Thursday, 31 December 2009
When I hear a story now, I listen for several key components. Because they describe the nature of the life of God placed in human beings. They describe the components which drive life here on earth. They drive most of the great literature and film stories. I realise now that fairy tales are closer to reality than we ever imagined. Certainly new physics seems to have many fairy tale characteristics. When I produced the first third level message on tape in 1989, I had begun recognising some of these features. One of the components that always seems to be present is a deep internal heart cry or prayer or longing over a period of time that then seems to move heaven and earth towards its accomplishment. This is present here.
Another element seems to be the concept of the second mile. The Kingdom, or anything for that matter of any value seems to be constructed in the second mile.
The second mile is either a princess kissing a frog. Or it takes the form of giving of yourself beyond your own personal strength or desire to give any more.
Another element is the Cinderella component of something that no one else has spotted being suddenly valued for its true worth.
But on a more prosaic level, as the interviews point out....how many so called patients termed in a vegetative state...are not at all. Again it's just our total adherence to the crazy sliver of a left-brain as our sole measure of someone's existence. So if they can't talk or register a response in a commonly perceptible way.....
Then BYE BYE!
Boy, western society, rooted and grounded on this rather limited piece of human software has a lot to answer for. Bring on the Kingdom of God.
Today's Daily Mail reads
Christmas miracle: The mother and baby who BOTH died during labour... then came back to life
By Richard Luscombe Original here
Last updated at 8:01 PM on 30th December 2009
A father is claiming a Christmas miracle after his wife and newborn baby apparently came back from the dead.
Mike Hermanstorfer told how his wife Tracy went into cardiac arrest and stopped breathing just after being wheeled into a hospital delivery room on Christmas Eve.
Doctors performed an emergency caesarean section to try to save the baby’s life but then had to give Mr Hermanstorfer the heartbreaking news that his son had not survived either.
But as the sobbing father held his tiny son in his hands, he felt the boy slowly begin to move.
And at the same time Mrs Hermanstorfer, 33, began to breathe again.
Her husband said: ‘My legs went out from under me. I had everything in the world taken from me, and then suddenly everything given to me. It was the hand of God.’
Doctors at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said there was no logical explanation for the sudden recovery of the mother or her baby.
Dr Stephanie Martin, a maternal foetal medicine specialist, said: ‘She was dead. She had no heartbeat, no breathing, no blood pressure. She was as grey as her sweat suit and there were no signs of life. The baby was basically limp, with a very slow heart rate.
‘We did a thorough evaluation and can’t find anything that explains why this happened.’
Mr Hermanstorfer, 37, said: ‘We are both believers but this right here, even to a non-believer, you explain to me how this happened. There is no other explanation. Half of my family was lying right there in front of me in my hands, there’s no other way to say it, but dead.’
Mr Hermanstorfer said his wife had begun to feel sleepy as she was being prepared for the delivery.
‘She literally stopped breathing and her heart stopped. I was holding her hand when we realised she was gone,’ he said. ‘I lost all feeling. Once her heartbeat stopped, I felt like mine did too.’
Doctors and nurses began CPR in an attempt to restart her heart, but Mr Hermanstorfer recalls a doctor telling him: ‘We have been unable to revive her and we’re going to take your son out.’
They began a caesarean section to remove the baby – and did not use anaesthetic on the assumption that the mother was dead.
After the caesarean, some of the medical team stayed with Mrs Hermanstorfer to continue efforts to resuscitate her, while other doctors began massaging the baby, named Coltyn, as he lay in his father’s arms in what they thought was a vain hope of reviving him.
‘They handed him to me, he was absolutely lifeless,’ Mr Hermanstorfer said. ‘But then they actually got him started right there in my hands. That’s a feeling like no other. Life actually began in the palm of my hands.’
Dr Martin said delivering the baby could have relieved the mother’s body of the stress of labour or unblocked previously clogged blood flow to the rest of her body. Mrs Hermanstorfer, whose heart was said to have stopped for about four minutes, said she recalled nothing of the incident.
She plans to tell Coltyn about his traumatic birth when he is old enough to understand.
‘I’ll tell him everything. That he had a tough time coming into this world, that he’s my miracle baby,’ she said.
5 hours ago · Comment ·LikeUnlike
There He is! He's all there was! And everything from that point on is some derivative of Him. The derivative has had our attention, and the derivative has been our center; a false center, but nonetheless a center. This is how things got so off balance; unless things are on Center they are off balance. Christ put things back on Center for us; not ... only theoretically, but realistically. We don't live by theory! We live by Another's LIFE. Christ who is our life; must also be our CENTER or we are off beam
5 hours ago
What is getting to be very embarrassing is the amount of children's things I am now "getting" for the first time in my life. For instance we just went to "The Snow Queen" at Chichester here. It was a youth theatre production of typical excellence. But I just realised that's what it was about :"Fake life". The mirror shard stuck in our eye and heart... ...and from the very words of Hans Christian Andersen's original you can see that is exactly what he was writing about, however modern left-brains want to take it. It was written in precise reaction to the previous 50 years of Enlightenment thinking.Yesterday we were watching the bank episode of Mary Poppins...and again it was something similar. How could I miss this stuff?
The Snow Queen
The whole work is here http://www.online-literature.com/hans_christian_andersen/972/
Here's a bit:Once upon a time there was a wicked sprite, indeed he was the most mischievous of all sprites. One day he was in a very good humor, for he had made a mirror with the power of causing all that was good and beautiful when it was reflected therein, to look poor and mean; but that which was good-for-nothing and looked ugly was shown magnified and increased in ugliness. In this mirror the most beautiful landscapes looked like boiled spinach, and the best persons were turned into frights, or appeared to stand on their heads; their faces were so distorted that they were not to be recognised; and if anyone had a mole, you might be sure that it would be magnified and spread over both nose and mouth."That's glorious fun!" said the sprite. If a good thought passed through a man's mind, then a grin was seen in the mirror, and the sprite laughed heartily at his clever discovery. All the little sprites who went to his school--for he kept a sprite school--told each other that a miracle had happened; and that now only, as they thought, it would be possible to see how the world really looked. They ran about with the mirror; and at last there was not a land or a person who was not represented distorted in the mirror. So then they thought they would fly up to the sky, and have a joke there. The higher they flew with the mirror, the more terribly it grinned: they could hardly hold it fast. Higher and higher still they flew, nearer and nearer to the stars, when suddenly the mirror shook so terribly with grinning, that it flew out of their hands and fell to the earth, where it was dashed in a hundred million and more pieces. And now it worked much more evil than before; for some of these pieces were hardly so large as a grain of sand, and they flew about in the wide world, and when they got into people's eyes, there they stayed; and then people saw everything perverted, or only had an eye for that which was evil. This happened because the very smallest bit had the same power which the whole mirror had possessed. Some persons even got a splinter in their heart, and then it made one shudder, for their heart became like a lump of ice. Some of the broken pieces were so large that they were used for windowpanes, through which one could not see one's friends. Other pieces were put in spectacles; and that was a sad affair when people put on their glasses to see well and rightly. Then the wicked sprite laughed till he almost choked, for all this tickled his fancy. The fine splinters still flew about in the air: and now we shall hear what happened next.
