Sunday, December 22, 2013
We are guilty of making our 'church' experience a 'high place' before God. The Israelites had the tabernacle and then the temple, but they also had what was called the 'high' places. These were places that began on hill tops and mountains for the worship of pagan gods, and later were connected to any place that became a place of worship. A valley could even be called a high place as in Jeremiah 7:31. There were times that Jehovah was worshipped in these high places. Several times it was written of a king who would remove the idols from the land, but would leave the high places. These places were allowed for the worship of Jehovah, but were still against the Law of God. It was much easier to turn a blind eye to these places, but they were a thorn for the whole nation. The church today has its high places.
Why the high places? These were places of gatherings to experience worship. Man is made with a need to worship. We have objects of worship today. The North American worship is more of people; sports figures, Hollywood stars and such. There are shows called the 'American Idol' and the 'Canadian Idol' to set people up to be admired and create a fan base. Of course there are those who idolize their cars or trucks, some, works of art. And then there is religion. Anything and everything abounds and is acceptable. Many will say that every religion is acceptable except for Christianity, but the religion of Christianity is acceptable; the Christianity that is not religion is not.
Yet as believers, we can and have made our gatherings more of high places than not. Some may say that our gathering are to be 'high' places. That is where we worship the one true God and He deserves our worship. Yet I find that we often gather for the worship experience and miss the God of our worship. What do I mean? Only that we gather for the experience, the ambiance, the atmosphere created by our worship together. The cathedrals of old and many of our new places of worship were and are designed for sound. They are designed to create a worship experience. It was thought that this is what God desired, even demanded. He is God and we must worship Him.
With the charismatic movement came the worship teams that have spread into most denominations. The music is designed to move the congregation and again give them a wonderful experience of worship. It is a wonderful experience, but is it the definition of true worship? If people can come into this experience and yet leave, only to be carnal in the parking lot, then I would say their experience is faulty. They were touched by a spirit but not the Spirit of God. A brother once shared that worship started in the flesh is only flesh no matter how good it feels. There is nothing spiritual in it. There is nothing of God nor for God in it. We must be careful in how we approach the Throne of God or we may miss it altogether. Jeremiah 12:2b “You are near to their lips, but far from their hearts”. We can proclaim, shout and sing with our lips, but where are our hearts and our minds?
I want to be careful to not condemn the buildings. There are fellowships that view owning a building for the church to gather as an instrument of evil. But they in turn can create high places in their own homes. There are definitely buildings that are monuments of men; the church is guilty of constructing such. The debt in mortgages is huge. Yet we cannot condemn all buildings. It is what we do that makes a high place. It is always a matter of the heart. No matter where a believer meets he/she can make it a high place experience, and in the same meeting have a touch with the throne.
What is the Lord after in our coming together? Isn't that the real question? So ofter we are looking for what we can get out of the meetings. We want to be satisfied, to be entertained, to come away with a good feeling. There will always be those who have this at heart. But the Lord is after much more in the gathering of the saints. The gathering is to reveal the fulness of Christ Jesus His Son. After all, the saints corporately are the body of Christ. The assembling together is to express Jesus in a fulness that cannot be done individually. Each one is to bring their gifting for the benefit of the whole body. There are no Lone Rangers in Christ. We need each other to be the full expression of Jesus before the Heavenly Father. This is the testimony of Jesus here on earth. The Lord is looking for His Son being fully expressed through the assembling of the saints. Out of that expression will come true worship and adoration of God the Father.
Friday, December 20, 2013
Our response to the revelation of the Lord and the Saints.
A number of years ago I read the book Spiritual House, printed by Christian Tape Ministry (now Christian Testimony Ministry) It is a transcription of messages from a conference in 1992. I found the question and answers quite good especially the last page which I printed out and carry in my Bible. It is a reminder that no matter what the Lord may do with and through me, I am still to be mindful that all who belong to Christ belong to me and I to them. The following is what I took from the last page (145) of that book.
