Friday, October 26, 2007
So were the people of Israel called to walk 'with the law' or 'in the law'? And if we believe that the old testament foreshadows the new, are we then called to walk 'with Christ' as much as we are called to walk 'in Christ'?
To turn from it [the book of the law] to the right or to the left wouldn't necessarily suggest that the people of Isreal we're leaving it behind, but perhaps shifting it to a place of secondary focus - a bit like standing at your car door ready to get in, but then at the last minute turning to the right and proceeding to walk along side the car in order to get to where you want to go - doesn't make sense does it! The book of the law was not established for the people of Israel to carry in their brief cases, (in either their right hand or their left)!
When God called Noah to build and ark, all the people became focused on 'the ark'. When God called told the people of Israel that he was giving to them the promised land, their focus became 'the promised land' and the fact that they had not yet received it. When God called the people to build the tabernacle, their focus became 'the tabernacle'. When God released Solomon to build the temple, their focus became 'the tempple'. However, when Jesus came to sepak the 'Word', or the fulfillment of the law, or the new covenant - everyone's focus remained locked into 'the temple' or 'the tabernacle' or 'the ark' or the 'law of Moses'!
Perhaps without becoming fully aware, it's easy to turn to the right & to the left, to believe that we haven't forgotten about the Lord, but perhaps in reality, he has become just another resource that we carry with us if & when needed.
So the revelation is this - Sometimes the object that carries the promise becomes more of a focus than the promise itself, and sometimes the promise becomes more important the one who made it with us. When God spoke to the people of Israel as they were about to cross over into the promise, he didn't say - don't let the ark depart from your mind; he said, 'don't let the book of the law [that lies within the ark] depart from your mouth' (v8). Do not turn from it to the right or to the left (v7). In other words, don't let it be with you...let it be within you. We know that four walls don't constitute a church, yet the outworking of the church can easily get in the way of it's purpose - Covenant relationship with God & with each other. Noah's ark was not about the ark, it was about Covenant relationship with God and with each other. The tabernacle was not about the tabernacle, it was about Covenant relationship with God and with each other. The temple wasn't about the temple, it was about covenant relationship with God and with each other. Jesus Christ wasn't about himself, he was about the Father and his covenant relationship with you and me and us with each other.
'Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me' (John 15:4). For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. (Colossians 2:9-10)
So the deepest form of relationship with Christ is relationship in Christ not relationship alongside Christ?
Just a thought.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
You could say that after 40 years in the desert, the people of Israel had become conditioned not only to failure but to the consequences of it. We know that it was the attitude of their mind and the words of their mouth that hindered them from entering into the promises of God many years before (Numbers 14:26-34). Their minds said, we can't take them - their too big, and their mouths simply echoed their unbelief. We know that all of the 12 spies, excluding Joshua & Caleb, died in the desert, and they took a whole generation with them - because the words of their mouth and the pattern of their mind were carnal.
We know that Joshua is a prophetic book. We know that the story of Joshua leading his people into the promised land is a foreshadow of Chirst ushering us into the Kingdom of God (in fact we know that the name Jeshua or Jesus comes from the name Joshua). That's why the new covenant instructs us to renew the condition of our mind (Romans 12:1), and to guard closely the use of our tongue (book of James).
So Joshua is about to lead his people into the promised land (Joshua 1). I began to wonder, what was the condition of their mind? Did even joshua have doubts? Had they become content with the familiararity of living on the current side of the Jordan river? I wondered what came out of Joshua's mouth on behalf of his people just before God responded, again saying, 'Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9)
When the time came, they had to physically step into the Jordan river in order to cross over, but surely their success was determined not by the fact that they took a physical step, but because God was with them, 'Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9)
'Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?" Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, "Take off his filthy clothes." Then he said to Joshua, "See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you." Then I said, "Put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the LORD stood by. The angel of the LORD gave this charge to Joshua: "This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here. " 'Listen, O high priest Joshua and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,' says the LORD Almighty, 'and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day. " 'In that day each of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and fig tree,' declares the LORD Almighty."'(Zechariah 3)
To have Christ with us is to be clothed in his Righteousness.
'You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.' (Ephesians 4:22-24)
'...put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.' (Colossians 3:9-10)
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
We often talk about the importance of reading the word of God 'in context'. It really is quite easy to think about how we're feeling, to find a single verse of scripture that says something we like the sound of, and then to spend however long it takes to make that scripture speak to our circumstance and justify our current state of mind (otherwise known as isogesis). We need to be reminded to ensure that what we read and what we take from the word is true and consistant with the full tenor of scripture (and therefore the charachter of God). But how often do we view the text of our own life 'in context'? I'm not just talking about piecing together different circumstances to get a full picture, i'm not just talking about connecting a feeling with an event that took place 15 years ago in order to understand it, but i'm talking about reading the text of life within the context of who we are in Christ. As i began to pray this morning, i found myself speaking these words; 'Lord, i feel out of context'.