Warfare in prayer
"Little Gerda repeat~d the Lord's Prayer. The cold was so intense that she could see her own breath, which came like smoke out of her mouth. It grew thicker and thicker, and took the form of little angels, that grew more and more when they touched the earth. All had helms on their heads, and lances and shields in their hands; they increased in numbers; and when Gerda had finished the Lord's Prayer, she was surrounded by a whole legion. They thrust at the horrid snow-flakes with their spears, so that they flew into a thousand pieces; and little Gerda walked on bravely and in security. The angels patted her hands and feet; and then she felt the cold less, and went on quickly towards the palace of the Snow Queen"
The nature of separateness thinking:
Little Kay was quite blue, yes nearly black with cold; but he did not observe it, for she had kissed away all feeling of cold from his body, and his heart was a lump of ice. He was dragging along some pointed flat pieces of ice, which he laid together in all possible ways, for he wanted to make something with them; just as we have little flat pieces of wood to make geometrical figures with, called the Chinese Puzzle. Kay made all sorts of figures, the most complicated, for it was an ice-puzzle for the understanding. In his eyes the figures were extraordinarily beautiful, and of the utmost importance; for the bit of glass which was in his eye caused this. He found whole figures which represented a written word; but he never could manage to represent just the word he wanted--that word was "eternity"; and the Snow Queen had said, "If you can discover that figure, you shall be your own master, and I will make you a present of the whole world and a pair of new skates." But he could not find it out.
Intercession and results
But he sat quite still, benumbed and cold. Then little Gerda shed burning tears; and they fell on his bosom, they penetrated to his heart, they thawed the lumps of ice, and consumed the splinters of the looking-glass; he looked at her, and she sang the hymn:"The rose in the valley is blooming so sweet,And angels descend there the children to greet."Hereupon Kay burst into tears; he wept so much that the splinter rolled out of his eye, and he recognised her, and shouted,
"Gerda, sweet little Gerda! Where have you been so long? And where have I been?" He looked round him. "How cold it is here!" said he. "How empty and cold!" And he held fast by Gerda, who laughed and wept for joy. It was so beautiful, that even the blocks of ice danced about for joy; and when they were tired and laid themselves down, they formed exactly the letters which the Snow Queen had told him to find out; so now he was his own master, and he would have the whole world and a pair of new skates into the bargain.Gerda kissed his cheeks, and they grew quite blooming; she kissed his eyes, and they shone like her own; she kissed his hands and feet, and he was again well and merry. The Snow Queen might come back as soon as she liked; there stood his discharge written in resplendent masses of ice.They took each other by the hand, and wandered forth out of the large hall; they talked of their old grandmother, and of the roses upon the roof; and wherever they went, the winds ceased raging, and the sun burst forth.
Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Would that there were more full-orbed accounts like this one, systematically laid out for all to read. This is Barbara's story from incubator onwards and is absorbing at all levels. This section is taken from chapter 13, (they are laid out in reverse order down the page.) Chapter 13 describes the excitement we were all feeling as we caught the vision that church was about sharing our lives together at all levels. The London leaders she does not name are the ones that came out to places like Amersham to share some of the new principles they were learning. Groups from our renewed Baptist church used to ride out to the Friends meeting House meetings and later, as it grew, the Albert Hall. Exciting days.
But just like Dan Bowen shares in some of the material concerning the later years of Ern and Ruth Baxter, there are always background stories, and actually these turn out to be the real stories! Because it is in the reality....the gritty scarcely shared realities, that God's grace meets us.
I believe that there are times and seasons in our journey through life and none more than the journey that God takes us on. My desire for finding a church that was something more than a Sunday plus one weekly meeting, coincided with the great changes at our Christian Rehabilitation centre that I wrote about in the last chapter.A few of us involved in the centre had begun meeting in one of our homes for fellowship and worship and Bible study and we were also able to include any of the residents who wished to join us. These residents often felt that they did not fit in with a traditional church setting but they felt at ease in the relaxed atmosphere of a home environment.I was in this situation and seeking God for the way ahead when I happened to go to one of our local ‘All Saints’ meetings. These were once a month Saturday evening gatherings of people from many different churches and there would always be a visiting speaker. On this particular evening I was particularly moved by the speaker, let’s call him James, who spoke on ‘Forgive us our Denominations’. It was also the time when the Christian production ‘Come Together’ with Jimmy Owens and Pat Boone was showing in London. A choir was being formed in my area to put this show on locally. It consisted of Dance, Drama and Music with a theme of bringing Christians from all denominations together for worship. I had ‘signed up’ for this choir and when attending my first rehearsal I found that James was involved, and not only that, he lived in my local area. I just knew that I had to go and visit him.On arrival I was invited in and made welcome. I found that James was one of a group of Apostolic men around the country who were pioneering New Testament style house churches. At that time there were about 30 people meeting together in my area and they were all living in close proximity and sharing life as a community. I am not talking of a commune but a community, the whole ethos being to share our lives and live out our faith together on a daily basis. In other words a New Testament church. This sounded like the fulfilment of all my dreams and desires, committed Christians with the same vision living together not only to share their lives, but to be a light in the local wider community.Having sat and talked the whole afternoon through, it became obvious that we were on the same wave length and James and his wife invited us to dinner. Alan was still not a Christian at this time and his first reaction was, ‘Who are you getting involved with now?’ However he was intrigued enough to find out and accepted the invitation. He was so moved by the reality he saw and the living out of faith 24/7 that within days he had accepted Christ as his Saviour and was soon baptised in water. Fifteen years of prayer had been answered and we knew that God had led us to this place.So what happened to the others that had been meeting with us in the home group that we had recently formed? There was another group that was a part of this fellowship living and meeting in the centre of town, and as the others lived nearer to them, they joined in with them and we disbanded our little group.As for Alan and I, we duly sold our house and bought a house in the midst of our new fellowship. Although we were only a little over a mile away we wanted to be close enough to live as part of the community. We lived in that particular house for 2 years when we moved again to live in a larger house next door to James. At the time we had thought we would not be able to afford the fee for a survey on the house. We prayed about this and the very next day there was a cheque in the post for the exact amount. A young girl from Norway who had been staying with us had received a bonus cheque from work when she arrived home. She had asked God what she was meant to do with it and He told her to send it to us. It was a real challenge as this house needed so much work doing to it that it took us 10 years to fully complete. It had an extension that was basically a shell on top of the work in the existing house, but as we were sure that God was leading us in this we knew that we could trust Him. We did get a lot of practical help in getting the work done and there was a valid reason for us moving to this larger house.Since becoming involved in the Fellowship we had become the church hospitality house. This was not something that was planned, it just happened. From being asked to have a couple of guys from Holland to stay with us in our original house, we found that this was something that we enjoyed, offering hospitality and caring for people in our home. Our gifts are from God and He places us on our journey just where He wants us. As the fellowship grew, many people would come and stay with us from this country and other countries in Europe and also the U.S.A.Most of the people who stayed had come to experience this kind of living as they were part of a similar pioneering set-up, or they just wanted to fellowship with other like minded believers. We also had leaders and preachers and speakers who had come to minister to us also.As well as this aspect of hospitality, as the fellowship grew there were always quite a number of single people needing accommodation, so we would always have a long term guest living as part of the family, as did many of the other homes. Our children grew up never knowing who was going to be in the house when they woke up, and sometimes even who would be sharing their room. Some people would stay for a night and others for weeks depending on their reason for being here. Sometimes new guests would be arriving before others had left. There were times before we moved to a larger house when Alan and I would be sleeping in bunk beds and our children on the floor. Even when God moved us on into various ministries we still ran an open home.Over the years we made close friends with some of the people who stayed in our home