What is the ‘Worst Case Scenario’?

Our worst case scenario is God’s best case scenario.

When Caleb saw the giants in the land promised to them, he said this;

“Only rebel not against Jehovah, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is removed from over them, and Jehovah is with us: fear them not.” (Numbers 14:9 ASV)

The way through the cross is by embracing it.

We fear because we are trying to avoid suffering.

If we are walking in the Spirit (abiding in Christ), if we are in God’s will and our circumstances are looking grim, instead of driving ourselves into a helpless place by our efforts to make things work out in our favour, we can remember this; he who holds onto his life will lose it and he who loses his life for My sake will find it (Matthew 10:39). We have been crucified with Christ, we are dead. Christ is the one living now in us.

The helpless situation we are in is a gift to us from our loving God to form Christ in us. So instead of driving ourselves into a nervous breakdown by trying to avoid the worst case scenario that is far beyond our ability to affect, we can accept it as a cross from the Lord who loves us, and trust Him implicitly to care for us in whatever comes our way. It is our opportunity to know Him and the power of His resurrection and to fellowship in His suffering. It is a precious and dear gift to us in going deeper with the Lord. We can say “Thank You Lord!”

We need to remember in these times when we have something good that is being threatened, we can do one of two things. We can go crazy trying to hold onto it or we can embrace the cross in the form of the threat of loss and let it continue to do a beautiful deep work of God in our lives.

One of the greatest tests and challenges to us is when we have something to lose. This is also part of God’s work in us. When we have given up everything material, relational and financial to follow Christ we have not much left to lose and it can be an easier existence. The trials change once He blesses us with success, material possessions and income, because then we have something to lose.

To have these things threatened is then an even deeper going down and into what the Lord has taught and wrought in us before. Where He has taken us in Him before, He takes us again deeper. Hence, we can praise God with a genuine heart of thanksgiving. And in doing so, find that the yoke He has given is easy and the burden He has blessed us with is light.

 

Nothing’s Changed in 2020

Saints, nothing’s changed.

God is still God.

Jesus is still The Christ.

Jesus Christ is still the Light of the world.

The Holy Spirit is still moving.

God is still on the throne.

Christ is still seated at the right hand of the Father.

Christ is still the Overcomer. He is still risen, He is still living in His people.  He is still doing the will of the Father.

The Father is still loving The Son.

The Spirit is still speaking of The Son.

The Son is still glorifying the Father.

Christ is still the Rock.

Christ is still the Bread of Heaven.

Christ is still our real food and our real drink.

Christ’s blood is still speaking.

Our position hasn’t changed.

We are still in Christ.

God is still loving us with His eternal Love.

The Holy Spirit is still interceding for us with groans too deep for words.

We are still more than conquerors.

We are still holy ones.

We are still the salt of the earth, the light of the world.

The Lord still lives in us.

We still live and move and have our being in Christ.

We are still a new race, a new creation.

We are still called to know Him.

We are still called to the good works that God prepared for us before creation.

We are still called to take up our cross daily.

We are still called to exhort and encourage one another daily.

We are still called to walk by faith in the Son of God.

We are still called to be led by His Spirit.

We are still in His rest.

He is still the Vine.

We are still the branches.

He is still the Wine.

We are still the new wineskin.

He is still the Bridegroom.

We are still His betrothed.

His banner over us is still love.

He is still our Beloved and we are still His.

God is still Good.

God is still faithful.

God is still Love.

Jesus Christ is still the image of the invisible God.

We are still His dwelling place.

The ekklessia is still the display of His manifold wisdom to powers and principalities in the heavenly realms.

Nothing has changed.

Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

Be of good cheer.

God is still God.

 

Love you Saints. x

 

 

Journal #2 – When God Pours In His Precious Oil

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us (2 Cor 4:7)

The Lord wants us to hold dearly in our hearts the things that He whispers to us, the revelations He gives, the insights and understandings – keep them treasured and secretly held in our hearts – as precious oil.

But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart (Luke 2:19)

Don’t be too quick to give them away – let them be worked into us first…. let them become us….then they are given by God to others through our lives – His Life in us, not our words.