However, today's revelation is this; whether i'm in context or out of context has nothing to do with my emotions, my state of mind, my circumstance or my station in society, but it has everything to do with knowing who I am in Christ. If in know that, and if i'm secure in that, then no matter where I am, how I feel or what i think, I'm in context.
'But our citizenship is in heaven' (Philippians 3:20).
'But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy' (1 Peter 2:9-10).
So now I'm in context.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Because we're on the other side of the story, we know that this encounter was the fist indication of Jesus calling Simon to die to himself and to come alive in Christ.
Simon had worked hard in the natural, but for no result. and it wasn't like he was going in blind either, Simon was an experienced fisherman. Sure he knew that sometimes you catch a lot and sometimes you don't, but at the end of the day if you keep working hard, the rewards will come.
Perhaps this wasn't the first time he'd worked all night for no return, but i imagine it was the first time that a stranger stepped into his boat and questioned his rationale, his judgement, and his wisdom. It makes a lot of sense at time to rest right? Peter was no doubt wise to return home for the night and to rest. But at that exact time when in the natural Simon was exhausted both physically, mentally and emotionally, Jesus instructions seemed to be for him to return to the deep waters and to continue to work in the natural for even longer.
And here is the first sign of Simon's greatness in Christ. Although what Jesus was asking seemed to make no sense at all, Simon's response was one of obedient faith. And what took place was an outworking of the supernatural - followed immediately by a revelation of inadequacy. Suddenly the game changed. Suddenly, Peter was in deep water and he hadn't yet learned to swim. If casting his nets into deep water at the point of exhaustion required faith; to be exposed to the supernatural power of Christ found him in a far greater realm of the unknown.
Then Jesus said this; 'from now on you will catch men' (Luke 5:10)
From now on, your destiny changes. From now on, who you are is in me.
Today's revelation comes from these three words, 'from now on'.
Jesus had to lead Simon to a point of death, not physical death but perhaps death to his own wisdom and judgement. Perhaps to a point of mental and emotional surrender. Perhaps to the place where revelation can come; that working in your own strength is not kingdom DNA
And then he said to him...'from now on...you will catch men'
'I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me'. Galatians 2:20
Thursday, October 18, 2007
O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you. If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men! They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
In Acts 1, The disciples suddenly found themselves in a moment of the unknown and the very unfamiliar. After having a routing conversation with the Lord, he was immediately taken on a cloud into heaven. For the first time in 3 years, Jesus was't there anymore! They'd been excited about 'change' for 3 years. From the moment Jesus began to preach, his message was this; "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near" (Mark 1:15).
But when the time for the arrival of the kingdom of God was at it's closest, the disciples were left looking to what they knew rather than what was to come
'They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."' (Acts 1:10-11).
According to Hebrews 12:2, their intent was good - 'Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith'. Trouble is, Jesus doesn't live in a cloud. Jesus doesn't operate in our past - no matter how immediate it might be. But Jesus opperates in our future. I imagine that the walk back to the upper room would have been the hardest 30 minutes of their life. Not because they were walking the kokoda track, but because for the first time in 3 years, something was radically different. But if they had remained fixed on a cloud, they would have missed the outpouring of the kingdom of God.
I'm in an unfamiliar place.
My heart is torn between two things - what I know and what i believe God has for me. I eagerly desire what he has for me, but my mind tells me that i will only find rest in what i've always known.
Perhaps the angel of the Lord has spoken...again..."why do you stand here looking into the sky?'
Monday, October 15, 2007
Imagine the battle that could have taken place whithin his mind! and I say 'could have' intentionally. It would be easy to believe that he wrestled every day with his selfless position, for he was made in the likeness of man, but was still God (v5-6). 'But made himself nothing' (v7) literally means, "He emptied himself". He Stripped himself, he rid himself, dissacociated, separated, denied and deprived himself of his own self-interest. He 'humbled himself' (v8) and that is how he 'became obedient to death- even death on a cross (v8). It would seem that for a season, he made no attempt to 'grasp' the equality with God that was still his. But he lived every moment in complete submission to the Father. Why, so that i might see the glory of God.
It would seem that his own 'self interest' was (and is) in fact, you and I :-)
Friday, October 12, 2007
Today's revelation comes from Psalm 3:5 I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
I've blogged before from Revelation 4:11 - He's the creator and sustainer of all things. He gives life to those [actions] which are according to his will and death to those which are not. But i believe that Psalm 3:5 is proposing that although he may not approve of or agree with the actions of your day, that doesn't change his approval and acceptance of you - of who you are,
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8) :-)
Thursday, October 11, 2007
As if he would have been able to remain standing - in that place- unless he was absolutely certain that God had spoken. Standing is good - but only if the Lord instructs it. I think sometimes we think we're acting in faith - and perhaps we are, but faith in the word of God...or faith in a rationalised dream, idea, plan or strategy? This morning the Lord took me to James 4:15 'Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall...')
anyway...here's where i wanted to get to this morning;
Thank you Lord for my family.
