Father’s 5-Step Plan to Reconcile The World to Himself‏

April 20, 2015

All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was/is reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  (2Cor 5:18-20)

…that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may know that You sent Me.  (John 17:21)

Preach Christ
…and we will grow.

Love God
…and HWe will flow.

Love one another
…and we will show.

Surrender ALL
…and HWe will be one.

BE one
…and they will know!

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Whose The Leader?

December 7, 2013

Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise, Which, having no chief, Officer or ruler, Prepares her food in the summer And gathers her provision in the harvest (Prov 6:6-8)

ants_at_work_video_poster

Take a look at this fascinating video showing stunning examples in nature,

particularly the ants and the bees, of absolute cooperation and team work without any hierarchical structure. Evidently every member of the team is receiving it’s instructions from a higher authority and submits to one another toward the successful completion of the task at hand. They each are obedient to their Creator and are wholly dedicated to the work that they were created to do and they serve out of total surrender.

Proper Authority & Submission in The Ekklesia

What does God mean by authority? What is proper, biblical submission? What transcends what: the Vertical relationship we each have with the Head, or the Horizontal with each other?

One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” Jesus answered, “The foremost (primary/first/preeminent/transcendant) is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
(Mark 12:28-31)

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. (Col 1:15-18 NASB)

…which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, and He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Eph 1:22-23 NASB)

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; (Col 2:9-10 NASB)

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. (Mat 28:18)

The above passages and many others clearly indicate that there is NO hierarchy in God, in His creation, in His Kingdom or in His Ekklesia. Jesus Christ is first, before ALL things, the source of ALL things, the Head of His Ekklesia and preeminent over ALL rule and authority.

Our relationship, our love and our ministry is first and foremost to and for Him. Then secondarily, out of the vertical, we BEcome all these to one another.

What is Proper, Biblical Submission?

There are 6 greek words used in the New Testament to convey something like our modern concept of submission: hupotasso, hupakouo, hupeiko, peitho, peitharcheo and dogmatizo. Keep in mind that many greek words have different meanings based on their context. It is no different in English. I may submit a proposal or submit to a search before boarding a plane. Words take on different meanings based on how they are used.

The word most commonly translated submit or subjection is hupotasso. Hupotasso is a military term used to signify a surrender on a battle field. It’s non-military usage is different.

It can mean any of the following depending on context:

  • Arrange under
  • Yield to admonition or advice
  • Obey

Hupotasso is not used to convey a sense of involuntary obedience to human command or authority in the New Testament. The New Testament words that best represent that are hupakouo and peitharcheo. Neither of these words are used in reference to church leadership.

Hupotasso, as it relates to members of the church interacting with each other is “a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden.” When Paul instructs the Ephesians to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” it is clear that he is speaking the sense of “arranging under” or “yield to admonition or advice” He isn’t telling people to obey each other. In 1Cor 16:16 when Paul calls on the Corinthians to submit to “everyone who cooperates in the work” it is clear there is no sense of hierarchy.

Hupotasso is found the following verses…

Luk 10:17 “Then the seventy-two returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name!’”

Heb 12:9 “Besides, we have experienced discipline from our earthly fathers and we respected them; shall we not submit ourselves all the more to the Father of spirits and receive life?”

Rom 8:7 “because the outlook of the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to the law of God, nor is it able to do so.”

Rom 10:3 “For ignoring the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking instead to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.”

Rom 13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God’s appointment, and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God.

1Co 16:16 “also to submit to people like this, and to everyone who cooperates in the work and labors hard.”

Eph 5:22 “Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord”

Col 3:8 “Wives submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord”

Tit 2:9 Slaves are to be subject to their own masters in everything, to do what is wanted and not talk back,

Tit 3:1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work.

1Pe 2:13 Be subject to every human institution for the Lord’s sake, whether to a king as supreme

1Pe 2:18 Slaves, be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are perverse.

1Pe 3:22 who went into heaven and is at the right hand of God with angels and authorities and powers subject to him.

1Pe 5:5 In the same way, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. And all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

Jas 4:7 “So submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

Submit (be subject) to God-ordained worldly authorities…

Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it (worldly authority) is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it (worldly authority) does not bear the sword for nothing; for it (worldly authority) is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. (Rom 13:1-7 NASB)

Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives. Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God’s emissaries for keeping order. It is God’s will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you’re a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government. (1Pet 2:11-17 MSG)

Submit to God-ordained Authority in the Family

Slaves, Servants (out of reverence and respect)

Col_3:22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:

Children (out of honor)

Eph_6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

Col_3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.

Husbands & Wives (out of love)

Eph_5:22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

Eph_5:24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

Eph_5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,

Eph_5:28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;

Col_3:18 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

Col_3:19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.

What is proper authority within the Ekklesia?

What it is NOT!

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She *said to Him, “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.” But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They *said to Him, “We are able.” He *said to them, “My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.” And hearing this, the ten became indignant with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mat 20:20-28 NASB)

Jesus did not submit Himself to the religious leaders, those who had raised themselves up as self-appointed rulers and authorities. On the contrary He defied them and renounced them (See Matt 23)

He would not be a judge over any other man.

Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But He said to him, “Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?” (Luk 12:13-14)

So what exactly does it mean then to “obey those who are ‘over you’ in the Lord?”

Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit (hupeiko) yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. (Heb 13:17 KJV)

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief (or frustration), for this would be unprofitable for you. (Heb 13:17 NASB)

Be obedient to those leading you, and be subject, for these do watch for your souls, as about to give account, that with joy they may do this, and not sighing, for this is unprofitable to you. (Heb 13:17 YLT)

Here are the other words translated submit or obey….

peitharcheo

Definition: “to obey authority” (Thomas)

Act 5:29 But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than people

Act 5:32 And we are witnesses of these events, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

Tit 3:1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work.

peitho

Definition: “to persuade, to have confidence” (Thomas)

It can be translated obey if spoken in the active or middle/passive. Most of us have no clue about active or passive tenses in Greek translation. What it means is that the word can be translated obey depending on how it used. In Heb 13:17 the word is used in such away that leads most translations to translated it as “obey.”

There are far too many verses to list here. The following is the main relevant passage:

Heb 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls and will give an account for their work. Let them do this with joy and not with complaints, for this would be no advantage for you.

hupakouo

Definition: to listen, attend to:—answer(1), became obedient(1), becoming obedient(1), heed(1), obedient(2), obey(12), obeyed(3). (Thomas)

Eph 6:5 Slaves, obey your human masters with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart as to Christ,

Eph 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right.

dogmatizo

Defintion: to decree, to subject oneself to an ordinance:—submit … to decrees(1). (Thomas)

Col 2:20 “If you have died with Christ to the elemental spirits of the world, why do you submit to them as though you lived in the world?”

hupeiko

Defintion: to retire, withdraw, submit:—submit(1). (Thomas)

Thomas, R. L. (1998). New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek dictionaries : Updated edition. Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc.

To retire or withdraw giving the sense that we are to yield the right of way to, to “keep out of the way”, to “not hinder their efforts” rather than any sense of “following a direct order”.

Don’t rebel against or hinder them from fulfilling their calling or doing their job because they will give an account to the Lord, and it will do you no good either. With this meaning the rest of the verse, and the spirit of the entire passage then makes sense or bears witness.

The Greek word “peitharcheo” is found in Acts 5:29 and other places, but is never used in the New Testament in reference to “obeying” church leaders.

There also no actual word for “authority” in Heb 13:17 in the Greek text.

The Greek word for Obey used in Heb 13:17 is “peitho” which means “to voluntarily submit as a result of persuasion. In other words, if there is any authority at all in what they are saying, it is based solely upon their integrity before God and because they will have to give an account directly to God for what they are teaching or instructing. The intimation is that they are more accountable for what they are saying than you are to them to do what they are saying.

You are not required to obey some kind of delegated authority that they have “over you”, as some would want to believe and teach, but to obey, or submit yourSELF, to the TRUTH (Christ) that they are declaring.

Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. (Heb 13:7)

Let all that you do be done in love. Now I urge you, brethren (you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves for ministry to the saints), that you also be in subjection to such men and to everyone who helps in the work and labors. (1Co 16:14-16 NASB)

Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. (1Pet 5:1-3)

Be responsive to your pastoral leaders. Listen to their counsel. They are alert to the condition of your lives and work under the strict supervision of God. Contribute to the joy of their leadership, not its drudgery. Why would you want to make things harder for them? (Heb 13:17 – The Message)

Rom_2:8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

Gal_3:1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

Gal_5:7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?

Act_5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Jesus Christ is concerned with only ONE thing, and Paul was called to that same single focus… THE WORK of building and equipping the Ekklesia so we ALL could be co-laborers in THE WORK!

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men? What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. (1 Cor 3:1-9)

But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. (1John 2:20 NASB)

As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life. These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. (1John 2:24-27 NASB)

What roll do pastors, elders, the five-fold ministries, etc. have in terms of authority?

He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.) And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. (Eph 4:10-16 NASB)

There is no mention of rank or position in Paul’s instruction to the Church or when defining ministry. Paul didn’t say “I have authority because I’ve been appointed by the church and all church leaders are God’s delegated authority”. The Corinthians originally recognized Paul’s authority as their Father in the gospel (1Cor 4:15). Even this authority had limits. He had no authority to tear down (2Cor 10:8). Even in the expulsion of the immoral brother Paul instructed the whole Corinthian church to do it (1Cor 5:4). He didn’t do it and he didn’t instruct the leaders to do it. In “covering” theology everyone is commanded to obey people almost solely on their organizational rank. Organizational rank is very much “outward appearance”, acknowledged by “sight”, from a “human point of view” bolstered by “letters of recommendation.”

Paul presents himself as one who preached Christ as Lord. Covering theology equates the authority of church leaders with God’s authority. This sounds a lot like preaching “themselves” as lord rather than preaching Christ as Lord.

What would submission in the church look like if it were pursued in a manner that was truly a “voluntary attitude of giving in and co-operating“. It would look very different from what often goes on in authoritarian churches.

Biblical Submission

Authoritarian Submission

Motivated by love and a desire to understand and co-operate Motivated by fear and a desire to avoid harsh consequences
There are always elements of mutuality Submission goes from the bottom to the top
Encourages freedom and expression Stifles expression
Alternative opinions and disagreements are seen as opportunities to discern God’s insight and direction Alternative opinions and disagreements with leadership are possible threats and may need to be dealt with authoritatively to preserve unity
Unity through mutual love, sacrifice and understanding False unity through uniformity
Leadership encourages diversity and ensures that people feel safe to be themselves and use their gifts Leadership sets direction and keeps careful watch over all activity to ensure non-conformist ideas and people don’t gain influence.
People feel free to disagree with leadership but respect the values and direction set for the group People are afraid to voice disagreements and feel their only options are to stay silent or leave
Decision making is transparent and accountable Decision making is confined to a narrow group of insiders that feel very little obligation to explain their actions.
Leadership is truly accountable because people are free to question in an accepting and safe atmosphere. Leadership subverts true accountability by instilling fear, demonizing critics, and intimidating people.

Biblical submission is always a “voluntary attitude.” What is the difference between a voluntary attitude and an involuntary attitude? Involuntary submission it is motivated by command, rules, fear, coercion, or manipulation. People give in because they have a tangible and an imminent fear of something negative happening to them.

What should motivate us to submit to each other?

  • Reverence for Christ (Eph 5:21)
  • Leaders keep watch over us (Heb 13:17)
  • So the leaders have joy (Heb 13:17)
  • It would be profitable for us (Heb 13:17)
  • Clothe ourselves in humility to each other (1Pe 5:5)

There is a noticeable absence of any spiritual disaster in the above list.

The proponents of Covering Theology often present themselves as God’s chosen leaders and label those who disagree with them as rebels. There is an incredible irony to this as these same leaders have cast off centuries of solid biblical interpretation to arrive at their conclusions. In order to accomplish this task they have redefined or skewed the traditional biblical concepts of sin, grace, submission, and faith.

HOW TO DISCERN A TRUE MINISTRY FROM THE FALSE. AM I A TRUE MINISTER?

The clergy-laity dichotomy is a direct carry-over from pre-Reformation Roman Catholicism and a throwback to the Old Testament priesthood. It is one of the principal obstacles to the church effectively being God’s agent of the kingdom today because it creates a false idea that only ‘holy men,’ namely, ordained ministers, are really qualified and responsible for leadership and significant ministry. In the New Testament there are functional distinctions between various kinds of ministries but no hierarchical division between clergy and laity. ~ Howard Snyder

In order to discern whether a ministry is on the right path we have to consider the big question of “why.” What is the motivation? If we are ministering for our personal gain our methods and our teaching will eventually reflect this. We might be in it for fame, status, reputation, money, religious success. We might be living out our own legalistic, self-condemnation on others or reliving our own victimization through others.

Paul loved people and was so filled with the love of God it compelled him despite all the suffering and the risks. He lived with an open heart and a Godly jealous for Christ’s people. He tried very hard not to be a burden and attempted to work with the Corinthians for their joy. He saw the Corinthians as partners to work in co-operation with, not just people to minister too.

Paul suffered not just from external persecution but by the insensitive treatment by those he sought to minister to. It seems to bleed out especially later on in the letter where we makes some honest but biting remarks about the Corinthian’s willingness to let themselves become exploited.

Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. (Heb 13:7)

Here are a few questions that every minister of the Lord needs to ask of him/herself…

Which “well” am I drinking from?
Is it the grace of Christ leading to life, freedom and transformation or condemnation leading to shame, bondage and death?

Why do I do what I do? What are the motivations?
A careful examination of my heart and my actions will reveal clues to where my heart is? I will find my heart with my treasure so I should examine how I spend my resources (mental, emotional, material) and follow the “money trail” to the orientation of my heart.

Am I comfortable with my own weakness or do I need to project an image of strength to others?
Am I confident that Christ has transformed me and I have no need to fake it for others? Am I overly concerned with how people think of me?

Am I honest, open and willing to submit myself to conscious examination of others?
Do I use flattery, trickery or other methods to guide people? Do I try to control what people think so I can guide the situation to further my goals whether they are altruistic or not?

In Conclusion

You don’t have to be an author, a pastor, or an elder of a local church to be a leader. In fact, some of the greatest Christian leaders I’ve known were neither. Focus on following Jesus and you will be leading others naturally by your example, let alone by the things you say. Is it possible that much of Christianity today is focused on being a leader when it should rather be focused on how to follow an indwelling Christ? ~ Frank Viola

This is a huge topic and one that can be approached from many different angles. In summary what I have concluded is that we are to submit only to God as He would reveal the Truth (Christ) to us, through others, by The Spirit. Humbly submit ourselves to one another in the Love, fear and admiration of the Lord. Be subject to the worldly authorities in order to win them over, but never in place of God if they were to go against His rule in our life. Don’t place any man over you as an “authority” through whom you exclusively get direction from or obey rather than Christ (in you). Don’t look to others to take on your offense, or to approach or confront someone, or to carry the burden for you. Be ready always to participate and engage in “The Work” of building up the Body of Christ out of agape love without ANY expectation of receiving anything in return, flowing only as directed by the Head.

Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. (Mat 23:10)

For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. (1Tim 2:5)

Be imitators of me, in so far as I in turn am an imitator of Christ. Now I commend you for remembering me in everything, and because you hold fast truths and practices precisely as I have taught them to you. I would have you know, however, that of every man, Christ is the Head, that of a woman her husband is the Head, and that God is Christ’s Head. (1Co 11:1-3 Weymouth)

“Honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, pure generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve others – qualities which are within easy reach of every soul – are the foundation of one’s spiritual life.”
~ Nelson Mandela. http://onforb.es/18qc7by


The material in this writing was gleaned from a number of web sites, but much of it from Leighton Tebay’s excellent web site on Covering and Authority.