Our own words can’t carry the precious oil, only an empty vessel can carry the Oil.

 

10.10.2014

 

To Compromise Or Not To Compromise, Is That Even A Question?

Compromise.  There’s just no place for it in the Kingdom of God. Therefore, there’s no place for it in the lives of believers.  Yet, it’s easy for compromise to sneak in even unnoticed at times. So here’s some examples in my life of how this has occured very recently and what I’ve learned from it, to pass on to you.

Example 1

Derek and I felt in our hearts that the Lord wanted us to move to a suburb of Newcastle called Mayfield. So we set off in this direction. We were staying with family for over three months while we looked for rentals in the Mayfield area.  We had certain requirements as in price, car spaces,  number of bedrooms and approval for a dog, that needed to be included in our search. However, we also had preferences such as natural gas, air con, two toilets, outdoor area and so on.  Now, this was before the COVID-19 restrictions and there was only a handful of rental properties coming up on the real estate websites that fitted the above description in Mayfield.  We looked at a few but they were on the main road and were very old and run down,  let alone over the top in price.

Things were getting a bit tight at the family’s house with literal dog fights (there were four dogs living in the house) and so eventually we took this as a sign that it was time to hightail it out of there and so our search became a bit more urgent. We applied and got accepted for a place in a suburb called Waratah that had the 2 car spaces we needed and all the preferences and was only a 2 minute drive from Mayfield. Mayfield was the very next suburb just over the railway track at the end of our street. In fact, Mayfield used to be officially called North Waratah.

The place was only 2 years old, fresh and modern and it was actually a duplex. We’d lived in a villa whilst in Perth and so had gotten used to a smaller space and the sound of neighbours quite close when you’re sitting outside. This duplex wasn’t joined by the garages, it was joined by the internal wall. After a day or two we came to realise that the internal wall hadn’t been adequately soundproofed when it was built. After 3 days, we had spent the entire first weekend listening to the constant drone of the neighbouring tenant’s TV and stereo through the wall. It went all day on the weekend & subsequently then went every night after she returned home from work. Our living room was up against her living room and we couldn’t even hear our TV! (First world dilema, I know :-))

Long story short, after some prayer, we ended up breaking our newly signed 6 month lease, which cost us money to do so (although the Lord gave us favour with the landlord even in this – His grace). After putting in our 14 days notice to terminate the lease, Derek and I asked the Lord to show us what had happened. What had we done wrong, if anything? What was He wanting to teach us in this? It was such an upheaval, we were in for our third move in 4 months.

An hour or two after asking the Lord these questions it became apparent to both of us that the problem was……you guessed it,  it wasn’t Mayfield. We had missed the mark. We knew in our hearts all along that He was calling us to Mayfield. We moved into Waratah. (Just so you know, with COVID-19 there were suddenly many more houses in Mayfield up for rent and the Lord quickly provided a house in Mayfield, 2.1kms away on the other side of the railway, right on time and that has everything we needed and wanted and we’re extremely settled and happy here!)

The point is, we compromised. We didn’t want to, we didn’t mean to, it wasn’t intentional, we just missed the mark. How? We were more focused on ‘our house’ than HIS house. Selah.  It was in fact, God Himself getting us out of that house.  It wasn’t the building and it wasn’t the neighbour, but God Himself – His grace to get us back on track for what He wants.

Example 2

A fair while back, Derek and I stopped drinking tea, as in black caffinated tea and made the switch over to lemon & ginger tea (which isn’t really tea anyway). One day I may share the reason but that’s not important right now. Suffice to say, it was a God thing. Ever since, whenever I’ve drunk real tea, (which I haven’t for ages)  it hasn’t brought me the same joy it used to. (I think I’ve even included my love for tea in previous posts, lol!)

Well, just this very morning I went to make myself a ‘real’ tea.  Now, I only had some in the house for my mum when she comes to visit. This morning I just felt like a little bit of ‘kick’ (oooh, I didn’t even realise that ‘kick’ is what I was after until I literally just typed that out right now!) and some comfort (more on that another time).

