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“For you are still [unspiritual, having the nature] of the flesh [under the control of ordinary impulses]. For as long as [there are] envying and jealousy and wrangling and factions among you, are you not unspiritual and of the flesh, behaving yourselves after a human standard and like mere (unchanged) men? 1Cor 3:3 AMP

“What is born of [from] the flesh is flesh [of the physical is physical]; and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.”  Jn 3:6 AMP

“That each of you should know how to possess (control, manage) his own body in consecration (purity, separated from things profane) and honor, not [to be used] in the passion of lust like the heathen, who are ignorant of the true God and have no knowledge of His will … for God has not called us to impurity but to consecration [to dedicate ourselves to the most thorough purity. Therefore, whoever disregards (sets aside and rejects this) disregards not man but God, Whose [very] Spirit [Whom] He gives to you is holy (chaste, pure).” 1Thes 4:4-5,7-8 AMP

“[Strive to save] others, snatching [them] out of [the] fire; on others take pity [but] with fear, loathing even the garment spotted by the flesh and polluted by their sensuality.” Jude 1:23 AMP

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Do I fear my soul?

The question of whether I fear my soul is straightforward, however the answer is not – exactly.

I don’t fear my soul. I fear its independent and un-submitted activity, without obedience and reference to the Holy Spirit. My soul on its own is like the mind of the flesh defined in Romans 8:6 – sense and reason without the Holy Spirit which is death.

This is in contrast to the mind of the Spirit which is life and soul peace…

But let us explore the previous state a moment – the mind of the flesh which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:7 explains that the mind of the flesh is hostile to God.  Its thoughts are carnal, and its purposes are opposed to God for it does not submit itself to God’s Law for it cannot.  It is rebellious therefore to God.

When each of us was saved a process began of bringing light to our darkness. Ephesians describes our condition as, “For once you were darkness….” Eph 5:8.  All that we once were was darkness – that was our condition. But as our soul (will, intellect, and emotions) are freed to light by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit – then light expands within us.  It is a process where we submit our will, our thoughts, and emotions to come into agreement with God and no longer resist Him.

But where I retain independence and different ideas than what is presented by the word, I retain self thinking based on self truth – there, in that place, is an absense of light, and an absense of obedience and submission.  In that place, death still reigns and there is an absense of the Holy Spirit. There resides the mind of the flesh… independent of God.

This is why we must renew our minds daily with the word of God – to rout out darkness of fleshly thinking and any thought that exalts itself against the true knowledge of God (2Cor 10:5).

Sidebar:  There is a really intriguing book called “The Latent Power of the Soul” by Watchmen Nee.  In it he explains some very almost bizarre things, like where Extra Sensory Perception,  and some other psychological abilities come from – the soul. He further explains that these abilities were given to Adam to help him perform God’s call upon him to care for the garden.  But with Adam’s fall, and the way into the Garden shut these abilities of the soul were all as fallen as Adam himself, and thus forbidden. The reason being, their entire operation would be thus totally independent from God and in operation as fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

With the coming of Christ and rebirth came a parallel of giftings now under the leading of the Holy Spirit. Now came words of knowledge, gifts of healings, wonder working power all sourced by the Holy Spirit.

The major warning of this book however, is how in the last days (now) men will be deceived and believe they are working under the Spirit’s power, but really Satan will have confused them into stirring up the latent power of their souls. The end result of this is, Satan wins in bringing many under condemnation and death because of their independent and rebellious action (think Balaam and Balak and bringing the Israelites under God’s wrath). Believers will believe they are operating under the power of the Holy Spirit, but they will actually be operating under there own soulish power.

This sums up why our independent, soulish thinking is so dangerous. It results in death. Galatians 6:7-8 is very clear.  Whatever a man sows, that and only that is what he will reap.

For he who sows to his own flesh (lower nature, sensuality) will from the flesh reap decay and ruin and destruction, but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”  Gal 6:8

Now in the last days, apostasy ( a falling away) happens so that people who once looked like they were followers of Christ instead fall away and are taken captive in deception…

This is what we are seeing even today as people are embracing doctrines that are expressly against the truth of the word of God. Bizarre practices are arising in many quarters where people who once appeared as strong believers are pursuing power and energy and ability regardless of its source and throwing all caution to the wind.

