The Oil, The Spirit (2)

In the last post I gave you a recipe. Well, now I want to tell you that you don’t have to worry about making it, IT’S FINISHED!!! Christ has been glorified and the Spirit that before John 20 was “not yet” now IS!!!

That’s right, the processed, compound, all-inclusive, life-giving, indwelling, seven-fold intensified, consummated Spirit is the Lord and is ready for us to enjoy and experience.

We can experience all the marvelous aspects of the Spirit. We can experience Him as the Spirit of God (Gen 1:2). The Spirit that can bring forth life no matter what kind of death is in us or in our situation. We can experience Him as the Spirit of Jehovah (Gen 2:4-5). He is Jehovah, the Great I Am. Through this Spirit we can have a personal and intimate relationship with God and know Him as the One who is everything we need. We can experience Him as the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:15). The Holy Spirit separates us both positionally and dispositionally to make us a holy people, a holy nation, saints. We can experience Him as the Spirit of Reality (Jn 14:17). He makes all the riches of God real to us. We can experience Him as the Spirit of Jesus (Acts 16:7). This Spirit has all the human elements of Jesus’ life. He understands our weaknesses and sufferings. With the Spirit of this man, Jesus, is the abundant strength to endure any situation, circumstance, and suffering. Because of this Spirit we can live a normal and proper human life. We can experience the Spirit of Christ (Rom 8:9-11). The Spirit of Christ has the cinnamon, calamus, and cassia. The sweetness, preciousness, effectiveness, and power of the death and resurrection of Christ. If you want to throw in the myrrh, then we can experience the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil 1:19) the compound, all-inclusive, life-giving Spirit of the Triune God.

How marvelous all these aspects, and guess what? There are still more! Much more. Here are some others:

We can experience the Spirit of Life (Rom 8:2). This Spirit imparts all the riches of the divine life into every part of our being. Not only does it bring forth life in us, but this life transforms us metabolically so that we become a people of life, for life, in life, who can share this life with others! We can experience the Lord Spirit (2Cor 3:18). Today, the Lord is the Spirit! This is an amazing revelation. The Spirit is not something superficial or superstitious. The Spirit is not something merely sent “by” the Lord. It is not an ethereal “force.” It is not some paranormal activity. No, the Spirit is the Lord Himself in transfigured form. Jesus Christ the Lord is now the Spirit!

I need some time to digest that. But not too long, because there is more:

We can experience the Spirit as the Spirit of grace (Heb 10:29). Grace is not a little box of goodies for our human needs. Grace is God Himself becoming our enjoyment. God is enjoyable. God is enjoyable. That’s not a typo, that’s a revelation. GOD IS ENJOYABLE. If you are not enjoying God, then you need to pray that the Spirit would become the Spirit of grace in your experience. We can experience the Spirit as the seven Spirits of God (Rev 1:4). The seven-fold intensified Spirit is for the degradation of the Church. Do you feel dead and empty? Do you feel lukewarm? Are you attracted by the things (even good things) of this world? Are you practically contributing to the clergy-laity system? Oh Lord! We are in desperate need of the intensified function of the Spirit to trim the wicks and dress the lamps and for the seven eyes of the lamb to transfuse all God is into our being that we would be part of the brightly burning lampstands. Finally, we can experience the Spirit as the Spirit of Glory (1Pet 4:13-14). The Spirit of Glory rests upon, that is clothes, the suffering believers in their persecution.

Today, all of these aspects (and probably more) have been compounded into “The Spirit.” The Spirit that in John 7:39 was “not yet” now is! He is the totality, the aggregate of all the elements of the titles of the Spirit of God in the Bible. This Spirit is the unique and greatest blessing which God promised to Abraham and now has been not only revealed but given to us. Hallelujah for God’s promise of “The Spirit” which is nothing less than God Himself.

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“Great, but have you eaten?”

After the last two messages, I think I have this image in my head where I sidle up to the Lord, who of course is sitting on His throne, and I push a button and a little packet comes out with the a little card stating “sufficient grace for today, come back tomorrow.” Honestly, for me, this is the same as that small book with the title: HWMR. But, taking care of that form isn’t the point, is it? The point is that when we come forward into the Holy of Holies, to the Ark, in our experience the Ark becomes the table of the Bread of the Presence.