You know what? I just couldn’t bring myself to drink it. I stood there with it steaming in my cup, cup to lips just to smell it even, and couldn’t drink it.  I was having this conversation with God in my head, going “Oh, this is ridiculous. Is it You? Is it me? Is this really such a big deal? I can’t drink it if I don’t have faith, and I feel so guilty?! I’m trying to defy all the sense of false guilt I have over this, by now trying to make myself drink it….”. I stood at the kitchen bench with my hands cupped around the mug on the counter.

“Resident Boss” I heard in my spirit. I recalled Watchman Nee sharing a story about ‘Resident Boss’ as the government of the Holy Spirit within us.

When eventually the man was able to visit Shanghai he told me the story. Using an
expression familiar in Chinese: `Brother Nee’, he said, `Resident Boss[14] wouldn’t let
me have that drink!’ `Very good, brother’, I said. `You always listen to Resident Boss!’
Many of us know that Christ is our life. We believe that the Spirit of God is resident in
us, but this fact has little effect upon our behaviour. The question is, do we know Him as
a living Person, and do we know Him as `Boss’? (Nee, The Normal Christian Life)

And then to my thoughts came a list of things that I had recently started to take up again, just this week. A few chocolates at night time, a glass of wine 2 nights this week (I usually have a glass of wine two or three times in a year!) and I’d bought margarine instead of butter. Now, these things are not a big deal in themselves but the Lord, Resident Boss, was showing me where I had begun to compromise on the good health habits He’d graced me with. This was His story with me, personally. Now I began to see how I was about to let black tea sneak in again.

[Can I just say something a little odd right now in the middle of all this? For the past week I have had Paul Simon’s song ‘Slip Slidin’ Away’playing in my head. I’d listened to it on Spotify whilst driving last week, and was struck by that line “You know, the nearer your destination, the more you’re slip slidin’away”.  The tighter we are staying in the will of God towards what He’s asked of us, just one little slip and we can be gradually sliding away. There you go. Resident Boss].

Back to the story. I poured the tea down the sink. And it wasn’t even hard to do so. In fact, I almost did it without consciousness that I was doing it. The Lord’s grace had stepped in. That grace that is the power to say no to sin or temptation   The Lord is wanting to keep me in His grace, in the good health habits, in the obedience, in the tight place of ownership that He as Resident Boss has and needs to have in my life. If He can’t have first place and ownership in the little seemingly insignificant things, how can He in the bigger more important things? If he can’t trust me with little, how can He trust me with much?

These are enormous lessons to me.  They seem like almost nothing, but they are hugely important.

Don’t compromise folks. Even on the tiniest little thing.  A little compromise here, a little there and before we know it we’re right off track. Right off target.  Listen to that still small voice. It is His voice. He is caring for you and Shepherding you through the testing of your faith to see if He has a faithful servant who will work with Him for His purpose. He never leaves us, He is there to guide us and encourage us in His paths of Righteousness for His Name’s sake. We belong to Him. He is our Resident Boss. He lives in us. He calls the shots now. We don’t belong to ourselves or anyone else for that matter. We can’t compromise.

Praise God that Jesus never compromised. Jesus never even took the tiniest piece of the bread that Satan offered Him whilst in the wilderness of temptation, though He was very, very hungry. Jesus never did a thing to jeopardise the Life of His Father in Him.  He was a man without sin. He had all the temptations that we have and yet never sinned.

What if He had sinned? What if He had given in to one little temptation? What if He’d just chosen His own comfort over the Father’s government, just for one moment? I shudder to think. I really do. By the grace of God, go I. Go we. The grace of God protects and keeps us.

Press on saints, stay the course, hesitate before you do that thing you sense no peace about, take the time to put your flesh, comforts, and preferences aside to wait on and listen to Him. He will tell you. He will make His mind known to you. And if you get it wrong unintentionally, and humble yourself before Him, His grace to correct your course will come.  He won’t leave you hanging. But He must be Resident Boss. His church must be His and wholly His. She can’t compromise.

There is a church that compromises. That’s the church that has let the ways of the world into her midst, she is like Israel was in the old testament (who is still lost and suffers for this by the way). That church has let in the values of the spirit of this world ever so subtlely, so quietly, so slowly, so gradually, so that that church hasn’t even noticed. That church can’t even see or recall where she got off track. Like Derek and I moving into the wrong suburb, we didn’t even see what we were doing until we’d done it.