and there were those who invited us back to their home, giving ourselves and our children many new and exciting experiences and visits. I counted up recently the names in our visitor’s book and to date there have been 561 entries. Not 561 people as some came more than once, but the number of entries. That’s a lot of beds to make, linen to wash and meals to prepare. Won’t it be fun when we meet all those people in heaven though, and we know our lives were and are greatly enriched by every single visitor, even the difficult ones. So, having people stay in our home really did become a ministry in itself. Not that we thought of it as that, we just enjoyed meeting and getting to know people.This was the time of the House Church Movement worldwide and as our Fellowship grew over the years we had to break down into smaller home groups while meeting altogether on a Sunday in a local hall. We also met once a month with the other Fellowships in the wider area. On a national basis we would hire the Royal Albert Hall in London for occasional gatherings. On a daily basis we helped each other in whatever way was needed, financial, looking after each others children, women shopping together etc. and we would regularly eat dinner with each other, not to mention the children’s sleep overs. We were one big family living in different houses but all close together and many in the same street.We had started our own home school and I taught Home Economics to the older children, the class being run in my home. Today incidentally this school is a large thriving Christian School that caters for children over a very large area. Life should have been ideal and I am sure that for many it was, but for me I was living a lie although I did not really know it at the time. I still felt a failure, still suffered panic attacks, anxiety and depression. Yes, God had brought me through the drug withdrawal but I still was not healed, even though I went to every healing service that I heard of. God still had lots more to teach me and true healing, I believe, starts on the inside. What is the point of feeling better emotionally and still not understanding how to live in God’s presence?There were times when having smiled and said all the right things to our guests before they left the house I would be in a heap as soon as they had gone. Some days I was terrified of Alan going to work and leaving me alone. There were also times when I was afraid to walk further than the end of my road. I would go into town and almost immediately have to come home. Travelling any distance from home became a nightmare.I knew that something was not right. God had wrought a measure of healing in my life and I now know that He wanted it to be real and lasting and not a quick fix. He was keeping me in a place where I needed to rely on Him. He was building me into the person that He wanted. He is in control of the journey, He knows the beginning from the end, but I did not really know that then like I do now. To me if felt like nothing had changed except that I became more frantic as I tried to reconcile the reality of my life with what I believed to be the truth of the Gospel, Peace, Joy, liberation etc. So what did I do? I just got more involved, did more, including being a part of ‘Bind Us Together’ a follow on production from ‘Come Together’.Eventually I came to a place where I felt that nothing worked, God did not care, it was just too hard to go on living. As you may have guessed, God knew differently and He had His ways of bringing me through this. Did He do it in one miraculous wave of a wand, no, He knows what is best for each one of us and continues to change us from Glory to Glory one degree at a time, as the Bible tells us.
about an hour ago ·
Chris Welch Capitalism thrives on businesses functioning in an incorporated fashion and also being in the stock market. It isn't always the best thing for the business.
Church is structured also subtly around what is the best for the system. Christianity is actually structured around a living Christ who wants to reproduce Himself in you as quick as you can stand it. Church is not always compatible with this aim since it wants lots of people to pay the pastors and buildings.
51 minutes ago ·
Stephanie Macentire“I might resume the habit of going to church if the preacher would be honest enough to stand up some morning and say, "Perhaps next Sunday, but not today," and then sit down” Heywood C. Broun...............................
(later entry)OMG..what if ...all the gifts of the Spirit are part of the indwelling of God..and..what if they could be used at any given moment ..of any given day...by anyone and I mean all of them..from the bum on the street to the White House..what if we really knew that WE ARE the LIVING STONES...sigh...The descriptions by Paul are meager..and lacking...... compared to the power of a Spirit meshed with Gods..to become the love ..he has for us. If you don't know about that..you can call yourself anything..and it doesn't matter at all..and even that can happen to anyone of us...on any given day...Where does it say..be super spiritual..all the damn time..and what the hell does that look like in the first place. Good lord..we have lost our common sense...thanks for letting me rant.
about an hour ago
Steph...we went down this road in the UK.Instead of being superspiritual everyone went absolutely normal for years and you know what "superspiritual" and "normal" turned out to be ?two sides of the same coin......not knowing who we are on our insides...Christ In our form. Once that is settled on the inside, for the first time on our surface level we are normal...the way we were always intended to be...without the compensatory playacting...without the attempts at loving..at being spiritual.
Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.—Hebrews 13:3
The founder of the Voice of the Martyrs, Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, loved people. He and his wife, Sabina, had a great passion to lead others to Christ. As this month marks the 100th anniversary of his birth (he passed to glory in 2001), I thought I would relate some unpublished moments of his life.
We have written about his courage as he stood alone among more than 1,000 leaders to denounce the control of Romanian communism. The communists had closed Sunday schools and oppressed the church. Pastor Wurmbrand resisted the communists’ control of the church and went underground. He held services for youth attending his church in front of the lion’s den at the Bucharest Zoo to prepare them for battle with the world. Pastor Wurmbrand led his little Lutheran congregation, composed of many Jewish converts, to the Bucharest train station to toss Russian Gospels into the windows of passing trains filled with invading Russian soldiers. The soldiers kept the Gospels. For many such acts of aggressive love, he and his wife both went to prison.
When Richard and Sabina began the work of VOM in October 1967 in America, some might think they would have been changed by living in an open, wealthy nation where everything could come easy for famous, gifted people. But their love, their burden — whether for helping those persecuted abroad or right next door — remained the same. I know. My wife, Ofelia, and I lived in a duplex with them for seven years.
Pastor Wurmbrand woke up early in the morning with long lists of names of people. One by one, he would pray for them. He and Sabina fasted one day a week.
One night through the wall of our duplex, we heard a great crash. Richard, now in his 70s, had fallen on the bathroom floor and fractured his skull. The next morning I was in his hospital room. He began to pull on his clothes to leave. The frantic nurses came in to tell him he could not get up. He said, “How can I sit in bed with only a little pain in my head when I am supposed to speak in Berlin where the people suffer much more than I do?” At the time, Berlin, Germany, was a walled-off city surrounded by the East German communist military. He flew to Germany.
After coming to America, Pastor Wurmbrand never owned a house or a car. Being older, he took driving lessons but was kindly told by the instructor that it would be better to save his money. On one of their trips flying overseas, he and Sabina would approach an airline counter with about 12 suitcases of clothes they had purchased at a used clothing store, clothes to be carried into communist Eastern Europe for persecuted Christians. The stunned airline agents crumbled under their heartfelt appeal and let them take the clothes.
When Richard and Sabina passed from earth, the house they lived in was sold and the funds used for international ministry. They had moved to an eternal house.
After Pastor Wurmbrand’s funeral, his son, Michael Wurmbrand, took us to a special dinner. I sat next to a young woman who told me her story. She had worked for a florist and delivered flowers to Richard and Sabina’s home in Southern California. Sabina graciously invited her inside. Richard told her an old story of the Emperor of Japan who visited a garden to see only one flower, a very special flower. Then Pastor Wurmbrand looked at her and said, “And you are God’s special flower. This is why you came today. God loves you. You are special to Him.” She came to Christ. Her life was changed forever.
Whether he was speaking to his torturer in a Romanian prison or to a flower delivery girl in America, Pastor Wurmbrand knew that our highest calling is to be witnesses of the love and grace of God. Happy birthday up there, Pastor.
—Tom White, Executive DirectorThe Voice of the Martyrs—USA
reproduced from http://rw100.persecution.com/ (via Nancy Gilmore)
Monday, 28 December 2009
Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit saith the Lord of Hosts" Zechariah 4.6
Jesus said to her, Jn4:21"Woman, believe Me, (Y)an hour is coming when (Z)neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.
22"(AA)You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for (AB)salvation is from the Jews.
23"But (AC)an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father (AD)in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
24"God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship (AE)in spirit and truth."