This is a sensuality of the spirit. Where once sensuality was a matter of the flesh and gratifying its demands, now it has taken and polluted even the spirits of these who pursue such gratification disguised as spiritual hunger. It is in fact spiritual, but it is not Godly, nor is it holy.

Have you heard about practices of “grave soaking?” Have you heard of people “activating angels? Have you heard teaching that no longer focuses on a life lived for Christ, but rather calls you to “take the city” or take kingdom dominion now in government, entertainment, or arts, or any other of seven mountains? Have you heard people disdain end times teachings on the rapture, or totally dismissed the need for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, which Scripture itself presents as the Promise of the Father? Beware!

Here is a pivotal truth. Corruption begins in the heart – this is where it radiates from, but a constantly renewed mind can bring transformation to the body, soul, and spirit.  And so it is in the hidden heart of even the believer that independent, rebellious thinking can percolate and bring ruin. (Rom 12:1-3)

We are not called to be conformed to the current tides of cutting-edge religious movements, nor called to excessive behavior that we see in what once appeared to be saints hungry to serve the Living God…

But we are called to be consecrated to God Himself, that we should abstain and shrink from all sexual vice, that we should know how to possess (control, manage) our bodies in consecration, not to be used in the passion of lust like heathen who are ignorant of the true God and have no knowledge of His will —

The kicker point:  Where do I embrace and yield to and receive this will of God?  It is in my own soul – my mind that has been renewed and transformed and is now the mind of the spirit (with God), and not the mind of the flesh (sense and reason without the Holy Spirit).

Acts 2:38 Peter speaking …

Repent (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Am I afraid of my soul?  Actually, forget my soul – I forget and lose sight of myself… I choose to set my love on Christ (Ps 91:14), and set my heart and mind on Him (Col 3:1-3), and lay ahold of that for which He has laid ahold of me (Phil 3:12) …

And I pray you will do the same.

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“To reveal (unveil, disclose) His Son within me so that I might proclaim Him among the Gentiles (the non-Jewish world) as the glad tidings (Gospel),…” Gal 1:16

As Thanksgiving dawns on the horizon before us, and as the age of the church waxes into maturity – I perceive a threat that is so subtle and precarious I must call out a warning!

We are enveloped in a time where it appears appropriate, even savvy for believers to press in for “more of the Lord” in every way possible.

More experiences,

More depth,

More of Him,

More anointing,

More power!

We are in danger of being “more” aligned with the heart of Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8:9-24) and the heart of Herod to witness a sign (Luke 23… than the heart of Christ.

We are forgetting our constant need for consecration … to be separated to God — not to show what miraculous things can be done, or what wonderful people God can make us, but so Jesus can be revealed in us and through us! (Gal 1:16)

This is the witness He calls us to be. We witness of Him not of ourselves!

Now in the current press and desire to “have more” of Jesus, there lurks this unrecognized danger.  The danger being that we have been led astray, moved into a spirit of error, and believe we are desiring more of Him, but secretly we are desiring more of ourselves.  Like Paul says, “our minds have been corrupted and seduced from whole-hearted and sincere and pure devotion to Christ,” and instead we have been moved to a more insidious and secret devotion to self.

How smart and cunning is our adversary Satan, to take desire for more and turn it inwards upon our soul! He cannot preclude us from salvation, but in corruption he can make us polluted beyond recovery.

Like Jude 1:11 describes, “they have run riotously in the way of Cain, and have abandoned themselves for the sake of gain [it offers them, following] the error of Balaam, and have perished in rebellion [like that] of Korah!”

So my warning is this! Beware of your own soulish notions of “wanting more!” Do not trust they are pure!  But rather trust the Lord that as you continue to turn towards Him in pure devotion to Him alone, He will fulfill the desires of your heart.

