Knowing One Another After the Spirit in Us

For the love of Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they who live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto him who died for them, and rose again. Therefore from now on know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet from now on know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2Co 5:14-17 KJ2000)

Do we seek to know one another after the Spirit? The apostles and many in Israel knew Jesus after the flesh. They saw this man from Galilee walk among them, do miracles among them, heal many of them. He taught them and even fed them food when they were hungry. But did they know Him after the Spirit of God within Him? Most did not. When Jesus asked the disciples who men said that He was they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say Elijah, and others say one of the prophets.” They only knew him after the flesh, but Peter was given revelation of something more. Jesus asked them again, “Who do YOU say that I am?” To this Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Peter in that moment was given revelation by the Father as to the spiritual nature of Christ and would eventually know Him after the Spirit and not just after the flesh.

Two disciples were walking along the road to Emaus after Jesus died on the cross and this man came along and walked and conversed with them. The only knew that Man after the flesh, even though He opened the scriptures to them and showed them that Christ must suffer many things and die and rise again. It was not until He took some bread and broke it and gave it to them that their eyes were open to see Him “after the Spirit.”

Paul was not one of the disciples and it is not know if Paul ever saw Jesus in person before He died on the cross, but that would all change one day when he had an encounter with the living, resurrected Christ on the road to Damascus where he was heading to persecute the members of Christ’s body. He was so shocked by the vision of this Being that He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” To this Jesus answered, “ I am Jesus whom you persecute…” OOPS! Imagine what was going through Paul’s head right then! The people who believed in Jesus who Paul hated WERE Jesus, this all powerful Person who just knocked him down and blinded him! Members of HIS body were suffering and dying at the hands of Saul the Pharisee who later became Paul the apostle. Back to the drawing board! All stop! His self-righteous Pharisee days were over and he became a member of the body of Christ that went forth to give life and nurture it in every way he could.

Oh, that we who are called Christians today would first know Jesus after the Spirit and then start to know one another after that same Spirit that abides in Him and one another. How differently we would treat each other. How we would prefer one another in the love of God. How we would honor one another and honor the gift of the Spirit that abides in each of us. How we would nurture each member as Christ loves His church and gave His life for each person in it. Paul exhorted the church saying, “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor [in honor preferring one another]. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord” (Rom 12:9-11 RSVA). Do we prefer one another over ourselves? Do we prefer Christ in one another over our selfish estimate of who we are and the love we have for “our own ministry”? Do we try to outdo one another in showing His love for each member of the body?

When was the last time you asked Jesus to show you how HE see that brother or sister you fellowship with, especially the difficult ones that just seem to rub us the wrong way? Can you see that gift He has placed in them and nurture it and encourage them to function in the gift? Do you see the treasure that God has put in them for the benefit of the whole body and not just “your ministry”? Do you see each member of Christ’s body as a jewel in the crown of God?

Then they that feared the LORD spoke often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spares his own son that serves him. Then shall you return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serves God and him that serves him not. (Mal 3:16-18 KJ2000)

Or worse yet, are we persecuting Jesus in the way we treat members of His body? I hold that if we have no fear of God, we will also not have any fear of damaging or doing harm to the bride of Christ. Remember, the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Let us be wise in the way we treat one another and “outdo one another in showing honor,” preferring one another over ourselves.

Let us mine the depths of the riches of Christ in one another, dear saints. The church of Laodicea is seen by Jesus as poor, miserable, blind and naked. The church is sick today because we do not rightly discern the body of Christ. It might be well if we would often ask when confronted with another member of Christ’s body what Paul asked that blinding day on the Damascus road, “Who are you, Lord?”

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The LORD Is My Shepherd!

So often in churches and among so-called, “Christian ministries” we see the wrong example of men appealing to other men for their support and help. Yet, the scriptures make it very plain that we are to, “Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving LET YOUR REQUESTS BE MADE KNOWN UNTO GOD. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phi 4:6-7 KJ2000). I think we rob ourselves of that deep inner peace and rest that should be ours in every situation because we have the habit of looking to the wrong place for our help. After seeing Him supply all our needs and experience Him doing so in such miraculous ways our faith, hope and rest grows until we are complete in Him.

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved, he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore. (Psa 121:1-8 RSVA)

I think in the days ahead as this world economy continues to collapses, God will give us many opportunities to prove to ourselves that Jesus is our Good Shepherd who watches over us and neither slumbers nor sleeps. Amen. Come Lord Jesus.

Unto Us a Son is Given… Many Sons

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them has the light shined… For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
(Isa 9:2-7 KJ2000)

In the early ’80’s I went through a very dark time in my life, filled with heavy depression and no hope. One day as my wife, Dorothy, was praying for me she heard the Lord say, “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them has the light shined.” It did not happen right away, but it DID happen. In a moment of time after 14 years of being cut off from God and in spiritual darkness, as far as my five senses were concerned… in one glorious moment His light came shining in even while I was yet dwelling in the land of the shadow of death! All depression lifted as His light came flooding in. He was back! Though I can look back and see that I was only under the shadow of His wings all those years and He was still there teaching me in a subliminal way so that my flesh would not get puffed up about it.