What is our relationship with our brothers and sisters in our vicinity, our locality, our neighbours? We must be true to the light the Lord has given to us. We cannot impose the light, the revelation the Lord has given to us upon people. We can pray for them, but we cannot impose on them what we know. We should pray that the Lord would enlighten them and give them the revelation. On the other hand, we are not cutting ourselves off from them because we are standing on the oneness of the body of Christ on behalf of all the saints, not just locally, but universally. So if we take the stand as a local testimony, we do not stand just for ourselves, we take that stand on behalf of of all those who belong to the lord. Our hearts should be large enough to include them all. They may not meet with us, they do not see what we see, but in our hearts we stand on behalf of all God's people; we are representing them, just like the Levites. The eleven tribes failed, but the Lord raised us up to stand in the gap not just for ourselves, but for the eventual recovery of His place in all of His people. That will keep us very humble and that will make us to know the tremendous mission the Lord has given to us. He has given us light and revelation not just for us to know; that is not good enough for the Lord. We are to know so that we can stand in the gap for all that God wants; and that is our purpose.
The Lord is really after something in the local fellowship. It is a very precious treasure. Today, as you look around, where is God speaking out of His heart to His people? Where can you hear that prophetic voice of the Lord? Where can He speak from His heart? Where is He free to unveil His burden? Where can He speak to those who are really after Him? God will speak to those who have divine discontent for the Lord to secure what He is after. So it is heart attitude. We are so thankful; our eyes are blessed, we see something of what the Lord is after. Our ears are blessed because we heard something from the very heart of God; and we should carry that burden with us to secure what He wants – and He will because He is God and He will do it.
So, I believe the Lord is after a local expression, but locality is not the issue; it is the expression of His life in a corporate way that really matters. And as far as our relationship with other brother and sisters, we are not any better but, somehow, the Lord, in His sovereignty, allows us to see some light, and we are there for His interests on behalf of all His people. So we are not detached from God's people. Those who are redeemed, those whom He loves are part of our family. They do not have the privilege or the understanding to take that ground for the Lord, but we take that ground for them before the Lord and that is our place.
Pg 145 of the book, Spiritual House.....spoken messages by Stephen Kaung, Ernie Hile and Dana Congdon
with Michael Woods and Hoseah Wu answering some questions.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
In Christ the love of God is so vast. Ephesians speaks of the unfathomable or unsearchable riches of Christ and we are to apprehend the breath and length and height and depth of the love of Christ. Sin gives the impression that there is a boundary to God’s love. That is because we choose to live along the boundary of sin and God’s love. In comparison to God’s love, sin is a small plot that is encircled by His perfect Love. We have the vast ocean before us, yet we choose to get tangled up in sin. How foolish we are! In sin there is condemnation from the enemy. We are crushed because we act as slaves under the bondage of sin. Christ has broken the yoke. He has set us free. He has given us the ability to drink in the ocean of God’s love. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. Perfect love casts out fear. Oh swim out, and get lost in His beautiful love.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Consider all the promises of God as finished. God has provided through His precious Son, His finished work. There is nothing anyone can say or do that will add to the finished work of Jesus Christ. He is complete in the atonement of His blood poured out on the cross, poured out upon the alter in glory. The Son is now seated at the right hand of the majesty. We are to enter into His rest that He has already, as of now, this moment, today, provided through the precious blood of Jesus Christ. There is nothing we can do to satisfy God, because we cannot, are not able to do so. The Lord Jesus has done it for us. It is complete, finished, all inclusive. How can we even try to live ‘better’, rather it is for us to walk in the good of what God has accomplished in the new life that is in us, that is in Jesus Christ His Son. Realize it is His life that empowers us to live holy and true. It is His holiness and His righteousness that we walk in and not our own. That is how we are to overcome by the blood of the Lamb. It is never our good because our good is as filthy rags. It is the flesh and flesh can never bring satisfaction to God! It must be His good that we take up and live by.
Just think on that......no striving to be something for the Lord...no trying to live ‘good enough’ before God...no standard to try to measure up to, to be accepted...no nothing of ‘me’. Jesus has done it all! He died in our stead. He became sin, not sins, but sin. He became the serpent on the staff that Moses lifted up for the people to look and be healed. Jesus became the sin of Adam, of all man as He hung on the cross and He died. He was buried. Dead and gone. He then rose on the third day in resurrection life. Not as Lazarus came back life, but in the new resurrection body. A body that is able to dwell in the spiritual realm as well as the physical. He took His blood and poured it out as an offering to the Father. That blood has brought satisfaction. We cannot add or take away! Knowing this we must now praise God and walk in the good of what He has accomplished in His Son Jesus Christ. Now that is true life!!