Re-Membrance Day

November 11, 2013

With all the communication and miscommunication that has been flying back and forth, we need to stop and intently listen for the voice of the Father in it all. He IS (always) speaking, but some hear only thunder, others hear nothing, and unfortunately still others hear something but choose to tune it out.  If we are truly His, we CAN hear His voice. If we are truly His, we have been given HIS mind to perceive and understand what it is He is saying…  to us as individuals and to us as a corporate body.  Because we are truly His, it HAS been given to us to KNOW, and the Spirit has been given to lead us into ALL aspects of Truth (Jesus Christ).

The all important questions we need to ask are….

1. Are we in The Faith (in Christ)?

And, if we can answer in the affirmative then…

2.  Are we desirous to hear and appropriate what He has to say to us?

As I have been meditating on “Remembrance Day” in the light of recent dialogue, discussions and the Word that has been shared of late, namely the battle we are all in with our greatest enemy….  OUR OWN CARNAL MIND (Romans 8:5-7), I am hearing and seeing again that God is doing a deep work of re-newing, re-minding and re-membering within His own Body. For Judgment must first begin in the House of God (1 Pet 4:17) so that is what we are experiencing. Can we confidently say, “Bring it on Lord! Purify Your glorious House so that the world might see Your likeness and image in us, Your Body, Your Temple, Your Ekklesia!” ?

Are we not all members of His body? And if so, then why must He “re-member” us? What do we mean by “re-membering”? I believe what He is doing in the process of re-membering us is not so much adding or removing, but more-so preparing for positioning, shuffling and joining the stones, if you will, fitly framing us together according to His divine plan and design. He is causing us to examine the motivation for wanting to be “joined” where and to whom WE think we ought to be, and re-joining us with those that HE knows we ought to be, and would have us joined to.  The Master Builder said; “I will build my Church (lit. Ekklesia)” and HE is doing just that.  He IS the Master Builder and knows precisely what needs to be done to/in each of the stones as He fashions us out in the quarry in order to be placed (planted) in the Temple that HE is building in this Day of Re-Membrance.

“Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it.” (Psa 127:1)

Oh, how we want to be involved in the process! How we want to be consulted in the planning!  We want a say in where and with whom He places us! WE often desire to be one of the “builders”, and not always do we want to be part of the Building, especially if it means that “that one” is being positioned next to me.

As has been so well articulated, and to build on what was shared in Jon’s DINNER BELL writing, perceptions are huge. In the RE-membering process, God is RE-newing our minds, to see ALL things from HIS perspective, having and thinking with HIS mind on the matter, to perceive ALL things as HE perceives them. He is RE-defining many things that we think and most often perceive through the lens of a traditional/religious/carnal mindSET. This RE-thinking, RE-pentance is disturbing to us in our comfort zones because we are truly hard “stones”, SET in our thinking. Our pride is dashed on the Rock as He visits His house and turns over the tables of our religious thinking…. “Hey! I AM a ‘member’ of the church! I attend regularly and faithfully support the ‘minister’ and the ‘programs’. Doesn’t that qualify me as a ‘member’ in the ‘church’?”

Or at another, deeper level…  “Up ‘til recently I have been really comfortable in ‘the fellowship’ because they seem to ‘think’ just like I do in most ‘things’ regarding the ‘word’ and ‘theology’.  But lately I have been challenged in some areas and on some ‘things’, and so perhaps it’s time for me to look for a new ‘fellowship’. Besides, what they ‘believe’ and teach is really ‘radical’ and if they aren’t careful, it could be divisive.”

All the underlined words in the above sentences are being RE-defined as He shines His light and RE-veals, unveils the true meaning of these words, concepts and principles. Beyond that, He is tearing down the traditional, religious thinking that we have all adhered to for far too long.

The following timely word came this morning from Chip Brogden…

Hidden Manna, Secret Name

“To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”     REVELATION 2:17

The manna is HIDDEN and the name is SECRET. The Lord is doing a work, but that work is, for the most part, hidden and secret. If we are always looking for something out in the open and in plain view then we will miss the deeper workings of God below the surface.

Source: The Irresistible Kingdom by Chip Brogden

“…for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to do His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13)

God IS working, below the surface, in/through every person, in/through every situation, in/through every circumstance. He is causing us, His chosen people, His Ekklesia, His Temple, His Household, His Body to GROW UP and we are most uncomfortable with the growing pains.

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” (Eph 2:19-22)

“…you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”  (1Pet 2:5)

There is no doubt that we are at war with opposing forces desperately wanting to see God’s building project thwarted and never brought to completion, because it would spell the end of their influence over us and over mankind. Let us not presume that by “opposing forces” that I am referring to some boogy man, “fallen” angel or demon, although without question Satan/principalities/powers in high places play a role in opposing the divine dealings of God in the earth and in our lives. However, as we have come to a greater clarity and understanding as to what his/their role is in this battle, and that it is only as we (can and do) “give place” to him/them in our minds that we can/are influenced by him/them.

But turning round and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan,” He said, “for your thoughts are not God’s thoughts (not originating in His mind), but man’s.” (Mar 8:33)

Jesus, in addressing Peter when he was opposing Christ’s intent and purpose to go to Jerusalem to be offered up, brought to light a very profound principle; That to think as a man thinks, (to rely on the human reasoning, or to think, or be motivated by the carnal mind) is to give “place” to Satan. I will say it again; the greatest enemy of us all is OUR OWN CARNAL MIND!

We are admonished to “not give place to the devil/satan”, and for the most part we piously think that we would never do such a thing. However, we do it more often than we can possibly imagine as we do so each and every time we fail to think with the mind of Christ (The Spirit of our mind), or fail to bring EVERY thought captive, into obedience to HIS mind, and proceed to think/act on the impulse/thoughts/reasoning of the carnal/fleshly/self-oriented mind.

For much more on this I refer you to Reg’s A MEETING OF MINDS.

“And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” (Rev 12:9)

Make no mistake, when and as God brings His household to completion, when His Sons are unveiled in the earth, the old Dragon will be cast down and will have no more influence in the minds of those who have finally overcome him/it (the dragon)! It is paradoxical as to which comes first. As we co-labor with Him in this warfare to cast down the strongholds in our minds, cast out/down the strong man (the carnal, reasoning mind), we will come to full maturity as His House, His Temple, His overcoming Sons.  Consequentially, when and as He completes the work in us, and brings us into the FULL knowledge of Himself, when/as He has competed the building of His glorious House, when/as we grow up in ALL aspects into the FULL stature of Jesus Christ, we will cast down and destroy speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and will take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. (2Co 10:5)  Is this not what it is to overcome that we might rule and reign with Him? (Rev 2:26)

For more on this, see Preston Eby’s latest writing… FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE  from which the following excerpt is taken…

THE DRAGON, THE ANCIENT SERPENT, THE DEVIL, AND SATAN

          “And the great dragon was cast out, that ancient serpent, called the Devil and Satan…” (Rev. 12:9).

The great accuser is given a fourfold name revealing the fourfold characteristics of his nature, working, and power.  He is called in this verse “the dragon,” “the serpent,” “the devil,” and “Satan.”  “The great red dragon” carries with it the thought of monstrosity and by the description of his activity indicates a devourer, fierceness, and wrathIn the word “serpent” there is the idea of cunning, slyness, seducer, deceiver, and traducerIt is not the thought of monstrosity and fierceness showing itself in a public way, but diplomacy working undercover and accomplishing his objectives underhandedly, “the wiles of the devil” by which he “deceiveth the whole world.”  The word “devil” means an adversary who seeks to destroy through slander and accusation.