But there is a church that doesn’t compromise. She is the true church. She is the strong warrior Bride of our Lord Jesus Christ. She takes heaven by force (Matthew 11:12). She doesn’t muck around, she’s not playing games, she’s not concerned with the opinions or approval of this world, she is sold out to Jesus. He is her lover, her Lord, her King, Her Resident Boss. He lives in her and she will not be moved.

What church are you in?

How Thirsty Are You?

Sometimes it’s not until I notice others around me are drinking water, that I become acutely or even remotely aware of my own thirst.

We all have the need to drink from the Living Water, that River and Water of Life that is Christ’s Life in us. The Fountain of Life, the Well that will never run dry.  Jesus said that for us who believe, out from us will flow rivers of Living water also, i.e. His Life.

“…but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14

In a way, one could say that the Samaritan woman at the well, drank from Jesus’ as The Living Water when she believed into Him, and out from her flowed His rivers of Living Water to others when she went and told her village about Jesus, and many came to Him and believed into Him also.

The Psalmist says ‘My soul thirsts for You like a parched land’. Land thirsts, plants and trees thirst, birds and beasts thirst, mankind thirsts. Every living thing thirsts for water. And this is a picture of how God made us, to need Him. All of creations’ need and thirst for water is a shadow and type of the innate need God has placed inside of humanity for the Life of His Son, Jesus, who is of-course, the Tree of Life, the River of Life, the Fountain of Life, the Living Water. It is also a picture of the reality that Jesus Christ is the One Source of All True Life. 

The thing about being a believer in the western world where we have suckled on man-made traditions, swallowing a camel but choking on a gnat, indulged in man-centered, individualistic Christianity, is we don’t recognize how thirsty for this Living Water we really are. We become like those the Lord chastised in the book of Jeremiah 2:13, who committed evil by forsaking the Fountain of Life for man-made cisterns that can’t hold water. 

Jesus said His life (blood) was ‘poured out’ for many – as one would pour out water. We are therefore, to ‘drink’. Jesus said He was our ‘real food’ and our ‘real drink’.

Thirst is an interesting thing. Physically it alerts us to the fact that we are dehydrated. Sometimes we are so unaware of our own condition physically, that we mistake dehydration for hunger pains, and so will eat something. But instead, our body is telling us we need water. Not a cup of tea, not coffee, not sugary drinks, not milk, not food, just water.

This too, is a picture of our spiritual condition at times. Sometimes we are oblivious to the fact that we are spiritually dehydrated. We have some kind of discomfort in our spirits that we don’t understand, we feel distant from God, spiritually bored, so we try and fill ourselves up with activity, entertainment, religious practices, socializing and so on. However, all along, we are in need of Jesus Christ, the Living Water, to quench our thirst. God has made us this way. As that beaut old hymn goes “For none but Christ can satisfy “. 

As believers, do we have the Living Water inside of us all the time? Yes of course. Jesus Christ lives and dwells in us. But a water well, needs to be drawn from. There’s an action, a doing, that is required on behalf of the thirsty one, to receive the water. We must actually ‘drink’.  So how do we drink this Living Water, this Christ, how do we draw from this River and Fountain of Life?

Let’s get back to basics.  Sadly, the basics are easily lost in our modern ‘christianity’ and we might need reminding. Both legalism and libertinism can rob the significance and power of ‘the basics’ in a believer’s life. 

When one drinks in the natural sense, the first thing one does is go to the ‘source’ of the water. It might be a tap, a river, a fridge, a bottle, but one makes the move toward the source. There is an action required. Secondly, one engages in the appropriate action required to drink. This might mean getting a cup, or cupping one’s hands to hold the water. You might call this the ‘taking’ part of the action. After taking, thirdly, one must do the most very basic thing, and no-one else can do this for us. We must take the water whether it is in a cup or in our cupped hands, and put it to our lips, open our mouths and partake.

All these basic natural movements toward drinking water, are a picture of the spiritual action we take to drink of His Living Water, and it is called ‘communing with God’.

