Thursday, December 29, 2005
I love fishing, though for many years I have not fulfilled this desire.I do know that it is possible to catch fish on a bare hook (I was there, saw it with my own eyes) but usually it’s best to put some bait on it. This reminds me of the temptation scene in the Garden of Eden. I have been musing about the baited hook dangled before Adam and Eve.
The serpent appealed to their souls (which were created for Him, the Living God), conveying to the couple that personal fulfillment was within their grasp. There was no need to wait upon the whimsical timing of God. The serpent, though not all-knowing, was aware that there was to be a new ruling, reigning monarchy on the earth. It was evident that these two would be the viceroys, and their royal descendents would be the fruit of their loins.
The serpent decided to prepare a tasty feast for them. The main dish he presented to Adam and Eve was called ‘personal self-fulfillment.’
Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
Hook, line and sinker, what a catch! Thank God that is not the end of His-Story. So much of salvation is regarded only in terms of forgiveness. Yes it is that, and so much more - restoration, for example.
Jesus said it best:
"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it.
(John 12:25) 25"He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.
The Message of the gospel is not about personal fulfillment or the preservation of self at all costs. There are no contradictions here. If we cling to or endeavour to save our life, we lose it. It isn’t about losing our salvation, but losing out on His life, His likeness being formed and established within us, and Life is best depicted in laying it down on behalf of others.
It is so very easy to miss out on our birthright, for the momentary thrill of self-fulfillment.
I am reminded in the movie, ‘Field of Dreams’. The main character, Ray Kinsella, hears a voice which states repeatedly, “Build it and he will come”. If you haven’t seen the movie, to Ray this meant he was to build a baseball field in the middle of his cornfield. Sure enough, long-dead baseball legends eventually appear and are able to enjoy some practice sessions. Near the end of the movie, these ghostly baseball buddies invite another character, Terrance Mann to follow them into the mysterious and heavenly-looking cornfield. At this point, even though Ray has been most heroic and noble in all that he has done thus far in building the baseball field (even to be regarded as being totally selfless) his fleshly sense of personal fulfillment tries to derail him from the heart to heart reconciliation and secret dream of his heart that is about to transpire. HE wants to be the one to be invited to see what’s in his own cornfield! The star baseball player, Shoeless Joe Jackson, asks, Ray, “What are you saying, Ray? Are you saying, ‘What’s in it for me”? Ray replies “Yes!” Shoeless Joe goes on to say, “Ray, if you build it, HE will come!”
How the enemy of our soul longs with hellish hatred to take us out of the picture - to nullify our effect as bright shining lights in a dark and lost world.
‘If you build it he will come’ is at a pivotal point in the movie.
Monday, December 26, 2005
“Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us…sanctification.” 1 Cor 1. 30.
The Life Side. The mystery of sanctification is that the perfections of Jesus Christ are imparted to me, not gradually, but instantly when by faith I enter into the realization that Jesus Christ is made unto me sanctification. Sanctification does not mean anything less than the holiness of Jesus being made mine manifestly.
The one marvelous secret of a holy life lies not in imitating Jesus, but in letting the perfections of Jesus manifest themselves in my mortal flesh. Sanctification is “Christ in you.” It is His wonderful life that is imparted to me in sanctification, and imparted by faith as a sovereign gift of God’s grace. Am I willing for God to make sanctification as real in me as it is in His word?
Sanctification means the impartation of the Holy qualities of Jesus Christ. It is His patience, His love, His holiness, His faith, His purity, His godliness, that is manifested in and through every sanctified soul. Sanctification is not drawing from Jesus the power to be holy; it is drawing from Jesus the holiness that was manifested in Him, and He manifests it in me. Sanctification is an impartation, not an imitation. Imitation is on a different line. In Jesus Christ is the perfection of everything, and the mystery of sanctification is that all the perfections of Jesus are at my disposal, and slowly an surely I begin to live a life of ineffable order and sanity and holiness: “Kept by the power of God.”
Father, thank you, that you will not spare me from the storms of life, let the viciousness of these trials do unto me that which is purposed for your glory and my good.
Thank you Lord, that truth will be turned into Truth, and will be established in the hidden recesses of my being.
Thank you for being so much more than answers to my questioning soul, for the many things that seem to go unanswered.
Thank you for the repeated face to face encounters with hopelessness, in order to know what and where true Hope is found.
Thank you Father for shaking everything within my soul, everything that needs to wither and die, in order for that which can not be shaken to come forth.
”O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?"
