Made Competent

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 9.44.48 AM“Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant — not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

2 Corinthians 3:4-6 NIV

Becoming competent in the Bible is not the same as “competence” in the Spirit. A few years ago I would have balked greatly at such a statement. But as the Lord has seen fit to allow me to live these years, I have discovered a wealth of “heart-knowledge” that previously was missed in my study of the Word.

I love the Word – all of it; from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. I have spent my life in the pursuit of the knowledge contained within these sacred pages. I have discovered fact upon fact that was not seen when I was younger. However, what our Lord is opening in me and through me now is not more “facts,” in the normal sense of the term, but His own heartbeat of love, care, empowerment, direction, mind, and life. It far surpasses what I had seen and understood previously. I am so deeply excited that I hardly know which passage to teach first. They are all brimming full of life and its fullness in my Lord.

The passage above is overflowing in heart knowledge. Paul was explaining to the people in the Corinthian body of believers that the confidence he lived in was not the confidence of arrogance, nor of self-accomplishment. It was instead the confidence in His Lord – or we could say, his trust that His Lord was accomplishing His will through Paul’s life. This confidence produced a trust in who Jesus had proven to be and then a willingness to live in that reality.

Paul had been trained by the best. His education was far beyond most of the Jewish nation and certainly far beyond the other apostles. Yet, that was not what qualified Him to be Apostle to the Corinthian believers. It was instead the teaching of Holy Spirit filled understanding of living a life in Christ – instead of by a law book. Teaching the Scriptures through an understanding of law creates creatures of brittleness and ugliness of heart. They are not capable of Spirit knowledge nor flight of life in His heart. They will know only what is written – not what is breathed.

No amount of “facts” can give that “breath” to an individual. We are always lacking. However, in Him, there is no lack and He empowers beyond our knowing. It is not the knowledge of men that he needs us to share, but the knowledge of His heart. We can say that the Word and all of its facts are exactly that. That is true – but only in the understanding of the Spirit. Otherwise, we are caught up on our own questions and their lack of answers.

So as we read, study, and dig out meanings and understandings, let’s remember to listen and to remain open to the heartbeat and breath that will come if we lean. It what He knows that we and the whole world are waiting to hear.

A Moment by Moment Reality

FullSizeRender.jpg“One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek; That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in His temple.” Psalm 27:4 NKJV

After I had read my daily portion of Scripture this morning, I read ahead a bit in the Psalms and came to this passage. I have stayed there for most of the morning! It is awesome for a New Creation Covenant Son of Almighty God to read such things. First of all, we are told in 1 Corinthians 3 & 6 that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. So I am that house. You are that house – if you know Jesus. That means we are always there – so this passage is the moment by moment reality for the believer. He lives in me. I am the house of prayer Jesus was talking about when He threw the money changers out in the gospel of Matthew & John.

I had never really thought about all that when I read this Psalm. WOW! This is what we are, individually, as believers. So moment by moment I can behold the beauty of the LORD! In my enjoyment in Him with that phrase, I came into a radical knowledge – we individually are His beauty. We shine as His light and we are His witnesses in the earth, by our being Him.

Such inclusion, such provision, such holy, righteous being who makes me as He is in this world – 1 John 4:17. His emphasis is not our failings, all of us have plenty of those, but His emphasis and the emphasis of Scripture within the New Covenant is His sufficiency. When we begin to really take His provisions and sufficiency into our moment by moment reality, then we have no need to sin. Instead the passage comes true, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16. It is an amazing walk in His love and goodness.

May it be our reality today beloved reader – our moment by moment reality of His love and inclusion. Thank you Jesus!

 

Notice Above

If you will notice in the menu area above this post, there is this: Do Yourself A Favor, Forgive! I have written a small booklet about the power we have in Jesus to forgive. If you would like to read it, there is a link. If you click it, the PDF will open in your screen.

I am hoping to work with a download ability. But for now – at least it is up.

Enjoying A December Day in NY

Really, really cold day in Central NY. While all the southern loving people are hating this weather, I am enjoying it very much. My feet do get cold, so I always need to have them encased in something warm, and as I grow older I have a shorter time of enjoyment. For instance, in Mid-March, I do not find pleasure in a huge snow-storm – most of the time.

However, as I ponder all the negative press our weather is getting, I am in my warm home rejoicing. There are no insects to avoid (I am quite allergic to most of them – bees in particular can cause extreme difficulty with me). There is no lawn to mow and no painting outside that can be done. So I have more time to write and study.

I do not need to make certain I can get cool. That is one of the biggest problems I have physically with very warm weather – I cannot stay warm or I will be in trouble. It seems that my physical system does not easily cool itself. So it is easy for me to overheat and rather dangerous due to sun-stroke. So during these beautiful months – none of these things need to be on my radar.

Thankfully, my family understands and puts up with my joy in the beauty of a snow covered lawn and the cold, cold nights. If I were younger, (and when I was younger), I would enjoy cross country skiing or snowshoeing over the beautiful fluff. However, I do not try that now. Getting from house to car and into buildings is about as far as I go in enjoying it.

As I sit and ponder the beauty and the quiet I find great enjoyment in it all. Oh yes, the quiet. We actually live on a very busy street in the city, and in the summer we have all the city sounds. Due to the snows’ insulating properties, in the winter it is as if we live in the country – so very, very quiet. I can think and pray and enjoy the stillness – or should I say, the seeming stillness.

