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From the moment I became lucid and conscious of the reality of God being someone not far removed from me, somehow I intuitively knew certain things about Him that I had no point of reference for, I was unable to reconcile what I was sensing with what had taken place within me, compared to the plethora of things men were trying to teach me.
I’ve used this video clip from one of my all time favourite movies, The Matrix, to help illustrate my point as it was graphically being pointed out to Neo.

In scripture it talks about there being no need for a “teacher” to teach us, because of the spirit of God that has been joined to our spirit, he will teach us all that we stand in need of. That is not dismissing what will be confirmed to us through others in what they have to say but, if we’re not first hearing what the father of our spirit is trying to convey to us, at best we will adopt and adapt to human dogma.

The Truth being a living person Jesus Christ, who has been and is continuously trying to bring us repeatedly into a clearer understanding, of what is already ours in our re-birthing. There has come to us in the miracle of responding to the spirits work, an innate and intimate knowledge of something (someone) we never went to school for, when we dismiss or suppress this spontaneous and intuitive flow of life we may gain a lot of head knowledge, but inevitably we will be brought back many times to that which has become like a splinter in our brain.

Rich

Of late I’ve been listening to some earth shattering good news, the thing is, in mentioning this, so much of what has been labeled as the “Gospel” which is meant to be “good-news” is anything but that. I want to share some of it here. For those that will take the time to watch and listen, I trust you will like wise be greatly encouraged.
Be ready to have your world rocked; in the process of the Truth setting, making you free, often it will first, make you miserable.

Rich

Peri monthly Meeting August 2011 P1 – Dr Bruce Wauchope from Perichoresis Australia on Vimeo.

There’s just so much that is totally bang on here in what John is sharing regarding those who see the need to try and add something to the unabashed wildness of the Father’s amazing grace.

Rich

This is from my good friend Art Licursi, the last paragraph in particular is what I wanted to share with regard to perhaps having a better understanding on “what sin is.”

Rich

Most Christians don’t realize it but the spiritual realm is the real and eternal realm. Our battle is spiritual and in the spiritual realm, against a Sin-spirit.

“… we wrestle NOT against flesh and blood, BUT against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against SPIRITUAL WICKEDNESS in high places.” (Eph 6:12)

The enemy of our soul, the Devil, tempts us with “evil thoughts” and then we wrongly think that thought was of our own initiative. When we recognize the thought as sinful or that it’s a damaging thought of some past failing or unhappy experience, we might say to ourselves “That’s just me,” or “I just can’t let go of the past,” or “There’s something wrong with me as a failing or defective Christian.” But actually, often our thoughts are not “just us.” The devil is called “the accuser of the brethren.” Referring to the devil’s demise we read in “for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” (Rev 12:10b). He also accuses us, trying to condemn us for our awful thoughts.

Know this, we as believers are never condemned by God. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). We should know that our salvation was never based upon how good we could be or how good we can be now – it was and is based upon our “saving faith” in the finished work of Christ’s cross; “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).” Our salvation is not performance based. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9). We are safe and secure in Christ, never to be lost; we are sealed by His Spirit unto the day of our final redemption to glory. “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30)

The devil is able, without our planned forethought, to inject into our minds distracting and tempting thoughts. It’s obvious that with TV programming and advertisements, our culture of sexuality; and women’s dress (or “undress” is more accurate) there’s plenty of provocation to temptation in our thoughts. But some thoughts simply seem to come out of the blue. Knowledgeable and alert Christians should know what these thoughts are and from whence they come. Peter writes

“Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 (AMP)

These thoughts and accusations are the “fiery darts” (KJV) or “flaming missiles” (AMP) of the enemy of our soul – the devil. The “Apostle to the Gentile’s,” Paul says the members of the members of “the body of Christ” are equipped to deal with these “fiery darts.” We can quench or snuff out the “fire” of temptation.

Ephesians 6:16 (AMP) Lift up over all the [covering] SHIELD OF SAVING FAITH, upon which YOU (the believers) CAN QUENCH ALL THE FLAMING MISSILES of the wicked [one].

These lustful, self-seeking, hateful, unbelieving, and ungodly thoughts can get stuck in our consciousness. Sometimes it may seem that we cannot get away from these thoughts, but we can. These are what Paul calls “strongholds.” These “strongholds” may have been established to have a home in our mind by the repeated promptings of the Sin-nature that has established them over the years before and even perhaps after our salvation. Our wrong thinking can become habitual, through being tempted over and over.

