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Redeemed To Be Transformed

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“There is one all-comprehending, all-embracing, all-governing purpose to which God has committed Himself, by creation, by redemption, and by union. That purpose is the conformity of a race to the image of His Son.” From T. Austin Sparks http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/002930.html

“And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined He also called, those He called He also justified, those He justified He also glorified. Romans 8:18-30.

Why has this been marginalized and thrown under the bus in most of what we call Christendom – the idea of a manifesting and increasing Christ likeness, wrought in us by grace in the power of the Holy Spirit? A careful and thoughtful reading of the Scripture reveals that this is the very reason for the Gospel, the reason Christ shed His blood to ransom us from the power of the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh.

Here are a few more passages along these lines. There are many more?

“No, we speak of the mysterious and hidden wisdom of God, which He destined for our glory before time began.” 1 Corinthians 2:7

“And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so also shall we bear the likeness of the heavenly man.” 1 Corinthians 15:49

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

“He predestined us for adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will.” Ephesians 1:5

“In Him we were also chosen as God’s own, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything by the counsel of His will.” Ephesians 1:11

“Who, by the power that enables Him to subject all things to Himself, will transform our lowly bodies to be like His glorious body.” Philippians 3:21

“But to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but born of God.” John 1:12,13

It seems that we don’t necessarily have issues with the idea of a state of eventual glory in the sweet by and by, even of the physical bodily resurrection. The issue seems to be that we may not have a big enough comprehension of God’s power to transform us into His likeness in spiritual ways, in spiritual fruits, and spiritual gifts, and characteristics like unto Him – in the here and now. The process goes on throughout the life of the faithful in Christ, and will see perfection in the hereafter.

King David asks the question, Psalm 8:3-5, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty!” Some translations translate this as “lower than angels” or “lower than heavenly beings.” However, the word is ‘ĕlôhîym  אלהים meaning “gods” in the ordinary sense, and it is specifically used of the supreme God. The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! “Our Father, Who art in heaven…”

In other words, our great Heavenly Father has great big plans for this fallen human race, ransomed by the blood of Jesus THE Christ, our elder brother – not only its redemption but its full renovation and restoration through the work of the Holy Spirit! As the song, “Only A Shadow” says, “The dream I have today, my Lord, is only a shadow of Your dreams for me, only a shadow of all that will be, if I but follow You.” … “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

( Song / Only A Shadow here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWbfT9a0WYI )

This doesn’t sound like “anything goes grace” to me. Does it to you? He will perfect us according to His promise: “… He who began a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6.

You are welcome to share your thoughts here, or by joining our

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The Adversary

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There is no question that there are adversarial forces in place – against all good. The question is, especially as adversities unfold, who is “the” real adversary? Who or what is the prime source of the bad news these days? And how might that lead us to the Good News of our having been redeemed out of the kingdom of darkness and translated into Christ’s heavenly kingdom of light?

Let’s take a deeper look than the spin the news broadcasting outlets try to draw our attention to, whether they are mainstream or alternative. They all need to go to a higher level.

So does the Body of Christ for the most part – in its ideas, awareness, and understandings really need to grasp what makes things tick. To find that out can mean going down some pretty deep rabbit holes. Yet we need to become far better informed and bolder in sharing what we discover, as bizarre as it may seem to our sense of “normalcy” – because we have been too busy playing church rather than understanding our purpose and doing our spiritual warfare.

Here’s an example of what I mean by that: opening the Pandora’s Box of human trafficking, and organ trafficking – especially where children are concerned – can apparently have dire consequences. I know, it’s difficult for most of us to accept that there are people who do horrendous things to kids that most of us do not even want to think about. We push it away; we say, no it cannot be; no human would do that.

How utterly naive and sheltered we are in our little religious niches! Because there are some human beings, yes, who actually do that. What’s even more surprising is who some of those people are.

Unfortunately what went on in the ancient past has never quite died out (Satanic ritual abuse, human sacrifice, general blood letting that appeases demons – fallen angels – passing themselves off as “gods” ), and those who are devotees of these practices are looking for “tolerance” and “inclusivity” and “normalization”, in the culture at large and even in the churches! I think not! It’s time for America to understand this: we’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto. The quiet decency of Mayberry and the 1950s is no longer.

Scripture tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and that the beginning of wisdom is to hate evil. Time to reckon with the reality that there is a time to love and a time to hate (Ecclesiastes 3:8) – not hating other human beings, but the psychopathic depravity some are ensnared in and capable of, and the fact that it needs to stop once and for all.