What is the table for? A feast! What is the bread for? EATING! The Christian life is a life centered and focused on eating. It is NOT a matter of doing or not doing this or that. It is NOT a matter of putting on a façade of piety. It is NOT a matter of trying to change people’s thoughts and beliefs and workings and doings. It is simply and wholly a matter of eating.

Not long after the children of Israel began their wanderings in the wilderness God provided them with heavenly bread, manna. The manna became the constituting element that separated them from the other peoples and made them a heavenly nation. (Remember, you are what you eat!) But, the table of the Bread of the Presence signifies a deeper experience in our eating. Actually, we need to learn to feed upon Christ, to take Him in, to enjoy Him in this deeper way.

The significance of the Bread of the Presence in our experience can be seen in these five points when contrasted with the manna:

First, the manna was in the wilderness, outside of the outer court of the tabernacle. The Bread of the Presence is in the Holy Place. As a Christian you have the right and duty to enjoy Christ. Wherever you are, you can enjoy Christ! This is the manna. He is ready and available no matter where you are. But, there is a special portion of Christ that can only be found in the Holy Place and it is related to the Ark. The Ark is the embodiment of Christ, the Holy Place is the built up habitation of God. What is this? This is the church. This particular portion of Christ can only be enjoyed and experienced when you are built up with other believers. Do you feel like you can go on alone? Or do you realize your need for the other members? If you realize this need, then you can say that you have (to whatever extent) been built up in the church.

Second, the manna was available to everyone. The Bread of the Presence was food only for the Priests, God’s serving ones. This ties in with the third and fourth contrasts which are that the manna was the supply for their living, whereas the Bread of Presence was the supply which enabled the Priests to serve God; and that the manna was the daily supply whereas the Bread of the Presence was a weekly supply.

Finally, the fifth contrast was that the manna was scattered about on a field whereas the Bread of the Presence was arranged in a particular way upon the table. This signifies that eating this supply will produce a manifestation, a display of Christ that will be a nourishment to both God and man. When we eat manna we are separated unto God, when we eat the Bread of the Presence we become the duplication and manifestation of God on the earth.

These are marvelous, detailed points of how we need to partake of the Bread of the Presence. However, what stood out to me from this message wasn’t so much the how, but the who. This is the Bread of the PRESENCE. What does this mean? In Hebrew, the word translated as presence here is literally, “face.” To come into the Holy Place to enjoy the Bread of the Presence means that you come forward to the Ark as the throne of grace and enjoy Christ in the very face of God. The treasure in our spirit (the reality of the Holy Place) is that we have the face of God. A person’s face and countenance reveals everything about that person. When we have God’s face and live in His presence, we know God’s heart and thus can walk according to God’s heart and live a life that fulfills God’s purpose. Hallelujah, eating Jesus is the way!

The Kapporeth

So the first message boils down to: draw near to God. In fact, you need to draw so near to God that you become one with the divine, human, universal incorporation of the Triune God. Distance, remember? Well, there’s problem. God is love, light, holy, and righteous. Because God is all of these things, fallen man cannot have access to Him. Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We are all sinners. And even if we haven’t sinned (in the last day or two, anyway) guess what? We FALL SHORT of God’s glory. The first message told us to eat the hidden manna within the golden pot, within the ark, but if you were to enter into the Holy of Holies, you would see that on either side of the Ark keeping watch over the contents of the Ark were two cherubim made of beaten gold. These were the cherubim that made sure that anyone who came forward met the high standard of God’s divinity.

In Old Testament times, the high priest would enter into the Holy of Holies once per year. Upon the skirt of his robe there were bells. These bells would ring as the priest worked. However, if the priest did not match God’s standard of glory, he would die when he entered the Holy of Holies. Hence, the high priest would always come forward with fear and trembling, fearing whether or not he matched God’s glory. The high priest would sprinkle the blood upon the “kapporeth” or cover, that is the expiation cover of the Ark. This lid, “covered over” or rather appeased God’s requirements so that the high priest would be able to come forward to the Holy of Holies. Appease. What a wonderful word. Appease means to pacify or placate someone by acceding to their demands. The standards of God’s glory are demands upon us which we cannot fulfill. However, the blood upon the cover appeases God’s demands and allows God and us to meet together to fellowship and allows God to speak to us and lead us.