Joshua 5 :13Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, (K)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?"
14He said, "No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD." And Joshua (L)fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, "What has my lord to say to his servant?"
15The captain of the LORD'S host said to Joshua, "(M)Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so.
Evangelical preachers often use these actual passages to say almost the opposite of what I wish to write about: namely to put into context the use of the spiritual gifts. In short, they say God is holy, so put aside all the flim flam of modern songs, the "silly" (Stanley Jebb according to Dan B)) use of tongues and prophecy and such like, and get on with serious worship and preaching from the Word.
This I believe rather is our true position. Joshua had already led the Israelites through the Jordan and into the Land. The first thing they did was raise up a memorial pillar then circumcise all the males who , because of the way things had happened had never been circumcised. This is equivalent to covenant baptism into the death and resurrection of our Lord.
Joshua was a called man. He was a prepared man, and by these acts of faith had shown he was an obedient man. But then something weird happened. As anointed as he was. As called as he was, he then came face to face with a confrontation, at which he asked "are you for us or against us?" "No" was the reply.
That's not a human reply is it?..... makes no sense to the left-brain! Are you or aren't you? No.
That's because it was a Spirit reply through an angelic Commander.
I am the commander around here.
Get in line Joshua.
That's what spiritual gifts are. Gifted speakers may have the training. May have the calling. May have the preparation of heart. Then come the spiritual gifts.
Out of nowhere.
The melchizedek Order.
Where Jesus lives and reigns at the right hand of God the Father.See video 2
Jesus expressing His right to rule and reign over His Church. Preachers and leaders, get in line!
God can use the youngest. The most unfit vessel.The most naturally ungifted vessel. And like lightning strike a holy line right down the middle of a gathering, where you are either one side of that line, or the other. It is the Holy Spirit laying bare the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Yes Preacher...you'd better believe God is about holiness...and that He uses His own Divine means, instituted at His command, not yours, namely the spiritual gifts. He never ever ever retracted that command: "These signs shall follow after them that believe!" If you are preaching retraction or the more common "cessation" of the gifts, you are moulding your own theology around your own opinions but not those of the Unfinished Acts of the Apostles.
Not by might,nor by power, but by My Spirit saith the Lord of Hosts. The Zechariah text and the Joshua text, like the one in Peter Stott's Psalm 24 message all use "the Lord of Hosts".
I will look squarely at any man, as I did a leader at Southbourne Church and say the same as I did to him about Baptism In the Spirit and spiritual gifts. But I will equally face down any modern so called Spirit-filled church in the same way I do in Havant....and in the same way that Peter did when presenting the above message. And the spirit of what I say is this. "You may as in Southbourne inhibit gifts, or sometimes at Havant (especially before the Florida Outpouring) think you are singing yourself into the Presence of God....
But the Presence of God I am talking about is the one that the spiritual gifts, when used keenly and rightly, bring.....the atmosphere of the God of history and destiny....the Commander of the Lord of Hosts.
Meetings fall in line! Meetings are about accomplishing little bits of history. Not about having good meetings. Meetings have to fall somewhere in the direct Spirit line of history somewhere between Ruth , grandmother of David, and Revelation 12 the full orbed church. They are one off events.Divine encounters. We are either in them or we miss them. Period.
In the Samaritan woman episode above, Jesus makes these things clear.
Worship is no longer about Temples or geographical locations.
It is about the unfolding revelation of "the worship of God the Father". Something we've spent 2000 years too bowed in shame to do.
And thirdly it is to be about True worshippers (implication:there are false ones)
who MUST....(no suggestion here) MUST worship in Spirit and truth.
We may know lots about the Bible. But this is specific. This is an activity called worship. And the Divinely instituted manner of doing a worship course...is
to do it, with a liberal sprinkling of supernatural gifts. How else can we learn to worship in Spirit and Truth? Most of evangelicals' spurning of gifts comes from their misuse...or sometimes perceived misuse.
Well can I say if they were the same with their children when they began to walk as they are with Spirit-filled people learning to use the gifts....their children would all be disabled!!!
It's the chicken and the egg. You can't learn to walk without looking a jerk and falling over!
You cannot learn to worship in the Spirit and in the Truth without making mistakes. But that's how you do the Truth and not the Fake. So evangelicals, without wishing it ,you are encouraging the Fake in your meetings, because you are disallowing God's means and the flexible freedom within which which He provided for His people to learn to worship in Spirit and Truth. And in heaven you will face judgment on this on behalf of all the flocks you have ever disabled!
1 Corinthians 12,13 and 14 - the gifts chapters.
If you are reading this , possibly 40 or 50 years after the last time the gifts were regularly taught, and are thinking....here we go again, well here's the news. Here we don't go again!
Remember this blog is about the 3rd level. Yes it's the same subject of gifts...but the context is different.
We are in a time of transition historically. The last embers of Pentecostalism and the charismatic, are fading in the hearth. God has spoken many times in the last years that....again....He is up to something new in the Earth.
As I've written here and again in this first video, we are moving from being just God of Abraham worshippers, through the Pentecostal God of Abraham and Isaac worshippers, to the new era of being worshippers of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.....the full package.
The full package is ofcourse to understand how each of us live as Christ as us in our form - how it works.
Now folks. I know you already had the spiritual gifts. But think about it. Think about the previous context. For me it was in the context of a renewed Baptist church. Then later in the context of an early prototype worshipping and seeking God church at Emsworth. But both were modelled around the pastor or apostle pyramid. That's all we knew.
In the third level , leaders are not servants because they preach incessantly on servant leadership from the tops of their pyramids....in fact they never preach on the subject again because they model it: that is, they are to model the same sort of leadership of Jesus as He wiped the disciples feet.
They are also careful when and if to speak at all...and certainly only under anointing. We once had a leader, who because he knew the scriptures about not sitting in a prominent place, used to studiously sit in a non-prominent place....but rather in the manner of Captain Mainwaring in TV's Dad's Army. In other words you still knew about it!!!!
Now into this new third level way of doing church and meetings context come the spiritual gifts.
Also, now we are preaching learning"Christ as Us in our form".
And we are using the spiritual gifts to practice it.
Lastly, the context is one of acceleration. As each member knows from the start about the three stages of growth, and knows that it is expected that he or she will use spiritual gifts and any other means to build up the Body of Christ as under the Holy Spirit of the Lord.....and to learn to properly worship the Father in Spirit and in the Truth....
The fresh use of the gifts will release a whirlwind of growth across the whole Body of Christ internationally, at a speed and pace that has never been seen at any point in history.....and
all just in time to face some of the greatest challenges to our collective faith in history.
We are to be angry against all the pastor peddlars of religious filth that passes for "true Christianity" yet that flagrantly disobeys the clear and expressed will of God concerning how He builds His Church.
The more we understand the "mystery" of this Jesus Christ being manifested in a greater and greater way in His Body, and our own total lack of natural might or power to either see what needs to be built next, nor have any ability to accomplish it, we will certainly by His Spirit, make use increasingly of his supernatural enablements to see it all take form and shape. This time, knowing that what we are building is the Very Person of Jesus into a bunch of individuals, and not rather building people into some programme of works and seminars in the name of networks and pyramids. Like in Acts, such a new type of church can, like any dismembered worm, just regroup and carry on functioning in a totally different context over night. Because they each know God, and are not just buying dvds and cds from a star preacher.
Is that OK? Do you see the shift of emphasis from the gifts themselves...to what they actually are there to do? Has this been helpful?
Sunday, 27 December 2009
Let our hearts “be comforted being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:2-3).
