A Call For Steadfastness

Revelation 13:9-10; Romans 6:4; Galatians 2:20; 2 Peter 1:2-11; 2 Timothy 6:11

If anyone is able to hear, let him listen:

Whoever leads into captivity will himself go into captivity; if anyone slays with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Herein is [the call for] the patience and the faith and fidelity of the saints (God’s people).

Revelation 13:9-10 AMPC

Brothers and sisters, would you agree that we are living in a time where there is a call of the Spirit in the Church for her patience and faith and fidelity? Would you agree this is just the beginning? Would you agree this call for our patience, faith and fidelity at this present hour is a preparation for what is to come?

Patience: endurance, steadfast. HELPS Word-Studies: remain or remain under, especially as God enables the believer to remain (steadfast, endure) under the challenges He allots in life.

Thayers Greek Lexicon: Steadfastness, constancy, endurance. In the New Testament the characteristic of a person who is unswerved from their deliberate purpose and loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.

This kind of steadfastness, this characteristic of a person is nothing we can find in and of ourselves. A person without Christ might be strong-willed and determined. But a steadfastness that holds onto hope and is unswerved even in their greatest trials and sufferings is a person who has begun and continued progressing on the narrow path of themselves being decreased and Christ in them being increased. Let us not for one minute believe that in our seasons of trial and difficulty we can be unmoved or unshaken in and of ourselves.

First and foremost, have we come to the point in our journey where we can say with Paul, I was buried therefore with Christ by my own personal baptism into His death… – This is not merely about a baptism with water that one might have experienced early on. This is an inward work and is another way of saying that we recognize and accept that we have been crucified with Christ and that it is no longer I who lives… – Romans 6:4 continues, so that – SO THAT – just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, SO WE TOO might habitually live and behave in newness of life.

It is Christ Who is the newness of life. Not mere adherence to an outward acceptance of Christian things or even Christianity. Christ. Christ. Christ is our newness of life.

T. Austin-Sparks put it this way:

The sum of everything in the new creation is in Christ, or, to put that in another way, it is outside of man himself. It is apart from man, and it always will be. Although Christ, the sum of the new creation, may be in us, that new creation will remain in Christ, and we are only in it by reason of our union with Him. He becomes the fullness of everything in us, but the practical outworking of that fullness will ever, and always, be purely and solely on a basis of faith.

Daily Open Windows, August 29th From: The Essential Newness of the New Creation – Chapter 3

You may find it beneficial to make that personal so that it would read:

Christ is the sum of the new creation in me. I am only in that new creation by reason of my union with Him. He becomes the fullness of everything in me, but the practical outworking of that fullness – His fullness – in Whom there is no lack – will ever, and always, be purely and solely on a basis of faith.

Faith: HELPS Word-Studies: Is always a gift from God, and never something that can be produced by people. Faith, for the believer, is God’s divine persuasion – and therefore distinct from human belief (confidence) yet involving it. The Lord continuously births faith in the yielded believer so they knew what He prefers, i.e. the persuasion of His will (1 John 5:4).

Faith. Not sight. Faith.

Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].

The Amplified Classic addition there at the end really clinches the deal for us humans who demand that we see to believe. Faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses. There is much being revealed to the senses these days. There is more of the senses being spoken and shared within the Christian community than that of faith or Christ. What a a sad, sad fact!

Let us not forget what it stated above: The Lord continuously births faith in the yielded believer…so, we must be a yielded Church or we have lost our salt & light and simply resemble the rest of the world.

What T. Austin-Sparks wrote is a clear illumination on the remainder of Galatians 2:20: And the life I now live in the flesh (this life we have on this earth, here and now in the physical) I live by faith – by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in the Son of God.

What are you adhering to? What are you relying on? Where is your complete trust? These are somber questions and will require prayerful attention in order for the Lord to reveal to each of our hearts the truth of the matter. Not what we’d like to think. Not what is widely accepted. But what is the truth of the matter.

Returning now to this steadfastness, let’s go to 2 Peter 1:2-11 –

May grace (God’s favor) and peace (which is perfect well-being, all necessary good, all spiritual prosperity, and freedom from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts) be multiplied to you in [the full, personal, precise, and correct] knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue).

By means of these He has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them you may escape [by flight] from the moral decay (rottenness and corruption) that is in the world because of covetousness (lust and greed), and become sharers (partakers) of the divine nature.

For this very reason, adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence),

And in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety),

And in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection, and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love.

For as these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you, they will keep [you] from being idle or unfruitful unto the [full personal] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

For whoever lacks these qualities is blind, [spiritually] shortsighted, seeing only what is near to him, and has become oblivious [to the fact] that he was cleansed from his old sins.

