuation of the Lord Jesus Himself.” Have you found this to be true in your own spiritual journey? It is one of the main lines throughout these last almost ten years for me. Every estimate and valuation I had of the Lord Jesus is obliterated in His Presence. Not all at once, this is progressive as we go on with Him. Some of these estimates were conscious ideas, more in the front of my mind; others have been deep-seated in my being. He does not cohabit with lies!  I know it is not over. This is a lifelong learning of Christ.

But what Sparks wrote that brought tears was this: This young man came along simply bulging with his parcels of personal interest, personal possessions, and when he came to the narrow and straitened gate he could not get in sideways – he bulged in all directions, and it showed that this man must be stripped of everything of himself and his own interests, ambitions, quests and considerations in order that he might come to the fulness of Christ.

How many times I have used to describe a painful and oftentimes confusing season in my life with the image of being pulled through a keyhole and not everything on the one side of the door will fit over into the other. Oh, how I have bulged in my life with personal interest and possessions. There is no sideways, is there? All of my life I had sowed to my own flesh. And all of my life I have reaped death, ruin and destruction. He has shown me that I have had to be stripped of everything of myself. This is ongoing, maybe it always will be to various degrees. And never was it so evident as one year ago; an event that will be forever burned into my memory, of His Divine nudge on my spirit to love a particular someone; a person that in the natural way of things I should love, and did love as to my fleshly knowledge, but there had been an incident of great spiritual proportions that made me want to bail once and for all. That’s it! I’m through! Was the cry of my rebel heart and the familiar but worn echo of my rebellious life. In the mundane task of cleaning up dinner dishes, my spirit was in great distress. I knew that I knew that I knew He was asking that love be the last word. And this not coming from my flesh but from His Spirit, for love that loves the unlovable is not human love, it is God’s love. I had to obey His Voice. This lifelong rebel who prided herself on her individuality and non-conformity finally surrendered all that had meant and took a road less traveled…a road sowing after the Spirit. I chose to be conformed to Him in a way that I never imagined before. There have been millions of tiny choices since. As long as we live there will be millions of tiny choices to follow after the flesh or the Spirit. May He always be our choice. He is worthy.

In recent months I have given consideration to what the consequences would have been to my life if I had chosen the same ol’ worn out path of the flesh following after my feelings and my resentments and my mentalities and my conclusions.  Galatians 6 makes it plain, as does a quick glance in the rear view mirror of my life: Decay. Ruin. Destruction. BUT, sowing to the Spirit, allowing obedience to His Voice to be what drives me unlike any other time in my life, He promises eternal life, or as Sparks wrote, coming to the fullness of Christ.

Sparks’ words go straight to the heart of the matter, and one in which I no longer want my writings to convey. We don’t get to have both. The world says we can. The flesh demands we do. But, “You see, the will of the Father in heaven, when it is brought to some crystallised, concrete definition, is faith’s living union with the Lord Jesus as something far more than all other possessions for which you are quite prepared to let everything else go.

Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.

A Better & Lasting Possession

Christ came into time to rescue His own inheritance. In that, of course, man is rescued, but it is something very much bigger than that. It relates to the Son primarily, and until the Lord’s people get the right attitude, the right point of view, that is, that all things in God’s full and final concern are centered in God’s Son, they have not come into line with all God’s resource. While the direction is toward ourselves – redemption, sanctification, glorification, and so on – or toward anything less than the Son Himself, we have not got God’s dynamic for accomplishing His work, and therefore it becomes necessary, as the sufficient, the adequate basis of the Holy Spirit’s operation, that there should be a revelation of Jesus Christ in the heart, for it is in relation to Him and what God has purposed concerning Him that all the energies of God are released and made active. T. Austin-Sparks (link)