Solomon wrote, Proverbs 23:7 … as he thinketh in his heart, so is he… I once heard that Norman Grubb said something similar; “What you take hold of will take hold of you.” E.g., if you take hold of a chair by sitting in it, it will take hold of you by supporting you, and that’s good. But conversely, if you take hold of evil, fearful, jealous, grievous or anxious thoughts, entertaining the “imaginations” that appear in your mind; then they may take hold of you as all consuming, ultimately prompting you to act on those thoughts. Our “imaginations” are “temptations” can turn us away from the truth of the ever-present saving Lord.

We can “pull down” and “take captive” evil thoughts by learning to turn away from the thought, to turn our heart to the Lord within us. This is a single motion – turning to the Lord is simultaneously a turning away. He alone is able to save us from those thoughts in that moment. He desires to live His righteous Christian life through us. We will discuss this further in the next installments.

James clearly outlines the progression and consequence of falling to temptation toward sin.

“Blessed is the man that endureth (stays true in) temptation: for when he is tried (tempted), he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him (Christ). 14 But EVERY MAN IS TEMPTED, when he is DRAWN AWAY OF HIS OWN LUST, and ENTICED. 15 Then WHEN LUST (GK., epithymia, forbidden desire) HATH CONCEIVED, IT BRINGETH FORTH SIN: and SIN, WHEN IT IS FINISHED, BRINGETH FORTH DEATH. (James 1:12, 14-15).

Summarizing; 1) First the “temptation” appears. 2) Being “tempted,” we may be “drawn away” due the “lust” of the Sin-nature within our “flesh.” 3) When “lust” is conceived it will usually culminate in an act of “sinning.” (1 Cor 15:56a). 4) The consequence of “Sin” is “death.” Hebrews 11:25b tells us there are “pleasures of sin for a season,” but Paul tells us “The sting of death is sin…”

“Lust” here is defined as “strong desire for what is forbidden”; it includes but is not limited to sexual sin. All manner of “sins of the flesh” (Col 2:11) are manifested as result of a person going along with or giving into whatever the temptation of “the flesh” happens to be. James reveals this four-step sequence of temptation toward sinning.

Sin brings death? All are destined to die physically because “sin bringeth forth death” (1Cor 15:56b). All of us are born alive but spiritually “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph 2:1), spiritually dead toward God. In 1Cor 15:56 Paul is writing to the believers at Corinth who have eternal life within them as their new life, so the “death” here refers to a believer’s loss of life-flow with the Lord. This death may be defined as a “cessation of open communication with the Lord.” Though Christ never leaves us, we as believers, in the course of our sinning, chose to separate our self from the Lord and to live by our own desires.

The sequence of temptation that James outlines applies universally, being common to all mankind, both the saved and unsaved. It is imperative that the Christians know how to recognize and respond to the very first step in the progression toward sinning, which is the initial “temptation.” Sin impacts our life and often the lives of others. Sin has far reaching affects; consider DUI accidents, and sin that can prompt divorce, or loss of a job, tearing apart families, and relationships, the hurt of guilt and unforgiveness, etc.

There are practical steps that may be employed to prevent some temptations, such as the simple concept of “don’t go there.” By this I mean if you’re tempted to drunkenness then you don’t go to places or to be with people that will tempt you with alcohol. You may need to block certain TV stations from your TV to keep the “eye gates” – of your “mind’s eye” and your “physical eyes” protected, so you don’t stir up what you should not be “think,” “imagine” or “fanaticize” in your mind. “[Under the influence of wine] your eyes will behold strange things [and loose women] and your mind will utter things turned the wrong way [untrue, incorrect, and petulant].” (Proverbs 23:33 (AMP)

Jesus of Nazareth was tempted and never sinned, so there is no sin in the temptation itself. Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest (Jesus) which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but WAS IN ALL POINTS TEMPTED LIKE AS WE ARE, YET WITHOUT SIN (sinning). Jesus always ended temptation by declaring His dependence upon the “the Father” (John 5:30, Mat 4:4). Jesus did in fact have a body of human flesh just like ours. Recall that God the Father was Jesus of Nazareth’s real Father (not Joseph)… but Mary, as a human, was Jesus’ human mother. The Father gave Jesus His “Spirit of life” and Mary gave Jesus His physicality, His body of flesh. Jesus’ body was like ours because it is clear that His human lineage goes back “Adam” (Luke 3:23-38). It was by Adam that “Sin (as a nature) entered the world (of humanity)” (Rom 5:12). Thus, Jesus could actually be “tempted like as we are”… yet Jesus never acted upon His flesh body’s promptings with any act of sinning. Jesus was sinless in that He never sinned!

