Category Archives: Body of Christ

His Unspeakable Gift

When I was a boy I used to think on certain great people I admired… and secretly wished I could be.  It’s been a while, and I can’t remember now who was on my list.  Except for two.  I remember two.  Superman was one.  I used to wish I could be Superman.  To have that superhuman strength, and, wow, to be able to fly…  Wouldn’t that be something!  I knew of course that Superman wasn’t real, and I could not be Superman.  But I liked to imagine being Superman and astonishing all my friends.

The other one I remember was—and I can never forget this one—Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  I knew He was real.  At least I had been taught He was real, and it never entered my mind to doubt it back then (that came later).  I would think on Him and… none of my thoughts about Superman contained the same sense of… of reverence, of awe… that thinking on the Son of God did.

And I would think… the Son of… God?  He is the Son… of God?  And I would be deeply disappointed.  For I knew I could not be Him.  And it didn’t seem fair to me.  Why did He get to be the Son of God and I had to live such an ordinary life?  Why did He get to be the Son of God, and not me?

It wasn’t till many years later that I discovered the most wonderful truth.  If I couldn’t be the Son of God Himself… I could be one with Him.

I was sitting at my kitchen table in Burmis one day; this was after I’d had to quit my job because of my affliction.  By this time I’d come to know the Son of God was real, had known this for many years.  And I was going through the Gospel of John verse by verse, and Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament on the book of John, and at the same time reading George Warnock’s book Crowned With Oil, in which he goes through a portion of the book of John verse by verse (John Chapters 14-17).  It seems this is my lot; I don’t get revelations the way some people do—with the Lord revealing things to them in dreams and visions and other awesome ways that I envy; it seems my lot is to have to plug away at reading the Bible earnestly seeking to open my heart to the Lord.

And so, I was reading these books, along with the Gospel of John… verse by verse.  I wasn’t expecting anything extraordinary; I was just doing over again what I love to do—labouring in the word.

And I came to John Chapter 14.  And I came to verse 15.

If ye love Me, keep My commandments.
And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever;
Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him; but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

And then I read verse 18.

I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.

And suddenly… I saw!

This is a passage of Scripture I had read countless times; it had also been ministered to me many times.  But now suddenly… my eyes were opened… and I saw!

I will not leave you comfortless (orphans): I will come to you.

The Paraclete, the Spirit of truth in you and me… it means that the Son of God Himself is here in you and me!

This is utterly astonishing.  The Spirit of truth here in the earth is one with the Son of God in Heaven.

I tell you, this revolutionized my whole thinking.  My Bible, even after many years of reading it, became a brand new book to me.  Light had dawned, and as it shone upon my Bible, I was able to read familiar passages in an entirely new light.

Like Psalm 22, for example.

I will declare Thy Name unto My brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee.

How does the Son of God praise the Father in the midst of the congregation—but by the Holy Spirit in you and me?  The Son of God Himself is in the midst of congregation—because of the Holy Spirit in you and me.

What a wonder.  It is true, brothers and sisters, it’s really true: because of the Holy Spirit in us, we are the very body of Christ (1 Cor. 12.13).  Our Head is in Heaven; we in the earth are one with Him—one body—because of the Holy Spirit.

We are the temple of God because the Holy Spirit dwelleth in us (1 Cor. 3.16).

He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit (1 Cor. 6.17).

Jesus had been telling His disciples He was about to leave them, He was going away, and it grieved them deeply to hear this.  But He told them this was actually a better plan than if He were to stay.

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you (better for you, more profitable, to your advantage) that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart I will send Him unto you… (Jn. 16.7).

We are inclined to think this cannot be right.  Surely it would be better for that Man who walked the earth two thousand years ago to be still here with us.  For if we had Jesus still with us He could continue to do the wonders He did back then; we would have His perfect input into every difficult situation we face; we would have His protection; He would resolve all our troubles… He would be able to speak the perfect word of God just as He did back then; He would be able to continue bearing witness to the truth just as faithfully and perfectly as He did back then.

The point is, with the Holy Spirit we still have this!  For in the Holy Spirit, Christ Himself is still with us!

I will not leave you orphans; I am coming to you.

The Holy Spirit is able to manifest as perfect a witness to the truth as the Son of God Himself did.

But there is One Thing more we have in the Paraclete that we would not have if Jesus Himself were still here in the flesh.  Because of this wondrous Advocate not just with us, but now in us, we too share the same relationship with the Father that Jesus the Son of God did… which the disciples back then did not have.  Truly, it was better for them—and for us—that He went away.

He told them He was leaving them… and coming back to them again (Jn. 14.28).  He told them He was going to the Father, and therefore they would not see Him.  That’s understandable enough.  Why would they see Him not?  Because He was going to the Father.

But then this enigma.  Because He was going to the Father, they would see Him.  Why would they see Him again?  Because He was going to the Father.

He was going to the Father, and would send to them the Promise of the Father—the Paraclete, the Spirit of truth.  And in this One, He Himself would be in them.  And so He said:

Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more, but ye see Me: because I live ye shall live also (Jn. 14.19).

And He said:

At that day ye shall know that I am in the Father, and ye in Me, and I in you (Jn. 14.20).