Copyright © Sylvia D. Pearce November 2009
All rights reserved
Christ, Our Life Ministries Inc.
PO Box 43268
Louisville, Ky. 40299
…”Behold as in a glass the glory of the Lord are changed from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
(II Corinthians 3:18)
Does this phrase, “Christ as us” sound like an elite club with a mantra in which we constantly chant “It is Christ, as us”, as some would say? Or, is this simply the Christian’s “obedience of faith” where by we agree with God’s Word and leap into His precious promises and inherit what is rightfully our as sons of God? Which one is it? Each person has to decide for himself. To the skeptic it seems like arrogant pride for anyone to proclaim such a rash statement; to the self-righteous it seems like an excuse to sin flagrantly; but to the weary and desperate ones who have tried with all their hearts yet failed to live the Christian life, it is fresh air.
Christians know the scripture that says, “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you the hope of glory” but Christ, as you??? Where is that in the bible? That is a fair question to ask, therefore, I intend to jump in and answer it.
Let me start by quoting some familiar verses. Before the Apostle Paul was saved he was on the road to Damascus when a blinding light from heaven shone down on him, and throwing him off his horse. He heard the voice of Jesus saying to him, “Saul, Saul why persecute thou me?” Why did Jesus say that Saul was persecuting him? Wasn’t he persecuting the church? Yet Jesus identified Himself as us, that is His body. Jesus didn’t just say it one time, He was constantly saying it. In Luke 10:16 He said, “He that hears you hears me; and he that despises you despises me; and he that despises me despises him that sent me;” He said in Matthew 10:40, “He that receives you receives me, and he that receives me receives him that sent me;” He also said in John 13:20, “He that receives whomsoever I send receives me; and he that receives me receives him that sent me;” And when Jesus prophesied of His coming in glory in Matthew 25:35-40 He said, “For I was an hungry, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me:
I was in prison, and you came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed [thee]? Or thirsty, and gave [thee] drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took [thee] in? or naked, and clothed [thee]? Or when saw thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto ME.”
Let me reiterate what Jesus is saying:
· Whoever persecute the brethren, persecute ME;
· Whoever hears you, hears ME;
· Whoever despises you, despises ME;
· Whoever receives you, receives ME;
· Whoever takes in strangers, takes in ME;
· Whoever feed you, feeds ME;
· Whoever gives you drink, gives it to ME;
· Whoever clothes you, clothes ME;
· Whoever was sick, nurses ME;
· Whoever visits you in prison, visits ME in prison.
Is it presumptuous thinking, or simple faith that causes us to believe Jesus when He declared such radical identity statements about us, the redeemed? For me, it was simple faith.
How can I not believe it when again and again Jesus identifies Himself as me. Some verses that really clinched it for me are in Ephesians chapter 1 verse 20-23, it says “…..He raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places...And has put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him, that fills all in all.” Do we really see what this is saying? We, the body, are the fullness of Christ. I knew that He was our fullness, but this is actually saying that we, the body, are His fullness. Wow, that is too big to comprehend. Yet, how can a body not be its head, and how can a head not be its body? This scripture is saying that we, the body complete Christ! Stands to reason, a body can’t be complete without a head and a head can’t be complete without a body. It seems simple when you think of it like that.
Lets think about this for a minute….We had Satan (Eph. 2:1-3) living in us, and he was living his life out as us in our unsaved days. Of course we were all blinded to it, yet it was the human me who had to repent for my sins. Why did I have to repent for my sins when it was really Satan producing the sins as me? It was because I was yielding myself as an instrument of sin while all along it was Satan manifesting his sin nature through me as if it were me.
Even as a Christian, Paul says in Romans 7:17 that when he sins, it is not him doing the sinning, but sin/Satan dwelling in his bodily members. So, it is either Satan in our unsaved days living as us, and now in our saved days it is Christ living as us, but we have never been a just me living as me.
How can we believe that Christ lives as us, when we see things that don’t look like Christ as us? Yet focusing on our behavior makes us crazy and certainly leads us away from believing what Christ says about us. Heb. 12:2 says “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” Looking “unto” means to look away from something, and “looking unto” must mean to keep our inner eye on Christ and not on the circumstances, the appearances or on our behavior. Then, you might ask, doesn’t that justify our bad behavior? No earnest Christian wants to justify his bad behavior, we just want to be changed into the image of Christ and not do the bad behavior. The way not to sin is certainly not by trying hard not to sin, that doesn’t ever work. Then how can it be? Romans 8:29 says that “we are predestined to be conformed into the image of His Son”. How?? It is simply by beholding your reflection in a mirror, although, it has to be the right image in the mirror.
THE MIRRORING PROCESS
This painting by Caravaggio called “Narcissus” was painted in 1599. It depicts "narcissism" which is derived from a Greek myth. Narcissus was a handsome Greek youth who rejected the desperate advances of a nymph. As punishment, he was doomed to gaze at himself in a pool of water, and eventually he fell in love with his own reflection. Today’s psychologists have used his name to coin the term, “Narcissistic personality disorder.”
However this infatuation with oneself is termed, it is basically an extreme form of being self-absorbed. The Greek lad was so enamored with his own reflection that he, as the story goes, was turned into a flower, which today bears his name. This myth, like most, is pretty wearied, yet ironically the bible says that either Spirit transformation or discouragement and defeat depends entirely on how we image ourselves in a mirror.
Let us see what the Apostle James and the Apostle Paul both say about looking into the mirror. “If any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass; For he beholds himself, and goes his way, and straightway forgets what manner of man he was. But whoso looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the word, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:23-25). And also here is what Paul says in II Corinthians 3:18, “We all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
Both James and Paul say that if we look into our own personal identity mirror and see just ourselves, like Narcissus, we will either have false hope in ourselves, or be discouraged and walk away because we have forgotten who we really are. But if we look into our own personal identity mirror and see Christ, who is the perfect principal of liberation, or behold, as Paul says, the glory of the Lord, then we will be transformed from glory to glory.
James says that if we want to be doers of the word we have to simply “look” into a mirror and see Christ as our perfect liberation and remain therein. While Paul says if we want to be transformed into the image of Christ, we have to be a “beholder” of the Lord’s glory in the looking glass. “Looking” and “beholding” is simple faith, however regrettably most stumble over the simplicity of it all.
I am reminded of how God dealt with the complaining children of Israel in Numbers 21:5-9. He sent fiery serpents among the people and many died. They cried out for help from Moses. Moses went to God for a solution. The Lord said to Moses, “Make you a fiery (brazen) serpent, and set it upon a pole; and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looks upon it, shall live.” Of course the serpent represented Satan who was judged on the Cross (John 3:14; John 12:31). So, all the Israelites had to do was look and live, but some rebelliously would not look and died needlessly.
So it seems to me what these two Apostles are saying is that you have to behold Christ “face to face” in the mirror. Although, if you instead see just your own face, you will walk away defeated and unprofitable. But if you look into your mirror and not see yourself as just flesh, but instead by faith see Christ as you then you will see Christ “face to face.”
Paul also said in I Corinthians 13, the love chapter, that when spiritual adulthood comes we will see Christ “face to face.” Until then we will see in part and know in part, but when we see Christ “face to face” we will know even as we are known. The Lord already knows who we really are, but it is never good enough for God to know it, and we not know it (I Cor. 13:11-12). And we won’t know it until we see Christ in our mirror “face to face.” It is by a declaration of faith that we are transformed. Christ reveals Himself as the “inner man” who presses His glorious face out through our outer face of clay thereby actually living day by day, as us.