Proverbs 30:8-9 contains great wisdom for us all:

Remove far from me falsehood and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, Lest I be full and deny You and say, Who is the Lord?…”

Here is an important fact… John the Baptist never performed a single sign or miracle, but everything he said about Jesus was true… (Jn 10:41)

We are rapidly making our Christian walk about us, and how we are used of the Lord and our experiences (which is all self-centered), rather than what the Lord desires.

The Apostle Paul made an insightful comment about this attitude and focus of the heart when he revealed in Philippians 3:12 that he was pressing on to lay ahold and make his own that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of him!

He wasn’t laying hold of more of the Lord, or more of the promises, nor more anointing! But rather for the Lord’s purpose to be accomplished in his life!

While he did desire to know the Lord in the power of His resurrection, in the fellowship of suffering, and in obedience unto death, these came after the consecration in Phillippians 3:7-8. This is consecration as a protection against rampant self indulgence!

Now, this is my own understanding that I relate here… 

In each of our hearts lie ideas, concepts, perceptions, hopes etc… some known but some secret, hidden in darkness even to ourselves. It is in continually consecrating ourselves to God and before God that unholy desires and notions are purged. 

Proverbs 16:6 says that by mercy, love, truth, and fidelity [to God and man—not by sacrificial offering], iniquity is purged out of the heart….

My brothers and sisters, it is this kind of purging that each of us needs, especially as the age winds down and the deceptions of the enemy attempt to snag us from devotion to Christ.

Matthew 6:21-23 discuss the issue of treasure (what captivates our heart), and the light of our soul.  I believe with all my heart that the quantity and quality of light in our soul and heart is directly attributable to a giving over of self and devotion to God.  So when it refers to the body being full of light, it is really saying the body can only project the light in our hearts and soul born of complete devotion to the Lord.  Where our hearts are mixed (desiring the Lord but the things of self as well) light is dimmed.  And where the light of devotion is sorely compromised towards self, the light becomes darkness! How great will that darkness then be!

I pray this season for a heart of light for the Body of Christ! Eyes that are sound and not evil, and for a whole-hearted devotion to Christ unhindered by self, or the deceptions of the enemy!

May the dominion of the Lord in His Body be full!

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“[The Gospel] regarding His Son, Who as to the flesh (His human nature) was descended from David, and [as to His divine nature] according to the Spirit of holiness was openly designated the Son of God in power [in a striking, triumphant and miraculous manner] by His resurrection from the dead, even Jesus Christ our Lord (the Messiah, the Anointed One).” Rom 1:3-4 AMP

“Now while the Pharisees were still assembled there, Jesus asked them a question, saying, What do you think of the Christ? Whose Son is He? They said to Him, The Son of David.” Mt 22:41-42 AMP

There is almost no greater question in the world to ponder, than this:  “What do you think of the Christ?  Whose Son is He?”

To be reading the Word of God, is to be connecting with the thought of God.  And when your venture into the Word, and your connection to His thought, leads you to a question that He poses, it is a launching point of discovery … an excavation of divine mystery! Don’t go screaming past it … just trying to check off your reading for the day! Don’t just give the pat answer which has no anchor or platform in your own heart!

Stop!  Slow down!  Hear the Spirit as He elevates issues to ponder and explore! This is how you grow!

My desire is not to give you an exhaustive answer here – that would require more skill than I have, and would become itself a book!

But I want to present some reasons and lines of pursuit, for why this question is so provocative; Why it absolutely must be considered at length!

First, in becoming clear on “the Christ – whose Son is He”, you will find the underpinnings of truth for the most basic claims that Jesus Christ is 100% God and 100% Man, and how that could be…

Romans 1:3-4 reveals that Jesus has both a human nature, and a divine nature.  How can He be called the Son of David (from his seed), and still be the Son of God?  Jesus’ lineage in Luke is traced through Nathan (a son of David) to Mary the mother of Jesus.  Because sin is traced through the paternal line, having Mary as His physical birth parent did not present that sin nature issue. That is, Jesus was without sin, even though He had a physical birth.

You may recall, Joseph was assumed to be the father of Jesus, but the Word assures us over and over that the real Paternal line tracked from God the Father, Himself: Mt 3:17; Mt 17:5; Jn 3:16.