In the spiritual, we must go to the One Source of Living Water, Christ. We have to take action to go to Him. This might be drawing aside from all other distractions, finding a quiet place, or simply in our heart of hearts turning to Him in a moment. Either way, it is an active response to our spiritual thirst. The ‘taking’ part in a spiritual sense, is our intentionality in what we’re doing. We turn to the Lord in faith, we set our eyes upon Him, we open our ears to His voice, we quiet our mind and heart before Him, sit with Him and wait upon Him, meditating our thoughts upon Him, calling on His Name.

The ‘engaging’ part in a spiritual sense, is our intimacy with Him. We actually ‘drink’. We, by faith, receive His Life, into us. We are spending this time with Him, we are communing with Him, fellow-shipping with Him, loving Him, letting Him love us, giving Him our time. We put everything else aside to be with Him in this intimate way. This is drinking.

And of-course, He does the rest. He Himself is the Living Water, not our activity, but He, the person, Jesus Christ. So He does the work of quenching our thirst, refreshing our spirit, restoring our soul, strengthening us in our faith and love of Him. And we are satisfied.

One of the interesting things about God making water and the innate need in every living thing to need it, is that He didn’t make it last. Rain doesn’t last forever. Rivers dry up. Droughts come. Wells run dry. Jesus said that whoever drinks from Him, will never thirst again, He is the well that will never run dry. In light of the exhortations and encouragements throughout the old and new testaments in scripture, I believe that He meant, because He is the ‘Source’ of the Living Water. We don’t just know and accept that He is dwelling in us and that’s it. We don’t go on in passivity toward this great reality! No, God always works with us and for us, to work with Him. We still need to go to the Source regularly in order to drink of this Living Water. Christ’s Well within us will always have Living Water available to us. His is the Well that will never run dry, we will always find water there, but we must ‘go’ there and ‘draw’ from Him.

Yes, Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches, but we need to keep abiding in Him. God said for us to draw near to Him, and then He will draw near to us! We work together with God, this is a two-way relationship we have entered into with God. All God’s promises in scripture are a two-way partnership. We do this, and He’ll do that. We abide and remain, obey, be true, giving up our lives for Him, lose our lives, and He will be faithful, He will grant the desires of our heart, He will make our paths straight, we will find our lives. It’s always a partnership. Of-course, He laid the foundation before creation and time, for our capacity to work with Him, and that is IN the Life of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Galatians 2:20 It’s no longer I who lives, but it is Christ living in me, and this life that I do live, I live by the faith of the Son of God.

But do we truly ‘abide’ in Him? Are we ‘walking’ in His life, under His reign and rule, as ones belonging only to God? Are we devoted to Him on a very personal and private individual level? Or are we living for ourselves, our own interpretation or preference of how to live a christian life?

One of the beautiful things about true body life, i.e. a community of believers devoted to Christ, and learning to live by the Lord’s indwelling life together for His purpose and glory,  is that we can discover by osmosis if we are not necessarily truly drinking of this Living Water on a daily basis as an individual member. When we see others spiritually drinking of the Lord’s life around us, we can become aware that we are thirsty and we also need to ‘move’,’take’, ‘engage’, ‘commune’ in our individual personal life with the Lord.

Being part of a community of believers is only as alive as the members of that body. If the members aren’t drinking spiritually, the whole community will be thirsty. It will become like a dried up river bed which can offer no Living Water to anyone else. But when the individual members are drinking, that Living Water, the life of Christ will bubble up and flow out from their innermost beings, and corporately all will find Christ as their true drink together. He will indeed be manifested as inner springs of Living Water flowing out from them and all thirst will be gloriously quenched and hearts drawn nearer to Him. 

As flesh begets flesh, so does spirit beget spirit. So does spiritual thirst beget spiritual thirst. None but Christ can satisfy. We thirst for Him all the time because He alone is our True drink, He alone satisfies.

Lord, teach us to drink of You. Show us our spiritual thirst. You lead us beside still waters and You restore our soul. You alone can satisfy.