When humans are spiritually imprisoned in that space, they are seduced, enthralled, and overcome with the intoxication of evil (spiritual venom) and willingly take up some of the most heinous practices known anywhere. And they are rewarded for it with great wealth and especially power over others. They have given themselves over to evil.

There are things being done to counteract this on a law enforcement level, more than many people realize and at some higher echelons of government. It is being “quietly” addressed. This is hushed in mainstream media. Some of the alternative media has a handle on it; however, they are often censored and /or completely silenced, or made to look like fools for exposing it.

And there have been casualties of late. Everything from censorship to assassination attempts to murder, to keep the truth from coming forward. Need I say more?

The times are “apocalyptic”. What that word means is that we are experiencing “a time of revealing” on a massive, global scale. Might it be time to lay the ax to the root?

Scripture directs, as it always has, that we are not only to have nothing to do with the unfruitful works of darkness, but to even expose them, since it is shameful to even speak of what the disobedient do in secret (Ephesians 5:10-12). This is being done to a degree. Timing could not be better, as it may be that this is the great and terrible day of the Lord, especially for those involved. What’s becoming clear is that exposure to the light of truth makes these workers of darkness scatter like roaches. They know their time is at hand. They either go into stealth mode, or like cornered animals lunge forward aggressively, baring fang and claw.

Yet the strategy against this present darkness is multi faceted and layered.

What this is pointing to is that mankind’s true adversary’s “directing activities” are metaphysical, beyond the physical comprehension, in other words. Human devotees of these dark entities become the channels, the representatives of grotesque agendas of darkness, for which they are rewarded and empowered (on a temporary and temporal basis) on earth, to accomplish the Adversary’s assault on mankind, and further their rebellion against the Lord and His people.

Consequently what we Christians need to realize is – per Ephesians 6 – “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For 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. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints…”

We do well to contemplate and commence with what this implies for us who name the name of Christ, and see to it that we will not have taken that name in vain! We must honor Him, and be of one mind with Him, no matter what happens, realizing the powerful spiritual nature of what we are called to be and to do, in His strength, in such a time as this. It needs to begin with some “truth in the inward parts” on our own behalf – a sincere, deep, Holy Spirit led self assessment followed up with some genuine repentance and turning away from evil and toward the Almighty!

We can begin by praying according to Psalm 60:11,12 – “O give us help against the adversary, For deliverance by man is in vain. Through God we shall do valiantly, And it is He who will tread down our adversaries.”

So be it.

Alert Status

This is just a short one.

What’s beginning to erupt in the USA, and on a global basis, will make the 1960s look like a Sunday school picnic. Some of you are too young to remember that, but it was the initial rollout of this nation being compromised. Stay close to those you love. Make sure you’re checking on one another often. And get close to God through surrendering your heart and life to His Son Jesus Christ, THE only Way, Truth, and Life. Some of you may not like hearing that, but I’m going to say it anyway. Ask Him to to reveal Himself to you. And may His Holy Spirit grant this nation repentance and the protection of the holy angels. We are going to need wisdom that does not come from any humanistic source to get through the times ahead. Keep on asking, seeking, knocking.

Wicked Ways Or The Way Everlasting?

Psalm 139:23,24. “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

There are ways and then there are ways. Then there is The Way. Some examples of the Way of Righteousness may be considered through the careful contemplation of, for example, Proverbs 12:28, Psalm 23:3, 1 Corinthians 1:30, and John 14:6. These should be explored by readers who are inwardly compelled enough to do so, and to connect the dots between them and what is shared here.

The Way of Righteousness – brought from Christ to us by the Holy Spirit – is the everlasting way of life. It is the way where there is no death, the way of our soul’s restoration. This is how it is connected to the “abundant life” which, Jesus Christ tells us, is the reason He took on human flesh and dwelt among us. This is the Way whereby He calls us from servitude to the evil one who would rob, kill, and destroy every good that our loving Heavenly Father has in mind for us.

Thus the psalmist wisely prays that God will examine him – search him, know his heart, try him, and know his thoughts. He is asking the Great Physician for an in depth spiritual examination for the detection of wicked ways. These are the hidden ways, lurking in the bushes of our interior landscape that, when undetected can lure us off the Way of Righteousness onto paths which at best are dead ends and at worst lead to eternal separation from God and to destruction. Without careful lives of “walking circumspectly” and perpetually prayerfully asking, seeking, and knocking for the Holy Spirit to ferret out these wicked ways, any disciple of Christ runs the risk of wandering off onto these paths leading to destruction.