Interestingly enough, during the first century (85-95 A.D. when the Books of John were written), there were two false theories concerning Christ that were challenging His deity and human nature as coexisting.  The first, Docetism, regarded Jesus as only a ghost and claimed that He only seemed to have a physical body.  The second theory, Cerinthianism, claimed that Jesus was sometimes human, and sometimes divine – but didn’t allow for both simultaneously and continuously as is true.

Second reason why this is provocative, when the truth about Jesus Christ is settled in our hearts, we will not be subject to the sway and error of whatever is the current philosophy. We will have the truth for instance and the assurance that Jesus was 100% God and 100% Man. The impact of that certainty will not only mean we will fully lean on the Lord, but we will also fully apprehend His promises.

The structural integrity of our entire Christian faith can be at risk unless these truths are settled within us. They are foundational!

If I don’t understand that Jesus was 100% Man, I won’t understand the grandeur, cost, or perfection of His being a sacrifice for my sins.  But also, if I don’t understand that He is 100% God, I will fail to perceive and believe and apprehend that Jesus gave me a new nature, a new spiritual man that is heavenly-minded, and that is to be walked out in me instead of my old-man nature of the flesh that is fallen and cannot please God. (1Jn 3)

It is paramount that the Word dwells in us richly and brings us to a full understanding. As believers, you have the nature of God (His principle of life, the divine sperm) abiding in you!  On the day you received Jesus as Lord and Savior, you owed your birth neither to bloods nor to the will of flesh (physical impulse), nor to the will of man (that of a natural father), but to God – for you were born of God! (Jn 1:13) God’s principle of life remains permanently within you! This is why you are a new creation, the old is gone, the new has come! (2Cor 5:17)

Now as an agent of truth, The Lord does not fear anything. So when the Pharisees, the local experts, who should have known the truth were brought the question (by Jesus), What do you think of the Christ, whose Son is he? They didn’t think. They gave the answer that Scripture provides … but with no forethought. So Jesus continued His probing … asking them how could King David (who is His Father after the flesh) call Him Lord? 

This question was intended to shake them out of their rote stupor.  It was to provoke them to really consider.  In their Patriarchal society, no Father would call a son “Lord,” as David did.

Jesus didn’t want their mindless response. Yet He wasn’t afraid of the answer they would come to.  Nor is He afraid of the answer we will come to, as we give honest pursuit to finding truth. So go for it! Bring what you think are your hardest questions to Him!!! He is not afraid. But do bring them! And while you are there…meet at all costs the full presence of the God of the Bible.  Meet Him in quandary, meet Him in awe, meet Him in honest need, meet Him in love. But realize … He has All the answers!

 

“But whenever a person turns [in repentance] to the Lord, the veil is stripped off and taken away.”  2Cor 3:16 AMP

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Part of the walk of a believer in Christ is becoming increasingly mature in Him.  This requires putting off things that obstruct seeing in clarity.

Perhaps our greatest adversary in this can be our own preconceived ideas, notions of truth that have taken anchor in our hearts which are neither true, nor easily dislodged.

Like seeing with rose-colored glasses, everything is tinted because of that heart-attitude.

You may wonder, “Where is what she is referring to in the Bible?”

Slide over to 2Corinthians 3.  In this chapter the Apostle Paul gives us a stark contrast between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant of the Bible. Between the Old Testament and the New.  Between what he calls the “dispensation of death’’ (or the Mosaic Law), and the “dispensation of the Spirit” (The Gospel – Law of Spirit of Life).

Moses, in fact, had chosen to wear a veil to obscure the diminishing glory of God from upon his countenance which he obtained upon the mountain as he received the Ten Commandments from God. This becomes important! Moses, the most humble of all men, in fear and pride chose to wear a veil so the diminishing glory on his face wouldn’t be detected. But that glory had to decrease!

The Glory of the Mosaic Law and all its importance is always superseded by the Glory of the Gospel! Even though the dispensation of the Mosaic Law was attended with great glory, it pales in significance to the Glory of the dispensation of the Spirit (where men obtain and are governed by the Holy Spirit).