We must also realize that the ‘good’ is Jesus Christ Himself. Not the attributes or the gifts, but Christ Himself. It is too easy to get caught up in everything about Christ and miss the Lord Himself. The enemy, if he cannot get us out of Christ, will attempt to get us busy with good things other than Christ. Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. Amen
Monday, May 16, 2011
I was reading Frank Viola's blog, Beyond Evangelical, and found myself agreeing with all he had to share. He is able to open ones thoughts to see a freshness in biblical truth. I am not so foolish to say that all who read his writing will see it as biblical or even as truth. Frank would most likely jump in and say, "Don't put me on a pedestal! I am just sharing some fallible thoughts." He has some good stuff to chew and to gnaw on. For some it is brand new and for others (I believe it is a greater number than some would admit to) it is confirmation of truths the Lord has been working into their lives. I fall into the latter group. In fact, my lovely wife and I were talking in the morning about some of the things we later read in his blog. Years ago I came to a principle that the Lord will work (form) concepts in me as a result of life experience and then reveal others with the same concepts. Frank is one of these 'others'. For me he is not the teacher or presenter of the thought or truth, rather he is confirming the thought or truth. Now when there are new thoughts, I have found that, though I may agree and even grab ahold, I will not truly grasp (understand) all that the thought implies. There is sooooo much that I had taken hold of and could even teach and preach with gusto, yet I find after many years that I am just now really getting a handle on. I discover that the truth is now 'in me' and not just a thought. It is as though God has put me through the grinder of that truth and it is now me. Don't get me wrong, I am far from perfect, it is just that there are truths that are so real in me that are not questionable. I may not have all the facts straight in my head. I just know they are real. Maybe 'life' would be a better word to describe what I am saying. And even in that I know there are those who will question me on using that term. Put it this way, God works His truth in me to become life. It is His living word abiding within. How many have had the experience of reading a familiar passage in scripture and all of a sudden it jumps out at you with new meaning and understanding? It is so real. From experience this is just the beginning. It is a seed of truth that will over time grow into life. I have caught a truth, shared it and look out! God takes it and works in me. I can remember times of having a word of life from the Lord and being able to share it. We were part of a fellowship that had several brothers who did the preaching and teaching. I would preach and get some good reviews. I would then go along my merry way thinking I had it, but oh wow, things would happen that tested the word of life. I would fall down and flounder, crying out to the Lord the big 'why' and eventually get through it. Years later I came to realize what the Lord was doing. I tend to be a bit slow that way. I now know that if the Lord gives me something fresh and living, there needs to be a 'working' of that word into my life. It has to go from being a thought of truth to being a reality of truth. 2 Corinthians 3:17,18 come to heart, especially the being transformed into the same image from glory to glory. I believe that when one has a heart to go on with the Lord, the Lord will honour that heart, but it will be on His terms. I don't cry out the 'why' as much as I use to. I know that the Lord will 'work' His life in me to bring me to a maturity in Christ.
This post took a different direct than what I intended. I'll put my thoughts about lines and boxes on another posting.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
while listening to a brother speak a couple of Sundays ago, I was struck with the thought concerning the spirit within us. the brother spoke of our belonging to the Lord and that we are not our own. He can do as He pleases because we are His creation. the thought came to me that the spirit within me, a new spirit, was given by God. that carried onto the thought that the spirit God the Father gave me was not an individual spirit, but in actuality the spirit of Jesus Christ Himself. many will jump to stop me from going on, but wait and consider the possibility. Col 3:4 says 'When Christ, who is our life...' it is His life in me. 2 Cor 5:17 'therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature...' . I am a new creation in Christ. I have always looked at the new spirit within me as an individual spirit that communes with the spirit of Christ. now this new thought is giving me an appreciation for the spirit that is in each believer, because really it is the same spirit. we really are the body of Christ, likened to the blood that flows through a person and not in the fashion of a group of sticks bound together. how would each member view the church if they saw how close we are together in Christ beacuse we are of Christ? this is not theory. it is spiritual truth.