Yes, You Know Jesus…but does it feel like Something’s Missing?

Have you ever found that, in some cases, certain words or phrases pertaining to Christianity don’t quite ‘sit right’ with you?

…or maybe I should say, that I’ve found that to be true…!

We enter into Christ more or less clueless. We are blinded by Light! and thrilled! imbibing joyously, zealously, what we are told. Our hungry infant spirit, newly quickened, can’t get enough. Like newborns in the natural, though, we too drool, drip & create messes wherever we are…

The mind of Christ & the Spirit of God are certainly at work, guarding & guiding our intakes of spiritual truth, and the processing of it. Which might explain the many times something I’ve heard – maybe someone’s ‘drooling’ – didn’t feel quite right…in some cases, even up until the present. Along the way, I’ve agreed & amen’d to the general chorus, or maybe withheld verbal assent because privately…hmmm…I wasn’t sure so I didn’t challenge, but some issues I’ve always doubted, or was unconvinced. In some cases, I don’t know if I even realized I was…not on board.

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As a new believer, it seemed that every time I turned around, that ‘Four Spiritual Laws’ booklet was turning up. Declaring myself ‘born-again’ & that Jesus was my Lord & Savior was more or less…what everyone was saying. Expected?

At some point I began to think that such literature & statements may not really be the best approach. I believe that every set of circumstances is tailor-made, in a sense, and requires sensitivity in the Spirit, if one wants to have Christ shown forth. At that point I myself abandoned ‘Four Spiritual Laws’ & became much more discerning in my use of the ‘born-again’ label. Proffering the ‘my personal Lord & Savior’ phrase seemed even inappropriate somehow, at times.

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Most of these…glitches…I’ve held in my heart, until a moment when the Lord may come, revealing & uncovering. It is a joyful, grateful moment indeed! when I finally ‘see’ that I was not wrong!! and why I felt the way I did. (Because I suspect that there is a rebel & a revolutionary yet in me that never quite burst forth…there is always the possibility that it’s me who is in error, yet rebelling… )

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Along with the types of doubtfulness already mentioned, have you ever felt in general that something is missing?

You heartily accept & believe in Jesus Christ, His cross & His blood. No doubt there…not a smidgen. But…there is a fulness of which you sense that you are not partaking…maybe?

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…so all this preamble is leading to the priesthood…

“Faithfulness to God is defined by faithfulness to the (New) Covenant & the priesthood” (10:36) *

“If Christians would…relate to Jesus Christ as Lord & Priest forever, Christians might learn the New Covenant & their own priesthood.” (about 28:00)*

 

(*“Bring Forth the Topstone”, pt.2 – Rev. Wayne Monbleau audio, www.lovinggraceradio.net Monthly Meditation – Feb.2018 )

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Newly saved, I learned of Jesus Christ as our High Priest. It wasn’t that I’d never heard about that – and for sure I accepted that teaching. But to me, it seemed ethereal, distant…something Jesus was still doing, taking care of business for all of us who believed, ‘up there’ in heavenly places. I was much more impacted by Him as my Lord & Savior, though; that relationship seemed so much more immediate & accessible. And this approach to Jesus Christ is understandable. We learn & grow by degrees, here a little, there a little, faith upon faith, from glory to glory. But as I am finding out, I was missing a big piece of the whole reality.

In the above-mentioned audio message, Wayne Monbleau made a statement concerning Jesus as our personal Savior. It pricked me. Troubled me a little. As I continued to listen, new meanings emerged from old Scriptures that I thought I understood…

Nowhere in the Bible will you find the term ‘personal Savior’. (Don’t freak out, I’m not saying Jesus doesn’t save individual people personally.) But Wayne presents a strong Biblical case for seeing Jesus primarily in another light – that of our High Priest. And seeing ourselves as “…“men from every tribe & tongue & people & nation, and You have made them to be a kingdom and priests unto our God.” (Revelation 5:9)

He asserts that most of the Body doesn’t recognize this fact, nor live & operate within it. I have to confess that though I think I have, and sometimes do minister to the Lord – I think that’s what I’m doing – I do not experience myself as a priest unto God. But now, the shape of my whole picture is beginning to shift. The ‘pause’ button has been pressed, and I am contemplating a whole new, other reality: the priesthood. I have begun…just begun…stepping out into an eternal action. Entering into His gates with thanksgiving, following through into His courts with praise.