Dear saint, if you are needing some inspiration toward turning and drinking of the Lord, I can recommend downloading this song called ‘I Thirst’ by Kathryn Mary Johnston.

https://kathrynmaryjohnston.com/track/541372/i-thirst

 

Is God Sometimes Silent? Part 2

 

(Click here for Part 1 Is God Sometimes Invisible? if you missed it)

For many months I had experienced a real sense of the Lord’s life in and around me.  It seemed He was definitely active in teaching me things, showing me more of Himself, speaking to me through others, through creation or things I read. My times of communion with Him had been rich and fruitful. Even through trials and challenges I sensed His life and purpose in it all. It seemed like it had become a new way of living and it felt solid and dependable.

But in this particular season He was all but gone. Or so it seemed.

I continued my walk through the park to sit down on the park bench. The bench was facing a large pond with a fountain in its centre.  The water was reaching high into the air, gushing and flowing as it had been every day that I’d been there to walk Rocky.

As I sat there still ruminating on how the Lord had just spoken to me of His hiddenness in the picture of the camouflage tree (see Part 1)  I was startled by the abrupt silence of the fountain stopping its flow. Suddenly everything was deathly quiet and I realised that I hadn’t even noticed how loud it had been until it stopped.

It came quickly to me in that moment that I had been pining for the noisy and active flow of the Lord’s life that I had known in recent months and that now, as with this fountain in front of me, it seemed all flow had ceased and all had gone quiet, if not silent.

Just as quickly, I sensed the Lord speak this into my spirit;

I am in the noisy flow of life and I am in the silence also. The noise and the silence are both aspects of Me. Don’t wish any part of Me away. 

I was astonished.

Lord, cause me to accept Your apparent silences and to not lose heart or faith that even that is part of who You are. You are in all things. You have so many expressions of who You are that even eternity cannot contain them. Help me to hear You and recognise You in the silence, that I might know You more. You will never be put in a box Lord. You are always far beyond how we have known You in the past, even the recent past. You are enormous and Oh! how You want us to know You in all of Your expressions. 

 

Is God Sometimes Invisible? Part 1

During the first couple of weeks living in a new state, no home of our own, new folk, new places, new streets, (i.e. nothing familiar), I admit I felt a little lost at times.

Not only was I in a very unfamiliar place but it also seemed like God had all but removed Himself from the experience. And God was the very reason for our move!

One day when I took Rocky for a walk I really poured my heart out to God. “Help me to find you in this place Lord” I cried with tears. “But if I’m to be here and still not see you, give me Your faith to go on regardless”.

As I walked around the side of a pond I came to three trees. I instinctively felt the Lord was drawing my attention to the trees ( He hadn’t really left :-)).

As I walked up to one of the trees which at the time was heavy with luscious life, I stroked the trunk. I noticed it’s bark was coming off in little square-like patches, yet each piece that was lifting wasn’t loose. If I had pulled at a lifting piece I may have torn at the tree itself so I just studied it and ran my hand over it.

It had patches of different stages of the peeling bark so it was rather multicoloured- a patch of light green new tree trunk here, a patch of old darker brown bark there, a patch of pale grey bark in other places and patches of cream in yet other places.

“What is it You’re showing me Lord?” I asked through gentle tears and a downcast soul.

So I stood back a few paces from the tree and observed at a slight distance what I had just been examining up close.

The tree looked like the Australian Military camouflage uniform. In fact it was almost identical! One could be forgiven for believing the design for the uniform was actually fashioned from this type of tree. It’s camouflage pattern and colouring was perfect.

Then it came. ” I am alive and well in this place but I am hidden. It will take a trained eye to see Me”.

Sigh.  “Train my eyes Lord”.

13You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14‘I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, (Jeremiah 29:13-14)

God brought Derek and I to this new place to learn Christ more in the body of believers here. We had known Christ a certain way before, yes in many different ways. However, we sensed that God wanted us to learn Christ afresh and in a way we never had before. This was calling for a ‘trained eye’ (of-course Christ is our Teacher) and a desperate heart to seek after Him where we are.

And so we have ’embarked’ on a new subject in this school of Christ, which is knowing Christ in His Body.

Stay tuned for Part 2…..

How Can We Know The Power of Christ’s Resurrection Life?

he-is-risen

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)

What a beautiful and rich desire Paul had and what a powerful indicator this verse is, of where our lives as believers ought to be headed.

