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“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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“…in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself [thinking more highly of one another than you do yourselves].” Phil 2:3 Amp

“But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being.”  Phil 2:7 Amp

“David said to Saul, Who am I, and what is my life or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be the king’s son-in-law?”  1Sam 18:18 Amp

“I will be still more lightly esteemed than this, and will humble and lower myself in my own sight [and yours].” 2Sam 6:22 Amp

 

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There is a great distinction between a state of humility and a state of oblivion. Humility is careful for others, oblivion is not only careless – is it self-focused to the point of being actually thoughtless about others.

Each of these states of mind exert a great deal of influence on us. Therefore it becomes beneficial to note to which frame of mind we tend to default.

The Lord’s frame of mind as He walked the earth was exceedingly humble concerning Himself: exceedingly bold as He lived for the zeal of the Father. 

The Lord’s frame of mind is not something we can counter-fit. It is something we submit to, over and over again. As the Lord’s redemptive life is given rule and place, and freedom in us, we grow closer and closer to the orbit of the Lord in humility concerning others. But this process of teaching and training, of making us what we ought to be is like spiritual orthodontics.

We submit and surrender, often in vagueness, not really grasping the Lord’s target or end game in us… Until we begin to feel the pressure of change in submitting to a new focus. You will notice when this begins to happen, you just may not understand why, or what it is. This is what this is!!!

It reminds me of having had braces and the pressure exerted upon teeth to move. Except this is in our soul – our very thinking and perspective that now is being called to shift once again. There is a great sense of destabilization as you are called to a different place, to live differently, to embrace humility on an even deeper level.

It calls to mind the life of Joseph, and the massive reframing work the Lord did in his life. Every encounter served to exert God’s changes in him until humility was fully established. Only then would he have forgiveness for his brothers and not seek their destruction. Only then would he qualify to be called “Zephenath-paneah.”

As Joseph languished in prison, convicted wrongfully…the jail served to immobilize Joseph like concrete needs a framing assist. But the final work was done when his own efforts to expedite his release (by interpreting the dreams of the baker and cup-bearer) failed.  It was as if the Lord was saying, “Don’t seek to prove your worth or establish yourself – it is I Who will establish you! Wait on Me!”

You see this is the tide-turner. This is the final bit of us that needs to be broken so the Living Water of the Fountain of Life can burst through into and through a vessel that has been refurbished in the Lord’s own likeness.

This process is not without discomfort and tears. But it is profitable, because the Life of the One Who made us can now have His way in us – delivering us from selfish agendas, small perspectives that may not have room for others, and attitudes that often are ultimately focused on self-preservation. The Lord will preserve you, by MOVING IN and LAYING CLAIM.

It is helpful if we wake up to the oblivion we have walked in. What or Who are our words declaring: ourselves; or the Son?Are you someone that is so focused on something (maybe ministry, worship, the great things the Lord has been showing you, great insights) that you walk without noticing the ones needing attention on the path before you?  Are you so self-focused that you are often inconsiderate and even unkind (even if only in your thinking)?

The word shows us that the fruit, the effect of walking in the light (or the Spirit) is every form of kindly goodness, uprightness of heart, and trueness of life. Eph 5:9  This is definitely not our normal disposition.

So cooperate with the Lord and His work in you. Be quick to notice the not so subtle tension as your spiritual furniture is being moved, pressed, re-upholstered, or perhaps sold into slavery (for the Lord’s purposes).

Be quick to notice, are you noticing others – or not. Lift up your heart now, in this moment, and listen to what He would tell you. He’s taking you out of oblivion, into the place of His likeness. Jail-time optional.

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Day Eighteen

 

More on Habitation

Those Who Seek Honor for Themselves

 

“He who speaks on his own authority seeks to win honor for himself. …”

Jn 7:18a (AMP)

 

 

          On Day Sixteen we first began looking at the habitation of the Lord.  Today we continue that topic with a look at something that can block the Lord’s habitation in our lives: having a wrong motivation – which is a motivation not from the Lord.

          The Body of Christ has allowed waters of disobedience to muddy and cloud truth in our hearts by retaining motivations from ourselves — yet believing they are from the Lord.  This passage in John 7:18 deserves much focus and meditation.  Jesus clarifies that if we speak according to our own authority (what I believe I know/understand/trust in my own soul) I speak to win honor for myself. 

          Have I sent myself to a task?  Have I taken up a cause or obligation where the Lord has not sent me?  Have I pursued action and busy-ness — racing to do things for the Kingdom that appear good from every logic angle I inspect, but have not been requested or sanctioned by the Lord? If I do not have His yes – His Amen – in me, if I have not made a “practice” of surrendering to Him my life and my works and motivations, then I am quite probably operating on my own authority for my own honor.

          Many would quickly say to this, “Well God gave me a brain to use – to decide things.  He would not have me be just sitting around not using it!”  And indeed God did give us a great brain – a wondrous computer to compute with.  But He wants it to be brought under submission to Him in every way.  The Lord does not want us to operate as loose canons working independently of Him!

          Does a musical conductor allow you to play any note you want at any time you desire?  Does your own body allow your hand to go off seeking its own plan and fulfillment?  No – of course not!  Yet the Body of Christ consistently presses against the constraint of God’s love to do exactly what it believes is the correct thing to do – without waiting for the leading of the Lord.  It was this same independence that got us into trouble in the Garden.

          Listen to the second part of John 7:18:  “…But He Who seeks the glory and is eager for the honor of Him Who sent Him, He is true; and there is no unrighteousness or falsehood or deception in Him.”  You might see that and say it’s ok because it’s talking about Jesus – He was supposed to do only and all that the Father said to do…, and you would be correct!  But you see – Jesus is the Head of His body.  And that same body (His Church) should be constrained just “as He is” … by His rule, His authority, His leading, and His instruction.  1Jn 4:17 says that “…as He is so are we in the world.” To be otherwise – is acting independent of His authority, is seeking our own honor, and is in fact rebellious and resistant towards Him.  This simple independence will preclude and interfere with the Lord entering habitation with us – everytime.

          Be-loved.

 

 

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