Ministering to the Lord

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My reality for so long has not been this priest mentality, and so I’m finding I easily slip out of it. But my times are in His hands…I try not to allow my relationship with God to become works-based…but because His word declares the priesthood, even though I often seem to be elsewhere! I believe it is real, and that it changes things.

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PART 2

 

(The above-quoted audio message, “Bring Forth the Topstone”, is a monthly mediation teaching that I receive in CD form as a monthly partner with Loving Grace Ministries, and as a result this message may not be accessible to my readers. Therefore, I am going to try to re-cap one aspect of this teaching that impacted me with delight. Here goes…)

 

“…not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.”  (Zechariah 4:6}

I have always been stirred deeply by this Scripture. In times of group prayer or testifying, it has often been a boldly declared pillar of faith. Well…yes…

The next verse, though, wasn’t quite so clear to me. It resonated vaguely, but, uh…I never understood exactly what was being said. I was missing the connections. As it seems to be turning out, there is an underlying, very practical truth resident within these statements. We already know it but may not realize we do…

“Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel, thou shalt become a plain: and he shalt bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.” (v.7)

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Historically, Zerubbabel led the bulk of the Jews exiled to Babylon (by Nebuchadnezzar) back to Israel. Once home again, rebuilding of the temple is begun under his continued leadership. Opposition halts its progress. The temple foundation then lies dormant for 15 years.

The Holy Spirit gets in the mix, and the people resume work on the temple, Zerubbabel still leading the charge.

…so we might see the connection here, of this problem of finally re-motivating the people to build and supervising of the building process. to ‘O great mountain’. And you might get the idea that, with God’s help & power, Zerubbabel will knock it out, maybe shouting in triumph, declaring the grace of God as he places/brings forth the final headstone/topstone in the temple! Makes sense to me…

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Except…what’s this about a headstone, or topstone? (I’ve seen the term ‘cornerstone’ & ‘capstone’ used also. Not sure but I think these terms can be used interchangeably, at least in a general principle way.)

“The stone which the builders refused has become the headstone of the corner” (Psalm 118:22)

In his audio teaching, Rev. Monbleau explains a little bit about a topstone, as used in an arch. It is placed in the strategic position of bearing the stress & weight of the structure. It is critical. The entire cohesiveness of the arch depends on the topstone.Jesus cornerstone 2

Sound like Jesus?

…who also was refused/rejected by many in His time, and crucified…and is still refused by many today.

But because of these similarities, we can attribute spiritual meaning to these verses in Zechariah. We are not just being taught Bible history – something deeper is going on here. It isn’t just about faith in God providing Zerubbabel with the fortitude & means needed to overcome & rebuild the temple, either. It is about the topstone.

The Hebrew word for ‘stone’ in Psalm 118 above, includes the concept of High Priest. Our Lord and High Priest Jesus Christ is seen in this imagery of Zerubbabel’s day. Zerubbabel & his workers kept working until the were able to place the topstone. Rev. Monbleau likens this process to our own seeking out of Jesus as our High Priest, in any mountainous obstacle we face. As we continue to seek & search for our High Priest, Wayne asserts that the obstacles will lessen & flatten out – they will become as a plain before Zerubbabel (you).

Our High Priest came forth because of the grace of God. What He accomplished for us was made so because of the grace of God.

As your mountains become plains, your heart will shout “Grace!”

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 Cornerstone, Hillsong Live 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Break Every Chain

 

Divine lightnings from above broke a chain on cloudy sky

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtyVdC7E6Wo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not as the World Gives…

Jesus contrasted the natures of His peace versus the peace given by the world in John 14:27.  My understanding of the difference is, Jesus leaves His peace with us. The world will eventually withdraw its peace.  You can never absolutely count on it…

Today someone likes me, we have a good rapport…but maybe next time I see that person, expecting acceptance with a smile! instead I get brushed off, not even eye contact. In fact, it might seem like deliberate avoidance of eye contact. This kind of thing, though minor, will trouble me. I will notice it & feel small. Over-sensitive or not, I will be bothered by it.

Magnify an incident like this many times, magnify it a hundred times! and we might have an overview of how it is in the world. For multitudes of reasons, our boats will be anything from rocked to shipwrecked! The capriciousness of stability in worldly relationships & situations often does NOT lend itself to peace.

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In Old Testament Scriptures, we have seen God referred to as a Rock. Fortress. Those words testify to a powerfully solid, reliable, enduring One. I want that kind of peace. We all know by now, whether through the Word of God or just life itself, that the world doesn’t give this.

I need something within me that remains.