It is then that we walk as He walks, talks as He talks, live as He lives. I John 2: 6 says, “He that says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked.” And I John 4:17 says, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because AS He is, so ARE we in this world.” The only way to be as Him in this world is for Christ, to manifest Himself as us.
There it is, we were an instrument of sin as Satan manifested his sins through us as if it were us, and now through the Cross we are joined to Christ and He is manifesting His righteous nature through us, as if it were us, when all along it is really He the Head as us, the body. Where else is Christ going to manifest Himself, if He lives in us? Can’t it only be as me and you! The scripture in Eph. 5:30 reveals a great mystery: “We are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.” Sounds like “as us” to me!
What About All My Doubts?
You might ask yourself, if I can’t believe these biblical evidences then what is the alternative? Isn’t it, Christ and a separate performing me? If that is true, then wouldn’t we be slipping back to works again? It is either He as me, or a performing me as me.
I believe that we need a “re-defined I,” that is, Christ/I (the real I is Christ expressing Himself as the human me). If we think that we are “JUST US,” then we are still under the delusion of an Independent-Self; and where there is an independent-self there is self effort; and where there is self-effort there is law; and where there is law there is sin, for “the strength of sin is the law” (I Cor. 15:56b).
If we still believe the lie of independent-self the outer law will shout at us, and if we respond to the shouts of the law, we are acting as if we have a life of our own with the human power to fulfill it. Functioning from the lie of independent-self is the root of all sin which gives Satan power over you. Why would we respond to the outer law when we know that we have Christ who fulfills the law perfectly in us? Faith is simply recognizing that fact which activates the Holy Spirit’s power in us.
My good friend, Sharon Roy commented saying that she couldn’t take a leap of faith and say that it was Christ living as her, because she didn’t yet know that she was “dead”. She was still identifying herself as an independent self, instead of seeing herself as a unified dependent-self. She falsely thought that she was her temptations, fears, and insecurities. She didn’t know that it was Satan manifesting fear in her bodily members. Once she discovered that it was Satan and not her, then she could take a leap of faith and proclaim that Christ lives as Sharon, and stand on it when she was tempted otherwise. Sharon knows it today, and counsels and teaches it to others. God has to make us pretty helpless before we can know that we are “dead” and Christ is our life (Col. 3:3-4).
So which will it be? “Christ as you,” or “you as you”? I’m glad you chose “Christ as you, because it is impossible for you to be “you as you.” There never has been an independent self in the whole universe except for God Himself, that is. All created forms are dependent beings, depending on the One who is all powerful, all knowing, and all sufficient. You know that the human you isn’t God, so doesn’t it stand to reason for you to be a surrendered dependent-self joined to Christ who lives His life as you?
You have never been a “YOU AS YOU”! Even the Apostle Paul and Bob Dylan, the singer/song writer, are singing the same song. Bob sings, “Gotta Serve Somebody,” and Paul writes, “You were slaves to sin,” and now “you are slaves to righteousness” (Romans 6:17-18). You have always been a slave to somebody, and never been free to be “just you.”
Why would we want the defeat of a powerless sinful false self when we can have the power and the wisdom of the resurrected Christ being our life? Could it be that we don’t want to lose ourselves, that is, THE ONLY SELF WE HAVE EVER KNOWN? Yet didn’t Jesus say that unless you lose yourself, you can’t find your life (Matt. 16:25)? Is it fear? Does it take you out of your comfort zone? Do you wonder what will keep you from being your own New Age guru? The New Age teaches that we can trust ourselves…Christ is not telling you to have confidence in yourself (II Cor. 3:8). He is bidding you to trust Him as you. Maybe you think that since you are “just you” then you can keep yourself? Don’t you know that left to yourselves we will commit any sin, but we are not left to ourselves, are we? We are left to the mighty keeping power of “Christ who is our life” (Col. 3:4). Isn’t He big enough?
Maybe you are thinking that this “Christ as you” revelation violates who God is to you. Maybe you think…“I have a personal relationship with the Lord and I can’t give that up…” Or, maybe this kind of, “Christ as me” thinking, makes you think that there is no transcendent Lord to pray to. These honest apprehensions are pretty common when we don’t yet understand our union with Christ.
Let us take our answers from our Lord who was the only union man who qualifies as our true prototype… Think about this---Jesus knew His union with His Father and He didn’t give up knowing that His Father was transcendent; or did He give up his prayer life (see John 17); nor did He give up His personal relationship with His Father. So, we don’t give up our relationship with Christ, how absurd, although, we do give up the childish idea that we are His servants when as mature sons, He calls us His friends (John 15:15). Therefore what we do gain is a greater, fuller, grander, yet mature relationship with Him. Who wouldn’t want that?
Knowing that Christ is joined to you, forming the new you, is the basis of the gospel (Gal. 2:20; Rom. 6:4-11; II Cor. 5:21). Jesus came to die as you, so that you can be joined to Him and He might live His life by you, through you, and as you.
Maybe you think it sounds like the New Age error that says “the human is God”. The Pharisee’s thought that Jesus was saying that too (John 10:33). Jesus never said that He the Son was the Father, however He did proclaim that “the Father and I are one” (John 10:19), and “if you have seen me, you have seen the Father” (John 14:9). He functions by faith the very same way that we function. Jesus proclaimed that, “Of my human self I can do nothing” (John 5:19 & 30), and so do we because we know that it is really Christ living in us, and as us. Christ is the power, He is the peace, He is the wisdom, He is the life, He is the courage, He is the patience, He is even our very faith (Gal. 5:22; Gal. 2:20b).
How does that work? We put our faith in Him and He comes back and does the faith-ing through us. You might say to yourself, “I believe, but help thou my unbelief.” Then I recommend that you tell the Lord, I can’t be willing, but “I am willing to be made willing.” The Lord will take you up on that.
Why can’t we agree with Him and identify ourselves as forms of Him? Do you think that the bible is saying that you become Christ? No, it is not saying that. The body can’t say that it becomes the head and neither does the head become the body; however the head can say that it expresses itself as the body, and the body can respond by faith and agree.
Is it unbelief that keeps us Christians from identifying ourselves as a form of Christ? I hope not, because it was unbelief that stopped the Israelites from entering into the promise land, and it could be the same deadly unbelief that causes us not to inherit the precious promises given freely to us by our Lord.
This life is meant to be easy. Like my good friend Brian Coatney says, “it is excruciating at times, but it is easy to walk in the Spirit.” But you might think, “I am full of doubts”…Good, because faith is built on doubt. Plenty of good doubt and wavering apprehensions are usually the prelude to responding faith.
Think about it, believing the gospel in the first place was a leap of faith. I bet you wondered how you could live up to being a good Christian when you first heard the gospel? And maybe people mocked you saying that you were now “Holier than Thou.” I’m sure all these misconceptions crossed their and your mind. Yet your spirit cried out to God and He met you. You had to leave all the wonderings and reasoning behind and simply believed God. By faith you took Christ and He took you and saved you.
Knowing Christ as you is another huge leap of faith. You can’t prove it, you can’t reason it all out, and you can’t fully understand how it could be, yet deep cries out to deep and faith calls you into the unknown. You don’t live any longer; it is Christ living as you! “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loves me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Behold Him in your mirror, say it, drink it, and eat Him who is the Truth, and this “Pearl of Great Price,” will set you free.
It is Christ as you, or Christ living as if it were you, if that makes you more comfortable!
Christ, Our Life Ministries Inc.