This was the bias that was created and still exists today. When the Old Covenant is lifted up and read as preeminent, that same veil that was upon Moses lies upon a person’s heart – it is not lifted away to show that in Christ it is made void and done away with!

Head over to Hebrews 9 for a second.  Hebrews 9:8 gives insight into this same phenomenon. 

By this the Holy Spirit points out that the way into the [true Holy of Holies is not yet thrown open as long as the former [the outer portion of the] tabernacle remains a recognized institution and is still standing,”

Don’t lose the point here now:  as great and wonderful as the Mosaic Law was – and while it was delivered to man by Angels, it must make way for the greater work of God – the work of Jesus in the Gospel and the life in the Spirit.

So where the Old Covenant hasn’t been superseded by the New, the way is not yet opened to new life, new understanding, new relationship, and new leading by the Holy Spirit, and certainly new and greater glory!

The point is God doesn’t give us all insight at once, and the ground you are standing so confidently on today as “all truth” may very well be the thing in God’s crosshairs to move you further along. So be vested fully in God, not simply your understanding!

Where we tend to park our hearts in dogmatic ways, we are in danger of falling short of going on in our journey with the Holy Spirit. It is in this place that we have placed a veil upon our heart giving superiority then to teachings and understanding that only validate our position.

Watchmen Nee says we become like lawyers whose first thought is to refute a revelation and dismiss it as nonsense even when much Scripture validation is provided. Don’t let this be your posture!

This posture is like wearing rose-colored doctrinal glasses: I only now will receive further understanding that tracks along my current sacred cow thinking.

This is how denominations came into being, and it is how we get into very deep trouble, presuming that we hold the 411 on a particular understanding.

Why is this critical to see? We are deep into the last days. This is a time when the enemy is trying and already working great deception, and his favorite target is not the lost, but believers.  He cannot thwart your salvation, but he can derail you into a sidling path of error and deception taking you captive by the very veil that you have chosen to defer to and make the singular truth.

The point is:  THIS DAY ALLOW THE HOLY SPIRIT TO DISSASEMBLE AND OBLITERATE STRONGHOLDS OF THINKING THAT ARE NOT FULL TRUTH!

We are so apt to allow our greatest confidence to be in our own thinking, instead of in the Lord. Our greatest loyalty should be towards Him, and not our own understanding. Our leaning should always be in trust upon Him, and not our own plan.

We should always stay in a place where in humbleness the Holy Spirit can minister greater truth.

We should always remain tentative in trusting even our own template for assessing:

Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!  And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Ps 139:23-24

Remain in the posture by faith where the greater work God desires can have its way in you!

Acts 5:38-39, a wise Pharisee of the Sanhedrin who taught Paul weighed in concerning the plans of God:

…if this doctrine or purpose or undertaking or movement is of human origin, it will fail (be overthrown and come to nothing); but if it is of God, you will not be able to stop or overthrow or destroy them; you might even be found fighting against God!”

What then should be our course? Be vessels for God’s use. Do not elevate your plans as the assured thing! They may get modified, or taken out altogether. But rather set apart God in your heart as the Preeminent One, letting everything flow from faith in Him!

“Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs), in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed One).”  Phil 3:8 Amp

In the long plan of the Lord, there is great benefit for His Body to have lost everything and consider it mere rubbish.  Only when things are considered lost can the Lord have the freedom to assert His plan and will in our lives.

When things are not yet lost to us (lost in that we have yielded, and given them over to Him), we keep them factored in, and they occupy a place of importance they should not.

Count everything as loss…

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April 2017

I had a series of four dreams back in this timeframe, and only now are they coming into a fuller understanding…

The first dream was about rubbish…and the occupation of the body.

The first dream opens with me visiting Pittsburgh, PA.  This is familiar territory as I was raised not far from here and initially went to college in Oakland.

The first part of the dream I am visiting someone who had been in ministry as a caretaker and maintenance person at a church we were previously on staff at.

The help I render to her seems insignificant.  But as she was one who held keys to the facility, I take this as confirmation that this dream was from the Lord. That its entrance is from Him.