Since then this Child that was born, this Son that was given has carried me and been my government, my Wonderful Counselor, my Mighty God, my Everlasting Father, and my Prince of Peace. Where once I looked to men for church government, for Christian counselling, to be mighty in the things of God for me, to be my mentoring fathers, to be my peace makers when church disputes occurred… now I have found that Jesus Christ is my All in all and it is in THIS place, with THIS heart where the increase of HIS government knows no end… “to order it, and to establish it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will [is and has] perform this.”

Least you or I think that I am something special…

For it befitted him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare your name unto my brethren, in the midst of the congregation will I sing praise unto you. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children whom God has given me. (Heb 2:10-13 KJ2000)

Yes, God is making us ALL His sons as we release the control over our lives unto Him and make Jesus our All in all. Amen Lord Jesus, come and quicken us with YOUR Life.

Two Declarations from the “Bully Pulpit”

Teddy Roosevelt called the presidential podium a “bully pulpit.” Tonight (12/16/2012) we heard President Obama appeal to the country for it to do something to stop these mass murders that have been happening around America… four in this year alone. This latest massacre of children in Newtown, Connecticut was horrendous, but I hold that  the answer to this problem is not more laws, which seemed to be what he alluded to and will be putting forth in the days ahead. He quoted scripture from the New Testament all through his speech, but fell short of calling for the only answer that will ever make a difference, a nationwide repentance before God and a heart change that God desires to give us all if we will just “humble ourselves, and pray, and seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways.” The law never has had power to change anyone’s heart, but according to Paul it only gives power to more sin (see Romans 7:9-11). Only surrendering to Jesus Christ and seeking His new heart within can change us for this is the very essence of the New Covenant (see Hebrews ch. 8).

Connecticut has the fifth strongest gun laws in the nation and these laws did not prevent this mass killing. Already some are calling for a tough and comprehensive Federal gun control to stop wrong doers from just going across state lines to purchase their weapons in states with weaker laws. Guns, like drugs, are not stopped at borders or by laws. If the US adopts laws even as strong as those in Canada, gun runners, as it is with drug runners, will start a new “land office” business across our porous borders and will have a whole new way to become rich in a new black market. Remember, prohibition only made drinking all that more vogue in the 20’s and 30’s and made the criminals rich.

Contrast Obama’s speech tonight with that of Abe Lincoln at the end of the Civil War (for that is what we are seeing already in this county on our streets as evil spirits pour forth from hell and inhabit the unrepentant and the weak)…

“It is the duty of nations…to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins…with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy…The awful calamity of civil war… may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins.”  Lincoln continued: “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven…We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.  But we have forgotten God.  We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.” Lincoln concluded: “Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! “It behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins and to pray for…forgiveness.” ~ During the Civil War, after issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, President Lincoln called for a “National Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer for March 30, 1863,

Compare this part of Lincoln’s speech…

We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.”

With what Jesus said to the church of Laodicea…

“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things says the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would that you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked…” (Rev 3:14-17 KJ2000)

And what did Jesus say was the remedy to this myopic narcissistic problem in the church?

I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire [trials and tribulation], that you may be rich; and white clothing, that you may be clothed [in His righteousness], and that the shame of your nakedness does not appear; and anoint your eyes with eye salve [the Holy Spirit within our hearts], that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Rev 3:18-19 KJ2000)

We are experiencing as a nation the chastening of the Lord as Satan is allowed to run havoc in our borders because of our great apostasy as His church (See 2 Thes. ch. 2). The question is will we repent? For even His “church” sees itself for the most part as doing just fine as we go from one church program to another with no thought of listening to the voice of God to see what HE wants us to do or asking Him how HE sees us. The salt has lost its flavor and it is now being trodden under the feet of carnal men. WE, the opulent, self-presuming church, are the ones who are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.”

Lord grant to your people a true spirit of repentance. Arise, Oh Lord, in our hearts as the Day Star that you are and shine into our hearts and first change us as your church and secondly as a nation as we truly return to you as our Lord and Savior as our only sufficiency. If necessary strip us of our wealth that we trust in just as you are stripping us of our peace and are stripping us of freedom. For the only true freedom we can have is found as we walk in obedience to what the Spirit IS saying to the churches. Amen.

“Five-fold Ministry” or Dead Kings?