PO Box 43268
Louisville, Ky. 40299
If you want to keep in touch with us at Christ, Our Life Ministries, you can sign up for our Newsletter on “The Liberating Secret” website. Click the Newsletter link on http://www.theliberatingsecret.org/ and fill out the information. To complete the process you will have to confirm it.
 The exception to, Christ living daily “as us”, is when we occasionally slip into sin. Sin is an expression of Satan and not Christ. As we confess it, the blood quickly cleanses us from sin and we continue on the road of faith believing that Christ lives as us.
 Read my booklet “There is No Such Thing as an Independent-self”. This booklet will further explain this liberating key.
 Unfortunately, if you chose “you as you,” you chose Satan as you.
 “The Keepers Creed”” “I will commit any sin left to myself, but I am not left to myself, by faith, Christ is keeping me ( Brian Coatney and Jude 24).
 From “Rees Howells Intercessor”, by Norman Grubb
This layout and all photos were put together by AC Welch for this blog
Saturday, 26 December 2009
Interestingly I was coming from the angle of belief in spiritual gifts. So I was very interested to read Dan's comment today too in the light of his first pastor's current opinions. (Staggeringly, this was the same pastor that used to drive Ern Baxter all over the country.)So I reproduce my comment then Dan's post.
"I think interfaith means being willing to penetrate the seemingly impenetrable walls that surround each of our traditions, to locate three things: the universals that transcend those boundaries, the things we really have in common... second, the particulars in each of our traditions that support those core teachings; and third, the particulars that don't."
Let alone "other faiths", Christians have a hard time talking with each other. And this was why the ecumenical movement began. But most of our agegroup who, like me were brought up in denominational churches, who experienced a real conversion in some revival or other, have found it so hard to achieve the above in ecumenical settings. For example, why would I discuss healing with a liberal theologian Anglican who does not believe that a miracle ever occurred...that in fact they were just exaggerated distortions that grew like Chinese whispers...why would I want to spend the time of day with such a man...save to try and describe how people have been instantly healed either when I have prayed for them or countless others have? What about one of those amazing Jewish war stories where an old man lifts a truck off the top of someone who is trapped underneath? I have seen and known this sort of weirdness...but in an ecumenical setting...what can you say without offending people...especially the English, where you run the risk of shattering their whole little world view, having been raised on Darwin,Bertrand Russell,and now Dawkins. The sooner we "add" to our Enlightenment world view over here the possibility of a God invading our time and space, the better. As I have been writing on my blog....Thank God for the weirdness of modern physics which shatters most of our beliefs of the last 2 centuries.
Well that's a private rant "inhouse". As regards the Jewish faith,anything Christians come up with HAS TO in some way be underlined by Old Testament writings. If we believe God is the same God...then we have to believe the way that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob broke through in their experience as humans, with this God, is somehow reflected in the Christianity we now live.I write about this here....oh and Dire Straits too....http://080808onnowto.blogspot.com/2009/10/world-famous-evangelist-mark-knopfler.html
Something occured to me yesterday. Traditionally in the charismatic/cessationist debate, we charismatics are always accused of being "frothy" and "experience-obsessed" while cessationists pride themselves on honouring and being committed to "the Word". And in the debate is often based around; "I experienced this" and the response; "It doesn't matter - your experience is irrelevant - they've ceased".However there ARE a number of Scriptures that cessationists have never answered. If these Scriptures are to be read as they appear then many so-called "men and women of the Book" are being disobedient to the very Word of God that they claim to honour and revere. Here's two that spring to my mind;1. 1 Thessalonians 5:20; "Do not despise prophetic utterances".So does not Stanley Jebb's statement; "Calling silly remarks prophecy" come dangerously close to despising what actually may be prophetic utterances? That does not mean of course that "silly remarks" never happen - of course they do. But I would not like to put myself in the position of being guilty of despising this gift of the Holy Spirit and thus quenching Him.2. 1 Timothy 1:18; "This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight".Again to cite Stanley Jebb (only because he is the cessationist I probably most know and most read) - he writes; "So, since the final word has been spoken, such signs are neither necessary nor possible". Necessary? Possible? So how does this take into account this clear instruction from Paul the apostle (and writer of most of the New Testament) that there is a degree to which the gift of prophecy is ESSENTIAL for fighting a good Christian fight? Is this not a clear reason as to why the Word of God tells us not to despise prophecy?And finally - a verse that a former friend of mine and former blogger - Jesse Phillips - used to base a lot of his writing on;3. 1 Corinthians 14:1: "Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy".Of course love is our primary calling (lest cessationists accuse me of ignoring the context of 1 Corinthians 13) but what of this command - clear command - of Scripture to "desire earnestly" spirituals but ESPECIALLY that we may prophecy? When did you or I last hear from the pulpit a sermon exhorting us to eagerly desire the bestowing of spiritual gifts but especially prophecy?Just a few Christmas thoughts of mine. For me personally I want to ensure that 2010 is a year of heeding these commands of Scripture - that I honour prophecy and use them as a God-given grace gift to fight a good fight and thereby eagerly desiring especially prophecy.
Thursday, 24 December 2009
Sunday, 20 December 2009
But the other aspect of coming out of stars and spots culture is the whole idea of separation whereas Christianity is about fusion. And uncomfortably close fusion at that! And this has always been the plan right through from Jesus's sermon about Eating His Body and drinking His Blood onwards through the centuries since. This morning a Word was brought about God removing the scaffolding.....as though everything in the Temple building process up to this present day has been at one stage of removal....but now was the time for a more direct form of building...His own glory and Life poured into the walls themselves....layer upon layer.
I love the totally chaotic sense of God's order appearing before our eyes, unmanaged,in all corners of the earth, here a voice, there a voice....not a human HQ in sight.
Daniel Yordy:For some weeks I have been pondering this truth scattered throughout the New Testament, that we are His flesh. A couple of weeks ago, Fred Pruitt sent out an email in which he said the same thing, that he had been pondering for several weeks the meaning of eating His flesh. In other words, this is something the Spirit of God is focusing us on right now as His sons. (I will include some things that Fred shares in my next letter.)
A truth like this, we receive bits and pieces of understanding from the Spirit of God. It is so profound, and our understanding is so limited, yet what is revealed is the very salvation of God.
I am writing this letter for those who are on this journey with me, a journey of knowing Jesus, the Christ, in all of His revelation in us, through us, as us, in this hour of His glory. More than once, people have written to me and said, "Wow, this letter is different than previous ones, it's really life to me." So I compare what I said in that letter and what I said in previous letters and see the same thing. What happened was that before, the reader, though previously interested and drawn to what I shared, was now hearing it, for the first time, through the revelation of the Holy Spirit.
And so I am sharing, particularly in this letter, with those who know that they have the mind of Christ and who hear all things by the revelation of the Holy Spirit.
It is in John 6, just after the feeding of the 5000, that Jesus says these words, "He that eats My flesh and drinks My blood shall have the life of the age to come."
Every single person who heard Him say that turned their backs and fled in horror except the twelve who were, nevertheless, shattered and confused.
We need to understand the extent of the blasphemy and the horror that Jesus chose to speak to the ears of those who heard Him.
Israel, in that day, survived, barely, in a sea of Greek culture. The party of the Sadducees, who had the greater power and wealth, had embraced much of Greek culture, while still remaining Jews. But the memory of the Law of Moses and the Prophets would have long since been swept from the earth in face of the overwhelming onslaught of all things Greek if it were not for a small group of devoted, gallant men who had committed their lives to keeping at least a small group of people in Israel connected to Moses and the Prophets, and separated from Greek culture, philosophy, and paganism.
These men were the Pharisees. Certainly, they get a bum rap, but without them, there would have been no people left for Jesus to minister to.
