Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Self in Control

Our whole problem with sin began as a desire to be in control of our own life. The cruel irony of this issue is that this was never really an option for us. At least, control as we wanted it was never really an option.What we wanted in the Garden of Eden and what we want to this day as independent selves is total control to go our own way. The problem is that we do not have “a way.”We can choose Satan’s influence or God’s influence but we cannot choose to be “self-influenced.” Our choice is to accept either the truth or the lie. The truth is that God is the Lord over our life. Satan’s lie is that we can be the lord of our own life. In truth, trying to be lord of our own life means letting Satan be the “power behind the throne” in our life.

The independent self is caught in the middle of a paradox. The dilemma we find ourselves in is that we want the one thing we are incapable of achieving. This one thing is the pure and complete independence to go our own way. We find it difficult (or impossible) to accept that we were simply never equipped by our creation to do this. It is for this reason that trying to run our own life inevitably leads to frustration and stress.

We get into trouble when we accept the lie of the evil one that we can walk apart from both God and Satan. This is the grand deception. What Satan neglects to tell us is that walking apart from God’s lordship simultaneously results in Satan’s lordship operating in our life. In the end, the only legitimate control that we can exercise in our life is self-control.

Galatians 5:22-23
Not only is self-control seen as legitimate but it is one of the nine fruits of the Spirit. Self-control is a gift from God.The ability to control the self is something we can only receive from the Father. Because the control of self is a property derived from the Spirit, it can only come from the individual-self. Self-control only comes through the individual self that is focused on and directed by the Holy Spirit in our spirit. Therefore the only path available to us to receive this gift is through the individual or spirit directed self. The independent self can never exercise true self-control.

(From my good friend Bill Landon)


Tuesday, July 26, 2005



For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came {to us} in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life;indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead;who delivered us from so great a {peril of} death, and will deliver {us,} He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us,you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through {the prayers} {of} many.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005


James 1:20-22

20For man's anger does not promote the righteousness God [wishes and requires].
21So get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness, and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls. (and receive with meekness the engrafted word)
22But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth].1…Knowledge
makes arrogant, but love edifies.
2If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know’.

Receiving the implanted, engrafted Word of God with meekness is a wonderful thing because therein lies the power to save my soul. Power derived from weakness? God seems to delight in such oxymorons!

I believe with all of my heart that the moment a Christian is translated out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom reality of the Father’s love and light, it was God’s intention to begin the needed and necessary 24/7 working, training and disciplining in our souls. However, this does not come without a price. We know the Lord opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. To me, this means that grace is ineffective without the necessary, crucial humbling required in our lives to bring us to see our need for Him, the grace-full One.

Many think that the various spiritual or physical maladies that seem to plague Christians exist because the believer is somehow defective. Actually, deficiency is not the issue. Defiance is the issue. This defiance (Satan in our flesh) expresses itself in the believer operating out of the knowledge of good and evil. This knowledge is Satan’s stronghold over our souls, deceiving us into believing we are doing the ‘Christian’ thing - in fact, even trying to be like Jesus, when in actuality we are not. Here’s the test - is our so-called knowledge of the Lord really transforming our souls (mind, will and emotions), or is this knowledge we possess as Christians being used to keep us self-centred, self-absorbed, divisive and derisive of other believers?

’Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart’.

I wonder how this 'meek and lowly', yet all-powerful Saviour is making Himself known to us. Maybe He will appear to be anything but kind or loving as he unveils the enemy’s lies we have believed all our lives. These are the strongholds that have kept us locked into trying to get Him to help us versus allowing Him to expand and expound upon the grace that wants to transform us, and these strongholds don't give up without a fight.

Jesus said, ‘All of you who labour and are heavy laden; come unto me, and I will give you rest’.
Is this rest some thing, or is it in fact somebody? If rest is somebody – the person of Jesus – then we need to seek Him only. The bible states that God is love and just maybe what the Lord is endeavouring to relate is this: ‘I want to give you true knowledge of my love for you, and in so doing it will allow Me to continue to set you free. Where - in your spirit? No – your spirit was already set free when my Son’s spirit was birthed within you. The freedom I want to work in you will be processed in your soul.’