Reconciled to God?

If we start out with a fear based perspective viewing anything that is recorded within the scriptures in the bible, guaranteed you’re going to make it mean what you want it to mean, there is NO deviation permitted. Thing is, the “letter kills” but the spirit makes the letter “come alive” beyond just printed words on a page

I am looking at what God the Father did from before the foundations of the earth by opening a door that no man can shut; Jesus, being God’s lamb slain before the foundations of the earth made it possible for man to fully enter into the fullness of what the Father, Son and Spirit operated in.

It says that it was God in Christ reconciling the world back unto himself, no longer holding man’s trespasses against them. So, in the finished work of God in Christ, does the reconciliation that was perfectly worked out by God from before space, time, and history as well as it being consummated within space, time, and history mean that everyone is no longer in the first Adam but are now in the “last Adam-Christ Jesus”?

My question ties into the demarcations that many have been hog-tied to, that being Jews and Gentiles, but from the scriptures those demarcations have been removed, the language being this, either being in Christ or still being in Adam.
Rich

Whatever That Means

Life and living were never meant to be static, as pointed out in the scriptures where Paul said; “In Him, we live, move and have our very being.”
The living reality of Christ in us as us being the hope of all that is glorious, is constantly working to bring forth in our daily living a tangible and touchable expression of the invisible God right where we live and interact amongst the human family.
In order for this reality to continue, there must of necessity be a shedding of things that were formally good for the moment or even for a season but now in light of what is to be a more defined expression of what we are yet becoming, must be left behind.

This new wine that Jesus spoke of has to be put into new wine skins otherwise the fermenting process will rupture the old skins and be wasted. To my way of thinking the image that comes to mind is that of a snake, it must throughout its life continue to shed its total skin, from nose to tail, otherwise it will die. This also speaks to me of the quote by Robert Browning; “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?”

I find that this ongoing internal transformational work of God’s grace is one of often being filled with great wonder and awe, along with tremendous amounts of turbulent unsettledness, perhaps all part of what freedom is really all about.
I have been outside of the institutional religious system for nearly eighteen years now and I am continuing to see so much more as a result of sorting and sifting through much of what I had previously accepted without any serious examination.

In the midst of all of this I am discovering like Christopher Columbus did, that my world too is also round and not flat, a debilitating fear that tried to cripple Columbus in his day as well as all of us in the day and hour we find ourselves living in is something we will continually battle with. With more and more of those nagging fears dissipating, being able to freely and seriously rethink about so many things that were etched into stone, is very unnerving yet exhilarating at the same time.

Apart from knowing that Jesus is the Christ, the Lord, that God is love, and that he loves me unconditionally, everything else is for now simply on the peripheral of my thinking and pondering. For example within just the past couple of days of listening in on some conversations, topics of repentance, should God always be on our mind, and hearing the heart of what people are saying, I’m finding that so much of life is actually coloring, thinking and living outside of the religious ruts that so many seem to have fallen into.

People most often want things nailed down having as it were all of their beliefs (ducks) in a row, but is that possible in light of knowing this one that is not a teaching or a doctrine?

“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our times are in his hand, who saith, ‘A whole I planned, youth shows but half; Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!’”

Rich

Seeing Clearly

I’m pondering over something I read the other day while re-reading the account of the fall in the Garden. It was the curse that was coming upon the serpent for what he did, in particular this part; I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

First of all, how could Satan who was operating imo in and through the serpent have any offspring? But then I got to thinking about a couple of things that seemed to point to there being much more here than meets the eye, for example in John 8 Jesus is saying many things but this the part in particular I want to highlight; “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Then over in Ephesians 2 you read Paul saying this; “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”

The established doctrine of total depravity is something I believe that has been like most doctrines hammered into a concrete text without there being any room to question or present anything less or more to the iron clad pronouncements.
I’m trying to tie this in with what I have been pondering above, is it possible that the doctrine of total depravity is bang on, in that all that is representative of anything to do with Satan is indeed pointing out his (Satan’s) total depravity and not man’s?

Rich