Today, Christ is the great High Priest who through His own blood has opened a new and living way for us to come forward, not with fear and trembling but with boldness. We come forward not to a throne of judgement and condemnation that judges how much we fall short of God’s glory, but rather to a throne of grace where we find mercy and receive grace (Heb. 4:16). He is the propitiatory sacrifice whose blood was shed for our redemption. He is also the expiation cover, where the blood is sprinkled to appease God’s righteous requirements. Christ is also the propitiation place, the place where God’s presence is and where we come to fellowship with God and listen to His speaking. Finally, today He is the throne of Grace installed in our spirit where we can come to experience all the reality of these marvelous promises.

Let us therefore come forward with boldness! To live our Christian life, a life of purpose and truth, we need to be a person who receives God’s infusion in the Holy of Holies, then we will be a person in the Lord’s ultimate recovery that will terminate this age and usher in the age of the kingdom and ultimately the New Jerusalem.

God our God is still Sovereign and We Worship Him

There is a great war raging in the universe: both God and Satan seek man’s worship. I am afraid there is no neutrality, though it seems so many have just decided not to care or even to remain like Switzerland. So, it is time to settle the matter now: Worship God. In Deuteronomy the children of Israel were given the ordinance: You shall worship the Lord, your God and Him alone shall you serve. In this message our brother expounded seven points on how to worship God.

We need to worship God by knowing His Godhead confessing that He is God. 

Do you know God as God? Have you realized your nothingness before Him? Who are you, oh man that you answer to God? Has not the potter authority over the clay? I believe this is a difficult point to swallow, isn’t it? We who are so used to demanding fairness and equality. We who are so used to our “rights.” Can we bow our knee and acknowledge that He is God? To worship God is to truly recognize that He is God and that we are men.

We need to worship God according to the divine revelation. 

Have you ever read the story of Cain and Abel and wondered why God was so displeased with Cain when it appeared he simply wanted to worship Him? Consider these two passages in Exodus: 20:22-26 and 32:1-6. In the first, God demands that there be no gods of silver or gold, that the altar be of earth, without any hewn stones and without any steps. In the second, we have gold fashioned by an engraving tool into a calf and the people rising up to play. The first was God’s revelation to Moses regarding the way to worship God. Upon the crude earthen altar they were to sacrifice burnt offerings and peace offerings. The second was the way in which the children of Israel decided to worship in the name of Jehovah and they also sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings. Like Cain, the children of Israel had the desire to worship God. Neither brought offerings to pagan gods. They brought forth their offering to God and in the name of Jehovah. However, their way to worship was altogether  out of their natural religious concept and in their soul. Cain brought to God the fruit of his labor. The children of Israel used gold and came before God in a soulish way with music and dancing. Their joy was in their presentation of their offerings not in the pure enjoyment of the Spirit. God’s revelation of how He desires worshippers shows an earthen altar with stones that are not hewn. In the eyes of man, God’s way of worship is uncultured. God’s way allows for no human wisdom, creativity, or power. The true worship of God does not require anything of man’s “talents.” It does not show case great singers, musicians, or orators. The true worship of God has room only for the cross of Christ (the altar), Christ (offerings), and the Spirit mingled with our spirit. At God’s altar there are no steps meaning, there is no hierarchy. No one is better than anyone else. We are all just “little potatoes” enjoying and worshipping God together.

We need to worship God with Christ as the offerings.

In our worship of God we need to bring only Christ. No human wisdom or power. No achievement based on natural ability. Nothing of man’s work and labor. In the proper worship of God we have no other name other than that of Christ Himself. I want to tell you a little story. I was at a job interview at a Christian high school. When speaking of my past experiences, I mentioned being a part of a christian club during my undergrad years. They asked me the name of the club and I said, “Christians at UCSD.” They all laughed and said, “Wow that must have taken a lot of thought.” But that’s what we are isn’t it? And that’s all we are, we are simply believers. The churches in the New Testament had no name other than that of the Lord. The Church in Corinth, The Church in Ephesus, The Churches of Galatia. In Corinth, in Ephesus, of Galatia, those aren’t names, those are designations because that is where the church was. Corinth and Ephesus were cities and within each there was a church. Galatia was a province, and within the province there were multiple cities and thus multiple churches. In the worship of God we should have nothing else other than Christ. We should hold no other name other than that of the Lord Jesus. Yes, being simply called Christians, or being simply the Church isn’t very creative, but God doesn’t need or want our creativity in our worship, He desires true worshippers.