Christians tend to use catch-phrases such as the following: ‘establish truth in our innermost being’, ‘reflect His likeness and image’, ‘be a self-for-others’, etc. Although these statements are good and valid, the truths resident within them will not set us free. The best we’ll have are glorious statements or correct terminology. As stated earlier, the processing occurs in our soul as we learn to submit to this discipline.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Making Darkness Light

A condensed version of Acts 9:1-22:

3As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"
9For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
15But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. 16I will show him how much he must suffer for my name."

What an incredible story! Talk about a man on a mission.

If not familiar with this story, it’s a good read. Saul, renamed Paul, is blinded by the Light, and it’s in this blinded state that he begins to see for the first time in his life.

What blinding situations must occur in one’s life before there is sight? It is this very issue of blindness that I want to explore.

I have always loved the following verses:

‘I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden riches of secret places,
That you may know that I, the Lord,
Who call you by your name.’

‘And I will bring the blind by a way [that] they knew not; I will lead them in paths [that] they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them’.

Coming to see Him, the Living Lord, as my only Life is a daily transformation occurring within my soul. Learning to live out of this miraculous union I now have with God, who has become my Father, is where true life is being discovered.

Back some years ago, the Lord impressed upon my heart words to this effect: “That which I have for you has been deliberately hidden for you, not hidden from you. What unspeakable joy you will experience as you continue to trust me in this journey! Together we will find it. Together we will celebrate the treasures of darkness.”

Without a doubt, I believe the Lord wants to make us eyewitnesses of Him, not simply to parrot what others have said, no matter how good that might be. ”Who do you say that I AM”? He wants our spiritual sight to become clear so that no matter what the circumstance, we see Jesus.

The other day, while chatting with a brother via the web, it dawned upon me that maybe, just maybe I have been suffering through some needed death experiences.

I come from a mixed background spiritually. I was raised Roman Catholic, was born anew in 1972, and subsequently traveled in Charismatic, Pentecostal, Full Gospel and Vineyard circles. It was customary to launch into spiritual warfare when being confronted with what appeared to be ‘bad things’, and wanting to appear strong in the Lord, I was determined I must overcome these negative influences.

However, what I am coming to see is this: Paul, the Apostle of Grace, who was intimately acquainted with grace, and walking in the power of God’s grace, nevertheless was ushered into very dark circumstances. Three times he cried,”Lord! Remove this messenger of Satan from me!” The Lord replied, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Paul wrote, “Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”

While chatting with my friend, what became clear to me was the fact that the Lord did NOT remove the buffeting messenger from Paul’s life. Why?
So that he might experience the treasures of darkness. To his and our natural way of thinking, it would seem most proper to ask a loving God and Father, “Please remove this torment”. But what Paul at that point could not see was that in the midst of the distasteful and humiliating situation, inner illumination from the Holy Spirit was about to break through. Paul was about to receive so much more than he could ever dreamed of asking! Blindness was being dispelled. He was going to see what the prophets would have loved to see and hear.

“Blessed are the hungry [for righteousness] for they shall be filled. Blessed are the poor in spirit" (or from the Living Translation) “God blesses those who realize their need for him, for the realities of the Father’s love is given to them.” I know the Lord causes the sun to shine upon the just and the unjust, but He so passionately wants there to be an intimate, experiential knowing of the reality of there not only being a God, but One who wants to become a Father to them.

What need is there for His grace in our lives if we see no need? Paul’s greatest necessity was not to be delivered from his buffeting tormentor, but to be awakened to see his need for the Lord and to rest in His bountiful provision.
Paul in this most dark situation began to see so much more of what and who constitutes grace. He said, “Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong”.

Our loving Father wants to usher us into the necessary circumstances and situations that He will use to illuminate within us the true knowledge of this glorious treasure we have in these jars of clay. Salvation is so much more than the rebirthing of our dead spirit! Heaven is not our goal - knowing Him in the now IS! Today is the day of salvation, and in this day His grace is sufficient.