Because of this, brethren, be all the more solicitous and eager to make sure (to ratify, to strengthen, to make steadfast) your calling and election; for if you do this, you will never stumble or fall.

Thus there will be richly and abundantly provided for you entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Wow! The Amplified Classic really draws it out in richness for us! Are we supplementing, developing, cultivating our faith with these qualities that Peter writes of? In verse 8 it says, as these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you,

Increasingly abound. What should be increasingly abounding in us? Christ. As anything of our carnal nature, even a so-called strength or determination of will, is not Christ but of ourselves.

Peter, by way of the Holy Spirit, tells us that whoever is lacking in these qualities is spiritually blind!

Brothers and sisters, there is no condemnation here! But this world we are living in (and should not be of) is growing darker and more chaotic. Are we the Lord’s vessel of salt & light? Or are we blending in? Are we marked by the seal of the Lamb in our spirit man? Or do we hold a form of religion, yet with our mouths and lives deny the power thereof?

Let Paul in 1 Timothy 6:11 encourage us:

…aim at and pursue righteousness (right standing with God and true goodness), godliness (which is the loving fear of God and being Christlike), faith, love, steadfastness (patience), and gentleness of heart.

Then, and only then, will we lose the flavor and sounds of this world which are ringing not just within Christianity, but around the world, like a clanging symbol, and we will become evermore conformed to the image of the Son.

The Mark of the Lamb

Let us realize that the only remedy to be found for inefficiency or impotence , to enable us to gain victory over the powers of this world or of darkness, is in the manifested presence of our Lord in the midst of His hosts in the power of His Spirit.

Andrew Murray/The Secret of United Prayer

Not more worldly wisdom or traditions of man masquerading as Truth or faith. But a people called out (by God) and set apart (by God) willing to be decreased in order that He and He alone can increase in and through them for His glory and ultimate increase in this universe.

For whatever is born of God is victorious over the world; and this is the victory that conquers the world, even our faith. Who is it that is victorious over [that conquers] the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on that fact]? 1 John 5:4-5

And this belief is not something we do or conjure up ourselves, for it is not revealed to us by flesh and blood, but by the Father in heaven (Matthew 17:17).

But the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall worship Him [pay divine honors to Him and do Him holy service]. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. Revelation 22:3-4

“…and His name shall be on their foreheads.”

In the original language the term name there is: ónoma – the manifestation or revelation of someone’s character.

So this is not to be taken literally as God’s name would be imprinted or tattooed on our foreheads. Consider that our foreheads are a visible part of our face that we cannot hide. Unless someone has a hairstyle with their hair covering it. But for the sake of context here, let us be clear that one’s forehead is a noticeable and obvious part of them.

“…and His name shall be on their foreheads.” In other words, the manifestation of His presence, or revelation of His character, would be evident in our lives. This is the mark of the Lamb.

The description set forth in Revelation 22 brings to heart immediately both Romans 12:1-2, as well as Hebrews chapter 12 in its entirety, but here specifically verse 28. I will leave that to the reader to read and meditate on.

Revelation 12 tells us that those who overcome the dragon do so by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. I think it is important to know that this testimony is not our own story as we would tell it to others about how the Lord found us and made us His own. It is foolishness to think that our individual testimonies have any sort of power in overcoming the dragon. It is the testimony of Jesus as wrought in our very being and living.

T. Austin-Sparks puts the testimony of Jesus this way:

What is the testimony of Jesus? Comprehensively, it is that Jesus has vanquished Satan, Jesus has overcome the world, and Jesus has destroyed the power of death. That is the testimony of Jesus comprehensively. In His case, that is a fact. In His case, the prince of this world has been cast out, he that had the power of death has been nullified, and the works of the Devil have been destroyed. In His case, He has overcome the world.

Now the testimony of Jesus is not just a declaration of the facts which are true in His case, but these lampstands on the earth – here and there and there – are in a living way vessels, the very embodiment of that…the testimony of Jesus must be in a living Body, and the body itself must be in the light of the testimony…radiant with its own testimony. It must not be holding up a light for other things and other people…and itself be in the dark. It must not be declaring in words, “Jesus lives”…and itself be dead. It is the livingness of the Church itself which is the testimony; it is not only found holding truth out to the world but is in the good of that truth itself. It is not only saying, “Jesus has conquered death and lives,” but also saying, “I am in the good of that; I am here as a living witness to that.” The Church must be able to bear the light of the testimony itself and to say, “I am not saying things which are not true with regard to myself; I am the living expression of that doctrine….to live because He lives, to live upon Him, and to have a way of clear access livingly through Him unto the Father – that is the testimony of Jesus; and it needs to be recovered in greater fullness amongst the Lord’s people. Do pray about this…and about your own participation in it…that the Life whereby Jesus conquered death shall be a reality in you and through you.”