There’s two aspects of this verse that I would like to write about and I’ll do it as a two- part series.  Firstly, ‘The Power of His Resurrection’ and secondly, ‘The Fellowship of His Suffering’.

The Power of His Resurrection

More and more in reality and experience, not just in theory and head-knowledge, I am seeing that this Christ we love and serve, truly is a risen Christ. I’ll say it again…He’s a risen Christ! That’s everything! That means, He died and He rose from the dead. (How can we even comprehend such an event unless the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to this reality?! It is too mighty for us).

Incredibly though, there is something even greater about Christ than this. His being risen from the dead is one thing. An astounding thing. An incompressible thing unless the Spirit enables us to believe. But we have read accounts throughout scripture and even in modern day times, where people have been raised from the dead. So we accept that God can and does raise people from the dead, to His own glory. However, even those who have been raised from the dead, whether in scripture times or present times, still eventually die. But not so with Christ!

Christ is beyond risen, He is living right now and forevermore!

I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. (Revelation 1:18).

Jesus said to Martha;

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;(John 11:25)

So there is much more than the miracle of people being raised from the dead on the earth only to one day again die and await the final resurrection with all God’s children.  There is much more to Christ having been raised from the dead. Christ remains and lives forever as a resurrected one, as no other before or after Him (until all who belong to Him are resurrected in that final day). There is now, in Him, a resurrection life to live by, for all who are in Christ, right now!

But what did Paul mean when he said he wanted to know the power of His resurrection life? How can we know this power?

I suppose the obvious answer is the precursor to this phrase in what Paul said in Philippians 3:18 and that is to ‘know Him’, to ‘know Christ’. It seems that to truly ‘know’ Christ enables us to know the power of His resurrection life. To know this power of Christ’s resurrection life, is to know and partake of all the abundance of Christ which through His death and resurrection has been made available to us right here and now. But without knowing Him, how can we partake?

Christ’s resurrection life is a type of life. It’s a quality and type of life that is not of this world. It is a life that has overcome death. It is a life by His Spirit. It is not just ‘a’ life, it is HIS life. It is in fact, Christ Himself! Paul, like us, wanted to know the ‘power’ of Christ’s resurrection life. That means that His resurrection life is one of power, doesn’t it?

Do you feel like a Christian who lives with power? What power are we talking about, then? We’re not talking about power to live out our own will, lives, passions, desires, wants. We’re not talking about a power to serve ourselves. No, we’re talking about Christ’s life! We’re talking about the power to live out HIS life here on earth! It’s His Life, by His power.

So how do we do this? How do we partake and appropriate His resurrection life in all its power that has been made available to us?

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us
in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3)

As fellow-blogger Cheryl McGrath (Bread for the Bride) so beautifully describes, this ‘heavenly realm’ mentioned here in Ephesians 1 is not a physical locality, but a realm in which we as believers now live, in Christ. We are not waiting to die and go to heaven to then have every spiritual blessing! We have every spiritual blessing in Christ and Christ is now! He is the Living One, and we are in Him.

Milt Rodriguez (The Rebuilders) once described this partaking of Christ’s resurrection life as like taking food from a fridge. When we need something to eat or drink, we who live in first world countries, go to our fridge and open the door and take from the shelf. We don’t look at the fridge and wish and hope and pray that the food that is inside the fridge will suddenly become ours. We open the fridge door and we reach in our hand and we ‘take’ what is available.

This is like Jesus. Christ’s resurrection life is readily available to us. And just like opening the fridge door and taking what is there for ourselves, we, by faith, take what is already available to us in Christ. This is called partaking of His life and this is called appropriating what we know to be true. 

It is an act of faith to live by HIS resurrection life.

How does this play out practically, you might ask? Well, I’d like to share an experience I had recently that has really encouraged me in this practise of appropriating (putting action to) my faith in this way.