What day?  The day of the coming of the Comforter, the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit… because of whose coming Jesus Christ Himself is with us—even in us!  Oh, the wonder of this!  Whatever is yet to come with regard to the revelation of Jesus Christ, oh, let us not miss out on the fullness of this revelation—that Jesus Christ in Heaven is with us, even in us… because of the Holy Spirit in us!

Jesus Christ the Son of God in Heaven… and the Holy Spirit here in the earth in us… they are one.

…I know what you’re thinking—that because of the Holy Spirit in me, I too am a son of God now.  Yes, and I am growing up into Him in all things, into His very image and likeness.  What a wonder.  My boyhood wish has been realized after all.  To think that a loving God had prepared such wonder for a wondering boy…  it is too much.  I too get to be a son of God.

…But I tell you what is more meaningful… if that’s possible.  It’s the realization that the Holy Spirit in me that makes me a son of God… is one with the Son of God in Heaven. It’s this that leaves me with my mouth open.

Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift!

More On Heaven Quakes

This from Micah.

For behold, the LORD cometh forth out of His place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.
And the mountains shall be molten under Him, and the valleys shall be cleft as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place (Mic. 1.3,4).

And this from the Psalms.

Bow Thy heavens, O LORD, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.
Cast forth lightning, and scatter them; shoot out Thine arrows, and destroy them (Ps. 144.6,7).

Do you ever get revelations?  I am sure you do—those moments when the “light bulb” comes on and you see some beautiful facet of the truth of God.  They can be life changing; they can be devastating.

Now, how does God touch a mountain?  With His hand, of course.

It is the most awesome of truths that we are the body of Christ—His feet, His arms, His hands…

Beloved, we the body of Christ appear to be very weak in the earth at this time (at least here in the western world); we are not considered to be much of a threat to the kingdoms of this world, the kingdoms of darkness around us.

This is going to change.  And it’s going to change by a revelation—or to put that better, a response to a revelation.  Obedience to that revelation.

Jesus told Nathanael, “Verily, verily I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see Heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of man” (Jn. 1.51).  He was referring to Jacob’s experience at Bethel when he dreamed of the ladder between earth and Heaven, and the angels ascending and descending on it.  Jesus is saying, I Myself am Bethel; I am that ladder, the top of which is in Heaven, and the foot of it in the earth.  It’s the awesome revelation of Christ—His head in Heaven and His body here in the earth.

Notice what Paul said.

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ (1 Cor. 12.12).

Paul didn’t say, “so also is the body of Christ.”  He said, “so also is Christ.”  They are not two separate things:  Christ in Heaven and the body of Christ in the earth.  Christ is a many-membered Man whose Head is in Heaven, and the body in the earth.

Beloved, we are scarcely awake to this reality, and when we are awake to this, it is going to shake Heaven and earth.  Christ the Head in Heaven and the body of Christ in the earth are one Man, one temple—Bethel, the house of God.  Jesus Christ our Advocate in Heaven and the Holy Spirit His Advocate here in the earth—they are One Advocate; they are one.  Jesus told His disciples when He was about to leave them, “I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you” (Jn. 14.18).  He was speaking of the coming of the Comforter, the Spirit of truth.  “I… will come to you.”

And so Jesus promises, “Yet once I shake not the earth only, but Heaven also” (Heb. 12.26).  How shall He accomplish so great shakings?  By speaking.  “Whose Voice then shook the earth…”  This refers back to God speaking at Sinai when the whole mountain shook, and all the earth around.  “But now He hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but Heaven also.”  The Voice of the Son of God in Heaven through the lips of His body in the earth is going to cause great shakings in our world.  I tremble to think of it, and am fearful at the prospect.  But at the same time I cry to Him to do it—shake, Lord, bring the shakings!  For they are necessary shakings, and it will mean the removal of all the kingdoms of man, all that can be shaken, all that is unstable in our fractured troubled world, ultimately leaving “a kingdom that cannot be shaken.”  What a wondrous hope.

And so let us earnestly seek to be responsive to revelations from Heaven, as that Egyptian church we mentioned last time was.  They heard from God; they were obedient; suddenly their whole nation was shaking.

God can and will touch mountains—the kingdoms of this world that have been there it seems forever—and they will go up in smoke.  How shall He touch them?

He shall come down and tread upon the high places of the earth. How shall He do this?

“And the mountains shall be molten under Him…”  Under whom?

Beloved, let us be walking in obedience.  Let us be listening with foot ready to walk in what our Head is hearing and seeing.  Let us seek earnestly to be responsive to our Head in Heaven.  He has given us the provision we need to do this—He has given us His own Holy Spirit, thus making us one with Him, thus making us alive unto Him.

You and I may consider ourselves weak and small and of not much account.  That’s actually the way it should be.  But let us, weak as we are, be in such union with our Head in Heaven that He can stretch out His hand and touch a mountain, and cause it to go up in smoke.

Just high sounding words, these?  Ask those Egyptian Christians if they are just high-sounding words.

Faith Works By Love

Last time we pointed out that faith is dependent on hearing the word of God.  I cannot muster faith for an idea of my own that I want to bring into being.  “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

At the same time, it’s possible for God to speak and faith is not created.  Perhaps there is disobedience in a life, or someone is entrenched in unbelief; the heart is hard.  God is speaking and trying to get through, but I simply refuse to hear.