Sunday, July 03, 2005

Maybe there's more to this than meets the eye

2 Corinthians 12: 1-10

7And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in Hi

persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

I love this inside look into our Brother Paul’s life. It’s most fitting that he’s also known as the Apostle of Grace.

So very often, as we continue our journey through life, there’s a tendency to camp at the foot of some great blessing or event. Although the location may be good or even very good, settling there can rob of us of the best. What is the best? “That I might know Him”!

Many are called, but few choose to give up the right to themselves. Becoming a ‘self for others’ is the ongoing work of grace of God in a believer’s life.

If anyone knew the grace of God, I would say it was Paul. Yet on the heels of the abundant revelations Paul received, it’s as if the Father said to him, “Oh, by the way Paul, because you have seen and heard things that are not permitted to be spoken about I’m going to give you a wonderful blessing!”
"Wow! Oh boy!” Paul must have thought. “Not only am I privy to these spectacular revelations, I’m about to get a fabulous surprise! Okay, Lord - let me have it!”

So, what was this great blessing? It was not exactly as Paul had pictured, because the Lord allowed Paul to be buffeted by a messenger of Satan. I’m sure that for most of us, stinking thinking would kick in quite effectively at this point. A messenger of…Satan? Time to brush up on Spiritual Warfare 101: ‘How to Cast Out Demons’! However, could it be that Paul (although well versed in the grace of God), needed a further and deeper revelation of Him and His grace? I see this ordeal as being used by the Father to bring Paul further along than he could possibly have gone on his own.

In my life, I recall a time of unbearable anguish and grief because of following the leading of the Lord to “be in the ministry” (a very long, sad, but ultimately wonderful story). As a result of this quest, my wife and I lost everything.

At the time, the four of us were temporarily renting the downstairs of a match-box sized duplex. I was out mowing the postage stamp of a back lawn when I sensed my Heavenly Father speaking to me. He said, “You think you have missed my best, don’t you”? Deep within my heart I knew that is exactly what I felt. I will not elaborate now, but suffice it to say, He had the cross hairs focused square upon my heart. He proceeded to ask me - had I known what was going to happen in my life, would I have signed up for it? I didn’t have to ponder on that too long. NO!!! He continued to say that in fact He had me enrolled in something so much better than any Bible School I could have chosen – that I had NOT missed his best. He was bringing about the best! The circumstances and situations didn’t change, but there was a new hope that instilled deep within my heart - the beginnings of coming to know the Truth: Christ in me the Hope of Glory.

Isn’t it amazing that there are reserved for us treasures of darkness that can become ours as we follow Him through the shadows?

I often ponder about Joseph. He said to those who betrayed him, (his own brothers) “You sold me, but God sent me. That which you intended for evil, He intended for Good.”

Jesus said that unless a seed falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone, but if it dies, it brings forth an abundance of fruit. Is it possible the Father does just that, buries His sons and daughters alive, so to speak, in the abject darkness…so that He can produce fruit?

As our souls come into alignment with our spirit union, maybe we, like Joseph, also can speak forth the truth: 20"As for you,
you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive”. And as Paul said, “I Paul, the prisoner of Christ”. Notice he did not say he was the prisoner of Rome, nor of circumstances, but the prisoner of Christ.

Living as mere mortals, governed by our souls, we will miss out on His best for us. The Holy Spirit is longing to make known His redemptive purposes in the lives of His sons, but although called, many will not pay the price, will not ‘glory in [their] infirmities’.

Ephesians 4:18Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:


What’s the sword for?

The Prince of Peace said, I haven’t come to bring peace but a sword.
Peace isn’t some commodity that is doled out to us, but instead it is a Person, and that person Christ Jesus is to be revealed to us.