We need to worship God by beholding God and by eating and drinking Christ. Also, we need to worship God by experiencing Christ and feasting on Christ with God. 

God wants us to enjoy Him and to worship Him out of this enjoyment.

We need to worship God in Spirit and truthfulness and in the dispensing of God. 

The genuine worship of God the Father is in the spirit and in truthfulness; the divine reality, experienced and enjoyed by us and constituted into us, becomes the truthfulness in which we worship God with the worship that Hw seeks.

God desires true worshippers. The emphasis here is on the persons, it doesn’t say true worship, but true worshippers. In order to be these true worshippers we need to receive the God’s dispensing. As we enjoy the dispensing, we are constituted to be these true worshippers. True worshippers are those in their mingled spirit. The Father will not accept worship in the soul, it must be in our regenerated spirit mingled with the Spirit. Satan seeks man to worship him in their soul, but God will not accept this.

Oh Lord, have mercy on us that we would be these True Worshippers. This is the longing in God’s heart. May we all open to Him that He would have this type of worship from us.

The Blood of the Covenant

The precious blood of Christ satisfies God, is the believers’ access to God, and overcomes all the accusations of the enemy; (Exo. 12:13; Eph. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; Heb. 10:19-20, 22; 9:14; 1 John 1:7, 9; Rev. 12:10-11) we need to go further to see that the Lord’s precious blood is the blood of the covenant.

In Exodus 24:4-8 there are four important matters. The first is the altar. The alter signifies the cross of Christ through which we are redeemed, terminated, and replaced, reconstituted, and rearranged by and with Christ. The second are the Twelve Pillars. Pillars refer to the testimony of the Lord. The two pillars that stood at the entrance of the temple were named Jachin (In him is strength) and Boaz (he will establish). This signifies that God will establish the covenant and it’s strength will be in God. The third thing are the burnt and peace offerings. This is Christ as the only One who is absolute for God and through whom peace will be made between God and man. The fourth is the blood of the covenant.

The blood of the covenant was sprinkled by Moses upon the people. This blood is also that which is sprinkled upon the lid of the Ark on what is known as the expiation cover or the propitiation place. It was here, between the two Cherubim, on the lid of the Ark which held the two tablets of the Ten Commandments within the Holy of Holies, that God came to speak with the High Priest. When the priest entered he must bring with him the blood from the altar to be sprinkled upon the expiation cover or else he would die. Well, the blood, as stated in Matthew 26:28 is the blood of the Lord Jesus who satisfies God’s Righteousness, Holiness, and Glory and gives us access to come forward with boldness to the throne of Grace. Because we can come forward with boldness, we can be those with the highest profession on earth: That have spending time being infused with God so that we may glow with God and shine God into others.

The Lord’s blood is so very precious! His blood has made God our portion. Hymns# 223 stanza 3:

In this portion we have God/ Whom we lost through Adam’s fall;/ By the shedding of Thy blood,/ God becomes our all in all./ In this portion all we have–/ Life and peace, redemption sure;/ All that God has planned and willed,/ In this portion we secure.

Through the blood we enjoy God as our portion and we are ushered into the better things of the New covenant. These better things include all the blessings from the previous message. Included in this are two of my favorite verses in the Bible:

I will also give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you and I will take away the heart of stone out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and My ordinances you shall keep and do.

Lord, do grant me a new spirit and a new heart, a heart that loves You and sees only You.