In another place T. Austin-Sparks says this:

As we move toward the end, there will be increasingly a cutting off of things…and a resolving of all into a matter of HIMSELF. We do not realize how much, how deeply, how subtly good things can take the place of Himself, until they are removed. Let our work, our interest, our meetings, our ministry, our power to do, our opportunity to do – yes, our everything on the outside taken away, so that we are alone and helpless. Then will come the supreme test as to what the Lord Himself is to us.”

There was much taken away in the last year or more. What was our reaction to that? Are we living upon a religion and its outward manifestations? Or are we living upon the Bread of Life, finding our sustenance and satisfaction in Christ alone? Consider that these unprecedented times are the Father’s opportunity to prepare us, refine us, call us out and set us apart; not in order that we may resemble the rest of the world, no!, but in order for us to, through trial and difficulty, become a willing participant in the Father’s holy work of conforming us to the image of His Son so that we would be among those who bear the mark of the Lamb.

Let us come before the Lord and ask Him to shine His light on us in order that we would know, really know, where we are, as His own people.

What is the noticeable and visible manifestation of our lives? In progression and growth?

Is it the mark of the Lamb? Or is it the mark of another?

Father, help us to receive Your truth and grace in this matter important to You, and to those who love You. So be it unto us as You have promised.

Unveiling: Being True

A timely and very important read from Unveiling

An excerpt:

“Being true means being honest, real, factual, and truthful – it is the opposite of being deceitful, false, manipulating truth, and believing lies. But these days many seem to find it difficult to discern between what is true and what is false.

We all interpret what we see and hear through our own biases and beliefs. There is, however, one person who speaks only what is true and it may be helpful to have some reminders of what He has said. It is helpful to see and hear truth from outside of ourselves, from a trusted, reliable source like the Bible, so what follows is a look at some of what the Bible teaches about Truth in the hope that it may help us to discern what is true and recognise what is false and misleading in our thinking, beliefs, and words in this time in which we live.

Being true, and embracing truth does come with a price, however. Not everybody wants the truth, it can be very costly. Truth can be painful and can expose what we would rather not see, hear, or believe. Truth can shatter our beliefs and mindsets, requiring humility to admit we were wrong. In spite of that, or maybe because of that, truth is very precious.”

Click here to continue reading: Being True – Unveiling…

The Priests, the Politician and the Patriots — Bread for the Bride

Once there was a very proud nation that had been richly blessed by God.  The nation’s founders had enshrined allegiance to the one true God within its laws.  Furthermore, the nation’s children were educated to study, respect and adhere to their nation’s founding values.  This nation had once fought mighty battles, conquered enemies and become […]

The Priests, the Politician and the Patriots — Bread for the Bride

A Prayer For To-Day!

Father,

We humble ourselves before You today and we ask above all else that Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven! We enter our hearts into agreement with Your Son, our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus, that Your kingdom is not of this world and we, therefore, do not have to fight for it. We readily recognize and admit, by the help of Your Holy Spirit, that Your kingdom and Your righteousness does not come by legislation or litigation, but by the deeply inwrought work of the Cross brought about by You and with our cooperation. We readily admit and recognize, by the help of Your Holy Spirit, that Your kingdom is neither earthly nor political, but that it has been, it currently is, and always will be Christ, and Christ in us, the hope of glory!

We come to You today with hearts full of thanksgiving and praise, and we readily admit and recognize, by the help of Your Holy Spirit, that with Your mighty strength You raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at Your right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred (or given)], not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and the world which are to come. (Ephesians 1:19-21). Yes, amen, and hallelujah, Father!

We enter our hearts into agreement with the truth (which is greater than the facts) that You have also raised us together with Christ and have made us to sit down with Christ in heavenly places! (Ephesians 2:6). For this reason we enter our hearts into agreement with the words of Jesus as recorded in John 17: that we are not of this world even as He is not of this world! Now, echoing the words from Colossians 3, since we have been raised with Christ to a new life, we aim at and seek the rich, eternal treasures that are above, where Christ (and us) are seated at Your right hand. Father, we choose to set our minds and keep them on what is above and not of the earth! We enter our hearts into agreement that these new lives of ours are hidden with Christ in You (Colossians 3:1-3). For this reason, then, Lord, we accept what is written in 1 John 2 that; if anyone loves the world love for You is not in us. Oh, Father, forgive us, for we know not what we are doing. For all that is in this world is not from You; the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things), oh, Father! this pride of life, how it is increasing even in those who claim to be Yours. With the help of Your Holy Spirit may our hearts and lives be as the hymn sings: turning our eyes upon Jesus, to look full in His wonderful face, and these things of earth will grow strangely dim in the Light of His glory and grace.