I’m not a person who loves confrontation, in fact I tend to shy away from it unless I feel very passionate about the situation and then I’m bold to go right in, though often with shaking hands and quivering voice. I recognise however, that over the years, I have mostly confronted situations…people really…out of my own strength. I’ve done it out of my own set of values or preferences or sense of right and wrong. I know when I’ve acted on my own volition, or out of my own soul-life and not led by the Spirit of Christ within me, because I’m left with guilt or pride, no peace and generally the situation has only worsened.

Recently, I was presented with a situation where one very dear to me was being verbally attacked by another. Both are Christians. And the one who is very dear to me, well, I’ve witnessed her life and I believe I know her heart as well as anyone could know another’s heart. Things had been pretty dreadful between both parties for a long time but on this latest attack I felt something rise up within me, to speak up and defend her. I had the peace of God to do so and even after the event, that peace remained.

The party who was verbally attacking of-course responded to me and I felt somewhat attacked but it didn’t matter. Now, normally, this sort of thing would leave me feeling sick with anxiety and upset. As I was being tempted to focus my thoughts on the dialogue that had gone on between us, and being tempted into imagination and thinking the worst, I remembered the fridge.

I turned to the Lord and held out my arms as a display of embracing all that He is, all that is His abundant supply available to me right now. I declared that in faith, I take Your calmness Lord, I take Your patience, I take Your peace and Your ability to let it go into Your hands. In and of myself, I cannot let it go so I take Your capacity to let it go.

Miracle of miracles. I let go.

Miracle of miracles. I am sitting in the peace that surpasses all understanding, spoken of in Philippians 4:6-8 which reads;

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think on these things.…

I appropriated by faith what I know to be true and I partook of Christ’s resurrection life, and it has become power to me. I didn’t do it. I couldn’t do it. I know what I can do and at the best, I can self analyse and apply some positive self-talk and pray. No, Christ’s resurrection life overcame the temptation to indulge in fear, anxiety, upset, judgement and sin. The angst and upset of the situation lost it’s power like a bucket with holes in it drains of water. 

I believe this has been a lesson 101 for me, in learning to know the power of Christ’s resurrection life. This resurrection life of Christ is the power to live by His life. Can I encourage you to turn to the Lord and take for yourself, all that He is for you in every situation, by faith. Draw from His life. This is power for us to live by His life in every situation because He is the Living One. He was dead but now He is alive and lives for ever and ever.

 

 

Are You Really Vulnerable? 

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Have you ever seen a movie where a submarine is submersed in the ocean and the enemy above is dropping depth chargers? I saw this in a movie the other week and Derek explained to me how the depth chargers worked and what they were intended to do. Basically, the closer they explode to the sub the more damage they will do. But it’s all about creating pressure. When the charger explodes it creates incredible pressure on the sub so that eventually there’s enough pressure that it starts to split, generally starting in its centre which is the prime place for damage.

Sound familiar?

Well over the last ten days or more I’ve had various things happening and changes occurring in my life – death of a friend, substantial financial adjustments and emotional issues – things that have been impacting my internal world. You might say my ‘centre’ has seemed somewhat vulnerable?

 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:26)

I had a picture of those depth charges come to mind yesterday and subsequently I realised there is some enemy activity trying to sink me with building pressure. Have you ever felt all that pressure pressing so hard against you that your head actually physically hurts? Looking at the submarine picture again, it’s like a tin can being gradually crushed. Have you felt like that? child-1439468_1280

So something else I realised about this kind of enemy activity of creating and building pressure in order to break us, is that it is all external. That’s right, it’s all outside of us. It’s not us, and its definitely not from within.  It doesn’t mean the situations and circumstances aren’t real and valid, but there’s a pressure that is so strong and powerful, and not of this world. It ‘feels’ and ‘appears’ to be beyond our capacity to cope with. That’s something else folks. That’s external.

But you know what? Christ isn’t vulnerable. Christ doesn’t succumb to pressure. He’s completely solid and secure. He’s not in any danger of any pressure or of drowning or of any type of enemy activity. Christ is the overcomer!

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

That world that Jesus is talking about there, is the spirit of this world.

And guess what else? I’m in Christ! And you’re in Christ, if you are a follower of Him.

For in him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28)

That means we are inside of Him and so if Christ is not vulnerable (and He’s not!), then neither are we!

Abide in me, and I will abide in you…” (John 15:4)