On this Memorial Day we wonder how things have gotten to this point in this topsy turvy sin infested world, especially in our presumed “Christian” USA. We find ourselves in a world where good – according to God’s Word – is called evil by the darkness which has gained ascendency over not only the world but all too many churches. Therefore it is imperative to take a good hard look at these two little verses at the end of Psalm 139.

Many today join in the mantra “Pray for America”. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is often the go to verse for this. Certainly this is needed. However, let us remind ourselves that God’s directive includes three others in addition to prayer: to humble ourselves, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways.

Yet since the “sin within” – the wicked ways the Psalmist prays about here – is often hidden and subtle, undetectable by human sensitivity, does it not stand to reason that we will need some divine help to identify it? Only then can we confess what we could not perceive with our own senses, which the Holy Spirit reveals, so that it may be repented of, renounced, and removed by the power of the Holy Spirit? How can He show us where repentance is needed, unless we take a page out of the psalmist’s book and very honestly ask Him to show us “if there be any wicked way in me”? Psalm 19:12 – “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults.” There it is again!

It is puzzling, especially on these military holidays, how the majority buy into the narrative that the fallen have “died to keep us free.” Yet all the while our moral fabric is in tatters, our Constitution is largely ignored as the law of the land, and the freedoms we have taken for granted dry up and dissolve right before our very eyes! The creeping, gnawing, devouring locusts are not only at our borders, but have more than crossed them. They infest every system we supposedly rely on (such as government, education, corporations, and the like). Sadly this includes especially the churches which are supposed to be the very body of Christ on the earth, the city set on a hill! Intruder alert! Our freedoms have become an illusion, as well as the humanistic means (war and bloodshed) we have been told will “secure” them!

God has His answers, however, but are we asking for them, seeking them, knocking to be let into that place where He reveals them, as if our life depends on it? Or are we sending up the prayers of personal will worship? This goes far, far deeper than a one time “asking Jesus into your heart”, but then going your merry way, not living in fusion with the Cross nor infused with its precious work!

Where’s the outcry for the Holy Spirit to “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Might we be assuming that we have a standing with Him that we do not actually possess? Does not Scripture admonish us to “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” 2 Corinthians 13:5. (Ouch!) And this examination needs to be in the light of God’s Holy Word and the relentless searchlight of the Holy Spirit! No “blessed assumptions”, things taken for granted, about ourselves! May it never be! Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord!

God’s grace is not bestowed so we can take it for granted as a one shot deal. The process of destroying the works of the devil is ongoing, and it begins with His searchlight in the innermost being! If we are to walk the Way Everlasting, then the little “come hithers” – most often within our impure hearts and the gods of our belly – that draw us onto the ways of wickedness must be rooted out by divine intervention.

Thus Paul’s admonition in Galatians 5:1. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” It was on that cross that the Way Everlasting was opened to us, and we were set free from sin, death, and the power of the evil one.

Without this we can never be truly free, without prayerfully “working out our salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12. Nothing changes until the very core of the heart of man is daily surrendered to Christ and to His cross.

Dr. Martin Luther says concerning the practical outworking of our baptism (Small Catechism, under The Sacrament of Holy Baptism), “It indicates that the Old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.”

Let us pray to be so inspired, enlightened, and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Who Are You, And Where Do You Live? – Celebrating Ascension

Scripture Passages for Consideration:

Mark 16:19. “So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.”

Psalm 110:1,2. “The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’ The LORD will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, ‘Rule in the midst of Your enemies.’”

Ephesians 2:4-7. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

Ephesians 1:22,23. “And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

Psalm 8:4-6. “What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet.” (Wow!)

It is not the intention of this article to weave all of these into any sort of narrative, but hopefully, by presenting them and a few provocative questions, to stimulate a hunger leading to satisfying a curiosity about our reality. They are offered for your contemplation along with the following thoughts.

What might be the full and amazing purpose for which mankind has been created, which was lost, and to which our Heavenly Father intends to restore us in Christ Jesus? How is this to come about? Is it about this vision and its beginnings in the here and now, or about going to heaven when I die, or both?

Might this be the reason why, before Jesus Ascension into heaven (which is celebrated in the Church today), He reveals something rather startling in Mark 16:17,18? “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”  And then on to verse 20. “And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed.” The entire book of Acts follows up with a narrative depicting who the church is, where she lives, and what she looks like.