But if a heart can be hardened in unbelief it’s also possible to cultivate the soil of the heart so that faith can thrive.  Yes, I know, God deals to each one “a measure of faith” and we must always be careful not to try to function beyond that measure (Rom. 12.3).  But this does not mean we are forever limited to the measure we now have.  Faith can grow.

And, like certain plants, it seems to grow better in company.  Paul spoke of “the unity of the faith” (Eph. 4.13)—that is, the mutual inspiration of faith among the members of the body of Christ that grows and increases till ultimately it enables the expression of “a perfect Man.”  He commended the Thessalonian saints because the atmosphere of unity and love in their midst created healthy habitat for faith to grow (2 Thes. 1.3).  He encouraged the Philippians to continue to “stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel” (Phil. 1.27).  He  also wrote Timothy that those who desire to serve their brethren “purchase to themselves a good ‘step upward,’ and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 3.13).

What do all of these passages of Scripture have in common?  They all reveal the kind of habitat faith thrives in.  Love.  “…Faith which worketh by love” (Gal. 5.6).  It’s the assembly that is nurturing love in their midst that discovers, lo and behold, plants of faith thriving.  It’s those who are of one mind and are standing fast in one spirit who are better provisioned to strive for the faith of the Gospel.  It’s the assembly that is edifying one another in love that is coming together unto the unity of the faith, where all the measures of faith are working together in a powerful manifestation of the Son of God.

And—let’s look at this one more fully—it is the one who earnestly desires to serve his brethren that taps into a great boldness of faith.

For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 3.13).

As I thought about this verse, Stephen came to mind.  There had been a murmuring in the early church over the daily distribution to widows.  Certain ones were being neglected.  The apostles didn’t feel it would be right for them to leave the service of the word of God and prayer to attend to this. “It is not meet for us to leave the word of God and wait on tables” (Acts 6.2).  So they selected seven men to do this.  Stephen was one of them.

The Greek word translated wait on comes from the same root as the word deacon.  It could read, if there were such a verb, “It is not right for us to leave the word of God and deacon tables.”  So the seven men were to fulfill a deacon kind of ministry.

The passage in Timothy talks of those who “use the office of a deacon well.”  But the original Greek doesn’t have the same emphasis on ecclesiastical taxonomy—bishop, deacon—common to the King James Version.  In fact the word office is entirely lacking in the original Greek; it should read more like, “they that have deaconed well,” or simply, “served well…”

Stephen was a deacon, then—a server.  We’re not being introduced to an office here; we’re being introduced to an attitude—Stephen’s love for the family of God, and his humility, his earnest desire to serve them.  It’s this I am sure that accounts for what we read about him.  He was “full of faith and the Holy Spirit” (6.5).  He was “full of faith and power” (6.8).  Stephen’s faith was really working.  Why?  It was “faith that worketh by love.”  It wasn’t his own importance Stephen had in mind, or his own benefit.  It was the benefit of others.  God, it seems, is more than willing to lavish faith on those who want it for the sake of others.

Stephen’s servant heart gained him great boldness in the faith, as we find in Chapter Seven.

…And good degree as well—a good “step upward”—even to the throne of Christ.

I am reminded of yet another passage that shows us faith in operation.  Among the gifts of the Spirit Paul mentions “to another, faith by the same Spirit (1 Cor. 12.9).”  A gift of faith?  Yes, it seems so.  And sadly all too often the one who has been granted this gift looks down on his brethren who just don’t seem to have the bold faith he has.  He has failed to recognize that the gift doesn’t belong to him.  It has been given him for the profit of all (1 Cor. 12.7).  It was given to him on behalf of others.

As with all the gifts: they are the heritage of all; the one who has received the gift is just the minister, the server, the deacon, the steward of that gift.  It actually belongs to the others.  “As every man hath received the gift even so minister the same one to another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Pt. 4.10).

…Lord, search our hearts.  Oh, how deeply we realize our deep need for faith in this hour… that we need to be earnestly contending for the faith that was once delivered to the saints (Jude 3).  But even as we consider this exhortation we are reminded that just a few verses later, as Jude calls us to build up ourselves on our most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, he urges us to keep ourselves in the love of God…

Amen.

The Sword In The Shadow

One thing about the Internet is that it has brought into being an information overload.  There is an overwhelming ocean of information available.  We have been deluged with knowledge… and you pretty much need an “ark” to get through it all safely.  For, though it was never God’s intention, even Christian teachings end up becoming that—just more information.  There are thousands of websites hosted by Christians, thousands of messages, thousands of blogs like this one.  How much of it actually penetrates the heart in a way that changes us?  It can become a habit to not read things carefully and prayerfully—and selectively—with a prepared heart.  You just skim things quickly, and move on.

Let us be careful that our spiritual faculties don’t become dull with all this use.  That can happen.  I want to be watchful to not let that happen.  Here is why.

The other day I sensed the Spirit of the Lord reminding me again that He yet intends to speak forth a very powerful word.  And it is going to surprise many.  I was reminded of a passage in Isaiah.