The New Covenant

In the previous message we saw the five covenants between God and man. Now, in this message we saw the sixth covenant also known as the New Covenant or New Testament. This New Covenant is Christ Himself. What’s the difference between a promise, a covenant, and a testament? Well, a promise is surety that something shall be accomplished in the future. A covenant, is a promise with a legally-binding guarantee. A testament, is a legally-bound contract that bequeathes its contents to whom they have been appointed upon the death of the enactor. Christ Himself is the New Covenant, the contents of the New Covenant, the Enactor of the New Covenant, and the Executor of the New Covenant. Through His death and resurrection He has bequeathed the New Covenant to us. We simply need to receive and enjoy Christ as the covenant through the exercise of the our human spirit. We do this by breathing the Lord in by living a life in which we daily, hourly, and moment by moment call upon the name of the Lord. Oh Lord Jesus!

The New Covenant/New Testament  has four blessings as God’s bequests to us. The first is that God’s laws have been inscribed into our mind and hearts. These laws or law is specifically the Law of the Spirit of Life.

The Triune God has been processed through incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension to become the law of the Spirit of life installed into our spirit.

The fact that it is a law means that we don’t need to fight to overcome, we don’t need to war with the law of sin and death in our flesh, it means that there is a realm where there is no sin, no world, no flesh. It means that all victories are unconscious and effortless, spontaneous. Our brother gave a marvelous example. If you are flying from New York to LA you don’t have to put on some running shoes (unless of course you tend to get everywhere late, ha!), run really, really fast, flap your arms, and will yourself into the air and fly to LA. No! How ridiculous. All you have to do is get into the airplane, sit down, put on your seat belt, and ENJOY the ride! Our attempts to overcome, our attempts to be victorious, or even our response, like that of the Children of Israel, to the law of “All that you say we will do” is as ridiculous as that attempt to fly to LA. Forget about it, just get into your the plane of your spirit and enjoy the Law of the Spirit of Life!

The second blessing is that He will be God to us and we will be a people to Him. Where in the world are there a people who hold Him as God? All the world just casts Him aside. But to us, He is God! He is our inheritance. We are His people, His treasure, and His inheritance.

The Third blessing is that we will know the Lord. This knowing is not the outward recognizing (gk ginosko) but it is an inward subjective knowing (gk oida). In our spirit we have our intuition, the inner sense of life allows us to intuitively know the Lord. There are three ways that we may know God. The first is we may know God by His acts or His doings. This is an outward way of knowing God, and we can see that the Children of Israel knew Him in such a shallow way. Then, the second is that we may know God by His ways or His principles. This is on a deeper level and requires a more intimate fellowship with God. Abraham in his intercession for Lot demonstrated this type of knowing. The third and most deepest way we may know God is to know Him by Himself, that is in His life and nature. This is to know God intuitively.

The fourth blessing that God will be propitious to our unrighteousnesses and our sins He will by no means remember anymore. Christ made propitiation for our sins and has reconciled us to God. Through His precious blood He has resolved all of our problems and opened the way for us to enter into the enjoyment of God on a daily and continual basis. Thus, we can enjoy an organic salvation in His life.

What a marvelous testament God has bequeathed to us!

Thank God for Peter

The universal church is heavenly, holy, and divine. It is truly a golden lampstand having the divine nature of the Father, the shape and form of the Son, and the essence and expression of the Spirit. But in the bible, just like in our experience, there are recorded all the failures of the churches.

The failures in the churches, just like the failures in all the saints have only one source. The source is Satan. The enemy and adversary of God instigates the weak ones to cause all sorts of problems and have all sorts of problems. These problems and failures are what contaminate and pollute the churches. This is the dross with which the Lord must deal. If we look to this divine record, we shall see and have a way to be wary of those things that Satan could use to cause us to fail before the Lord and become a source of these problems.

First: Hypocrisy

Ambition, the seed of all the failures in the churches is the reason why we become hypocrites. Hypocrisy is to pretend to be something you  are not in order to gain a name for yourself. If we are ambitious and desire to be something in the church, we become hypocrites who allow Satan to fill our hearts and even go so far as to lie and test God.

Saints! We need to be on our guard always! Never forgetting that Satan is so near to us, always watching and waiting to lie, cheat, and steal, ready to deceive. We must be alert so as to not be deceived by him. 

Second: Racial Discord

Acts 6:1 states, “In these days, when the disciples were multiplying, there was a murmuring of the Hellenists against the Hebrews, because their widows were overlooked in the daily dispensing.”