In the word “Satan” we have the thought of an adversary, an opponent, or a resisterThere is no thought of monstrosity, cunning, or slander — but   simply oppositionOne of the fundamental laws of creation is that an OPPOSING FORCE is necessary for growth, and to produce strength, stamina, and endurance.  Any living thing that grows up without any opposition is weak and powerless.  A plant that grows in a greenhouse sheltered from the winds and rains, pampered day after day, may grow large and beautiful, but it is inherently weak, and if suddenly exposed to the elements will wither and die.  But a plant that is constantly exposed to the fierce winds and pounding rains, burning heat and chilling cold, is strong and not easily destroyed.  God’s MANIFEST SONS must be strong and powerful, and anything that desires to be strong, or anyone, must wrestle with a force that is contrary to them.   Any man who wants to develop muscular power to be strong, must spend weeks and months and years in vigorous training doing heavy exercises, lifting heavy weights, using the OPPOSING FORCE of gravity to DEVELOP HIS STRENGTH.

So it is with us as human beings.  One who grows up in a sheltered environment, who is coddled and pampered all his life, grows up a weak, spineless individual.  Adversity builds strength of character.  If we were never exposed to trials and tribulations, we would grow up weak indeed!  The more we are exposed to adverse circumstances, the more we have to wrestle with our environment, the more we are challenged by the world around us, the stronger we become.  Saints, IF WE WOULD BE THE SONS OF THE MOST HIGH we must be STRONG in the Lord and  in the power of HIS might!  Our Father wants us to be strong, so He has wisely given us wrestling partners to wrestle with, so we will become strong.  There are opposing forces (thank God for them!) that we must constantly battle against.  Some of these adverse things are described by Paul as principalities and powers in the heavenlies.   “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against wicked spirits in heavenly places(Eph. 6:12.  There is a great and magnificent future ahead for the sons of God, and a great work our Father has for us to do in this new kingdom day and in the age and ages to come, and He is preparing us and making us ready for the high and holy place He has for us.  Can we not see that ALL THE OPPOSING FORCES WE NOW ENCOUNTER IN THE HIGH PLACES OF OUR SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE are working together for our good — to develop the strength, character, wisdom, and power we must acquire?  Why Satan?  After every battle I may say, “Thank you, Mr. Satan! for helping to make me a son of God!”

Whether it be as the fire-breathing monstrosity, or as the cunning, deceiving “wisdom” of the serpent, or as the vile, intimidating, debilitating accuser, or just as the sparring adversary, each of his characteristics is a significant negative force which the sons of God are called to encounter, overcome, and conquer on every plane and in every realm, from the lowest sea to the highest heaven.  He works as a monstrosity, he works as a serpent, he works as an accuser, and he works as an opponent.  These are the fourfold negative force we have to meet and conquer within ourselves.  ALL four areas must be overcome!

NOW IS COME

“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down” (Rev. 12:10).

Yet, this victory is accomplished only through warfare!  “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought with his angels.”  We must not think of this “war in heaven” as a battle fought in some far-off heaven away back before the dawn of creation.  If we have been deceived by the false doctrines of religious Babylon we may receive the impression that such is the battle presented, and that Satan and his angels rebelled against God and God employed the good and holy angels to expel them from heaven.  But this explanation is soon proven to be impossible if we only consider what the text actually says.  The great voice in heaven, or the revelation of the spirit within ourselves, tells us of the result of this spiritual battle.  It tells us that now the salvation and the power of the kingdom of God have come, that the authority of His Christ has appeared (Rev. 12:9-10) — things which surely could not be said immediately following a rebellion of Satan and his angels in some pre-historical time!  “Now is come,” that is, now has appeared, now has been revealed, THE SALVATION AND THE POWER AND THE AUTHORITY OF HIS CHRIST!   This is the result of the war in heaven and the casting down of the dragon!

As soon as the dragon is cast out of our heaven it is said, “NOW is come…”   Let us UNDERSTAND!  In that blessed moment when the accuser of the “brethren” of our Lord is cast out of the heaven of our spiritual understanding and experience there is immediately a realization that says, “NOW…not today, not tomorrow, but right now is come “salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast  down!”   In other words, the kingdom of God, the righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost is fully manifest in us because the old mentality of sin consciousness, doubt, questionings, and the temptation to misuse the power and glory given to us in sonship is completely eradicated from our thought processes, desires, emotions, inclinations, and value system.

My heart sings a thousand hallelujahs, for now in our heavens is heard a loud voice proclaiming that now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ.  Oh, yes, a LOUD VOICE!  It is a powerful proclamation, an inward knowing beyond question or dispute.  And the voice of the dragon is not heard in our heaven anymore!  Your spiritual man, Christ in you, cannot hear the voice of the dragon.  Now he is heard only on earth, for he has been cast out into the earth.  He is heard only by the carnal mind of men who walk after the flesh.  But in heaven, whose voice?  The voice of the Son of GodHis is the loud voice, the powerful word proclaiming our triumph!

Once Satan is cast out of the heaven where our spiritual life reigns we see all things as they really are and there is no more condemnation.  Free at last!  Thank God Almighty, we’re free at last!  That is what evokes the proclamation, “NOW is come salvation!”  Someone says, “But I thought we already had salvation!”  We do, but the salvation mentioned as now impending refers not to salvation from the guilt of sin, but to salvation in the sense of deliverance and completion of God’s transforming work in us. Salvation means total and complete deliverance, health, wholeness, soundness, victory — incorruptible life!  Peter wrote about this full salvation“Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time(I Pet. 1:5).  The Amplified Bible says it so beautifully, “Who are being guarded by God’s power through your faith till you fully inherit that final salvation that is ready to be revealed for you in the last time.

Taken from… FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE by Preston Eby

To continue my thoughts on RE-membering and the stones being fitly framed together as He builds us into His holy habitation…

Father will not, and is not, leaving a single Stone unturned as He shines His divine light on the hidden things that hinder the work/flow/growth that He is desiring in us as individual Sons as well as in us as a corporate Body. He has chosen us and called us to co-labor with Him in this process in which we are to submit fully to Him, and to Him in one another, throughout this building/growth process.

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.”  (1Co 3:6-9)

“…but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” (Eph 4:15-16)

“…and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.” (Col 2:19)

We might try to run, but we cannot hide, as He searches us out and draws us into His glorious house construction project.

“Now no one after lighting a lamp covers it over with a container, or puts it under a bed; but he puts it on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see the light. “For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light. “So take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him.”  (Luk 8:16-18)

“Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes (enters, or manifests HIS judgment, of the situation) Who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise (or purifying fire {see the next passage}) will come to him from God.”  (1Cor 4:5)

“Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts. “But who can endure the day of His coming (appearing)? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. “He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness.” (Mal 3:1-3)

“You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You’re out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true–these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it. Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren (unfruitful) pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham that they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one (but Him Who sees all things) will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ. Wake up from your sleep, Climb out of your coffins; Christ will show you the light!” (Eph 5:8-14 – MSG)

And if we are truly honest with ourselves, with Him and with one another, when we get right down to the root of the matter (get real/radical), when we allow Him to peel back the veil and the masks we all wear, we will see and understand that what He is really exposing and wants to rid us of completely is simply, and nothing other than……  SELF.   Paul got to the place where we all must eventually come;  to the bold realization that he was nothing in and of himself, and Jesus said that “of yourself you can do nothing.”  He even declared that of HIMself He could say or do nothing (John 5:19. 5:30, 8:28).

Ahhhh, but we rebuttal to that and say (you are no doubt thinking in your head right now)…  “I know that! I certainly do, with Paul the Apostle, recognize the unworthiness of myself! I know I cannot do anything, nor should I do anything out of self!”   But, to know this intellectually, to have a doctrinal or scriptural understanding, to even have a divine revelation of this eternal principle is one thing, but to actually be DEAD to self is quite another!  Hence, the battle rages on until ALL His/our enemies become His/our footstool. The word and way of the cross must BE the way to the Tree of Life for me personally!

These are areas in my own life where I know I am still not completely dead to self;  when…

–        Something rises up in me that wants to “react” to what others say or do.

–        I need to be right or have the last word on a matter.

–        I get impatient with another person’s weakness or lack or I snap back in a snarky, “don’t you get it?” attitude.

–        I get frustrated, upset, anxious, worried, down or feel sorry for myself when things don’t go as I hoped or planned.