Listen, O isles, unto Me; and hearken, ye peoples, from far; The LORD hath called Me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath He made mention of My name.
And He hath made My mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand hath He hid Me, and made Me a polished shaft; in His quiver hath He hid Me;
And said unto Me, Thou art My Servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified (Isa. 49.1-3).

This passage is no doubt speaking of Christ Himself.  For it is Christ who has “the sharp sword with two edges” proceeding out of His mouth (Rev. 1.16, 2.12).  At the same time this is speaking of a corporate testimony:  “Thou art My Servant, O Israel…”  Israel is a corporate entity.  Yet here this corporate entity is spoken of in the singular.  “Thou art My Servant, O Israel…”  In the King James Version of the  Bible, thou is always the second person singular pronoun.

And so I think this is one of the places in the Old Testament where we see hidden the mystery of the corporate Man that God revealed to his apostles—particularly the apostle Paul—the mystery of Christ.  Paul wrote, “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ” (1 Cor. 12.12).  He didn’t say, “so also is the body of Christ.”  He said, “so also is Christ.”  We then as members of the body of Christ are this sword, this mouth, that Christ greatly desires to speak out of.

One of the weapons of our spiritual armour is, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6.17).  It is not just the Bible.  It is “the Spirit’s sword, which is the word of God.”  It is the word that the Spirit of God speaks that is the sword of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But it is we who wield—actually become—this sword.

We are reminded of Gideon and his little band of three hundred.  “The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon…” they cried.  Not just the sword of Gideon. And not just the sword of the Lord either.  “The sword of the LORD and of Gideon.”  One sword!  The sword of the Lord and of Gideon and his little band of dedicated men who were one with Him.  It wrought utter havoc among the enemies of the people of God.

How little we have seen of this formidable, fearful, spiritual weapon.  How little our world about us has seen of it.  How little our enemies have tasted of it… though they dread it like nothing else.

We—and they—are yet going to see this terrible swift sword.

There is no more formidable weapon in the whole universe.

And it is going to go forth only from the mouths of those who have been hidden in the shadow of the hand of the Lord.

The hand speaks of the Lord’s dealings in our lives: His discipline, His chastening… His love… His covering, His protection… His own work.  “In the shadow of His hand hath He hid me…”  Others can’t see you there.  His shadow is over you… and He is working.  What is He doing?  You yourself may wonder at times.  Is He doing anything in my life?  You may wonder why you never amount to anything when others are out there in the light doing great things for God.  But as He keeps you hidden from view in the shadow of His hand He is molding your mouth, shaping your mouth, into a sharp sword with two edges.  You are learning not to speak your own words, but His.  You are learning that many times you have nothing to say.  His purpose in it is that you might become part of this corporate Servant in whom He is glorified.

Jesus said of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, “He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shew (declare) unto you” (Jn. 16.15).  This is the commitment of the Holy Spirit—not to speak from Himself, but what He hears the Son of God saying (Jn. 16.13).

But when He speaks—He and the one in whom He abides—it is Christ Himself speaking.

What is the Lord Jesus Christ going to do with this sword?

First, He is going to purify His churches with it (Rev. 2.12).  It is a two-edged sword (a two-mouthed sword as the original has it: God’s mouth and our own mouth) that pierces to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  It is a sword—a word—with the very eyes of God in it, and lays all bare before Him (Heb. 4.12,13).  Only those in whom the hand of the Lord has wrought the heart of a priest are going to be entrusted with this kind of sword.

Then He is going to bathe this sword in Heaven (Isa. 34.5).  That is, He is going to cause principalities and powers in heavenly places, the rulers of the darkness of this age, to know its devastating power.

And He is going to visit the serpent, the dragon, in the midst of the sea with this sword (Isa. 27.1).

Very wondrous things, these, and fearsome.

A mouth that is a sword of light–  laser sharp… and just as penetrating.

A man or woman who, long-hidden in God’s quiver, is the arrow He selects and suddenly shoots into the heart of His enemy like a bolt of lightning.

Only those who continue to abide under the shadow of God’s hand will become this kind of weaponry.

The Sea And The Waves Roaring

I don’t know if you are feeling the same way I am about things in the news these days. It seems to me things have “morphed” into a frightening ugliness.  My news source is the Google news page, and I don’t make a habit of going through it all.  A lot of it I dare not read; it’s unclean.  Much of it I can’t read; it’s too painful to read it.  So I skim the headlines.

The other day as I considered it all, these words came on my heart again and again.  “…The sea and the waves roaring… The sea and the waves roaring…” (Lk. 21.25).  That’s what Jesus prophesied things would be like just prior to the coming of the kingdom of God.

Upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring…

That’s a perfect description of the sea just now—the sea of nations, the sea of humanity.  There is so much distress, and perplexity, and unrest.

In fact I wonder if I don’t see a new beast rising up out of the sea, something along the lines of Daniel’s vision, “and behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.  And four beasts came up from the sea…” (Dan. 7.3).  John the Revelator saw something similar—a beast having seven heads and ten horns rising out of the sea.

Now, I’m not trying to invent a new eschatology of what that is all about, and I’m not saying I’ve had a divine revelation; it’s just a feeling I have; I’m just surmising.