What we’re supposed to see are attesting signs that follow, which indicate the authority of the Gospel message and the restoration of God’s reign over mankind and the earth, as it spreads over all the world. He created it and redeemed it through His Son – from sin, death, and the power of the evil one. His Church must see itself as involved in a grand celestial search, rescue, and salvage operation that is to be taking place whereby mankind experiences restoration as sons of God! This is why Jesus commands, according to Matthew 28:20, to those who go forth to preach the Gospel and to baptize, that they are also to teach “them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

This mission impossible, made possible by the One through Whom all things are possible, begs the question 2000 years later, Where is this understanding and its relationship to the meaning of “Ascension” (in Christian terms, not Luciferian)? Where is its manifestation, as Jesus Himself reveals it, and it came about through the Church that flourished right after that 1st Pentecost?

These passages paint not only a very powerful picture of a dynamic church but also a holy church, living in and being led as sons of God by the Holy Spirit of God, as she goes forth to baptize and make disciples of all nations. Her directive is to teach all that Christ commanded us. The unfolding of this restoration includes attesting signs that the authority of God Almighty is announcing His reign through His Church.

After all, has not “… The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil”? 1 John 3:8b.

The Apostle Paul makes it clear that these are not only redeemed, but are already essentially spiritually seated with Christ in heavenly places at the right hand of God the Father – not only bought, but brought with Him in His death, resurrection, and ascension!!! One could say we are bi-locating Christians, present physically on earth and spiritually seated in Christ at the Father’s right hand, in heavenly places. Ponder that for awhile!!!

This Church is set apart from the world and other religions to be the living, breathing answer to the question posed by David in Psalm 8, “What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?”

How is it that the vibrant truth of our reality in Christ Jesus has been supplanted by watered down theological systems of thinking, by repetitive religious practices pitched as the way that we “connect” with grace, or the “visions” of mere mortal men caught up in the pride of intellect with their own ideas? These perspectives more likely than not keep us in a very earth bound mindset, and utterly other than what is clearly and fully revealed by Holy Scripture alone – the Scripture that reveals Jesus Christ as the Way, Truth, and Life, and the At-one-ment bestowed through His work on the cross?

Who is behind making sure, with these cunning devices, that the elect never perceive who they really are and where they live, move, and have their being? Who therefore, because of the lack of divine wisdom and understanding, will be robbed of a full and powerful Gospel? Not only the Church suffers, but the whole world (into which our Lord sends us) which lies under the power of the evil one. Why? Because the knowledge of Christ is not being disseminated as He laid it down, with signs evidencing His presence and authority following!

We need to ask ourself, what – according to the Word of God which He made sure has been clearly preserved and laid out before us – is the whole vision of Jesus Christ for His people and for the world which He has ransomed with His own precious blood? Am I at one with this? Who am I and where do I live – according to His word? What am I doing on earth for heaven’s sake? Am I off in la la land somewhere ruminating on my worldly “dreams”, drinking the Kool Aid of some religion that promotes the gods of the belly and self satisfaction? Am I participating in God’s vision for His Church and the world He created, redeemed and intends to restore through His Body on Earth? Or have I been conned into a lesser vision which may actually be more aligned with the agenda of the Adversary?

Who decided that the Vision of Christ and His Apostles for His Church – His bride, His holy body – ceased with the first century Church?

Is Jesus Christ “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8)? If so, let us review who we are and where we live, and then repent of all lesser ideas than His, as we cry out to Him for wisdom and direction! Amen.

( Originally published here: http://www.at-the-crossroad.com/430065897/4836067/posting/who-are-you-and-where-do-you-live-celebrating-ascension )

My Sheep Hear MY VOICE

This is a word for people who have surrendered themselves to the Lord Jesus Christ at some point in your life, and who know the freedom for which we have been set free in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

When we do what we hear Jesus saying to us, at His word things happen. But not apart from hearing from Him. I think this is the “Jesus Modus Operandi” – if we are in Him – just as He did only what He heard from the Father. If we have been crucified in Him, raised up in him, and are seated with Him in heavenly places, then why do we not hear Him? Because we’re not actually believing what He tells us in His word about our relationship in Him! And we may not have a serious prayer life where we seek Him with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind and ask for that hearing to be mightily restored.

There may also be too many “middle men” trying to interrupt that direct connection. Those of you who experience Him through the Holy Spirit know what and who I mean  when I say that. The middle men will tell us this is not possible; we have to hear from them first. And there are layers and layers of filters, so that the Word of Christ is completely distorted and therefore has no potency in our life.

Beware! Whose voice are you hearing and heeding?