–        I want to retaliate when I am accused, falsely or otherwise, of something.

–        I murmur or complain when my outer man manifests its natural, normal weakness and decay.

–        I give way to soulish emotions or feelings that would want to dictate my thoughts or actions.

–        I speak, share or do something, or I share/do it in a manner that magnifies me, my gifts or “my ministry”.

–        I compare myself to others, either esteeming myself as higher, better, more intelligent or further along than others, OR… I see myself as less than others in any regard.

–        I want to enter into or persist in fruitless debate in an attempt to “teach” someone or convince them of something that I think they should understand.

These are only few areas of SELF that Father has found hidden under/within THIS stone and wants to deal with, in me. And, if He is dealing with these things in us as individuals, He is certainly dealing with them at a corporate level as well.  He is building, fashioning and forming all of us, His people, together, into His glorious temple of which Solomon’s temple was but a type and shadow.

In the four hundred eightieth year after the Israelites came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, which is the second month, he began to build the house of the LORD. (1Ki 6:1)

The house was built with stone finished at the quarry, so that neither hammer nor ax nor any tool of iron was heard in the temple while it was being built.  (1Ki 6:7)

Solomon overlaid the inside of the house with pure gold, then he drew chains of gold across, in front of the inner sanctuary, and overlaid it with gold. Next he overlaid the whole house with gold, in order that the whole house might be perfect; even the whole altar that belonged to the inner sanctuary he overlaid with gold.  (1Ki 6:21-22)

In the eleventh year, in the month of Bul, which is the eighth month, the house was finished in all its parts, and according to all its specifications. He was seven years in building it. (1Ki 6:38)

It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.  (1Ki 8:10-11)

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. (1Co 3:16-17)

As we continue to witness the increasing devastation, corruption and collapse in the world, the inevitable fruit of man’s fallen ways and self-oriented thinking, we realize again that nothing will truly begin to change until He completes the work in us, His glorious House in the earth!

This came from Chip Brogden this morning….

God’s Response to Spiritual Decline

“Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
1 JOHN 5:5

The Lord’s answer to a state of decline is to reveal Himself and His eternal purpose. Once the Lord has established for Himself a people that will represent His interests, then He will move immediately to secure, protect, establish, and strengthen the Remnant. Here is what I want us to see. When we align ourselves with God’s Thought (the Mind of Christ), with God’s Kingdom, and with God’s Will in Christ, we are invincible.

Source: The Irresistible Kingdom by Chip Brogden

IN CONCLUSION

God’s solution is to have for Himself a people who will BE Christ in/to the earth. He is forming, re-membering that people, His House even now as we speak. HE/YOU/I ARE THAT PEOPLE!  HWE ARE HIS HOUSE!  Our role is to simply submit ourselves to His working in us, as individuals and as a corporate Body.

For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. (Col 3:3-4)

And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1Pet 2:4-5)

Bring it on Lord! Finish the work that You have begun!

We submit ourselves to Your RE-Membering!


Insights from the Cave – Part 1

August 29, 2012

It was a glorious time of sharing last night in the cave and, as is so often the case, there was a wonderful flowing of Christ in and through His Body.

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” (John 7:38)

What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. (1Co 14:26)

The following is a recap, some of the references and articles that were shared last night for your consideration, meditation and pondering…

 

Wayne shared on WISDOM and THE HIDDEN SECRET

Proverbs 1  —  Purpose of the Book, Wisdom & Probabilities.

The Book of Proverbs has been a real source of wisdom for Wayne over the course of his experience and walk with the Lord, and many come to him for wisdom and counsel, from family and friends to peers and co-workers. Although a book and/or the scriptures, such as Proverbs can be a wonderful teacher and source of much truth and wisdom, the REALITY is that CHRIST has become unto us WISDOM and because we are IN Christ and Christ is IN us, HE becomes (is) our source and flow of Wisdom, both for ourselves and for others in our circle of influence.

For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.” (1 Cor 1:26-31)

He has become for us our wisdom and righteousness. That wisdom is founded on the mystery of Christ in you.

Eph 1  —  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery (secret) of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.  (Eph 1:7-10)

Wayne then reminded us of the “secret wisdom” the “mystery” of His will and that that secret wisdom has been hidden until this epoch of time is now clearly revealed. Christ reconciling ALL things in heaven and earth in Him. It’s the basis of our wisdom and the root of our fellowship and sharing. Thankfully it has now been made known to us who are now IN HIM and that THIS is the very heart and foundation of the Gospel that we preach.

The fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure of righteousness and wisdom.  The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high; He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness. And He will be the stability of your times, A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; The fear of the LORD is his treasure. (Isa 33:5-6)

And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. Then Moses said to Aaron, “It is what the LORD spoke, saying, ‘By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, And before all the people I will be honored.'” So Aaron, therefore, kept silent. (Lev 10:2-3)

Lev 10.3. Stipulates the posture of drawing near. Not a flippant drawing near, but of awe and humility and joy. His joy being the root of our strength.

…until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God(Act 1:2-3)

Wayne also brought out how that Jesus and His disciples spent the majority of their time together focusing on and sharing things concerning the kingdom of God. How important it is that that be OUR focus as well. And how much time do we spend, what priority to WE place on the Kingdom of God? He sited some personal examples in his own life of where this was not always the case.

 

Jeanne shared on The Joy of The Lord is Our Strength

She brought out the other side of this truth that places the emphasis on the fact the WE are HIS Joy and HIS delight and what makes HIM joyful is that we are strong and that we find our strength in Him. Yes, the The Joy of the Lord is OUR strength, but the glorious flip side is that our strength is HIS joy and delight.

She also confirmed Wayne’s thought that He is making us hyper-sensitive to His dealings, His leading and that we ought to approach the Lord’s throne with great reverence and awe and not in a flippant manner, or treat Him or His work in and through us with any measure of frivolity. It is an AWESOME thing He is doing!

 

 

Tim shared on RIVERS and MOUNTAINS

When camping in Jasper our site was right near the Athabasca river and early one morning I walked through the silent mist down to the river’s edge. I observed how the trillions of gallons of water flowed continuously and unabated, 24/7, year after year. So MUCH ABUNDANCE of water when there are countries in the world that have none. I pondered and considered…  “Where does all this water come from? What do rivers represent in the scriptures?”

Of course the source of these mighty waters are all the various creeks and tributaries pouring down from the glacial ice WAY UP on the peaks of THE MOUNTAINS.

The Lord dropped the following verse into my spirit…

 

Psa 46:4     There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, The holy dwelling places of the Most High.

The City of God is the Heavenly Jerusalem and speaks of all peoples everywhere who proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and have Him dwelling within. But there is a MountZion and a River WITHIN that city that makes the many residents of that glorious city glad. If HWe are to be a part of that flowing river, doing our part to contribute to that flowing river that ministers life and blessing, first to the City of God and then beyond that to the nations, WE MUST BE EVER ASCENDING TO THE HEIGHTS AND DRINKING FROM THE SOURCE!

 

John 7:38   He who believes in (wholley depends and relies upon) Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.

Gen 2:10     Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers.

Rev 22:1-2   Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Ezek 47:1-9   Then he brought me back to the door of the house; and behold, water was flowing from under the threshold of The Temple toward the east, for the house faced east. And the water was flowing down from under, from the right side of the house, from south of the altar. He brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate by way of the gate that faces east. And behold, water was trickling from the south side. When the man went out toward the east with a line in his hand, he measured a thousand cubits, and he led me through the water, water reaching the ankles. Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water reaching the knees. Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water reaching the loins. Again he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not ford, for the water had risen, enough water to swim in, a river that could not be forded. He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this?” Then he brought me back to the bank of the river. Now when I had returned, behold, on the bank of the river there were very many trees on the one side and on the other. Then he said to me, “These waters go out toward the eastern region and go down into the Arabah; then they go toward the sea, being made to flow into the sea, and the waters of the sea become fresh. “It will come about that every living creature which swarms in every place where the river goes, will live. And there will be very many fish, for these waters go there and the others become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.