What I’m thinking of is the “waves” of influence that have arisen as masses of ordinary people in various nations have gathered together—multitudes in the streets banding together in a common cause.  They just came up “out of the sea.”  They discovered that massed together, rising up together, they had power.  Is this a new political force in the earth– a new beast rising out ot the sea?

Some of these waves have been extremely violent.  Add to that the frightening riots in our so-called orderly democratic societies.  Anarchy right before our eyes.

Now add in this– the influence of social media these days.  The little people who had no voice now have a megaphone that has turned their puny voice into a shout that gets political attention.

Whereunto shall all this grow?  Truly the waves of the sea are becoming very restless.  Very boisterous.  I believe they are going to grow even more boisterous.

A storm is gathering strength.

I take courage in knowing this—the One who stilled the waves on Galilee will in His timing speak again and still the waves of this great sea.

Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, Thou stillest them.  (Ps. 89.9).

What I mean is… consider this verse in the light of the one just before it.

O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto Thee? Or to Thy faithfulness round about thee?
Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise Thou stillest them.

Thou rulest the raging of the sea.  Who is that?  The LORD God of hosts.

Fast forward to a stormy night on Galilee centuries after this psalm was written.  Who was it that stilled the raging waves of the sea that stormy night on Galilee?  It was a Man whom to see was to see the LORD God of hosts, a Man who did only what He saw His Father the LORD God of hosts doing.  The things this Man did, it was God the Father who dwelt in Him who did the works (Jn. 14.10).

And so it was the LORD God of hosts who calmed the sea of Galilee that night, fulfilling an ancient prophecy of the psalms.

I believe we shall yet see an even greater fulfillment of that prophecy.  I anticipate that this same One shall speak again and still the raging waves of the restless sea of humanity.  How shall He do so?  Through that same Man again—and those who are in union with Him because of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them.

That will indeed be a very powerful word going forth from the mouth of the Lord—in the body of Christ.

High sounding words?  Do you think it’s even possible for this kind of word to go forth from the body of Christ?  I do—when it is Christ Himself speaking.

Which means you and I must seek very earnestly to abide in Christ and hear His Voice and speak what He is speaking.  Be sure that it’s only those who are abiding in Christ— only those who are walking in the yoke and lowliness of Christ, who are going to be entrusted with this kind of word and authority.

But it’s the only answer for this increasingly lawless and violent and godless world.  We are already seeing anarchy in many places.  So far men have always felt they could solve their problems and bring things under control.  I believe God is going to convince man that this is no longer true.  The problems are becoming too great, too complex.  Things are spinning out of control.

The sea is getting very stormy indeed.

It frightens me… and I’m glad to read the disciples of old were scared too that night on Galilee.  They were sure they were about to perish.  I can identify.

…But didn’t they know who was with them in their little ark?  And don’t I know too?

Jesus—He was asleep on a pillow through it all—awoke to their cries.

And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still.  And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. (Mk. 4.39).

Notice that.  “He rebuked the wind…”  That’s where the real problem is—those “four winds of the heavens” that are always stirring up the great sea.  These are the real instigators behind all the turmoil—evil principalities and powers in the heavenly realm.

“…And He said unto the sea, Peace, be still.”  He rebukes the wind and speaks to the sea—to the peoples in turmoil and unrest.

And there was a great calm.

The disciples were overawed at this.

And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, what manner of man is this, that even the wind and the waves obey Him?

They weren’t even sure He was a man, as the original Greek implies.

Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?

Who?  What manner of Man?  A Man who is one with God.

Likewise shall many be overawed when this same Man speaks peace and brings order out of chaos again.

Jesus’ Prayer Partners

Jesus said in John 17, “I pray for them.”

At the right hand of the Throne of God in Heaven, “He ever liveth to make intercession for us.”

Now, if Jesus at the right hand of the Father is praying for His own, what does this mean for you and me?

I’d like to relate an experience I had years ago—one of the most meaningful revelations I ever received.  I had been going through a very difficult time—one of those times when you feel like you are going under for the third time… never to come up again.  I had gone under like Jonah.  The weeds were wrapped about my head.  One evening during this painful time I was in a little gathering with a few others.  There had been some singing, and then a time of quiet worship.  I was standing with my eyes shut, and my head bowed, and my hands folded… and feeling such a deep anguish.  I began to pray in myself, “Lord, I am feeling so bad… what I need is… I need You Yourself to pray for me…  Lord… please, You pray for me, that’s what I need.  I need You to pray for me.”  I continued on like this for a little while, head bowed, eyes shut, in my heart crying out to the Lord to pray for me…

…And suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder.  One of the brothers had quietly walked over to me and put his hand on my shoulder.  Then another joined him.  And another.  And after a few moments the brothers and sisters were all standing around me praying for me.

I just broke.

And light dawned!  Jesus had answered my prayer!  Jesus Himself had prayed for me… just as I had asked Him to.  Oh, what a healing experience that was for me!

It was a revelation I never forgot.  The body of Christ is not just an organization, beloved.  The body of Christ is a living reality.  The body of Christ is just that—the body of Christ Himself.  We who have the Holy Spirit of Christ in us—can you believe such a wonder?—here in the earth we are the members of Christ.