Thank You, Father. So be it.

Part Four: A Better and Lasting Possession

Photo Courtesy of StockSnap at Pixabay.com

The daily open windows devotional from T. Austin-Sparks on December 12th had these timely lines:

…tragically, grievously, on this earth so very many of those who bear the name of Christian are…standing for their own rights,…

…the reproduction of this seed which is Christ, which is the embodiment of this love that lets go, this love that knows how to yield, this love that is all the time giving. That is what the Lord is after. It represents a deep work of the Cross within,

Of the increase of His government and of peace there shall be no end. Isaiah 9:7a

He must increase, but I must decrease – He must grow more prominent, I must grow less. John 3:30

In yesterday’s post was this sentence: “A people enamored with their golden calf are a people in need of having this assurance and proof revealed to their senses. This makes them a people without faith.”

Brothers and sisters, I am not without my own need of an increase of faith. This year showed me that among many other things. But He is faithful and He is true, if we would cooperate with His deep inner work. This is not written seated atop a high horse for having arrived anywhere. Believe me. But it is written from a heart that is, like Paul, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. In order that we may, as His set-apart-ones, press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward (Philippians 3:13-14).

Upward. Upward. Upward. That is our heavenly calling. Not down here. And not to succumb to the age-old idea that to be so heavenly minded we would be of no earthly good. No! For to be a heavenly people, a people marked by a deep work of the Cross within is to be a people affecting the earth in whatever corner we may be!

And so this is not written to berate anyone in the hopes they would change their minds or see the light, as it were. But this is written as a voice of Truth amid the many voices of deception today. The Lord is the only One capable of making a blind person see. That is at the heart of this. He is at the heart of this.

If we can now backtrack into Hebrews chapter ten, verses 32-38a

32 But be ever mindful of the days gone by in which, after you were first spiritually enlightened, you endured a great and painful struggle,

33 Sometimes being yourselves a gazing stock, publicly exposed to insults and abuse and distress, and sometimes claiming fellowship and making common cause with others who were so treated.

34 For you did sympathize and suffer along with those who were imprisoned, and you bore cheerfully the plundering of your belongings and the confiscation of your property, in the knowledge and consciousness that you yourselves had a better and lasting possession.

35 Do not, therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward.

36 For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised.

37 For still a little while (a very little while), and the Coming One will come and He will not delay.

38 But the just shall live by faith

It has now become common to hear within the Christian community a clamor of voices rising up to defend their rights and freedoms. But these verses tell us that those who have been spiritually enlightened bore cheerfully the plundering of their belongings and the confiscation of their property, in the knowledge and consciousness that they themselves had a better and lasting possession.

This better and lasting possession is Christ Himself! Those who have been spiritually enlightened, or those who have seen Christ, endure a great and painful struggle. This is a deep work of the Cross within. How many of you have endured a great and painful struggle on your journey in Him? Exactly. It is the flesh which demands and defends, and the work of the Cross is to separate; to crucify the one and deem alive Another. It is no longer we who live, but Christ Who lives in us. Imagine the gospels with a Jesus defending His rights and His freedoms. Philippians 2:5-7 encourages us this way:

Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:]

Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained,

But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity],

The flesh doesn’t strip itself of all privileges and rightful dignity. The flesh is not humble. There may be a false humility present but it is not the humility of Christ. The humility of Christ is a work of the Spirit, the outward proof of His inner work. The flesh thinks Christianity as a system of religion with its institutions they call the house of God is a thing to be eagerly grasped and retained. The Spirit bears cheerfully the plundering of earthly rights and the confiscation of earthly freedoms.

Dear reader, these verses, the whole letter to the Hebrews has been one of heart-focus for me for almost five years now. It is quite stunning to see the very present value of its exhortation; a value that only seems to be increasing in intensity as the hours pass.

What does the Body need at this present hour? We have need of not flinging aside our fearless confidence – confidence in what? The knowledge and consciousness that we ourselves have a better and lasting Possession, Who is Christ – we have need of steadfast patience and endurance; we have need to live by faith, for the Coming One will come and not delay!

Let T. Austin-Sparks words he spoke at a conference during World War II speak to us to-day:

Watch things now and in the near future. I do not want to assume the role of a prophet. I do not think it needs a prophet to foreshadow what is going to take place. I think we are going more and more to see that these things which represent mixture among the Lord’s people are going to come very much under the sword of the Lord, that a real purifying work is going to be done, and those who will not be purified unto God in these coming days are going out. That is, God is going to effect a new separation in an inward way among His people to get them into a more utter position; everything is forcing that necessity just now.