As we go on past the elementary stages in the teachings and doctrines of Christ; as we advance steadily toward completeness and perfection that belongs to spiritual maturity (which points not to age but to heart); as God permits advanced teachings in our spirits and in our hearts (Hebrews 6:1-3), we will find the road narrows even more. There is much available in Christianity that is toward much less than the Son Himself. As I am brought further along, what strikes me most, is the greatness of the Son, the inexhaustible resource of Him, and how none of it is something we control or can even conjure up. To think such things is almost laughable now. Even the revelation of Jesus Christ in our hearts by way of the Holy Spirit is nothing we can bring about. We may mentally believe Christ is God’s Son; it may all be in our heads and we live and learn and teach from there, but it can go no further. There is a world of difference between someone passing along spiritual information and someone relaying first-hand experience. In the one there will be a disconnect, possibly something we can’t quite put our finger on (initially). In the other it is evident that what is being given or offered is something they personally possess. This is all out of our hands. We are participants, sure. But we are not the drivers; we do not engineer any of it. Looking back at our history it is clearer than ever before the necessity of it being in God’s hands alone. Left to our own fleshly devices, schemes and plans we are mess-makers, cult-creators, legalists and sin-maskers. And all in the name of Jesus.

To be brought to a point in our spiritual journey where we crave only Him and what is of Him, we find how little of Him is available out there. This may disappoint us at first; the enemy touting in his shaming whispers that it is God’s failure, tempting us to walk away altogether, but if we’re willing to let go of all that came before, this malnourished land leads us to Him and Him alone – and what a feast we will find!

He is the Bread of Life! Anyone who comes to Him will never be hungry and those who believe on and cleave to and trust in and rely on Him will never thirst any more at any time. (John 6:35)

Dear brothers and sisters around the world, I do not know where He has you, where He is asking you to endure, what He is asking you to withdraw from for His sake, but He, Christ Jesus Himself, is the better and lasting possession in our very spirits and hearts and lives. Andrew Murray puts it this way (with regards to Hebrews 10:32-34) the better and abiding possession is, The love and grace of God. It is the eternal life within. It is Christ as our heart’s treasure. It is a life and a character in the likeness of Christ. He goes on, Heaven and its blessing in your heart can fill you with a joy that counts every sacrifice a privilege, that makes every loss a gain, and that turns all suffering into an exceeding weight of glory.

There is much in the world and news, and in our individual circumstances, that exist to draw us away from this better and lasting possession. Their power is that we can see and touch and taste and feel them. Murray writes that, Our power to resist the world so that its possessions shall not tempt us, nor its threats terrify us, lies in our full consciousness and enjoyment of our heavenly treasures. Take time to know your possessions, draw out an inventory of what you have and what you expect, and all the world offers will have no power.

Lord willing, next time He will allow me write on what this full consciousness is and what our heavenly treasures are. For it is a time such as this He is drawing us to Himself: Come to Me, each one who has labored to no avail, who are heavy-laden with religious obligations, and over burdened with this earthly life. You will find in Me rest and relief and refreshment for your parched souls. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, I AM gentle and humble. It is here in and with and through Me where you will find rest and relief and refreshment, even recreation and blessed quiet for your souls. For I AM wholesome, useful, good – not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious and pleasant; and My burden is light and easy to be borne. (Matthew 11:28-30)

Dear brothers and sisters, He is worthy! It is always worthwhile to wait on our Father.

From A Rebel To A Kept Woman

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Since publishing When We Open Not Our Mouths yesterday I have felt strongly compelled to elaborate on the story. In an attempt to be faithful to the urge that I cannot deny, here I am.

Last week while perusing a new blog I read this:

“If you want to draw closer to Father God,” writes Gordon Dalby, “get to know Jesus.”

But, he warns, “sooner or later this path leads to the cross, which means death to your natural desires. You’ll have to give up all hope of ever receiving the love you need from another human being. This means sacrificing at last the idols you’ve made of your ‘loved ones,’ and releasing those persons and those relationships to the Father for his cleansing and renewal.”

It grabbed me instantly, for I know it is true. I know that the path leads to the cross. I know that means death to my natural desires. And if I could rightly express the idol I have made of my husband to be to me what my earthly father couldn’t (to demand him be what I thought I needed him to be) and what I never knew my Heavenly Father could or even wanted to be for me, yesterday’s post would become clear as a bell.