And oh, how we need to be awakened more fully into this reality—that what the Head is doing in Heaven, the Body is doing here in the earth.  When He stretches forth His hand to heal, His arm here in the earth stretches out that hand, and healing with the power of the Throne of heaven goes forth.

When He prays, we pray—and it is effectual prayer, prayer with the power of the Throne in it.

Now I realize why Paul the apostle was such a praying man.  Read his epistles.  They are full of prayer.

We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers… (1 Thes. 1.2).

We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, always (continually) praying for you… (Col. 1.3).

For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you in my prayers… (Rom. 1.9)

I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day (2 Tim. 1.3, and note the singular thee here).

I won’t quote more; it’s all over the place.  Paul was such a praying man.  But we miss much if we think of this in terms of Paul himself initiating all this prayer… and we get to admiring Paul.  Why was Paul like this?  I believe it was because Paul was very close to that Intercessor who sits on the throne of Heaven.  This One by His Spirit indwelt Paul.  And so these prayers of Paul are in essence the prayers of Christ Himself.  Perhaps that is better put by saying that Jesus on the throne of Heaven had a prayer partner—Paul, among others.  Jesus prayed, Jesus wanted to pray, and so He sought out His prayer partner Paul, who, it appears, was always more than ready to get down on his knees and pray with his Lord.  Since Jesus was continually interceding for His own, Paul too was habitually interceding.

Let us be seeking this same kind of intimacy with Jesus, and be always ready to pray with Him.  Jude calls us to be “praying in the Holy Ghost…”  That hits the nail on the head.  When we are praying in the Holy Spirit, it is the prayer of Christ Himself that is going up to the Father.

And if there was ever an hour when the brothers and sisters needed this kind of powerful prayer and intercession, it is now.

Let us be praying for one another, beloved.  Because this is what Jesus is doing.  “I pray for them,” He says.  Let us be Jesus’ prayer partners, then.  He may just put His hand on someone’s shoulder through you or me.

The Lampstand—The Corporate Testimony Of Jesus Christ (Pt. 4)

Last time we talked of individuals who had the testimony of Jesus Christ.  John on Patmos had this testimony.  The messenger who was showing John the things he wrote about in the Revelation had this testimony—so powerful a testimony of Jesus Christ that John was tempted to worship him.  He thought the man was Jesus Himself.

This is a very tremendous thing—individual men coming into the testimony of Jesus Christ.  But as great as it is, it doesn’t hold a candle to what God has in mind.  We admire great saints, but God is not satisfied with just one person here and there coming into this tremendous testimony.  His desire is that this testimony be revealed in something called the church, where all the members—every man and woman and boy and girl—are shining forth this pure testimony together as one Man.

Remember that in the Old Testament it was the tabernacle that was called the “tabernacle of the testimony.”  The tabernacle in the wilderness had a testimony—had something to reveal about God, something to say about God.  But the tabernacle was just a “figure” foreshadowing Christ—the corporate Christ, that is—Christ in union with His bride, His body.  Some very good teachings are available on this, showing how every aspect of the tabernacle speaks of Christ and His church.  The bread on the table of showbread, for example.  This speaks of the body of Christ.  Paul said, “For we, being many, are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread” (1 Cor. 10.17).

And the lampstand in the tabernacle.  John saw the Son of man walking in the midst of the seven golden lampstands.  And he said these seven lampstands were “the seven churches” (Rev. 1.20).  A single lampstand, then, represents the local church, which is to have the light and testimony of Jesus Christ shining in it.  (See also Rev. 11.3,4, Zech. Ch. 4.)

To some extent—certainly not in full measure, but to some extent—the church in Corinth had this testimony.  It was a lampstand in which the Testimony of Jesus Christ was shining.  As we read 1 Corinthians we discover the wick in the lamp needed trimming, but nevertheless the Corinthian church was a genuine lampstand shining forth the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Earlier we quoted the passage in which Paul said he had come to the Corinthians with “the testimony of God.”  How did Paul come to them with this testimony?  It was not the Torah Paul came to Corinth with.  It was “Jesus Christ, and Him crucified,” that Paul testified of.  And the result of his testimony was that the testimony of Jesus Christ was reproduced in the Corinthian church.

I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;
That in everything ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;
Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Cor. 1.4-9).

This is quite the thing.  The Corinthian church had the “testimony of Christ” confirmed in their midst—a living word expressed corporately, as well as the manifestation of the Spirit, the shining forth of Christ in the gifts of the Spirit—also a corporate expression.  It’s quite something, isn’t it, that this church that is given the reputation for being such a carnal church had a testimony like that.  “The testimony of Christ was confirmed in you…” Paul said.  That is awesome to read!  In other words, people coming into the Corinthian assembly became aware of Christ.

What was the evidence that the testimony of Christ the Anointed One was confirmed (established, made firm) in the Corinthian church?  It was that, as a result of the Spirit of Christ in their midst they were enriched “in all utterance, and in all knowledge.”  They had spiritual knowledge, and not only that, they could give it forth; there was a vital “discourse” taking place in their assembly—the sharing together of the things of Christ with one another.  And they came behind “in no gift.”  Paul brings these more fully into view in Chapter Twelve.  Diverse manifestations of the Spirit were abundant in the Corinthian assembly, and functioning together produced “the testimony of Christ.”  With a word, a psalm, a doctrine, a tongue, an interpretation, a prophecy, a revelation, a healing… each one of the Corinthians in differing ways and differing measures participated in the Testimony of Christ.  All were involved in this (1 Cor. 14.26).