(The Sons of Levi Chapter 10 – Purified by the Coming Messenger of the Covenant

Anyone with ears to hear, let them listen.

Part Three: Are We a People With Faith or Without Faith?

Photo Courtesy of Jeff Jacobs at Pixabay.com

Another scene from the show we were watching about the bombing at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia (Manhunt: Deadly Games on Netflix). The man being quoted below is head of a local militia who had befriended the bombing suspect who was on the run and hiding in the hills of the small town. This man was helping him when the FBI came to him with information that the bombing suspect was not what he had made himself out to be. After he finally believed what they shared and showed him they went to the base of the hill where they entered into the FBI’s temporary base camp and he said:

“You know I used to imagine exactly this,” he said pointing to the FBI’s base camp, “the enemy would come in exactly like this, like an invasion, build a base, oppress a people, and I would recognize him right away for who he was. I’d be able to fight him with this,” he lifts the gun slung across his chest. Then he stammers through the next sentence, shocked and surprised both by his own blindness and the cunningness of the real enemy, “I…just thought…it would be…so clear.”

Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Here is one more excerpt from the pulpit here in the States last week that was already shared in the previous post, and then we will move forward. It should be made clear that this is one of very many voices speaking such things. This person is not unique or different in what they are saying. It is all over this nation, and the comments are more of the same.

Again, this is being spoken as a so-called word of God:

…I am also taking the wealth of the wicked and transferring it to the saints of the Most High. I did not cause you to be poor. I take pleasure in the prosperity of My servant. Land, titles, deeds, money, businesses, wealth and inventions are now being released unto the saints of the Most High. For what I am going to do will not be a cheap move, but it will be the riches of glory to be displayed in the earth for what I am going to accomplish, says God. What I am going to do will be like an explosion of My power and My glory in the earth. […] I am now releasing in every nation My presence and My glory to reform the Kingdom of Jesus Christ…

This so-called word of God is telling those who are listening that God is now releasing in every nation His presence and His glory to reform the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

The word reform means: make changes in something (typically a social, political, or economic institution or practice) in order to improve it.

So this person speaking is saying God thinks the Kingdom needs to be reformed. This Kingdom that Jesus said is not of this world (John 18:36); this Kingdom that does not come with external signs to be observed or with visible display, but is a Kingdom that is within you (Luke 17:20-21); this Kingdom that consists not of external things but of righteousness, peace, and joy. This Kingdom which is Christ in us, the hope of glory. This so-called word of God says His Kingdom needs improving. It’s blasphemous. The excitable and responsive crowd was just like those Paul wrote to in 2 Corinthians 11:4 For [you seem readily to endure it] if a man comes and preaches another Jesus than the One we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the [Spirit] you [once] received or a different gospel from the one you [then] received and welcomed; you tolerate [all that] well enough!

When Moses was delayed in his returning from Mount Sanai the people asked Aaron, make us gods to go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him (Exodus 32:1) The modern day golden calf is not so blatant in its idolatry, for the people of to-day have erected a new golden calf of self and of man and claim it is the will of God.

Later in 2 Corinthians Paul adds this:

For such men are false apostles [spurious, counterfeits], deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles (special messengers) of Christ (the Messiah).

And it is no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light;

So it is not surprising if his servants also masquerade as ministers of righteousness. [But] their end will correspond with their deeds. 2 Corinthians 11:4, 13-15

Maybe we feel like the man in the Netflix show. We thought we’d be able to recognize the enemy for what he was and thought it would be so clear. Brothers and sisters, it is not so clear. Deception is meant to do just that…deceive.

What came to me in the last couple of days is from the letter to the Hebrews. This letter was written to the Hebrew Christians who were in danger of going back to the old way of worshipping and having fellowship with God. This letter was written a very short time before the Temple was leveled to the ground. This letter was an edification, an encouragement, a reminder of Christ being our High Priest of the better things that have come, and it was a warning!

This letter’s edification, encouragement, reminder and warning has been mercifully saved for us and they echo into our present day by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The verses I am about to share come immediately before Hebrews chapter 11. Have you read it recently? With all it says in regards to what the saints of old endured? I love how the Amplified Classic puts verse one: Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].

Faith = Assurance. Hope. Proof. Conviction. Reality.

Not revealed to the senses.

A people enamored with their golden calf of self and of man and claiming it is the will of God are a people in need of assurance and proof revealed to their senses. This makes them a people without faith.