Bless us with every blessing that's resting in the wings of heaven,
Anoint us and empower us with your sovereign hand,
and may no weapon formed against us prosper,
in Jesus Name.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
2 Chronicles 20:3 says that he 'resolved to inquire of the LORD'.
Being a king, with many options available to him, he still chose to step into God's temple and seek the voice, the council and the instruction of the Lord. (It sounds simple i know, but considering yesterday's revelation; often because of pride, finding ourselves at the alter to inquire of the Lord can be the last step once we've run out of all other options, as apposed to being the first). Interesting also that if we do seek to find the council of the Lord, we usually seek to do it in private. I love that when Jehoshaphat stepped into the temple, Judah came with him; 'indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him' (2 Chronicles 20:4).
Then he stood up and began to intercede. (note: for all of us out there who are called to be priests of our own home, perhaps the revelation is this; we can't just seek the Lord's council for our family in private, we need to do it 'in the assembly' - with all of our family present...!).
Then came the instruction of the Lord;
Step onto the battle field (v16). March right into the centre of your conflict,
And then Stand!
'Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you' (v17).
This morning the Lord led me to the account of Jehoshaphat right after he led me to Ephesians 6:10-14 'Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power'.
(I found this to be significant, again considering yesterday's revelation. To 'be strong' is to 'be strong in the Lord and in his might power', which in this case means to stop, stand in humility, and let the 'armour of God' as apposed to your own armor protect you. Bit like the army of Jehoshaphat!)
'Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm...'
So are you stepping? or are you standing?
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Strength is a good word right? The Lord said to Joshua three times, 'Be strong and courageous' (Joshua 1:9), and Jesus said in Matthew 5:5 'Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth', however we know that meek doesn't mean week, but rather, strength that is restrained or under control.
But i read something the other day that caused me to think a lot about the word strength, from a book by Bishop Paul S. Morton called 'Why Kingdoms Fall'. He said this: 'strength of pride is a weakness, a gateway to a stronghold'.
Have you every noticed that pride is nearly always wrapped in strength? Don't we feel 'extra strong' when someone challenges something we say? Don't we experience a baptism of relentless determination when someone out of turn tells us what to do, or somehow seems to place a question mark over who we are? But if all we ever see is the wrapping paper, then our perception is one of strength - but unrestrained strength, out of control strength and a strength born of the wrong motive.
Strength is good, but strength of pride is a weakness - a gateway to a stronghold, and I renounce it in Jesus name!
Monday, October 8, 2007
Sorry folks, it seems I’ve been awol on the blog for a while, woops…
This morning the Lord spoke to me out of two passages,
The first was one that he’s recently drawn my attention to, and the second; one that I know well but hadn’t remembered for quite some time,
But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you (Isaiah 26:3)
Winning the battle of the mind is something I wrestle with everyday. Although I know (and can quote) heaps of verses that point to victory, it sometimes seems to be a whole lot easier (and even comfortable, or familiar or ‘normal’) to remain in a negative and somewhat defeated frame of mind. These two passages SCREAM at me from the pages they’re written on. Why? Because I have no strength, because I’m weary and faint, because I function a whole lot more out of anxiety than I do out of peace.
So my question is this; what does it mean to ‘wait’ upon the Lord?
How do I arrive at a place of ‘perfect peace’?
We know that patience is a fruit of the spirit (Gal 5:22), and tere's a lot of things that I’m ‘waiting’ for, but it seems that whilst I’m standing in line, I’m left idle! I feel like I’m on the shelf, collecting dust…waiting… and I feel as though it’s in my ‘waiting’ that I’m becoming defeated, and as long as I’m defeated – my time on the shelf seems to multiply…and so the cycle continues!
So, out comes the trusty Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance (red letter edition by the way J ),
And here’s the revelation;
To ‘wait’ is ‘to bind together’. It calls for a 'straining of the mind in a certain direction with an expectant attitude…a forward look with assurance'. (Interesting that the word ‘straining’ is used)!
It would seem that Isaiah 26:3 is somewhat of an 'instruction manual' for Isaiah 40:31
To 'wait' according to Isaiah 41:31 is to keep you mind 'stayed', or 'steadfast' upon God, (and it suggests hard work!). The Hebrew word from which we get the word 'wait' also suggests, 'to gather' or 'collect'.
I remember John Maxwell saying that one of the first lessons his father ever taught him when he began to drive a car was this; always keep a good book in the glove box, so that if you're ever left idle in traffic, you can always take it out and redeem your prescious time.
It would seem that his father was teaching him to keep his mind 'stayed' upon the Lord, to gather, and bind, collected thoughts from the word of God, and nowhere else.
Philippians 4:8 says Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things
p.s. this comes right after Paul says, 'Do not be anxious about anything' - 'Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!'
p.s. this comes right after Paul says, 'Do not be anxious about anything' - 'Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!'
In other words, You keep your mind stayed on me and I'll keep you in peace - perfect peace!
In other words, You keep your mind stayed on me and I'll keep you in peace - perfect peace!