There’s a lot of emphasis on the ministry these days.  There are a lot of great pastors around.  Because of the Internet there are a lot of great messages available.  But it’s painful how little of the corporate testimony there is—of this “one loaf, one body,” of this lampstand wherein the Oil of the Holy Spirit is aflame and light shines forth, light shines forth in the lampstand—in a church, I mean, every single member being vitally involved in the shining testimony.  You hear of anointed preaching.  But where is the corporate anointing that enables all in the body of Christ to function vitally?  As it is, the saints are pretty much used to leaving it all up to “the ministry,” and the ministry for the most part are content to leave it that way.  But this kind of church order is short of the glory of God.  We must seek the corporate testimony for Christ’s sake—for the glory of His Name.  It’s only as this corporate testimony comes into being that the communities around us will see the glory of the Lord.

“By one Spirit are ye baptized into one body,” said Paul.  I anticipate, then, that the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire—it is my conviction that this is yet ahead for us, though I know we have seen a measure of it in the past—is going to cause great shakings throughout the ten thousand denominations of Christendom.  God is going to bring into being local churches that function as one anointed body in which every member is vital—not just the pastor behind the pulpit.

And these local lampstands are going to be one in the Spirit with all other lampstands.  This thing called denominational Christianity is going to go up in smoke as a result of this powerful baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire.

And this baptism is going to cause great shakings in the “come-out-of-her” groups as well.  For, there is as much a sense of oldness about the come-outer groups and home fellowships these days as there is about the denominational system.  (I am encouraged by this; something new is at the door.)  In fact I would say there are many out there in the denominational system who, walking in the light they have, are walking a closer walk with Jesus than some of the “come-outers.”

Come-outers like to remind people that the true meaning of ekklesia is the called out assembly.  And they are the called-out ones, they insist.  But so was the Corinthian church a called-out assembly.  Just how far had they come out?  They were still in many ways carnal, Paul said, and walked as men. Because of it their lamp sent up a dirty, sooty flame.  There were divisions in their midst.  There was immorality.  And though they had been given abundant knowledge, they ended up priding themselves in the knowledge they had.  They thought they knew a lot.  Paul had to humble them on this account.  I think it is something like ten times in his first letter to the Corinthians that Paul—obviously deliberately—provoked them with the words, “Know ye not…?”  “Know ye not…?”  “Know ye not…?”

It isn’t knowledge that is the light that must shine in the lampstand, Paul said.  It is love that is light.

And so the great High Priest through His servant Paul had to trim the wick of this lampstand in order that the Testimony of Christ continue to shine brightly in Corinth.

The lampstand—a church—is a corporate witness.  Yes, each of us is to have a testimony which is the Testimony of Jesus Christ.  But the fullness of the Testimony of Jesus Christ is the corporate testimony.  Jesus prayed in His high-priestly prayer, “I have made known unto them Thy Name, and will make it known, that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in THEM, and I in THEM.”  Them, He says.  I in them.  It is a corporate thing.  If Jesus is in you as well as in me, how can there be any discord or division between us?  Or between churches?

I know there has been much emphasis on “the baptism,” and the gifts of the Spirit over the past century or so—more specifically since the 1948 revival at North Battleford, Saskatchewan, from which the Charismatic movement got its beginnings.  They got that name from the charismata—the gifts of the Spirit.  It wasn’t really God’s plan, but it seems He permitted men to take the charismata back into their denominations instead of coming out of the denominations and by one Spirit being baptized into one body.  Of course they realize they must have unity—the Bible calls for unity among Christians.  But they are determined they will have unity their own way—they will have “the baptism” and maintain their denominations in the process.  It is frightening disobedience to the Spirit of Christ.  Deception—great deception—is inevitable.  We are seeing it already.

And so let us be very watchful not to get drawn into it.

But let us be filled with anticipation also.  Yes, deception abounds.  The beautiful realm of the gifts of the Spirit has become contaminated.  The lights that once burned brightly have faded and yellowed.  Charismatic is almost a dirty word these days.  But there is more ahead of us than behind us.  There is yet a mighty baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire ahead for us.  I believe we are yet going to see manifestations of the Spirit, manifestations of Christ, that will utterly—and literally—floor us, and cause us to weep… and cry for joy.  People will fall on their faces and worship God.

And I believe we are going to see a wondrous unity come forth as God baptizes us by one Spirit into one body.  We have known so much of division.  We have mourned and wept over it all.  Who of us has not anguished with Christ over the divided condition of the body of Christ?  But His word still stands.  “By one Spirit are ye baptized into one body.”  The fire of this baptism must, then—and will—consume all that is discordant with the Lord Jesus Christ.  A corporate testimony of Jesus Christ is going to come forth.

Beloved, we must be encouraged in this dark hour to know that our Lord Jesus Christ is not finished yet.  He who walketh among the seven golden lampstands will not rest till His pure testimony is shining forth in every place.  And Jesus Christ Himself is seen in the churches!