Brothers and sisters, if I go on this will be twice as long as it already is, and there is enough here for now. This must continue tomorrow, Lord willing.

Part Two: Remain in Me

Photo Courtesy of Sarah Richter Art at pixabay.com

We were watching a show on Netflix about the bombing at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. There were two ATF bomb technicians heading to the scene. One man gets in the car, the older and more experienced of the two, and the driver has the news on. The older man turns the radio knob off and says, “You can listen to the media or you can listen to the bomb, but you can’t listen to both.”

It instantly resonated.

These guys were going to investigate the bomb and they couldn’t have their perception skewed by what those who didn’t know bombs thought. Later the older and more experienced one of the two said about the story that was being widely circulated, “It’s a good story. That’s the problem. A good story makes your mind shut down, you’re stuck to see only the thing that fits the story, you ignore everything else. We want to get at the truth.”

Yes. We want to get at the truth!

Brothers and sisters, a few years ago the Lord made it clear to me that I was to no longer lament the lie, but was to glorify the Truth, and I knew that He meant Truth as in a Person; His Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

That being said if you will humor me for a moment while I share a quote that came from a pulpit here in the States this past week. It is not necessary to name names or cities, for this is being shared for example and context. This is a so-called word of God, so spoken as from His lips:

I have not forgotten what I have promised you. And though it looks impossible, and though the media says it will not happen, and though they’ve already crowned one man king, I say to you he is a false king. For the King of kings and the Lord of lords is yet to be raised up, for the throne room of the Lord will not be occupied by an imposter, says God, but it will be sat upon by the glorious God of all eternity.

Let’s stop for a moment.

Friends, the deception here is very slick. This is saying that, though they’ve already crowned one man king, I say to you he is a false king. So God supposedly told them that the presidential candidate that is being spoken of as the president-elect is in fact a false president-elect. And then it go immediately into the claim that the King of kings and Lord of lords is yet to be raised up, though we know by Scripture and the witness of the indwelling Holy Spirit that the King of kings and Lord of lords is in fact raised up and is seated at the right hand of God in the heavenlies. Then God supposedly said, the throne room of the Lord will not be occupied by an imposter… So on the heels of “God” (and quotes are added there for a reason) calling the current president-elect a false king, it is presumed then that only the true king can occupy the throne room…

Wait.

What?

Are we talking about a false president-elect? Or are we talking about the throne room of our Father? One is of the earth and one is in heaven. One has a man elected to it by the people and the other has a Man reigning there by the will of God. Then the so-called word of God adds that the throne room cannot be occupied by an imposter (the “false king”). What is this so-called word of God telling the listening audience? That the other presidential candidate who is not being called the president-elect, this person is the true king?

Oh, brothers and sisters, this is a very dangerous slope. Very dangerous indeed!

And the crowd was eating.it.up!

The so-called “word of God” continues:

What I’m getting ready to do in the next few weeks, saith God, will be a quick work, it will not be done in part, it will not leave a back door for the enemy to come through. But this time, saith God, I am going to finish what I started, and for four years the glory of the Lord shall descend upon the earth in a way you have never seen, saith the Lord. For I have waited to show Myself in this time of destiny, because I wanted the enemy to show his self first. Now that he is uncovered you are going to see the anointing of Elijah being released in the earth says the Lord and harvest will begin.

This is exciting and almost believable. If a listener is spiritually dead! If a listener is not in Living union with Christ! If a listener is lacking in an ever-increasing way unto the full and accurate knowledge of Christ! There is no fine line between the earthly and the heavenly here! They are perfectly mixed, to the exaltation of the one and a complete loss of the other.

Basically this so-called word of God tells us that there is a harvest connected to the next four years when the true king is occupying the throne room.

At the end of yesterday’s post was 2 Thessalonians 2, let’s revisit that now. (For space and time sake I won’t add all the verses here.) In it we are being encouraged to not be unsettled at the hearing that the day of the Lord has arrived or is here. We are warned that that day will not come until the great apostasy comes first. There will be a great falling away of those who have professed to be Christian. Falling away from what? Will we see this falling away in the pew polling results? Will we see this in some great mass exodus from the brick & mortar churches? Brothers and sisters, this great falling away is spiritual in nature and is a falling away from Christ, or as verse 10 puts it, they did not welcome the Truth but refused to love it (Him) that they might be saved.

Verse 11 then starts with a therefore, so that tells us that what follows is for this reason. For this reason that they did not welcome the Truth but refused to Love it (Him) God sends upon them a misleading influence, a working of error and a strong delusion, that they may believe what is false.

Why?

Because they refused the Truth.

In a recent T. Austin-Sparks article he is recorded as saying:


…if this love, this discerning love, has really filled your heart by all the intelligence of the Holy Spirit indwelling in you, you will sense it (what is not right) without being told…that is what He had in mind from the beginning and He calls that FIRST LOVE that is quick of scent to see what needs to be cut off or added, what adjustments are necessary and does accordingly.”

Does what accordingly?

Adjusts.

Why?

Out of our love for Him Who is making clear to our hearts that which is not right.

More to come tomorrow, Lord willing.

Part One: To Whom Are We Listening?

Photo Courtesy of Couleur at Pixabay.com

On December 13, 2020 Beth Moore posted this on her twitter account. I do not have a twitter account and I do not follow Beth Moore, but this is an exceedingly rare voice coming out of the Christian community.

Those with ears to hear let them hear what the Spirit is saying.

I do not believe these are days for mincing words. I’m 63 1/2 years old & I have never seen anything in these United States of America I found more astonishingly seductive & dangerous to the saints of God than Trumpism. This Christian nationalism is not of God. Move back from it.

Fellow leaders, we will be held responsible for remaining passive in this day of seduction to save our own skin while the saints we’ve been entrusted to serve are being seduced, manipulated, USED and stirred up into a lather of zeal devoid of the Holy Spirit for political gain.

And, God help us, we don’t turn from Trumpism to Bidenism. We do not worship flesh and blood. We do not place our faith in mortals. We are the church of the living God. We can’t sanctify idolatry by labeling a leader our Cyrus. We need no Cyrus. We have a king. His name is Jesus.

Move back from it.

It is always difficult to hear a message that is contrary to what the many voices are speaking and even what we ourselves may believe. Keep in mind that the message Jesus came speaking was contrary to the respected religious voices at the time.

This is important enough to be prayerfully considered.

T. Austin-Sparks once penned or spoke:

the voice of the Spirit is to be taken account of rather than what is going on in the religious world…we see on the one hand in the religious world that which claims authority with power, position, and influence, which has established itself and taken possession, but which is shown to be something which is not according to the Spirit of God. On the other hand, over against that, we see what is brought out into such clear, manifest relief, that to hear and to take account of the voice of the Spirit of God may be, and very often is, another thing altogether.

Who are we listening to? Who are we taking account of? Is our occupation with authority, power, position and influence?

Jesus spoke and taught as having an Authority unheard of by His listeners (Matthew 7:29). He called the religious leaders blind guides leading the blind, and He advised His disciples to disregard them (Matthew 15:14). If that isn’t enough to give us serious pause, He also told us that His Kingdom was not of this world, if it were His disciples would fight for it (John 18:36).

Do not misunderstand. I am not anti-one thing and pro-something else as far as those terms are commonly understood. My heart is occupied with Christ, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, and we are encouraged to look away from ALL that would distract unto Him.

There is so much distracting the Body of Christ right now it should shock and astonish us.

This is a time for repentance.

May He lead us there in His kindness, humility and love.

Mid week the following showed up in my Facebook memories:

The interpreters and teachers of the Scriptures of old confronted Jesus asking why His disciples violate the rules handed down by the elders of the past. Jesus replied with His own question to them, And why do you violate the commandment of God for the sake of the rules handed down by the elders? He offers an example then adds, So for the sake of your tradition you have set aside the Word of God, depriving it of force and authority and making it of no effect. You pretenders – hypocrites! The prophet Isaiah was right when he said, This people draw near Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. Uselessly they worship Me, for they teach as doctrines the commands of men.

His disciples came to Him saying, Did You know they were displeased and offended when they heard what You were saying? Jesus replied, Respect them, listen to them, for there is nowhere else to learn the Scriptures, and you must attend their meetings. Then He went back and apologized.

No! That did not happen! Jesus said, Disregard them! He called them blind guides and teachers, saying they are the blind leading the blind. And if a blind man leads a blind man both will fall into a ditch. (Matthew 15:1-14.)

The seeing comes from Above (John 3:3). It is not familiarity with the Bible or its many stories or generational connection with a certain denomination. The most surprising thing is how good and proper and even ‘biblical’ a message may sound and yet be the traditions and commandments of mere men, religious men, highly educated and respected men, perpetuating spiritual immaturity in their listeners.

It is the full and accurate knowledge of Christ that keeps a person from being tossed about like ships to and fro between chance gusts of teaching and wavering with every change of doctrine (Ephesians 4:11-14). A person may sit in a pew and be motivated or inspired, but are they coming to the full and accurate knowledge of Christ by the one to whom they are listening? Are they learning the Voice for themselves, being offered the Bread of Life for their own sustenance? Has there been a “going on” from the elementary stage and advancing towards spiritual maturity in Christ? (Hebrews 6:1-2.)

It most certainly is a disruptive thing, this seeing from Above. Look at the life of Paul, his was a disrupted life indeed! But it brought him along to a place of viewing all his religious pedigree that he left behind DUE TO THIS SEEING as garbage in comparison with knowing Christ. (Philippians 3:1-14.)

It comes with a cost, there are many who have been drawn away by Him who spend years in the unlearning from the religious indoctrination. But the difference is the Spirit of truth brings Life and Light and Rest and Peace and Liberty from all that once bound us, though we may not have known its grip on us.

He is faithful and He is true.

The thing about that memory post is how much has happened since then (December 2019).

To the, A person may sit in a pew and be motivated or inspired, could be added, A person may sit in a pew and have their opinions validated on the Covid-19 situation or have their particular choice for presidential candidate solidified or have their national patriotism fueled. And the question that follows remains a thousand fold, but are they coming to the full and accurate knowledge of Christ by the one to whom they are listening?

There are SO many voices out there today, there are SO many things being spoken of, SO many so-called preachers exalting politics rather than Christ, SO many so-called prophets prophesying the earthly rather than the heavenly.

In Hosea 4:6 it is written (as God speaking), My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (of Me); because you [the priestly nation] have rejected knowledge (of Me)...

The word priest there is not a religious term as many have come to view it, though it certainly was under the old covenant. We have a Great High Priest in the Person of Christ, and if we look at 1 Peter 2:9 it tells us who this priestly nation is under the new covenant: But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God’s] own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

In God’s heart a priest is not merely someone in an official position in the institutional church or religious system but anyone who has been born from above who is setting forth wonderful deeds and displaying the virtues and perfections of Him Who called them out of darkness and into His marvelous light.

Indeed there are many who have been (and are being) drawn away from the institutional church system that have, not only been unlearning the religious indoctrination, but they have found (and are finding and will find) that they are coming, by way of the great Teacher Himself, to a full and accurate knowledge of Christ (as well there are those who were never a part of that system that find themselves coming to the same – praise the Lord!)

Let’s take a moment to look at 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3

But relative to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and our gathering together to [meet] Him, we beg you, brethren, Not to allow your minds to be quickly unsettled or disturbed or kept excited or alarmed, whether it be by some [pretended] revelation of [the] Spirit or by word or by letter [alleged to be] from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has [already] arrived and is here. Let no one deceive or beguile you in any way, for that day will not come except the apostasy comes first [unless the predicted great falling away of those who have professed to be Christians has come], and the man of lawlessness (sin) is revealed, who is the son of doom (of perdition),

Brothers and sisters, we are standing on the precipice of the great falling away at this present hour. This is not meant to point to to any single individual as the man of lawlessness that we have often done historically. This is about recognizing the spirit of anti-Christ that is almost tangible in the air among those who profess to be Christian. Do not misunderstand. This is not a spirit of anti-Christianity (as a religious system) or anti-church (as an institution) but of anti-Christ.

Let us go on to verses 9-11

The coming [of the lawless one, the antichrist] is through the activity and working of Satan and will be attended by great power and with all sorts of [pretended] miracles and signs and delusive marvels—[all of them] lying wonders—And by unlimited seduction to evil and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing (going to perdition) because they did not welcome the Truth but refused to love it that they might be saved. Therefore God sends upon them a misleading influence, a working of error and a strong delusion to make them believe what is false,

Father, we ask to be given eyes that see and ears that hear what Your Spirit is saying. We know we are living in dark & deceptive times and our hearts yearn for Your Light and Truth, which is Christ. Thank You, Father, that it was Your good will to make Your Son Christ Jesus be unto us our Wisdom, Righteousness, Consecration and Redemption. We accept and rely on Christ alone Who is our safety and shelter from the darkness and deceit that is both now and to come.

Since it is not His intention to overwhelm, and since there is more to be shared, there will have to be another post. Lord willing in the coming days.

The Testimony of Jesus and the Spirit of Prophecy

An important word for the Body at this present hour.

Bread for the Bride

Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb’”.  And he said to me, “These are true words of God.”  Then I fell at his feet to worship him.  But he said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God.  For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”  Revelation 19:9-10 NASB

What does it mean to have the testimony of Jesus?  What does this testimony mean to God?  Who are these ones who hold this testimony?  And what does this testimony have to do with prophecy?

First, a brief Biblical history lesson.  You may recall the Ark of the Testimony, also known as the Ark of the Covenant (not to be confused with Noah’s Ark). The Ark of the Testimony had a…

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