…so you’re thinking, well yes, of course that would be Christ in you, the hope of glory or something similar. Absolutely. But let me be more specific, bringing it home to where the rubber meets the road.

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Has it ever really hit you that the actual righteousness of Jesus Christ is within you?  (1 Corinthians 1:30)

What can stand against that?

Nothing can change that!

My incomprehension, forgetfulness or unbelief will rob me of the conscious awareness of such joyful protection…but none of these things alters its reality. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today & forever…

Nothing can change that!

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“…let the peace of God rule in your hearts…”

(Colossians 3:15)

Alpha Peace

Physics Ain’t Got Nothin’ on Jesus!

Hopefully, most of you are not like I have been, in your perceptions of the timing of the Word of God in your life.

A few weeks ago, I saw – in a specific, real-time example in my own life – a manifestation of how a prophecy only recently declared, had been operating in my time & space for years…and that, because of that timing, events in my life were now perfectly aligned with the results aspect of this prophetic word. When I first read this word, I had thought that the whole process was just beginning for me! but soon saw that it had already been in motion. So, even though the prophecy was just released…can I even find the right words to say what I’m trying to say?…its substance had been alive & operative for years in earth-time. Since Jesus is most certainly not late-to-the-party with His declaration! this brings us smack in the face of “…with the Lord a day is as a thousand years…”

This particular Word had to do with Jesus drawing up new blueprints for the lives of some of us, in His Body. I was a little slow on the uptake. When it hit me that I was on the edge of stepping into a newly designed layout, that I wasn’t going to need to wait 6 months or a year or two…that all that I had been going through for years was this blueprint being put into motion…it also hit me that this testimony of Jesus (the spirit of prophecy) is alive now & was alive before now. It is alive going forward. It was alive while it was producing itself?

It is not at a specific point in time that the prophetic Word is true.

…so while we ‘earthlings’ see a result manifesting today, with the Lord, that spirit & Word have BEEN happening!  Is this a reverberation of “…Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come”? (Revelation 4:8)

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…and so I want to encourage by emphasizing the…continuity…of God’s Words for you, about you, whether spoken through a prophet or prophetess, or spoken to your heart.

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word-of-god

 

 

Like the Energizer Bunny…Prayer doesn’t Quit!

I remember a preacher once suggesting that we strive to live ‘by design’. He was suggesting this, as opposed to attempting to meet obligations, take responsibility etc. On the face of it, that sounds…well, irresponsible! I wasn’t so sure about his approach, yet still, I got a sense of a ‘Be still & know that I am God’ kind of thing. He frequently hosted segments of a late-night worship television program, that got me through many a rough time. He was always SO very mellow.

Along these same lines of thinking, I also remember watching a corporate-type manager speaking about not trying so hard to ‘manage’, but instead let God arrange events more. If I recall correctly, he had begun to practice that office policy, and found it so much less stressful.

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Incorporating this kind of living into our daily lives probably would be a tricky balancing act at first. We have deadlines. Schedules. Financial limitations & budgets. People depend on us for provision & help. Etc., etc., etc. Plus, many of us have to work/live in tandem with others who don’t think like this, and would scoff at the idea – your boss, for instance. Some family members. I think venturing forth with such a plan takes courage. Everyone has to figure out their own way, timing & method. To everything there is a time & season…

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Well, for myself, I become anxious easily. And, yeah, I know the Scriptures that apply…I still struggle. I was thinking about this today, and envisioning a sort of inner & outer scenario. Within the inner, I am moving about among the people & places that comprise my events of the day, which would seem to dictate a certain amount of my behavior & responses. I see these people & circumstances as having, therefore, a certain amount of ‘control’ over what happens to me. Despite believing that Jesus is Lord of all, this makes me edgy & worse.

Looking more deeply into my own issues – if I truly believe that He is Lord – I realize that the root issue is between myself & God, Who is operating in the outer scenario all around me & I apparently doubt His intentions. In a way, my lack of faith voids His protection, as far as my thinking goes. So I’m anxious.

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A thought I have often had, especially when praying about something pertaining to my own need/desire is, will God even answer? So often we hear the principle voiced, that God meets all our needs, not necessarily our wants…and yes, that is based on Scripture…but frequently leaves me not feeling very assured. Lack of assurance gives rise to worry & anxiety. Somehow, I need assurance.

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So, a couple of things here…

During an especially bad time of fear, the Scripture where King David writes of praying ‘evening, and morning, and at noon’ came to mind. I began researching some of theKing David 3 Hebrew words used in this verse. (Psalm 55:17) Now, when gripping unease torments, I rehearse these meanings back to myself out loud.