As I approach the area when this woman is living, I notice the raised structures of all the housing.  You have to ascend ladders to gain entrance to every house.  Older or infirm people and even packages are raised up with something like dumbwaiters.  As you look down the street, on each side are rows and rows of ladders people must use, and all the lodgings are white, even luminescent…

Now I am heading back into the heart of the city to where I am lodging.  I am on foot.  Sunlight is waning and I am in a hurry to get back before dark.

I must ask directions however.  But no one is able to help.  In fact, the sense of real communication is not there.  I ask the way but no one is able to reply.  Every way I turn to find my lodging leads me further away…

As I continue my journey, I find myself in what seems like an industrial – almost mining section of the downtown city.  I have entered a place where mining for coal has previously taken place and there are deep ruts that run like giant grooves sculpting the landscape. 

Even though mining had been done, there are high rolling hills that ascend and I can see a yellow digging machine like a bobcat in the short distance.  I make my way in the direction that will take me out of here and towards the downtown (I think) but I now begin to enter an immense series of rolling and cascading hills that seem to go off in all directions, creating a landfill or refuse/industrial park that has distinct sections.

Everything around me is manmade. Everything is a by-product of man’s efforts.  Nothing here is natural or in a pristine, un-adulterated state.  This landfill is massive!

One section rolls into the next and on and on as far as the eye can see.  But the hills ascend so high that far vision is impeded.

I move into a section where some kids and adults with hard hats are occupied.  The kids are busy exploring and moving through this section, almost like it was part of an amusement park.  We are surrounded by rubbery circles, like tire inner-tubes or large washers, that cause steps to be bouncy and halting and irregular.

Everyone is highly absorbed in traversing and climbing, but they don’t seem to be actually getting anywhere.  I become aware of the danger of this section in that you could slip down in between these rubber circles that are like synthetic playground material…. If you slipped down you could be totally lost and immersed in this debris field, though I don’t witness this.

The lighting is odd.  I know evening is approaching, but there appears to be a dark ceilinged roof over us like a cave would provide.  Or the sky is already dark.  But there is a sense of something hovering close overhead. 

There is artificial lighting with some of the adults carrying lanterns or headlights.  Or else there are spotlights.

I have no sense of interaction with people other than continually asking directions which they seem unable to provide.  It seems all effort and attention is focused on navigating and exploring this section, but no one is really progressing anywhere.

Through lots of effort, I however, have moved into another section as I ascended the mound of rolling rubber debris and have come into an area of ladders.  They are fuschia-like pink against the backdrop of darkness.  Everything is synthetic here.  Like off-scourings of industrial refuse, like a landfill that goes on and on.  Its immensity is staggering.

I am working hard to ascend these ladders.  I can see people traversing as silhouettes across the top, but again I am struck by the endlessness of this pursuit.  Still, I continue to ask when possible, “Do you know how to get to the city-downtown?”  But no one appears to be able to answer.

I have moved through many varying sections, working and working relentlessly to move on.  I am driven to get out of this massive refuse area of rolling hills and synthetic remains.  Nothing here is natural.  Nothing is unadulterated.  People are captive to their sections as if nothing else matters.  Each section with a different type of debris.

Somehow, I am able to move on.  The others are content, as if they are not even aware of their captivity.

Somehow, I ascend a hill and way off in the distance I see an end to these hills.  In that distant area before me is brilliant, sunny light, long grasses blowing in the breeze, and beyond I can see a shoreline for moving water. 

Everything opens up.  I make it over the last hill… And just as I would enter the grasses ahead, I wake up.

This is a picture of the current day church – the Body of Christ.  We are gripped by our effort, activity, and production. We are even lost in it! 

And yet we are called to consider it all as rubbish – to lay it all down, in order that we may win (gain) Christ!

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“So, since Christ suffered in the flesh for us, for you, arm yourselves with the same thought and purpose [patiently to suffer rather than fail to please God]. For whoever has suffered in the flesh [having the mind of Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [has stopped pleasing himself and the world, and pleases God], so that he can no longer spend the rest of his natural life living by [his] human appetites and desires, but [he lives] for what God wills.” 1Pet 4:1-2 Amp

In the progress of our relationship in Jesus Christ, there are days when the rubber meets the road.  Days where we are called to walk out suffering.  On those days there are two choices.  I can walk out suffering according to my old man fallen nature, and respond to the situation in my flesh.  Or I can walk out the suffering according to the mind of Christ, and in His new nature.