His disrespect wasn’t intentional. By no means do I intend to portray my husband as unloving, I have spent my roughest years dragging him through the mud in order to keep my own unacceptable activities murky and invisible. What was on display during this conversation between him and I was empowered by the old creation, and no one can deem that powerless but God in Christ. Not even a wife who has always needed to stand her ground because everyone around her needs to know exactly how she feels so they can do better (she writes as she lets out a long, deep guttural groan).

Truth be told, and this is deeply personal, I have struggled greatly with how to function and maneuver within this marriage since I surrendered to Christ in 2007 after decades of running (I ‘accepted’ Jesus into my heart at a young age).  On a large scale and within the confines of the Christian circles I have been privy to, the most important matter is that I needed to be in church. The battle that has raged within me over this very topic is a long and sordid tale, and one that ultimately only God can know the depths of. I have wrestled with it and been told point blank that’s what I needed above all else: be in church. Somewhere inside of me and often without the proper language I wondered what would happen to my marriage if I went to church, not that I wanted to. Now, please hear this: I am not talking about a walk with Christ and what that would do to my marriage.  Church, to me, and to many I have communicated with, would serve to alienate me from my ‘unsaved’ husband. It’s like a lifestyle unto itself and those on the outside just need to be inside; those on the inside need to work at getting the outsiders in. And I know that I know that I know my husband would have none of it, to the same degree that I wouldn’t. Something else altogether better but not without its challenging death to self needed to take place. I. Had. No. Idea!

Almost one year ago (February 25, 2015) amidst the most horrific of conversations with someone very close to me regarding this very thing: my ‘unsaved’ husband, my lack of church attendance, etc. came a life trajectory changing Voice that has stilled the very choppy and most unstable waters of my soul. I was a rebel without a cause and I was damn proud of it. Brothers and sisters, I write to you today a kept woman; kept by the Maker of the Stars. More truth be told, there is no one more stunned by all of this than I am.

So as I opened not my mouth in what my old creation would view as weak and mousy, because my old creation was large and overbearing and pushy, as the flesh often is, I have come instead to see the power, the miracle, the love of it. Allowing God in Christ to be put on display rather than ME. All things considered, even the random creative idea that turned out to be more expensive than it was worth, lose their luster in light of what is really happening under the surface.  So be it.

When We Open Not Our Mouths

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In his article The Most Difficult Thing in the World, T. Austin-Sparks, with regards to Israel in the wilderness and their not entering into the rest of God writes: The soul is the self-conscious life […] Spirit is just the God-conscious life […] Self-conscious and God-conscious life, and because those two things were not defined, put apart and recognised in their difference, but allowed to overlap and bring about a state of confusion, they did not enter in. They failed because of unbelief. Well, what does that amount to? The self-conscious life predominated, and the God-conscious life did not predominate, was made subject and subservient. In other words, for them, everything was a matter of how self was affected by the situation and by the prospect. You find them again and again full of enthusiasm, full of zeal, full of what looked like real interest in the things of the Lord. Oh yes, they were going on, they were full of apparently real devotion to the Lord. But that was when the situation was pleasing them and when the prospect was presented so that it brought a great sense of possibilities for them, prospects for them, and their gratification […] But it was all soul, self-conscious self-interest, self-gratification. And when there arose some situation, either present or in relation to that prospect which made it a matter of denying, sacrificing self, letting go self-interests, and having to face up to a very difficult situation which was going to be very costly to them, they were not so interested; their zeal went, and unbelief rose up; it was there and it rose up. They were not so concerned about this thing now, it was not now for them. What was it for? It was for the Lord ONLY first, and their interests were entirely eclipsed. […] In the Lord getting what He wants, we see ourselves figuring in some way. It has to be a very sharp instrument that gets in between those two things and defines them because they are so mixed up. […] What is the key to faith then? The key to faith is this dividing of soul and spirit, or, in other words, it is the complete abnegation of self-interests(Abnegation: the act of renouncing or rejecting something; self-denial.)

This world knows nothing of this kind of life. We do not have to go far to find a nation, a group of people, or an individual fighting for their self-interests. If we spend any time listening to the radio, watching TV, reading the internet, or in conversation with others, we are bombarded by this message of self. The most subtle and dangerous is when it’s given under the guise of Christianity. The real piercing of soul and spirit happens inwardly and with no prying eyes of the swine of the world, but with the truth and mercy and grace of God in Christ looking to remove what destroys and is death, mainly our old creation, and replace with a new creation which lives, mainly…His Life in us.