 

 

We sang…

 

THERE IS A RIVER WHOSE STREAMS MAKE GLAD

Psalm 46:4-7

 

We are a river, whose streams make glad,

The City of God, the City of God.

A holy habitation of the Most High,

The City of God, the City of God.

God is in the midst of us, we will not be moved,

Our Lord God of Hosts with us,

We are a river, whose streams make glad,

The City of God, the City of God.

 

 

THERE IS A RIVER

There is a river, and it flows from deep within
There is a fountain, that frees the soul from sin
Come to this water; there is a vast supply
There is a river, that never shall run dry

  

 

MOUNTAIN CLIMBING

That same day that I was down by the river some of us ventured up the 4.5 kilometer hike beneath the tram on Whistler mountain in Jasper. For a guy who spends the vast majority of my time seated in front of a computer, this proved to be quite a feat in and of itself.

As we climbed higher and higher, for a challenging 3.5 hours, a number of things became clearer to me regarding our ascent up the Mount of The Lord…

 

         Many glorious and significant things occurred on mountains throughout history including divine appointments between God and man. God has revealed Himself and His purposes upon mountains. Abraham, Moses, Israel, Joshua, David, Elijah and Elisha, as well as Jesus and/with/to His disciples.

Gen 22:2     He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.”

Exo 3:1-2     Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God(2)  The angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.

Exo 19:2     When they set out from Rephidim, they came to the wilderness of Sinai and camped in the wilderness; and there Israel camped in front of the mountain.

Exo 19:11      and let them be ready for the third day, for on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.

Neh 9:13     Then You came down on Mount Sinai, And spoke with them from heaven; You gave them just ordinances and true laws, Good statutes and commandments.

1Ki 11:7     Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon.

 

         Mountains in the scripture always speak of kingdoms, authorities, worldly rulers and mindsets, idols, high places, lofty thoughts, etc. – strong, apparently impossible to shake or move obstacles or forces in our life and in society. As many mountains as there are in the world, ultimately there is ONEMountain which God has chosen to make His dwelling place —  MountZion, the Mountain of The Lord. God spoke and revealed Himself from Mount Sinai in the old testament, but has replaced that fiery and fearsome mountain with MountZion —  a people called to BE His habitation.

Exo 19:12     You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, ‘Beware that you do not go up on the mountain or touch the border of it; whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death.

Heb 12:18-24   For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them. For they could not bear the command, “IF EVEN A BEAST TOUCHES THE MOUNTAIN, IT WILL BE STONED.” And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I AM FULL OF FEAR and trembling.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.

 

         It is God’s plan and purpose for all these mountains to be brought low, to melt like wax, and for HIS Mountain to fill the whole earth.


Psa 97:5    The
mountains melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.

Mic 1:4     The mountains will melt under Him And the valleys will be split, like wax before the fire, like water poured down a steep place.

Nah 1:5     Mountains quake because of Him And the hills dissolve; Indeed the earth is upheaved by His presence, The world and all the inhabitants in it.

Dan 2:35    Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

 

         The FIRST place that this must and will occur is WITHIN us, His own as we embrace the process of ascending into His holy presence, to see His glory and be transformed into His very image, nature and likeness. To have the character of Christ formed in us.


Who can ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood And has not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive a blessing from the LORD And righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face. (Psa 24:3-6)

 

ZION, CITY OF OUR GOD

 

Glorious things of You are spoken,

Zion, city of our God.

He whose Word cannot be broken

Formed us for His own abode.

On the rock of ages founded,

What can shake our sure repose?

With salvation’s walls surrounded.

We may smile at our foes

 

See the streams of living waters

Flowing from the throne above

Well supply Your sons and daughters

And all fear of want remove.

Who can faint while such a river

Ever flows their thirst to assuage?

Grace, which like the Lord, our giver,

Never fails from age to age.

 

         Even though I didn’t have the best sleep the night before I was desirous to make the climb. Of course, only a short way up that hiking trail I was wishing I had taken the tram up. When we meet the Lord and hear His calling we are anxious and zealous to follow Him because we are convinced we will have what it takes to follow on. We soon discover that the trials and tribulations can become overwhelming and we must learn to wholly lean on and rely upon His grace to carry us onward.

         At one point my two nephews, Jonathan and Davin, took another path thinking it would lead them to a beauituful water fall. They discovered that it was only a bunny trail leading nowhere. Again the Lord made real to me that we often get distracted and follow some diversion in our walk with the Lord. He is constantly reminding us to keep our eye single to Him and upon His purpose and to not get pulled away from the course by every wind of doctrine or so-called “move” of God.

         We did eventually find that beautiful pure creek flowing down through the trees and filled our water bottles with fresh, cold water. This refreshing moment speaks again of each one being faithful to allow Christ to flow through us to minister His Life and Word to others, and to contribute to that greater river that flows through the valley and makes glad the City of God.

         As we finally approached the top of the mountain, we arrived at the tree line where the well-beaten path came to an end. It was obviously where many climbers, weary of the trek, decided to go no further at this level only to turn around and head back down. The path basically disappeared at that point, the climb became much more steep and rugged through large rocks and crags. The temperature dropped dramatically as there were only very small shrubs in place of the large trees that shaded our climb to that point. Everything became more difficult and challenging and we found we had to stop and rest and catch our breath much more often. However, we could now see our goal more readily and although the wind and the rain came, we found that the wind helped push us along. I was completely drained of my OWN strength and upon reaching the summit, passed out (slept) in the restaurant after having a bite to eat.

         When we arrived at the top the view is, of course, spectacular! You can see the entire valley and several mountain ranges all around. It was well worth the ascent to get that deeper, broader and transforming revelation. Beyond that, the Lord graced us with a beautiful, FULL double rainbow just meters from us. We could readily see the one end of it just down the mountain a little ways. INCREDIBLE!

 

         Although there are many lessons and insights that can be gleaned from climbing a mountain, one of the most sobering is that it is very easy to settle at any given plateau and not want to go higher. God is gracious to place us at times on these plateaus, but so many get comfortable at that level, satisfied with the view and the measure of revelation until soon tents get built…  buildings, structure, steeples, revival centers, bible colleges and denominations are established. Unless we are lovers of The Truth and follow hard after Him, God often sends a strong delusion and only a precious few, a remnant at every level, hear the call and the Word to “Let go of the lower realms, to press on, to come up higher!”


THE LOVE OF THE TRUTH


“Because they received not the love of truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” (2 Thess. 2:10-11)

Two ways are set before us here: receiving the love of the truth to work into us into salvation; or, receiving a strong delusion, literally, an inworking delusion, so that we believe a lie.  Interestingly enough, God sends them both.  He brings forth vessels of mercy, and vessels of wrath.

Those who refuse, who receive not the love of the truth, in turn will receive an inworking error, and then have to pass through a judgment to be purged of that error.  This is learning the lesson the hard way, having to go through a process of correctional chastening, until they learn that it is far better to receive the love of the truth.  Yet God retains sovereign control over this entire process. “I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them, because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before Mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.” (Isa. 66:4).  God knows exactly which inworking delusion will subdue and teach that it is an evil and bitter thing to forsake the way of the Lord.

There is a love to be received along with the truth, for knowledge alone will not hold you.  When the vision tarries you soon become entangled in all sorts of strange diversions, and a prey for those spoken of in Daniel 11:14, “the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision – as if they were able to fulfill it, but they shall fail.”

Those who do not have a love for the truth will exalt themselves and set about to establish their vision –– as if they were able to fulfill it, but they shall fail.

When you have a LOVE FOR THE TRUTH you will desire to see only the will of the Lord fulfilled, and not want to see any of your self-efforts, your own wants, wishes, and desires after the flesh fulfilled.  You will wait on the fulfillment of the will of the Lord, with an eye single to God, knowing He will fulfill His Word. “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” (Ps. 119:165).  