David writes that the Lord will ‘hear’ his voice. In the Hebrew, this particular word means to hear intelligently. Knowing this does a lot for me, because I consider myself intelligent and when I listen intelligently, I’m focused & looking for a way to respond that will help the speaker.

…and in an earlier verse (v.2), David also asks God to ‘hear’ his prayer & supplication. Here the Hebrew translation includes an implied response. I am likin’ that!

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Someone once said to me that prayer is our response to God. My takeaway from that was that true prayer does not originate with us. It may seem like it, as we pause to ponder what words to speak & then have a thought or impression…but since in the flesh is no good thing, if the resulting supplication has sprung from flesh…well…who wants that? Instead, it is glorious to know that an entirely different process can & does take place, I believe.

When God sends a word forth, it does not, ever, return void. It accomplishes & prospers. (Isaiah 55:11) Jesus, who we honor & worship as Lord and God, says that His sheep hear His voice. Get the connection? As we respond to what we are hearing, speaking it in prayer or declaration, are we part of that process wherein His ways are higher than ours? Because the word of God is living seed , as we respond in prayer to what He has sent forth into our minds & hearts, are we continuing to sow it? Continuing to facilitate eternal processes? I say this because immediately following the Lord’s explanation in Isaiah 55 of the efficacy & manner of His sending forth His word, we read a joyful summation that includes this:

“Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree…and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

The fir tree – the evergreen – has always represented endless life. Some may be oblivious to that. But here in this Scripture, that is made clear. The fir, unlike other trees, is not cut off every fall. It continues green! We who know, even, will not always be recognizing the sign before us, when we notice an evergreen tree. There is plenty else, weighty, overwhelming, distracting, to gain our attention! But nonetheless, it IS a sign.

And extrapolating from these Scriptures, I see something else. If I am not mistaken, the fir tree stands as not only a reminder of eternal life in Christ, but it stands also as a testament to the ongoing, ceaseless effects of prayer. I have never before seen this, in these Scriptures, but I believe I do now. We pray; maybe we see an answer, maybe we don’t. We move on, probably forgetting…or anxious. But the words sent forth by God & responded to by us are actively continuing to produce, prosper & accomplish that which He intended. I believe this is going on all the time. We are covered by it & move within it.

…and I point these things out because this conclusion reassures me that one can live more ‘by design’ than one might think.

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Evergreen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ultimate Solution…a baby?

It seems, at times, absurd to even consider any other option than ‘choosing sides’ when the topic at hand is political, or national or international crises, etc. We jump on bandwagons, we sound off in what I’ve seen dubbed as online ‘echo chambers’. I wonder if many of us simply want to be led around by Pied Pipers…

Post Trump inauguration, I myself was so sickened by the intensity & constancy of hateful rhetoric & actions, that I backed out of most online activity. (Serendipitously, at that exact time I lost regular internet connectivity anyway…) Then & now, in hindsight, I only see darkly-intentioned forces inciting a tearing of the fabric of wholeness & healing.

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These forces will use any & all issues/conditions etc. to their advantage, if possible. I don’t believe that their goals are what they say they are. In a large majority of the conflicts we see in America, that are able to arise because we champion – as we should – freedom of speech & peaceful protest, the real goal is division. It is spurred by a root of hatred. Harm is intended.

Well…

No doubt these situations are going to happen. What are the answers? Where do we find solutions?

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Again, it would seem absurd to even consider, in these times, not beefing up our military/law enforcement & keeping it well-oiled, well-nourished & at the ready, fully trained & equipped. I am all for that, and am so grateful that the Obama administration’s paring down of it has been reversed in this new day. But…

…in moments of reflection, I can’t help but remember certain words found in the Scriptures that challenge my position & mindset.

In the beginning of the epistle of James, we read that not having because we did not ask, or asked with wrong motive, are causes of war/conflicts. Do you take this Scripture seriously? If so…uh…then how can that be incorporated into seeking solutions to world conflicts? Is this what diplomatic talks are all about?

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Astonishingly, in Isaiah 7, we find another key to responding to war.

In those days of Isaiah, Jerusalem was being threatened by Syria. (Sound familiar?) Long story short, Ahaz king of Judah was given a sign by God regarding this situation after He promised that the approaching enemy would not prevail.

The sign was a baby.

Granted, not just any baby, but one conceived of a virgin. One to be called ‘God with us’.

But still…what kind of solution is this? A baby? What is this supposed to mean? Military might approaches and God is talking about an infant? Come ON !!!