Interestingly enough, the walking out of suffering according to the spirit and the mind of Christ means that I must adopt His manner and tactics, even if I have not done something wrong.  So to do that, I am going to have to let go of standing on my own righteousness in the situation.

Think of Job and his difficulty.  He had God’s own opinion that he was blameless, but as his suffering progressed and as friends complicated his perceptions, he encountered a time where his spiritual pants were in a serious bunch. He found himself unable to move forward. He was stalled because he was clinging to his own notion that he hadn’t done anything deserving of such suffering.

But that was not the point. He was being shown a way of coming through the suffering in humility and lowliness of mind, that first required him to have an encounter with God to bring him into the proper perspective and help him to surrender his opinion of his own righteousness.

To travel the way of suffering in the thought and purpose of Christ is not just another mode of perceiving, it is a different path.  It is the path of the Spirit and the Kingdom, not the path of the flesh and this realm.  It will probably be entirely counter-intuitive, in that it is not the path you would choose to travel.  In fact, you will probably resist it until you collide with the Holy Spirit’s revelation. 

It require you to be open to forgoing all you think is correct about the situation.  It will also require you to let go of championing your innocence or righteousness, in order to walk in His righteousness.

Know this however:  It is the best plan, and the best way, and it is better to go there quickly rather than to lengthen the suffering.

It is the way of training for reigning and schooling for righteousness – and there are no shortcuts. And it solidifies your commitment and practice of dying to yourself.

Job came to that understanding when he declared, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”  Let those words no longer be a mystery, for in the long game of the Lord your dying to your-self and your way is a requirement, but in doing so it places you squarely in the Lord’s way and manner of living, and will open your entrance into being done with intentional sin because you have stopped pleasing yourself and the world, and instead please God. Just like Jesus!

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“But [the time is coming when] the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Hab 2:14 AMP

“Look at the proud; his soul is not straight or right within him, but the [rigidly] just and the [uncompromisingly] righteous man shall live by his faith and in his faithfulness.” Hab 2:4

“Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! Satan has asked excessively that [all of] you be given up to him [out of the power and keeping of God], that he might sift [all of] you like grain, but I have prayed for you [Peter], that your [own] faith may not fail; and when you yourself have turned again, strengthen and establish your brethren.”  Lk 22:31-32 AMP

“Thus says the Lord: For three transgressions of Edom [descendants of Esau] and for four [for multiplied delinquencies], I will not reverse the punishment of it or revoke My word concerning it, because he pursued his brother Jacob (Israel) with the sword, corrupting his compassions and casting off all pity, and his anger tore perpetually and his wrath he kept and heeded forever.” Amos 1:11 AMP

How many believers are seeing divisions in the Body of Christ in a new light?

How many of you are hearing reports from other parts of the Body that call into question the authenticity of another’s beliefs, doctrine, and practices?

How many have witnessed an exodus from fellowship of numbers of believers because of disagreement or division?

How many of you are currently living in a Christian home in a Christian marriage where unity in purpose and intent is lacking, and you live basically estranged lives but you are stuck because of anger, unforgiveness, and wrath?

How many of you have terminated fellowship with an established place of worship, and have embarked upon a home-based cell group that follows the teachings of some national Christian figure?

Right now the Body of Christ is reeling and staggering under multiple variations of the above descriptions.  It is reeling in the family unit.  It is reeling in the fellowship houses.

The cause is some division. It can be for many reasons, and I do not discount any of those. Maybe you have discerned a wrong spirit, or a wrong doctrine.  Maybe those things were addressed but they seemed to fall on deaf ears. Maybe your warnings were utterly dismissed and you felt so as well.

Here is the point of my discussion: I believe there are multiple siftings going on in the Body at multiple levels.  Their goal is like what Peter experienced in Luke.  His sifting was first of all about separating him from his pride, for his soul was not straight or right within him. Second, it was to establish and strengthen Peter in compassion and Truth, so that when his faith prevailed he would turn and strengthen and establish the brethren.