Monday, December 12, 2005
The miracle of being re-birthed caused indelible transformation in us. We now not only bear His image, but His glory. We simultaneously live in two realms, the physical and the spiritual. Consequently, much of what happens to us after being re-birthed is totally foreign in this respect: we cannot fathom the out-of-proportion assaults exacted upon our lives. In your incredulity or frustration, have you ever said anything remotely like this: ‘Before I came to know the reality of the Lord I never had these kinds of things happening to me! Why is this happening?’
Before Lucifer allowed pride to enter his heart (and with that pride the notion he would try to put God out of business), all glory and praise was directed through him towards the God of Glory. However, all that drastically changed in a heartbeat when Lucifer plummeted to earth. He has an objective now. He hates God with a hellish hatred, fuelled by a fiendish resolve to take those now entrusted not only to bear His image but His likeness (you and me) out of the picture.
Having said that (lest anyone think that I am impressed with the devil but only remotely aware of God), let me set the record straight: the exact opposite is true. Our Father has made us to be people who ‘notice’ things. We can get all bent out of shape over the injustices we see, or we can deposit the outrage we feel into prayer and intercession on behalf of those He puts upon our hearts.
I love the following quote from the book, ‘The Barbarian Way’:
“Jesus is being lost in a religion bearing His name. People are being lost because they cannot reconcile Jesus’ association with Christianity. Christianity has become docile, domesticated, civilized. We have forgotten that there is a kingdom of darkness stealing the hopes and dreams and souls of a humanity without God. It is time to hear the barbarian call, to form a barbarian tribe, and to unleash the barbarian revolt. Let the invasion begin.
”Matthew 11:12 (Amp.):
”And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force (as a precious prize, a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion).
Nowadays, the reality of heaven and hell being reduced to nothing more than religious blether is indicative of how Satan has in fact ensnared so many in the matrix of lies. After all, he is called the father of lies. Give him his due - he is very good at what he does!
Everything outside of Christ Jesus is religion, and Satan is the father of religion (‘religion’ being anything that causes adherents to think that by their right living they can ‘be like God’). The on-going training being worked within us has much to do with setting us free from the matrix of religion which has watered the gospel down to less than tepid tea-water.
The original movie, ‘The Matrix’, though fictional, has more spiritual truth than meets the eye. The main character, Thomas Anderson, a.k.a. Neo, only knows reality that comes to him via the Matrix, a self- generated program existing solely in his mind. In the process of being disconnected from the matrix, reality is almost more than he can bear. Likewise, the reality that the Father is awakening in many of his sons and daughters, is more than we can fathom. That is why the quote from The Barbarian Way spoke such encouragement to me.
In the garden, when Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, their eyes were opened…but what they saw did not resemble life and freedom. Is it any wonder that even though we have been re-birthed, it is the Father’s desire to have the eyes of our heart opened up, that we might be flooded with light in the true knowledge of Him being our all? We are here in the now for a purpose, (His) and though most of us do not know or see the reality of this purpose, Satan does. He may be defeated, but he is not stupid insofar as having successfully taken many Christians out of the picture.
The ‘necessity’ of knowing the love of our Father is the only thing that will keep us from losing heart, from capitulating and becoming a statistic or prisoner of war – that and knowing that as the re-birthed we are in a battle for our very souls, and the onslaughts are relentless. However, most Christians don’t realize this. I once heard it said that when most believers give their lives to Christ, they sincerely believe they were signing onto a cruise liner. They had no idea they were boarding a warship!
”Grow not weary in well doing, for in due time you shall reap. If we suffer with Him, we shall reign with Him.” That reigning is in the now, but it is the out-working that results in much suffering.
"The full value of this life can only be got by fighting; the violent take it by storm. And if we have accepted everything we have missed something — war. This life of ours is a very enjoyable fight, but a very miserable truce."
Thursday, December 01, 2005
‘The on-going work of the grace of God in a believer’s life'…Wow, what a mouthful! It is nothing short of being glorious, the unfolding, revealing, glorifying work of the Holy Spirit, making known to believers who the Father is, and who they are in Him.
The above picture speaks to me on so many levels, but mostly in a facetious and humorous way. It is mind-numbing to consider that so many believers are in a fixed orbit of believing that when they were re-birthed, it was a total deal or nothing.We hate perceived contradictions, paradoxes or incongruent things we see not apparently meshing in the scriptures.
Rather than admit we might be the ones with the problems in our limited perceptions and bow to the Father, trusting him for the needed illumination, we defend to the death that which has only been seen thus far in part.There is much that is on my heart that I would like to think out loud about concerning the continuing work of grace (metamorphosis) in the believer’s soul, but I think I will stop here for now.
Hopefully the picture will stimulate some needful heart-to-heart fellowship with one another. I anticipate hearing from you.