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“Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” (1Co 3:21-23 KJ2000)

As we read chapter three and four of Ephesians we see a reoccurring theme: “each, every, all, etc.” and they all refer to the functioning of Christ in His body. But when we get to vs. 4:11 we read “some.” This is a tip-off… somebody cooked the Book! The word in the Greek for “some” here is “ho.” It is the definite article. Now try reading that verse this way, “And he gave THE, apostles; and THE, prophets; and THE, evangelists; and THE, pastors and teachers;”

 Here is another place the definite article “ho” is found, “In the beginning was THE Word, and THE Word was with God and THE Word was THE God.” You see, it is THE WORD who is THE Apostle, THE prophet, THE Evangelist, THE Pastor and THE Teacher. It is not about us, but rather it is ALL about Him. These enablings or graces are all HIM and as we “live and move and have our beings IN Him” and not in ourselves and we will find them working BY Him in each (ALL) of us. God is NOT a respecter of persons. It is time we start living IN Him outside of the box (read “steeple house”) mentality and find Christ as our total sufficiency and KNOW that we should seek to live in the fullness of Christ. The verse before Ephesians 4:11 says, “He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things” (Eph 4:10 KJ2000 – emphasis added), not just “some.”

Notice this Eph 4:11 in the English Standard version. They seem to have got it, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,” (Eph 4:11 ESV). These five nouns can be translated either singular or plural and more often than not most of them were used in the singular. So, with this in mind it could and should read, “And He gave the Apostle, the Prophet, the Evangelist, the Pastor and Teacher…” Jesus is THE Apostle (See Heb. 3:1). He is THAT Prophet (See Acts 3:22-23). He is THE Evangelist (euaggelistēs), the one who brought good news (euaggelizō) from the Father to us all. He is THE Teacher (See Matt. 23:10). and He is THE Pastor, The Shepherd of our souls (See 1 Pet. 2:24-25). In short HE is our All in all. Christ is our sufficiency in all things (2 Cor. 3:5). We in our old adamic natures are quick to put a man where only Jesus belongs and would do well to read 1 Cor. ch. 3 again with this in mind.

Once He showed me the definite article in this Ephesians chapter four  passage it all became so clear. Christ is ALL in ALL, not just in some. He manifests different parts of that ALL that is Him at different times in each of us. Paul was not a lone spiritual freak who could say, “I can do all things through Christ who is my strength.” or “For me to live IS Christ and to die is gain.” This is our inheritance as we live IN Christ!

I just got back from a trip to Phoenix, AZ with George Davis. It was evident that God was sending us down there by the way the saints were moved on by Him to finance the whole trip, our lodging, food and everything and it all happened without us ever even suggesting it or asking for a dime from anyone. George Muler once said that when God conceives a work He also is its source of supply. Now that we are back and have seen the spiritual fruit of that “sending out,” “apostolos” (envoy or sent one) event, we know that it is Christ who was the Apostle in us for that brief season. Tomorrow, He might be another part of His ALL in us or He might have us do nothing but rest in Him and wait before Him.

Are we privileged? Are we entitled, now to call ourselves “apostles”? Are we to start beating the drum and enticing others to “invite us into their areas” and then obligate them to “give to the work”? NOT hardly. This is a false paradigm and NOT His kingdom in action. Claiming a particular ministry or title is limiting God in us at best and can quickly become idolatry in the worst form as we seek to take on a larger than life form before the saints of God. George is nothing, Michael is nothing… just mere men like you who yielded to His will for a moment in time. This walk is all about HIM, dear saints. “In Him we live and move and have our beings.”

Dead Kings or the Living Christ?

 And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their harlotry, nor by the dead bodies of their kings on their high places. In their setting of their threshold by my thresholds, and their post by my posts, and the wall between me and them, they have even defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed: therefore I have consumed them in my anger. Now let them put away their harlotry, and the dead bodies of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them forever. You son of man, show the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern. And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, show them the form of the house… This is the law of the house; Upon the top of the mountain the whole area round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house. (Eze 43:7-12 KJ2000)

Israel had built tombs for each of its dead kings around the temple of God. Their thresholds were over against the threshold of the house of God. They had put a wall between Him and them by these abominations. Today it is not all that difference. A great man of faith will rise up and what do we do? We set out to build an institution or a denomination around them. Today we have followers of “dead kings” in the church. They became followers of Luther, Calvin, John Wesley, Meno Simons, Alexander Dowie, William Branham, Kennith Hagan, Oral Roberts, Gordon Lindsey and many others who were larger than life who’s light shown for a season and now they are dead. Most of these men did not set out in the beginning to have men follow them, but carnal followers always desire a king to rule over them (see 1 Samuel ch. 8) and thus another Christian sect is born.

Let not we who serve in the body of Christ build our temples over against the House of God and our door posts over against His door posts as we attempt to draw men into our soulish spheres of influence while we seduce them away from HIS house which you all are (See Hebrews 3:6). George and I are through with the houses of dead kings and committing spiritual necrophilia with their carcasses. We would see Jesus in ALL His saints not just some! Isn’t Ephesians 4:11 followed by, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:12-13 KJV2000)? As long as we are followers of men this will never come to pass.

There was a time when God’s men detested the thought of taking what belongs to God alone unto themselves (see Acts 3:1-12, 14:11-15 and 20:29-31). Today we need more ministers who will rend their garment, expose their flesh and point all men away from themselves to Jesus and no other.   Remember, for many of us the last god to die is called, “MY MINISTRY.” “To HIM be the glory for ever and ever, Amen.”