You see Peter had a destiny on earth just as we do.  And it is for a time such as this…But Peter had to be conditioned and strengthened to be of the same foundational quality as Jesus before he could bear any weight.

The Body of Christ is in just such a similar place.  There is much earthly sediment being kicked up even within the Body, and even within households within the Body. This sediment obscures clarity and makes issues murky like water that has been churned.

Where we make our mistakes are in decisions and ways that are not led by Christ.  We think we are discerning the Lord’s heart when for conscience sake we withdraw and forsake fellowship.  But any withdrawal from a home or a fellowship, or from the Body needs to be led by the Holy Spirit.

Our confidence has to be more trusting in the Spirit than our own opinions. We see the speck in our brother’s eye, but fail to see the plank in our own eyes. Even worse, having observed the speck of our brother’s, we make a decision before even interceding or travailing in prayer.

None of this activity is beyond the observation of the Lord.  He understands that we are but dust.  But He has also provided a way so that we can stand up under every temptation, even the temptation to judge and then cut bait and run.

I read about Esau and how he did not remember his brotherly covenant when Israel sought safe passage and was refused (passage through Edom).  Esau had nursed wounded pride and anger.  Amos says he kept his anger yet it tore perpetually.  The issue wasn’t that he was not treated badly by Jacob.  He was. But Esau chose the way of his flesh to try and address this situation rather than becoming willing to confess his anger and sense of betrayal and even himself turning back to God.

So many in the Body are standing in this tactical path of Esau – their eyes on their right of having been wrong or betrayed.  So many are keeping their anger almost as a badge of courage rather than submitting it to the Lord and receiving their healing.  It is important to recall Beloved, Esau was lost when he gave up his birth right and then reaped condemnation because he pursued his brother with the sword.

Many in the Body are becoming like Ham who could not hold back his glee at finding out the fault of his father Noah. They then broadcast this failing to all who will listen, but the cup of their intercession sadly remains empty.

What is my point?  I believe sifting comes to all of us in the Body. Only when we have been broken in this manner can the life of the Holy Spirit have freedom in us to break through the natural self.  Only then can we walk in the Spirit … because the grain of corn has fallen to the ground and died (Jn12:24).

I believe the Lord is more than able to protect Truth, Unity, and accuracy in His Body, just as He has done in His word.  But where we get confused is we think we are the arbeiter of truth and we should contend with all those who believe differently.  But what the Lord wants is us to walk out His playbook strategy according to His power and might, and in His nature.  We think we see the end point of truth and rush to that point rather than walking in the right way.

The Book of James Chapter 3 speaks about natural wisdom – that natural wisdom mankind was born with the first time.  He describes this wisdom as earthly, unspiritual, of an animal type that can even be demoniacal. This is the wisdom of man, responsible for jealousy, envy, contention, rivalry, selfish ambition, confusion, unrest, disharmony, rebellion, and all sorts of evil and vile practices…even in the church.

But there is a better wisdom, wisdom that comes down from above:  it is pure (undefiled), peace-loving, courteous, willing to yield to reason, full of compassion and good fruits, wholehearted and straightforward, impartial and unfeigned (free from doubts, wavering, and insincerity).

The Body of Christ stands at the threshhold of its destiny, but it will fail unless is refuses to operate according to natural wisdom and instead embraces wholeheartedly the wisdom from above.  The Body’s destiny is to be as earthen vessels filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the water covers the sea (Hab 2:14).  But there is only one footpath to approach that destiny.  It is to walk in the Spirit in obedience to Jesus and His word, which translates as walking like a little child: humble, lowly, loving, and forgiving (Mt 18:3).

None of these four traits can be seen in the current divisiveness and self-righteous backbiting so prevalent within the Body’s rank and file today. It is time to lay down the swords of flesh that keep us perpetually in a conflict state, press in in Love to the fullness of the Presence of God, and to be about the intercession and travail where we discern error, and snatch those out of the fire in love.