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As completely unrelated as this answer appears to be on the surface, it is nonetheless a Word from God. With us.

We have just finished celebrating Christmas, those days of marking the birth of this infant. In fact & in theory, many fully believe that such an event took place. And all that came after it. We honor, praise & worship this Jesus, as King, Lord and Savior. But because I have just this day been impacted with the substance of Immanuel, I wonder how many have yet to see or receive this Light, this Truth?

Religious sounding words & phrases, solemn churchy hymns, may not do it for some of us. Normal Sunday sermons might not crack through a helmet of dullness around our ‘mind’. But of all the catastrophic events taking place in the world today, the non-stop stream of fear & dread parading across our screens, all that lays claim to too much of our attention…NOTHING shall ever prove to be as Mighty as God with us.

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Immanuel

To Adopt You, God did Great & Mighty Things !

 

I love seeing how God works! I know it is a blessed thing to believe without having ‘seen’ – it really is – but when the shadows lift and you ‘get it’, there is such delight!

Newly saved, we are presented with certain ‘formulas’, explaining some of the purposes & methods of salvation. If you were like me, at that time in your walk with the Lord, you accepted, basically understood, and repeated them to any who would listen. Just as a child would. And I am not saying there should or could have been a different way of beginning our walk with Jesus.

(I do recall, however, a certain preacher pointing out that there was a great need for more of the right kind of teaching for new believers, so that they would not be misled. That’s a whole other story…)

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Perspective can shape conclusions.

I always saw the devil-fueled world system as being our opponent, desiring to oppress & enslave us. Mentions of the world system in Scripture embody warnings against it, it seems. There are no endorsements, only negatively slanted commentary & instruction. Love not the world, nor the things of it, for example.

So…years ago, I first came across Galatians 3:23, telling me that we were deliberately ‘shut up’ unto faith and ‘kept’ under law. I was more than a little bit surprised, as I equate the world system with law…and sin. God intended this? Not what I had at first understood at all!

As the ‘cherry on the top’ of a sundae, that Greek word translated as ‘kept’ includes the meaning ‘to be a watcher in advance’; better yet ‘to hem in, protect’.

I never pursued further investigations of the topic, but this ray of light appeared in my thoughts & musings off and on over the ensuing years. As though somehow there was a redemptive quality to this system structure, which had previously eluded me.

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Recently, my studies led me to the fourth chapter of Galatians. As though for the first time, I began seeing similar threads of God’s processes, as described above. Light entered the room of my mind, and began filling it. Bible studies from my past came to life. Charts, outlines & analogies began breathing. What I had never realized – though I know I would’ve read the related Scripture – is that to receive the ultimate Adoption by the Father, we first had to be redeemed. I saw that there is a time appointed to be redeemed. (Gal.4:2) Leading up to that time, our Father protects us (under what we later know as bondage to the elements of the world system.) Tough love? But love nonetheless, Divine, necessary. He did not leave us floating around in chaos. There was always a Plan.

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…and so I got to thinking, just how are we ‘protected’ by being shut up within law?

My conclusion is purely my own. I have done no research. But my thinking on this is, that as a human being with a conscience, we will suffer the psychological consequences of our wrongdoings – because before Christ finds us, we do not know or understand that there is available to us a place of no condemnation – so we need a means to be psychologically absolved of that condemnation. Satisfying world system demands just might provide that. 

…in addition, it occurred to me that perhaps in order to be willing to receive His solution in Christ, man had & has to go through all that he does, in this worldly system, to learn through experience that this system ultimately doesn’t work.

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Side bar:  While I did not write this post with any political slant in mind, something similar that occurred to me last year came to mind.

I believe that one reason President Trump is in office today, is because the Presidential season preceding him paved the way for his election. (Similar to the law being a ‘schoolmaster’ to lead us to Christ.) Because so many were so dismayed over the handling of the United States presidency during Barack Obama’s two terms, those many were ready to consider electing a man who in so many ways offended them.  In other words, the Obama years were perhaps intended to prepare a citizenry for God’s solution to impending doom for a nation – though in the natural that solution otherwise would likely have been rejected.

There are some others who see this as well.

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The time appointed by the Father for our adoption process to begin, took place in a stable in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. This historical event has repeated itself in the lives of individuals worldwide, throughout the centuries, and continues today. The Savior is born in hearts, and destinies are forever & victoriously changed! We mark this matchless beginning of redemption on December 25th, every year.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS, INDEED!

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Christmas w-Sandro 2015