But the Old Testament did not, nor was it intended to, restore man back to the relationship with God that Adam enjoyed - infused utterly with God, no separation of self. And so the Jewish mind had elevated God as "untouchable" and way beyond the commonality of man. To equate God with the dregs of degraded humanity dragging upon the earth was, to their thinking, the most horrible evil that a person could conceive. Thus the idea of "blasphemy" was a huge deal in the minds of all Jews of that day.
Inside of the Greek culture that pressed at all times against all things Jewish, there was a particular religious cult called the cult of Dionysus. In this cult, a person, usually a child, was presented on the stage as the god, Dionysus. Then, at a certain point in the ritual, the worshipers would tear the child to pieces and eat his flesh and drink his blood. They did this because it was Dionysus who said, "Except you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you."
The Romans were a hard, cruel, and wicked people. They had learned, early on, that tolerating a certain "freedom of religion" was necessary to keep captive peoples quiet, and so they did. But to the Roman sensibility, the cult of Dionysus was so excessive and awful that it was completely banned from the Italian peninsula.
Every Jewish man, woman, and child was fully aware of the gross paganism and filthy ritual of the cultures and peoples that swirled around and through their midst at all times. They were a captive people, living in a land claimed and possessed by others. They were fully aware of the cult of Dionysus and the gallant role of the Pharisees in keeping such evil away from their lives.
Moses, on the other hand, had commanded the people of Israel not to eat the blood with the flesh of an animal, because the blood was the life of the flesh. The Pharisees had expanded greatly on the rituals and rules of Moses, and so great effort was present in every one's mind, to separate the blood so as not to eat any bit of it and thus defile themselves in disobedience to Moses.
Because we have heard these words of Jesus all of our lives, they seem weird to us, but no more. We have no ability to comprehend the awfulness of these words to the minds of those who heard them. For Jesus to quote this most horrible of pagan deities in the most excessive pagan ritual that even the Romans could not stomach was beyond all human reason. And to the Jewish ear it was BLASPHEMY in every possible way and to all extent. It was not possible for Jesus to have dreamed up any more "wicked" and "evil" thing to say to the mind of those who heard Him speak.
Jesus was not speaking in John chapter 6 to the Pharisees, He was speaking to the Jews who had followed Him, who had eaten the bread He had broken and multiplied, who had brought their sick to Him to be healed, who had hung on His every word.
We know that God needed the Pharisees to kill Jesus. Part of Jesus' mission was to provoke the Pharisees, to push their sensibility to the point where they would deliver Him up to be crucified. But when Jesus stood before the Sanhedrin, He limited His blasphemy to an oblique reference that He was One with the Father. That was enough for them to turn Him over to the Romans in a judicial way, which is what God intended. But if Jesus had made this statement in John 6 when He stood before the Sanhedrin, they would have stoned Him to death right there.
Jesus is a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. He couches the greatest truth of the gospel inside the greatest blasphemy uttered in the pages of Scripture.
"Except you eat My flesh and drink My blood, you have no life in you."
Even to our ears, these words are awful, and we have none of the religious bent of the Jewish mind of that day.
In order to follow Jesus in this present unveiling, we must be willing to embrace that which, to the natural mind and to the religious mind, is utter horror and blasphemy.
To know Him, as He reveals Himself in us, is to be what the world and what Christianity will call a horror and a blasphemy.
And we ourselves, just like the twelve (or shall I say, the eleven, because it is here that Jesus says that one of them is a devil), have only one answer to give in our own confusion at the incredible insanity of what God speaks to us in the New Covenant.
"Lord, to whom shall we go? You alone have the words of age-abiding life."
And so we begin this journey.
1 Timothy 3:16 "And without controversy, great is the mystery - the secret - of godliness: God manifest in the flesh . . ."
There is a set of verses that I have known of all my life. If you said a few of the words from it and asked me where it was, I would have told you instantly, without thought, Ephesians 5.
Yet I have never known these words, nor ever considered what they say.
Ephesians 5:28-32 "So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church."
Did you catch that? I never have, nor have I ever heard any minister or teacher of the word catch it either.
Every human being loves and feeds his flesh. This is a given. That is why those sad Christians who see themselves as separate from God, with the obligation to hear what He says and do it, and who with all zeal put their "flesh" under foot, as they see it, are such an example to us of not the Lord Jesus. I have known people like that, who actually took seriously the injunction to get their flesh under foot. They are my brothers and I love them, but there is no light of Christ in their eyes. The very act of willfully and fervently "subduing the flesh" makes the flesh the greatest thing in their lives.
Every man, woman, and child loves and feeds their flesh. This is a given.
The question is to whom does the flesh belong?
Because, you see, Paul, here, in verse 30, says the most extraordinary and unbelievable thing in all Scripture.
He says that the reason that God loves me, the reason God cherishes and nourishes me is because I am God's flesh.
Is this not what God is speaking in verse 30?
I am God's flesh.
My flesh is His flesh.
My flesh is the flesh of God.
That sounds like blasphemy, doesn't it? It certainly does to me.
But I have put these bounds upon myself at this point in my life. All that God speaks in the New Covenant, I will believe. And if God does not speak it in the New Covenant, I refuse to consider it.
Christ is God manifest in the flesh. Jesus is the eternal entrance into all that Christ is.
Now, Paul here says that I am a "member" of His flesh. That is the same thing as saying "I am His flesh." The reason Paul uses the word "member" is that just as I am His flesh, so you are His flesh. There are always those who will take a word like this and use it to puff themselves up above others; that's why Paul says it this way.
This letter I am writing is supposed to be the third part of "Coming out of Darkness." It is supposed to be a reference to Revelation 3 where Jesus says, "I counsel you to buy of me white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed." And it is.
But this word is so much more than one part of three. Yet it also has it's place there. To see as Jesus sees, we must accept our own blindness. To enjoy all the riches of heaven, we must accept our own poverty. And to be clothed with His flesh, we must accept our own flesh. For our flesh is His flesh.
The princess must kiss the frog.
You could spend some time thinking about that statement. Ask God to show you what it means.
And so, over the last several weeks, I have been pondering this thing that Jesus says. Faith makes everything God speaks personal to one's self. If it is not personal to me, it is not faith.
I have always carried great and overwhelming shame in my heart. Almost all people who, in their Christian zeal, have attempted to "fix my problem," to persuade me that I had better "get myself straightened out before God," have done nothing more than increase that debilitating and overwhelming sense of shame.
How many times has this thought cast its dark pallor over my soul, "I am so ashamed of myself." I could never count them all.
How many times has God revealed Himself to me? So many times over the years! Yet was it two or three days later that shame re-asserted its dominion over my heart and the glory was hidden from my eyes once again? Never more than three.
And so in recent weeks, as the reality of life in this world hits me with all of its viciousness, and once again shame mounts its familiar assault, both from within and without, I cast all to the wind. I have nothing else to lose.
I speak in my heart and with my voice, with tears streaming down my face.
"Jesus, this shame is Your shame. This flesh is Your flesh. This weakness is Your weakness. This inability is Your inability. This darkness is Your darkness. This sin is Your sin. You have become me. I am Your flesh. I am the cup and the dregs which You have drunk."
And I am clothed with an intimacy and a closeness to Him that I have never before known.
Yes, to the mind that is separate from God this is folly: to the religious mind, it is blasphemy, and to the natural mind, it is stupidity.
But to me, at this moment, as this present age of folly is crashing into ruin, as the heavens are turning, as my own days are caught in great stress and difficulty, it is LIFE.
It is Jesus.