Race, culture, language, since the time of Babel, this division is the basic problem of the human race. Will there ever be peace? Can we ever be one? Will we ever come to the point that we can truly erase all the cultural and racial boundaries that keep us divided?

This is a very real problem, not only among mankind in general but also, just like at the beginning of Acts, it is a serious problem and failure in the church. Let us first look at what happened with the early church.

Because of the racial discord, the cultural differences specifically in the matter of eating, another failure was brought in, one that  ends with the bringing in of mixture, one which spoils the purity of the church life, and one that culminates in the termination of the polluted church by the judgement of God. This failure is the…

Third: Bringing in the Legal Practices of the Old Testament

The three main and strongest ordinances according to the law of Moses are circumcision, keeping the Sabbath, and a particular diet. The situation within the church at Jerusalem was that it had within it genuine believers who were keeping and forcing others to keep these Old Testament practices as part of their salvation. This was annulling their freedom in Christ and making all that Christ did on the cross for them null and void. As a result of this murky situation, the purity of the church was spoiled. The pure testimony of Christ was damaged and in 70 A.D. Titus with the Roman army came in to destroy the city of Jerusalem and terminate this religious mixture. This mixture is something not only wrong in the eyes of God but also abominable. For this He judged the city and the mixture, completely ending the church in Jerusalem.

Saints, this is a very serious, serious matter. And I must confess, that I, too, am guilty of this. Oh Lord! What failure we are. In all of these three failures…I am sure I am not alone when I say, yes, that is me. But saints…oh…SAINTS!

THANK GOD FOR PETER!!!

Galatians 2:12-13 state, “For before some came from James, he continually ate with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to shrink back and separate himself, fearing those of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also joined him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was carried away in their hypocrisy.”

In the following verse Paul goes on to rebuke Peter before all those present for not walking in a straightforward way in relation to the truth of the gospel.

Yes, Peter, despite having received such a clear revelation and speaking directly from the Lord (Acts 10:9-16) was still a weak one in faith who shrank back and had to be rebuked and corrected. How encouraging this is. Yes, there are failures, yes we have failures, but we also have patterns who have gone before us, by the Lord’s mercy and grace we have the way to repent, turn, forgive, forget and go on!

(From message 221 of The Conclusion of the New Testament: “The Church: The Failures in the Churches”. This message can be read here.)

The Golden Lampstands

A Hanukkah Menorah sits atop my bookshelf. Though a large number of Menorahs are made to resemble the Lampstand that stood within the Tabernacle it is not. What’s the Lampstand all about?

Well, In Exodus chapter 25 we see that the Golden Lampstand is a type of Christ as the embodied Triune God. This is the first stage of the revelation.

The second stage is found in Zechariah chapter 4; here we see that the Golden Lampstand, representing God’s testimony on the earth is the nation of Israel. In the millenial kingdom, once again, the restored nation of Israel will be the Golden Lampstand as the testimony of God.

But, it is in Revelation that we find the third and consummate stage of the significance of the Golden Lampstand. In chapter one we see that it is no longer one lampstand, but it has been duplicated and has become seven golden lampstands. These seven lampstands are the local churches as the shining testimony of God in the dark night of this age. These golden lampstands shine and through their shining bear the testimony of Jesus, for this they have three main characteristics:

  • Gold: They have the Father’s divine essence without any dross, that is there is nothing even good things like ethics, culture, education, and proper religion. There is nothing other than God Himself. 
  • Definite Form or Shape: They are lampstands, not just a lump of gold. God is invisible, unapproachable, vague, indeterminate, de-localized; In the Son, however, this God took on a human form. The church, as a duplication and as the testimony of the embodied Triune God, is not vague and ethereal but should stand having the form and shape of the human Son.
  • Seven lamps, shining: The seven lamps are the seven Spirits of God who in Zechariah roam to and fro over the whole earth. This is for the shining of the testimony of Jesus to the entire inhabited earth through the church as the embodiment of the Triune God.

As the great High Priest, Christ is walking in the midst of the golden lampstands, in the midst of the churches caring for them in love by the divine strength. He cares for the churches by “trimming the wicks” and adding more “oil.”