Who do you say that I AM?
Is it possible that the many things we attribute to “peace” have nothing to do with Him?
Is it possible that as the Truth confronts us and our stinking thinking that in the process of the Truth setting us free, it will make us miserable first?
Yes He is the lover of my soul, with a Godly jealousy, but anything that is rooted or founded upon lies, the Truth will confront.
Either the Truth is going to be my greatest friend or my worst enemy.
I need to clarify here that the Truth to me is inseparable from Him, the Truth, Life and Way of the Father, Jesus Christ.
There are so many words tossed around in Christendom that are synonymous with things that have nothing whatsoever to do with the reality of the Truth.

I love the story in Joshua where the angel of the Lord appears to him, as Joshua scrambles to his feet, he asks, are you for us or against us?
Joshua 5

13 Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, "Are you for us or for our adversaries?"
14 He said, "No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD." And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, "What has my lord to say to his servant?"
In today’s language He said, I’m here to take over, you pick a side.

And a sword will pierce even your own soul--to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.



Friday, July 01, 2005

Guard Your Heart

“In the day you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your heart”.

The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Of whom does the Holy testify? The Christ. Where is the Christ? “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit”. The Christ indwells the believer!

Prophecy is so much more than what those in the pro-gift circles, who focus more on the gifts than on the indwelling Gifted One, have claimed. They focus on, even lust after the ‘gifts’ (ex. prophetic utterances, miracles, signs, wonders, casting out demons, etc.). The Holy Spirit’s emphasis is not on the gifted ones, but on the Gifted One. The subtle lie of the enemy distorts scripture so that our focus is shifted away from the centrality of the indwelling Christ and onto the gifts. The Holy Spirit will NOT testify or witness to anything that we do as a result.

If we see Christ as being external to us, we will try to be LIKE Him. This is the foundation of the whole “What Would Jesus Do?” movement. Any attempt to be ‘like Jesus’ is nothing more than religious activity. Religion is Satan-inspired, a futile, man-made quest to attempt to attain a state of holiness by human efforts. Rather than causing us to acknowledge our complete and total dependency on God’s indwelling spirit, religion seduces us to focus on what we can do. This effectively cuts us off from grace.

Christ will not be formed in us if we try to emulate Him. How, then, is He formed in us? It’s Christ in us, working through us, as us: “he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit”. As Paul wrote, the fruit of the spirit is Love, and all that flows from that love is merely a living expression of Him who is Love. There are no substitutes for the true (experiential) knowledge of the Father’s love for us. The burning reality of Jesus’ words, “when the Holy Spirit comes, he will reveal me and glorify me” thrills me to no end.

“In the day you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your heart”. We harden our hearts by default. When the Holy Spirit testifies or witnesses to the reality of Christ indwelling the believer, and we dismiss this by trying by our own efforts to be LIKE Jesus (rather than acknowledging His existing presence in our hearts) our hearts become hardened. By this I mean we have a tendency to think that by our own efforts, we have to conjure up a scheme to keep our hearts pliable - rather than seeing we are one with, indistinguishable from, Jesus Christ who indwells the spirit of the believer. His heart is NOT hardened! We are already joined to the fruitful One! Because of this union we have with the fruitful One, we will bear fruit in our soul as we learn to live out of that fundamental, heart-softening truth and by paying heed to the testimony of the Holy Spirit as He witnesses about Christ.

Is it possible the Holy Spirit is whispering in our hearts (much like a stuck record), ‘I see Jesus in you, I see Jesus in you’ over and over? If we have been reborn or re-birthed then the miraculous has taken place. Jesus’ prayer, ‘Father I pray that they will be one even as we are one. I am the vine you are the branches’ is a result of that miracle.
It has never been an issue of my truth versus your truth. There is only one Truth~Christ Jesus. Otherwise, he would have said, “Hey guys, want to hear some neat truths?” Instead He said, “I AM the Truth, Life, the Way of God”.

Does the Father desire to make us eye witnesses of this fruitful One to whom we are joined? Or do we simply mouth truthful things?

It is essential that we learn to differentiate between what Christ does and who Christ is – that apart from Him we can do nothing – that we are utterly dependent upon his Spirit to produce fruit out of a pliable heart. That is the testimony of Jesus in a grapeskin.