So I guess it does take “all types” to make a world. I have enjoyed ministry trips to Florida during the winter, but would find the climate oppressive long-term. It is much too hot for my thick blood in the summer.

So, to all you who love the warm weather – that’s OK. I will continue to bless you. However, I will enjoy the journey of staying warm. It is easier than trying to get cool.

Enjoy the beauty and oh yes, “I love NY.”

Blessed Thanksgiving

img_0400As we look toward Thanksgiving, may we remember that just because of Jesus in our lives, we are blessed beyond measure. Being thankful has nothing at all to do with our circumstances nor our situations. It has to do with belonging in the heart of Jesus Christ and belonging with His people.

It is a wonderful “season” in our year when we can begin to cultivate thankfulness – way beyond the normal. Let’s learn to enjoy being thankful. At our Friday Fellowship last week I taught on 1 Thessalonians 5:12-26 where the often quoted passage“…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” is located. Here God’s will for each one of us is spelled out very clearly. We are to be a people of giving thanks – no matter what.

It is about perception. When we begin to purposely be thankful our circumstances may not change, but our perception of them will. Our reality begins to make a “God shift,” and we are able to see and understand things that we could not see nor understand before. In that way, thanksgiving is a gate into seeing reality through the eyes of our Lord Jesus and His provision of love and grace.

As we look forward to the day, experience the day, and then reflect on the day – let’s make our attitude of thankfulness one that permanently finds expression in our being. This one adjustment in our thinking will make tremendous changes in us as we move forward.

Have a safe and blessed Thanksgiving Day – and season!

The Glory of Jesus!

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“…that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one –….” John 17:21-22 NIV

The verses above carry to us a little known fact. Even though this entire passage is often taught and quoted, yet this little fact is seldom mentioned. The Lord Jesus Christ has given us His glory!

Christians often quote Isaiah42:11(also 48:11) “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.” (NIV) We hasten to explain that we do not take to ourselves what is God’s alone. I understand how this is easy to do, for I have done it many times. However, this verse (22 above) clearly states that He has give us His glory as a part of our inheritance in Him.

The reality is, when we received Jesus Christ we became “born from above” and that means God is our Father. Therefore, giving us His glory is not giving it to another, but it is His, therefore when He lives in us, it is given to us as a family characteristic.

Our being His glory is a part of the evidence that we dwell in two dimensions – this one on earth where everyday-life occurs, and we dwell in the Heavenly realms where we hear, see and know things worked in Spirit power. Our new birth in Him did not leave us the same – instead He came, through the Holy Spirit — and lives within our beings. Therefore, we are bearers of His image and His glory.

Beloved, we need to believe the whole Bible. If we read the books of the New Covenant, we will know that the Lord has made us adequate (not of ourselves, but in the Spirit) to accomplish all He has given us to do in His power and giftedness. I believe He said something like us doing greater things than He did. That is an impossible task, unless we step into the Spirit realm and allow glory and empowerment to flow. May we possess the true humility of a full son of God living, working and praising in Him and through Him. Thank you Lord!

Being One

bible-lightbulb-photoshop“I do not ask for these only, however, but also for those believing through their word into Me — that all might be one, as you, Father are in Me and I in You — that they also might be in us that the world might believe that you sent me.” (John 17:20  IG Version)

My heart often turns to these passages in John 17. I need to work with this one before we can turn to those that follow. You will notice that the translation is my own. I am just correcting (or in this case clearing up) a word usage that I feel is important. That word is underlined and while it may not seem to be important (as the word can be translated “in”) it contains a concept that gets overlooked in the dynamic of these verses. So thank you for bearing with me.

Jesus is praying for His disciples just before His death and very preciously includes us in that prayer. In this verse He began to reveal His heart regarding all of us. The word “into” gives a good meaning to it all because it is not a just a mental “believe.” That is an invention of our western culture. In the Hebrew understanding it is impossible. If we truly “believe” (Greek word can also be translated trust, have confidence in, and contains all those meanings) then our entire person is involved in the oneness of that action. Paul’s words to the people in Athens were, In Him we live and move and have our very being.” He was speaking to unbelievers. So just think what awesome things are ours as believers when we purposely place our persons “into” Him.

This is how this “oneness” is a reality. Notice that our call is not primarily to be “one” with one another, but to be “one” in His person. That makes us one together. Our oneness together is a by-product of our being one in Him. Trying to accomplish this in the flesh will never create what is talked about here. Actually, when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Church that beautiful Pentecost day 2,000 years ago, we were made one in Him. It is not our work to do it, but to acknowledge it and live its truth.

The “oneness” His is praying for is our life in His that makes us a part of the oneness of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is in that placement that we are a huge billboard advertisement that Jesus is real.

“If you then were raised with Christ, desire those things which are above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on earth. For you are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life shall appear, then you also shall appear with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4 MEV

This “hidden in Him” is a product of being one in Him. Being one in Him makes us one with the Father. Now you may say that you already knew all of that, probably so, but I believe we need to understand it much more deeply in our beings. When we turn to the Lord in prayer, we have in effect joined Heaven’s table of sharing. It is a family thing – we have gathered with our family – we are in His likeness – around the table of “one.”

In Him, I am accepted and empowered. All religious forms to make me “closer to God” drop off as unnecessary and useless as I join where I belong by the nature of my oneness in Him. He lives in my being! What a marvelous freedom. It remakes the very essence of prayer in our beings. It is such sweetness, acceptance and joy.

Think about this and open to its reality in your being. It is so sweet. More next post. Thanks so for reading.