THE WISE SHALL UNDERSTAND

“Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” (Daniel 12:10)

There are times when one needs the infusion of revelation to give courage and strength to follow on.  But this also must needs be balanced with real understanding of the qualifying processing’s.  As our priorities come into proper focus, we realize there is a cause, a REASON for this daily travail which has been given to the sons of men for their exercising. “And being made perfect, He became the Author of age-during salvation.” (Heb. 5:9).  “BEING MADE PERFECT,” this is the qualifying phrase, it includes every aspect of our trials and testings.  Not some pointless happenings, but all is wrought according to the counsel of His will, with a view of our being made perfect, that we might share with Him the ministry of reconciliation.

Certainly the more we comprehend that the things which overtake us are OF GOD, purposed by Him, with wise design to achieve certain goals, then we are able to “count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; KNOWING THIS, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:2-4). The purpose for all this – for our perfection.  Then James adds the next verse which harmonizes with this verse from Daniel, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of god, that giveth to all liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

Yes,
“the wise shall understand.”  Not praying for escapes out of the processing, but knowing He has a purpose in it all, we would bring our mind into harmony with His thoughts in the situation, (COME INTO A STATE OF BEING THAT IS IN AGREEMENT WITH GOD AND WITH ALL THAT HE DOES!)

But the wicked cannot understand these things, for “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:14).  Lord, we ask, Be Thou our wisdom today, that we might see Thy purpose as Thou dost direct our way. Amen!

 

Janine sang 2 songs the Lord gave her over the summer

Isa. 43:18

Consider not the things of old,

He’ll do a new thing now BEHOLD,

It will spring forth… will you not know it?

He’ll even make a new road in the wilderness,

And rivers in the desert will flow.

That’s you and me; it’s He in Hwe…

Rivers in the desert will flow.

 

 

A Song on TRUTH

Truth is found in Jesus
And freedom’s found in Truth,
I’d rather stand for Truth and die
Than live a life that’s just a lie.
I’ll look the giant in the eye
But I won’t compromise.

My feet are sore from standing
My ground…
But there’s no place else that I’ll be found.
I just don’t need what’s just half-baked
Or watered down for comforts sake,
The Truth is often hard to take,
But I will not back down.

 

Jon Shared…

I heard a message on the radio by Charles Stanley in which he brought out the truth that because and as God is writing His laws on our hearts and minds, what were do’s and don’ts under the old covenant…   “Thou SHALL…   Thou SHALL not”  becomes PROMISES under the new covenant. When, and as, He has completed His works in us…  “you WILL and you WILL not!” in His power and by His inwrought grace.

 

Eileen shared…

In the Tate Modern gallery, an artist had an installation (sculpture or art piece) that at first, made me roll my eyes.  It was a baby crib that had some of the side bars removed and the top filled in.  When I read the description posted beside it, it said, “You cannot go back to what is past”.  I heard that in the Spirit, and when we got back to Joelle’s flat, I read C Brogden’s daily email, it said, “God is not moving backward, but in the Son and through the Son, He moves steadily forward.” 

On my birthday, the email was “ The easiest thing to do is to quit, to give up, to go back to Egypt. But I’m telling you, get to the place where going back is no longer an option – then going back is no longer a temptation.”

 

Rob shared…

At work this past week we had a client make a big mistake and ordered a whole bunch of parts and items in sets of 11. A number of other “elevens” have been in my face. I sense the Lord saying that “it is the 11th hour in My time table particularly in My dealings with North America.”

 

Reg shared the attached message    –     Keys, HWe, Shadows & The Son

 


Marriage, Mountain Climbing & The Olympic Games

August 24, 2012

The following is what I shared at the wedding reception of our eldest son, Brian, who was married to Lindsay, his best friend of eight-and-a-half years on August 11th.

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Like many, if not most of you, we watched the coverage of the 2012 Olympic games. We watched enthusiastically as athletes passionately pursued their Olympic dreams and along with them sensed both their deep joy, excitement and national pride whenever they stepped onto the podium representing their country. We also witnessed their heart-breaking pain and frustration whenever they fell short, sometimes within a mere fraction of a second, or a single point, behind their fiercest competitors.

Married on August 11, 2012 at the Winspear Centre, EdmontonBrian and Lindsay have both been involved in sports over the years, but as far as I know neither have expressed that they have Olympic goals in mind. However, they have experienced the pursuit of worthy goals and have achieved much as individuals as well as in a team environment. As Deanna aptly shared, their own relationship thus far, and their wedding today, is a testimony to their pursuit of the most worthy of goals!

When on our holidays a couple of weeks ago, some of us ventured up the 4.5 kilometer hike beneath the tram on Whistler mountain in Jasper. For a guy who spends the vast majority of my time seated in front of a computer, this proved to be quite a feat in and of itself. As most of you are aware, Brian has gone on many hikes (or more accurately referred to as “Scrambles”) up many of the tallest mountains in the Canadian Rockies. Although I’ve not gone with him on these more engaging adventures, as a family we took our kids on many hikes and camping trips, and so I believe I can take at least some credit for his passion for finding these out-of-the-way, very steep and often challenging hikes.

Today, with the support and blessing of family and friends, they are launching into a whole new adventure that is not to dissimilar to these other sports and athletic pursuits.

So, what do mountain climbing, and pursuing an Olympic medal, have in common with marriage?

Well, all three take a measure of boldness, backbone and bravery, and all three require that one is certain about taking “that first step”, to “get on the track”, or to “take their wedding vows”. All three of these noble pursuits take courage, confidence, consecration and at times focused concentration! With perhaps the exception of mountain climbing, there is always an audience looking on, supporting, applauding, empathizing and sometimes even criticizing our methods, our efforts, our successes and our failures.

A mountain climber, an Olympic athlete and a marriage partner will never succeed in their pursuit of obtaining the prize without tremendous dedication, devotion and determination, and must have a great degree of drive if they are to fulfill what becomes clearer and clearer to them with every milestone — their destiny.

They will inevitably encounter many obstacles in their path and will need to learn how to dig deep to find the energy to face and overcome these hurdles and endure the hardships. In so doing they will gain invaluable experience which will serve them well as they climb ever higher up the ladder toward success.

Like these noble athletic pursuits marriage is not for the faint-of-heart! Brian and Lindsay must face their fears head on and, together, overcome them with fealty, fortitude, faith, and faithfulness, never giving into faintheartedness, or fear, but fight to meet all obstacles with grit, guts and gratitude, knowing that they have what it takes to get the gold!

Anyone who summits a mountain, or wins an Olympic metal, runs the race with a strong sense of purpose, detailed preparation and must have patience, perseverance and persistence! They must resign themselves with unwavering resoluteness and resolve to find the Spirit, the spine and the single-mindedness to stay the course. Without tenacity and the very best tools, success will inevitably be tenuous at best. At times, when all these noble attributes seem to allude us, often all that remains is sheer willpower to simply remain loyal to our initial decision and to stand by our vows.

There are certainly many ways in which marriage can be likened to mountain climbing or pursuing an Olympic medal. But there are also a few ways that they differ as well…

Firstly, depending on the mountain, one can achieve the summit within a few years, a few months, a day or even within a few hours. The Olympics come around every four years and it is not at all uncommon for an athlete to obtain medal standing within a single four-year preparation period. Unlike these comparably short-term goals, a lasting marriage in which a husband and wife become fully and completely of ONE spirit, mind and body, is most definitely a LIFE-LONG pursuit. Brian and Lindsay, today is truly the first step on a journey that will take the rest of your lives to engage in, fully realize and thoroughly enjoy!

Secondly, where the first two athletic pursuits are often an individual journey, marriage absolutely takes a team of two, walking together in agreement, constantly and consistently pulling in the same direction. Can two walk together, except they be agreed? (Amos 3:3)

And lastly, for two individuals to truly become one, they need character attributes that are often sadly missing in world-class athletes and the most accomplished mountain climbers. These attributes can only be sourced in the God Who created us and Who instituted marriage in the first place. Unconditional Love, faith, trust, grace, mercy, humility, kindness, generosity, mutual surrender, obedience and self-sacrifice are absolute requirements of an intimate, deep and life-long marital union. These are essential and need to be ardently sought after, received and nurtured in both partners, not only to strengthen and ensure the success and strength of your own relationship, but to model and impart to your children when, and as, you (hopefully) raise your own family.