He trims the wicks by dealing with the churches, dealing with us, His believers and everything in us that is not according to God and not for God’s purpose. Oh Lord! What a mercy it is that the Lord will not let us go. Our entire person is so wrong. Not even just in our bad character traits, but even in the good things. Even the good things of our natural nature are laced with self, laced with so many things that are not good for God’s building, they do not shine forth God. So, He, in His tender, fine care for us deals with these things. At the same time, He adds the oil. The fresh oil is the Spirit applied to our being, to the churches that they would be filled so that they may shine!

Eventually, consummately, the city of New Jerusalem, is in nature (gold), shape (a giant mountain), and expression (wall of precious stones) a golden lampstand. It will be the testimony of Jesus for eternity.

(From message 220 of The Conclusion of the New Testament: “The status of the church; the Golden Lampstands (2)”. This message can be read here.)

Life of Sufferings

It is a well established fact that our human condition is one of suffering. The only thing worse than suffering is the desolation of going through our suffering alone. It is a comfort of exceptional magnitude to know that our God is one that is touched by the feeling of our weakness. Today, having passed through pain and suffering of the acutest kind He is seated at the right hand of God interceding for us in our hour of need. Because He is our great High Priest and also our Pneumatic Comforter we have a friend to whom we can confide all the worries in our heart, all the needs of our soul, all the anxieties which vex and trouble our mortal bodies. He inclines toward us His listening, loving ear, hearing all our sighings, and even our complaining. Yes, in fact, He loves to hear us complain to Him because through each heaving breath He is able to sooth our bruised souls and tenderly add more of His life element into us. I have always enjoyed this fact, that I have someone to whom I can complain about everything.

Today, however, I read this:

“The first important lesson we must learn is that whenever we are in a situation of suffering ordained by the Lord, we must acknowledge God’s sovereignty. If we do not acknowledge God’s sovereignty in our situation, we cannot be at peace. Instead, we will be resistant and unhappy, we will protest and complain that things are not fair. Our being will be in a state of turmoil, and we will begin to doubt God because of the sufferings that we are passing through. However, once we touch God in His sovereignty, everything will change. We will feel as if we have emerged from night to day. The outward situation may not have changed, but our knowledge of God’s sovereignty will cause everything within us to be different. Acknowledging God’s sovereignty is a great lesson that we all must learn. It will cause us to be at peace, to be obedient, and to say Amen to our situation. After all, our situation has been raised up for us under God’s sovereign hand. In this way we can see beyond our present situation, see God’s hand, and even realize God’s mind.” (Crystalization Study of the Psalms (1) msg 11.)

Yes, the Lord is there when we are complaining to Him, He listens, He cares. But I realized after reading this that if we are so busy complaining about our situation, we are not open to listening to what He has to say to us. However, if we acknowledge, in whatever situation we are in, His sovereignty over that particular situation, we become open to receiving His speaking, we are open to seeing beyond what lies just in front of us and we see God’s hand, we can apprehend God’s mind. In this way we can enter into the very heart and mind of God, we can know all His secrets, even all that is in His heart for us.

How do we become this type of person? Just grin and bear it? Just religiously repeat a mantra of “God is sovereign, everything happens for a reason, etc”? No. But there is a person whose life was a life of suffering, whose life was plagued with sorrows, and yet someone whose entire being was always submissive and obedient to God even unto death. We see this man in Psalm 69 (vs 1-3; 19-20): “Save me, O God; for the waters/ Threaten my life./ I sink in deep mire,/ And there is no place to stand;/ I have come to the depths of water,/ And the flood flows over me./ I am weary of my crying;/ My throat is parched;/ My eyes fail/ While I wait for my God…You know my reproach/ And my shame and my humiliation;/ All my adversaries are before You./ Reproach has broken my heart,/ And I am sick;/ I looked for pity, but there was none;/ And for comforters, but I found none.” This was the life of the Man of Sorrows. In his epistle to the Philippian believers, Paul writes: “To know Him.” This is to know the Man of Sorrows. Today this is our desperate need. To know, in a deep and experiential way this person. Know Him and the power of resurrection because it is only through His life and the power of His resurrection life that we can look at our complicated situation, at our sufferings, our problems and acknowledge the sovereign hand of God working in that very thing to gain every inch of our being.