It was a random creative idea I had but one which I was going to need the assistance of an actual artist or one with the specific talent to bring my idea to fruition. I sought help in finding one and we communicated a short while before they gave their estimated cost. When I shared this with my husband he thought the price was too steep, and in a tone I heard as being disrespectful of my likes and desires, he made fun of the entire idea. After a few minutes passed he asked if I was angry. No, I’m not angry. I’m not sure what I am. It’s just that in your response…Oh, I don’t even know how to express myself. With that the conversation ended and has yet to be brought up again. Before the words could escape my lips I knew it was going to be the same as it’s been for so many of our near 30 year marriage: blame and defensiveness and manipulation to get and have my own way. Because I wanted what I wanted, and as has always been the case with me, I want it when I want it. Period. (Ouch!)

For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning. Hebrews 4:15, Amplified Classic

Andrew Murray in The Holiest of All writes: The thought of Jesus as a sympathising High Priest, is ordinarily applied to those who are in circumstances of trial and suffering. But the truth has far deeper meaning and application: It has special reference to the temptation which meets the soul in the desire to live wholly for God. Jesus suffered, being tempted: it was the temptation to refuse the Father’s will that caused His deepest suffering. 

Brothers and sisters, please hear my heart, I am not attempting in any way, shape, or form, to belittle any major trial of extreme suffering that anyone around the world may be enduring presently. My intention, or the Lord’s intention through a very personal experience, is to bring this to a practical level that meets the vast majority of us square between the eyes of our everyday living.

In my inability to express my feelings to my husband, which I took as the Holy Spirit muddling my thoughts to jumble my words to keep me quiet (ahem!) I soon was giving consideration to the phrase in Isaiah 53: as a lamb led to the slaughter, He opened not His mouth. I took to reading the chapter in its entirety, and with the Murray’s words echoing in my spirit, it was the temptation to refuse the Father’s will that caused His deepest suffering, verse 7, He was oppressed, [yet when] He was afflicted, He was submissive and opened not His mouth (in another translation it reads, to complain or defend Himself), like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.  Again, please hear my heart, I am in no way, shape, or form attempting to portray that in this same context I was experiencing the very thing Christ was. But in the moment, with the Spirit’s help, I knew that my flesh, my self, my old creation was being oppressed and afflicted (oh, was it ever!), and I opened not my mouth to complain or defend myself. In any situation or circumstance, this ‘open not our mouth’ is powered by the Spirit of Christ in us.

Verse 11, He shall see [the fruit] of the travail of His soul and be satisfied […] Bringing it back to the practicality of this kind of life being put on display in the privacy of our own living rooms and kitchens and even work spaces, we all every one has known this kind of ‘travail of soul’ that no one, not one, save God Himself, sees or is privy to. And the fruit of the travails of our souls may be a long time in bearing forth, requiring of us endurance and perseverance when nothing seems to be changing outwardly in others or in our circumstances. Verse 12 then reads that He poured out His life unto death…The Son of God, Christ our Savior, the King of kings and Lord of lords poured out His life unto death and we are now and forevermore getting to experience the universe shifting consequences of His choosing, His pouring. But, we are to represent Him, and in various ways often differing greatly from each other, we pour out our old life unto death, we suffer as we choose our Father’s will over our own, and there we are promised to find life and peace and rest.

I pray that this was written clearly. May the Spirit bring clarity where it is needed. What has been a lifetime of misconceptions, the Lord continues to shatter my illusions and soften me. He is so good to us, friends. We may feel like we’re flailing some days, or most days, but He is our Keeper in the power of an endless life. It is a miracle any one of us are here, believing, born anew in Him. To Him be the glory.

There is a light that overwhelms the darkness
There is a kingdom that forever reigns
There is freedom from the chains that bind us
Jesus, Jesus

Lyrics: Chris Tomlin, Jesus. Link —> HERE