Herb Elliot, one of the world’s greatest middle distance runners, said the following about the Olympic games…

It’s the inspiration of the Olympic Games that drives people not only to compete, but to improve, and to bring lasting spiritual and moral benefit to the athletes, and inspiration to those lucky enough to witness their unwavering dedication.  Herb Elliott

Regarding marriage I offer the following revision to Herb’s quote…

It’s the inspiration of a solid and lasting marriage that encourages our young people to not simply “tie the knot”, but to truly become ONE, bringing lasting spiritual and moral fabric to each other, to their families and to society as a whole! A life-long union is truly an inspiration to those blessed enough to witness such unwavering dedication to God and to one another!

Brian and Lindsay, welcome to the hike, encourage each other in the pursuit, and remain forever committed to this life-long journey, knowing that we are standing with you support you, to pray with and for you, to encourage you, to mentor you and to applaud your success.

May you be forever blessed!


Build It Right The First Time

August 24, 2012

Last January the younger of our two sons, Justin, was married to his best friend, Sarah. I was invited to share something during the wedding ceremony. The following is what I sensed Father would have me share.

The next post is what I sensed to share at our elder son’s wedding just a few weeks ago. Brian was married to his best friend of 8 and a half years, Lindsay in what was also a wonderful wedding day.

I trust you will be blessed and encouraged by both writings…

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As I pondered what I would share on Justin and Sarah’s special day, I received inspiration when I heard Mike Holmes the other day on the radio being interviewed by Charles Adler. They were talking about quick and cheap building materials and practices to get new home costs down and get them built in a hurry. Unfortunately, many home manufacturers cut corners and what the new home buyers save in cost of manufacturing, they shell out in repairs and redo’s. Justin works in construction and is training to be a journeyman carpenter, so I trust he’s gaining a solid grasp on how to BUILD IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME!

Proverbs 24:3 says…

By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established.

1 Corinthians 3 says the following…

For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, OR with wood, hay, and straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

Jesus said… “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  (Mat 7:21)

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.  However, “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell–and great was its fall.”  (Mat 7:24-27)

It is abundantly apparent, to all who have an ear to hear, that God places GREAT importance on proper building procedures, and our lives must be build to HIS code! It is also clear that believers are as living stones being built together by the Spirit into a holy habitation. God is building his people into a temple in which He, Himself, comes to dwell and take up His residence.

Justin and Sarah, you are about to embark on the greatest and most important building project of your entire lives!

I am confident that what I am about to share, I am speaking on behalf of Sarah’s parents, Don and Pat, as well as all of you willing to stand with them, and therefore take this opportunity to encourage you both to build your marriage relationship using only the very best materials and sound building practices according to HIS design and according to HIS code. I urge you to exercise due diligence and don’t skimp or cut corners, and be sure you have the very Best architect and builder in the entire universe.

His recommendation is that you start with a solid foundation, the only one that will stand up to any shaking that may come…  build on the Rock, which is Jesus Christ, and allow Him to be the corner stone. He is the only firm foundation upon which to build, and the only standard according to which everything else should be aligned.

Upon that sure foundation, lay your floor joists of Trust, Faith, and a solid, eternal Commitment to Him and to one another. Everything else in your relationship, in your family and in your home will securely rest on these foundational principles.

Next comes the uprights, the exterior wall studs. Go out and buy only the very best in tested, tried and true building materials of Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all three of these Godly attributes. David of old knew all about building a kingdom with these principles and gives instruction to his son, Solomon, perhaps the wisest man who ever lived.

Hear, my son, and accept my sayings And the years of your life will be many. I have directed you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in upright paths.

Acquire wisdom; And with all your acquiring, get understanding. “Prize her, and she will exalt you; She will honor you if you embrace her. (Prov 4:7-13)

How blessed is the man who finds wisdom And the man who gains understanding. For her profit is better than the profit of silver and her gain better than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast. The LORD by wisdom founded the earth, By understanding He established the heavens. By His knowledge the deeps were broken up and the skies drip with dew. My son, let them not vanish from your sight; Keep sound wisdom and discretion, so they will be life to your soul and adornment to your neck. Then you will walk in your way securely and your foot will not stumble. (Prov 3:13-23)

With the major exterior walls complete it’s time to put the siding on, which will protect your marriage from the onslaught of storms and the elements. Truth is your only real defense against the tactics of the enemy who will come to try to tear down and destroy what you have diligently constructed. And to insulate your relationship from the cold that can creep through the cracks, Honor each other daily with simple, but thoughtful Acts of Kindness, Gentleness, Respect, Giving and Forgiving, Listening, plenty of Patience, and always remember to be Thankful.

The interior walls should be well mapped out so as to provide privacy and create various environments where you can have times alone with God, with family and friends and to explore your own individual giftings, talents and interests.

Doors of opportunity to bless each other, and those around you, will continue to come your way as you exercise Self-Discipline, Sensitivity to The Spirit’s leading, and diligent Obedience to God’s Word. Confidently and boldly walk through these doors that He opens up for you, Trusting Him to establish your thoughts and guide your steps.

As you enter into and remain in fellowship with others, and receive the ministry of the Lord through them, windows will open up that will expand your vision into the ways of God and His kingdom. Place these windows carefully giving you His View of the world around you, and make sure they open easily to allow the Spirit wind to blow through your lives. Keep your windows clean and clear of obstruction allowing the Son to shine in.

Nobody likes to get cold feet, so what you choose as a floor covering is very important also so your talk and walk are always one and the same. As you know your walk is as important, or more-so, than your talk in order to have an effective Testimony to others of Who it is that is your Master designer and The One who Dwells within.

The only roof that is worth having, and is your covering, is none other than the Revelation of Jesus Christ and the Righteousness that is yours because of Faith in Him. No other covering will give you the Joy and Peace that is vital to a healthy relationship and which will provide the Rest you need to be Strengthened on this journey toward becoming just like Him.

Decorate the interior with tender-loving care and adorn your walls with those items which are not just pleasing to the senses, but which Glorify Him and testify of His Goodness and Faithfulness to you. Let every decorative choice be, not only functional and provide comfort, but will be a blessing to all those who are in proximity. These include Hospitality, Humility, Tolerance, Tenderness, Mercy and Compassion.

Above all else, the glue, screws, nails and mortar that holds it all together, for all time, is Unconditional Love. It is that Love that Submits and Surrenders your will and your way to God in each other. Let His Love be the sole motivation for everything you say and do and let His Love and His Peace arbitrate every decision you make. With God’s Love as the glue and mortar, these elements will never fail to hold it all together, but they simply get stronger with time and use.

Now any building needs upkeep and maintenance or with time mold and mildew, rust and decay set in. If you are not diligent to keep out the mice, roaches and other deadly critters and negative conditions such as selfishness, unforgiveness, bitterness, pride, etc. you end up having to rebuilt, …sometimes right to the very foundation.

Justin and Sarah, Deanna and I have been so blessed by the changes that God is performing in you both and it is with great excitement and enthusiasm that we welcome Sarah into our family. We bless this union and are confident that God is the Maker and Builder of your marriage relationship! As long is HE is your Chief Architect, Materials Manufacturer and Master Builder, the most important building project of your lives is guaranteed to stand up to the test of time and the worst storms that will inevitably come your way. Your investment is sure to be sound and will only increase in value.

In conclusion I want to return to David’s wise counsel in Proverbs chapter 3…

My son, do not forget my teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments; For length of days and years of life, and peace, they will add to you. Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the table of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones. Honor the LORD from your wealth and from the first of all your produce; So your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine. My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD or despise His reproof, For who the LORD loves He disciplines, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.

The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked, But He blesses the dwelling place of the righteous. (Prov 3:1-33)

At the end of the day, it’s far more costly to rebuild, than to

…BUILD IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME!