Archive for July, 2013

Cause and effect

July 31, 2013

Cause and effect. The cause of righteousness is Jesus Christ: Jesus is the cause, and righteousness, love, peace and joy is the effect. The “other gospels” are where the true cause and source is bypassed, and man himself becomes the cause or source. Any other gospel is like trying to be justified by the law, it is futile. The offense of the Cross (Gal. 5:11) is that man cannot be the source of anything good, for if man is his own source of goodness then Christ died in vain, as a fool (Gal. 2:21).

The reason the true Gospel is becoming increasingly unpopular, and humanistic “gospels” are increasing in popularity is that no one wants to die. The offense of the Cross is that you die to your pride and you glory in another. You have nothing to be proud of or boast about or take credit for, and no basis to receive praise, glory and honor from man, except to boast in the Cross of Calvary (Gal. 6:14).

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For they shall all know me

July 30, 2013

But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, says the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, says the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. Jeremiah 31:33-34

Under the Old Covenant most people did not know God, even though they were under His covenant and grace. Only in the New Covenant does every person know God.

In that he says, A new covenant, he has made the first old. Now that which decays and grows old is ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:13

Therefore, wherever professing Christians still don’t really know God then they must still be clinging onto the Old Covenant, for in the New everyone knows God, without exception.

Much of Christianity is at best a mixture of the Old and New Covenants. Even with people who claim to be Spirit-filled, often their understanding of Church and life is more Old Covenant than New : priests, temples, incense, holy days, liturgies, traditions… and their conscience is still in bondage to the performance of a whole list of stuff which Jesus actually nailed to the Cross once and for all.

The Word of God becomes a part of who you are

July 29, 2013

This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Hebrews 10:16-17

For the truly born-again person their relationship toward the Scriptures is something supernatural and totally apart from the normal human experience. The fact is that in the New Covenant the Words of God become infused into a person’s being and consciousness – His truth is transfused into their hearts and etched into their psyche – the Words of God truly become a part of us, of who we are, of our identity – the whole reference of our being now hinges upon this supernatural en-grafting and implantation. We can no longer think or even feel independent of this reference point, and even if we try to we know we are fooling ourselves.

Reading the Scriptures then confirms this supernatural implantation of His Words and verifies it, and distinguishes between the truth in us and between our flesh, or our fleshly mind or any deception (Heb. 4:12). Then, it becomes vital to have the Words of God before our eyes and in our ears. It’s not enough to say you have it in your heart and that’s all that matters. If it is in your heart and written in your mind then truly you will want to read the Scriptures and have every single truth of God confirmed in your life, and made sure. And fellowship with the body of Christ will always bring the words of Christ to your attention and remembrance, speaking the truth in love to one another.

You got a problem with God?

July 29, 2013

…And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom you will serve… Joshua 24:15a

Joshua strikes right at the heart of the sinful heart here by asking them whether they think it is an evil thing to serve the Lord. The fallen sinner actually has a problem with God. No, he won’t usually admit it, rather he may vehemently deny it, making all sorts of claims to love God, but it doesn’t ring true when he spends most of his life trying to avoid God and blot Him out of his mind.

The world still hates God. Sure, new religions are invented almost daily, but they are idols in the minds of men: substitutes for God. The abundance of man-made gods proves that man has a problem with facing the Living God and would rather form his own god in his imagination. This imaginary god of his own making will not argue with him, just like an imaginary friend. This new god will be very compliant with his wishes, that’s what it’s made for, that’s the purpose of idols.

Just as Joshua said, they find it evil to serve the Lord: Serve anything else, that’s not evil, but it’s the God of the Bible, of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and His Son Jesus Christ who is singled out as evil.

You got a problem with God? What evil do you find in Him that you refuse to serve Him? What is it about the God of the Bible you find objectionable?

Or is it a case of your heart being exceedingly wicked, that your heart of stone blocks you from loving God? Do these questions, rather, actually pinpoint something objectionable inside of you? Are you unhappy that your own heart finds God objectionable? Then bring your stony, sinful heart to Jesus and see how He can transform it.

(Serving God is not the same as serving the religious system or serving your own pride and ego)

Understanding that He understands

July 27, 2013

Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither turn away from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve you: love her, and she shall keep you. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all your getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:5-7

He has not dealt with us according to our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pities his children, so the LORD pities them that fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:10-14

True friends understand each another. They rarely misunderstand one another and therefore they rarely take offense at anything the other says or does. The better you know a person the more you understand them. So, there is a peace, a certainty, a security in knowing people.

A Godly marriage which has endured the years is a prime example of this. You come to a better understanding of each other and therefore can live together with understanding. You know the reasons why the other does certain things a certain way, and why they are who they are. The element of mistrust is ruled out the more you understand a person’s heart.

And how much more so with God? We need to understand God. We need to understand that He understands. He understands that we are dust. Jesus understands what it’s like to live by faith down here in a body of flesh in a world of darkness. He’s been here, He lived it and showed the way: …For in that He Himself has suffered being tempted, He is able to help them that are tempted. Heb. 2:18

Wouldn’t it be sad if you misunderstood Jesus? If you made Him out to be something He is not? If you assumed He didn’t understand you and your situation?

The Common Salvation

July 26, 2013

(From the Archives)

Jude 1:3, Titus 1:4, 1 Cor. 10:13

There is nothing in your life experience with Jesus that is not commonly shared with all who are His: Both the blessings and the difficulties. Yes, our situations are different and we have different gifting, but the experience of our faith and salvation is the same, by the same Spirit and the same Word of promise; the same Savior, our LORD Jesus Christ. We all find ourselves on the same journey, together. We all face the same temptations:

There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man… 1 Cor. 10:13a

We need to know that our case is not a unique one. We can sometimes feel that we are the odd one out – that everyone has it relatively easy compared to us; or, God forbid, that we have extra-special revelation or a higher experience with God not shared by all His saints who partake of the common salvation.

And isn’t it encouraging knowing that we are all in this together?

He sees you, He hears you

July 24, 2013

He sees you, He hears you and He loves you. This is all you need to know to begin talking with Him (prayer). This is enough. It’s not about you, it’s about Him. It’s not about your worthiness, it’s about the worthiness of The Lamb. When i know that He hears me then i want to talk with Him.

“Church culture” breeds a performance concept of prayer, as our Lord Jesus cautions us of in Matthew 6. It’s good to pray in public, but there is a caution to it as it tends toward prayer as a performance. Jesus commanded us to pray privately and that way the true understanding of what prayer is will come, that it is not a performance, it is not something men can or should applaud, but it is deeply personal and holy, and exposes our total inadequacy as people, that it is the same kind of helplessness a baby has, but that baby then realizes that he is being carried by the Father, so he is not helpless at all. The baby then takes comfort in his Father, so his own helplessness is no longer relevant in the presence of the Father.

True prayer and communion with God exposes our inadequacy, for we realize that we in ourselves are not sufficient for this, and then we realize this is the reason for prayer: the reason you should pray is that you can’t pray. If i realize i can’t pray then that is the reason i should begin praying and it’s even the basis for prayer, revealing the reality of our utter dependency on God. This is childlike faith. It is a million miles from a performance of which we could garner some praise for, from either God or man.

You should never try and perform prayers. You should never think that there are good or powerful prayers and that the Father is sitting there rating the prayers. We are helpless babes, and we cry out to our Father. It is enough that He sees and hears and that He cares. This is enough for a baby to know.

The Book of Job so relevant to today

July 24, 2013

Been reading Job and really felt a kinship with the brother. His critics, on the surface, sound wise, but at the end of the day their analysis of Job is totally false. It is so much like today, people speak volumes of apparent wisdom, which, at the end of the day, amounts to nothing, just empty words. We also will have critics like Job did, who waste our time with their false analysis.

I see a parallel today between Job and those who have left the religious system. The brethren still in the system are like Job’s friends in the way they relate to those who have left.

The issue is whether outward signs of success, prosperity or popularity are actual signs or proof of God’s favor. According to Job’s critics Job must have done something wrong to merit his terrible situation. Similarly, system people use the same warped logic to evaluate those who have left the system: we are not popular therefore we must be doing something wrong or be missing out on something.

Job’s friends do not waver from their belief that Job must have sinned to incite God’s punishment. As the speeches progress, Job’s friends increasingly berate him for refusing to confess his sins, although they themselves are at a loss as to which sin he has committed. They also assume, in their view of theology, that God always rewards good and punishes evil, with no apparent exceptions allowed. There seems to be no room in their understanding of God for divine discretion and mystery in allowing and arranging suffering for purposes other than retribution.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Job

Have a read of Job chapter 12, if you will.

Job’s view of God is right.

Seeds of unbelief

July 22, 2013

Every “small” compromise with truth is actually a seed of unbelief, and if that bad seed is not rooted out it grows into more unbelief. Some think it’s OK to cut corners with the truth when they deem it expedient to do so – a pragmatic compromise. But to the degree that a man compromises God’s Word, to that degree is he given over by God to believe lies – God hands him over to a delusion. So even the “small” compromise with truth has the seeds of death in it just waiting to germinate.

The fellowship of His sufferings

July 22, 2013

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death… Philippians 3:10

Paul didn’t want to know or experience anything independent of what Jesus presently knows and experiences. It was anathema to Paul to have a spirituality independent of the very heart beat of Jesus Christ, sharing both His joy and sorrow. To live is Christ and to die is gain. This is at the heart of Paul’s gospel.

The odious smell of SELF

July 21, 2013

Was away from home the last 10 days getting things done in central India. There i watched some international TV news shows and i was struck by the strong propaganda element, sort of reminiscent of the insidious rise of Nazism in prewar Germany thru the power of propaganda. There is little difference between the world and the “church” baptized into the world, both are propaganda machines, both have no love for the truth in Jesus.

Anything built on SELF is built on a false foundation. Jesus said we must deny ourselves. Not merely deny the right to certain things or sinful pleasures but more essentially to deny our own self – our self identity apart from Christ. Jesus teaching went beyond denying ourselves things, He taught the very death of our selves. How can those crucified and risen with Christ pursue self when they have died? Someone greater than our SELF has slayed our self and superseded and overtaken us, we have been swallowed up in LIFE. We no longer need self, we have someone greater now who supersedes that infinitely, and we are content in Christ Jesus.

It’s hard to define SELF. It often eludes being pinned down, but you can smell it if you abide in Christ. Like Ruth Graham said, “Self is spiritual body odor”. Not that we are sniffing around, it just assaults you when it’s in your face.

It’s something like “spiritual gravity” – self gravitation. The SELF person always positions themselves at the center of every situation or anything they are thinking about and then makes sure that everything revolves around them, like they are the sun, the reference point, and all else and all truth are the planets which orbit around them.

False Christianity is simply about going thru all the motions of Christianity but redefining the truth of the Gospel so that it becomes all about YOU – puts you at the center and then God as your servant, which is idolatry. Death and resurrection in Christ by faith in His death and resurrection is the only cure.

Learning how to use your freedom

July 21, 2013

This sometimes happens in free NT Church meetings: one person is sharing, and then another interjects just a thought or a word or comment, not meaning to hijack the subject, but before the original sharer can continue to finish explaining his point someone else jumps in and comments on the comment the interjecter made, and then another comments on that comment. Then the original sharer feels that he or the subject has been hijacked. Experience (learning by doing) and sensitivity should teach that if this happens then courtesy would be to defer back to the sharer who has been “hijacked” to see if he finished his point. This harmonizes with the fact that God is a God of order.

Prayer is work

July 20, 2013

“Praying is working, and not merely an adjunct to working. It is a form of working, and not simply a somewhat properly added to our efforts out of reverence to the Almighty; nor is it only an appeal for His blessing to prosper our labours. When a righteous man prays he works. For prayer in the spirit is one agency by which the Spirit of God effects through the believer His will, and is, indeed, a putting forth of His energy.”

~ George Lang

The five foolish virgins

July 8, 2013

(Matt. 25:1-13) If you’ve made Christianity to be all about money and “blessings” then you’re probably one of the five foolish virgins who will be left behind.

The eternal sign of redeeming love

July 8, 2013

And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds between your hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. Zech. 13:6

When we get to glory one of the most poignant and heart-wrenching scenes which will confront us is when we see Jesus and He reaches out His hands to us and we see the gaping holes in His wrists. For eternity, whenever we see Jesus it’s the holes in His hands and feet which will forever keep us aware of the centrality of the Cross and how it manifests to us the amazing, redeeming love of God.

Using the law of love as an escape from reality

July 8, 2013

(Matt. 22:37-40) The Royal Law of Love (for God and man) means that all the moral and ethical commands of God are summed up in these two commands. But the reductionist reads the Bible to find a loophole out of all those “icky” or “religious” commands of the Apostles (which he feels would impinge upon his freedom) and therefore the Law of Love, for him, is an ideal way of escaping the reality of the many commands for life in the NT. What the Royal Law means is that it defines that all the commands of the NT are simply expressions of love for God and man. Obviously Jesus did not mean that it renders every other command of God in the NT obsolete, but this is the way this Scripture is often misquoted.

Sensitivity to the indwelling Holy Spirit

July 6, 2013

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that you cannot do the things that you would. But if you be led of the Spirit, you are not under the law. Galatians 5:16-18

If this is transpiring within you, that your flesh is lusting against the Holy Spirit in you, and the Spirit in you is against your flesh and is leading you in victory over it – if this is really going on inside you then you would really need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in this: Victory, if you heed the Spirit, and defeat if you don’t, meaning that the person who is insensitive to the Holy Spirit in them is living a defeated life, for their flesh will dominate. And note that the key ministry of the Holy Spirit in us, as described here, is to lead us in victory over our own flesh.

Jesus elevates the Scriptures

July 6, 2013

Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. John 5:39

So Jesus was instructing us as to the true purpose of the Scriptures, that they were given to reveal Jesus. Therefore Jesus is elevating the role of the Scriptures, not diminishing them (as many today imply). He was addressing “knowledge for knowledge sake” – the misnomer that having information about God equals knowing God.

The basis for having no fear

July 6, 2013

Jesus says “Fear not!”. Some of us will be martyred for our faith and yet we are not to fear death. The basis for not having fear is not an assurance that we will escape persecution or even martyrdom, but that Jesus has overcome death.

TV preachers in heaven?

July 5, 2013

The Bible says that a covetous man has no inheritance with Christ and is not going to heaven. 1 Cor. 6:10, Eph.5:5.

This means that most TV preachers are probably not going to heaven.