What’s In Your Scope? (Pt. 2)

Paul’s exhortation is that we “scope in” on the things that are unseen—eternal things—not on the things that are seen, which are temporal.

The same Greek verb skopeo is used a few other times in Scripture, though not often.  Here is one more instance that really speaks to me from Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” (Phil. 2.4).

There’s our word again.  Look—consider, heed carefully… scope.  This is what is to be in our scope, fellow Christian—not always our own things, but the things of others also.  The problems, the concerns, the needs, the hopes—of others.  I mentioned last time that when you are looking into a scope you are pretty much oblivious to all else.  That’s all you see.  That’s certainly the way it is when it’s our own problems and concerns that fill our scope.  We are more or less oblivious to all else.  In fact it becomes a kind of captivity, as I recall David Wilkerson once saying, when our Enemy has succeeded in causing us to be always preoccupied with our own problems, and the needs of our brother and our sister are scarcely on our radar.  That is great defeat to the body of Christ, Wilkerson said.

How wonderful and liberating, and victorious, then—when we are scoped in on the concerns of others.  Oh, to see this in operation in the body of Christ—the love that makes us as focused on the things of our brother and sister as we were on our own things—and they showing the same care for you and me.  It’s the liberty of love—release from the shackles of self, being freed up to serve others and their interests.

I also recall reading wheelchair-bound quadriplegic Joni Eareckson Tada saying that the thing she found most difficult about her affliction was the temptation to be always turned inward on herself.  She said she had to discipline herself strictly to keep from doing so.

Let us do the same.  We need to be earnestly seeking the Lord for the grace to “look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”

It appears Paul’s friend Timothy was such a man.  Paul spoke highly of Timothy, telling the Philippians a little further on in his letter to them, “I have no man likeminded, who will naturally (that is, genuinely) care for your state.  For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s” (Phil. 2.21).

What is the evidence that Timothy is seeking the things of Jesus Christ?  He genuinely cares for the state of the saints.

So—these two, which really are one and the same, I think.

1) Keeping in our scope that which is unseen, the Lord Jesus Christ and His kingdom that ruleth over all; and,

2) Being preoccupied with His interests—the things of others.

Let’s get these two in our sights with binocular vision—and keep them there!

The Primal Fault—A Law

Do you ever wonder why your vehicle keeps breaking down? Yes I understand—it’s a Ford.  But is there something more to this?  Why does your house continually need to be maintained?  The paint fades, the faucet leaks.  It would be wonderful—and very nice on the wallet—if you took your car in for an oil change and were told the oil was better now than it was 5,000 kilometres ago.  How wonderful if the shingles on the house just got better and better over the years.  But no, the car doesn’t get newer, and the oil in the engine deteriorates.  The shingles on the house wear out and need to be replaced.

Why is this?  Scientists tell us this is the result of a law—the Second Law of Thermodynamics, or the law of increasing entropy, in layman’s terms the process of deterioration or running down, or a trend to disorder, which is taking place all throughout the universe.  (We mention just in passing that this law shoots the theory of evolution completely full of holes.  Things are not evolving in this universe—it’s the other way around.)

I am a dunce when it comes to science, but this law arrested me in something I read years ago, and I wrote down a quote about it.  I am sorry I neglected to note the author.

There is a natural tendency, then, for all observed natural systems to go from order to disorder, towards increasing randomness.  This is true throughout the entire known universe both at the micro and macro levels.  The tendency is so invariant that it has never been known to fail.  It is a natural law—the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Here is another quote I wrote down by science writer Isaac Asimov.

We can see the Second Law all about us.  We have to work hard to straighten a room, but left to itself it becomes a mess again very quickly and very easily.  Even if we never enter it, it becomes dusty and musty.  How difficult to maintain houses, and machinery, and our own bodies in perfect working order; how easy to let them deteriorate.

“In fact all we have to do is nothing,” Asimov continued, “and everything deteriorates, collapses, breaks down, wears out, all by itself—and that is what the Second Law is all about.”

I am not aware what scientist first formulated the Second Law of Thermodynamics.  But I know an apostle who nailed it down a long time ago, calling it “the law of sin and death.”  This is “the primal fault” I mentioned last time.

Question.  If Jesus Christ dealt with the primal fault at Calvary, why is the primal fault still very much at work in our world—and in fact is obviously getting worse?  The earth is waxing old as a garment before our very eyes.  And (same question continued) if Paul called Christ “the last Adam” (1 Cor. 15.45), how is it that many millions of Adams have walked the earth since His death on Calvary’s cross?

Short Answer:  It’s because God has an eternal purpose that is still unfolding—a mystery that is still in the process of being unveiled.  It was by man that the primal fault was introduced into the world, and it is by a Man that its reversal is to be fully effected.

For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead (1 Cor. 15.21).

That Man by whom resurrection came has a Head… and feet.  And though now we see not yet all things put under His feet, God will yet put all things under this Man’s feet till the last enemy, even death, is put under His feet (Heb. 2.8,9, 1 Cor. 15.25-27).  And so we are awakened as to our part in all this, the wondrous mystery of Christ—a many-membered Man—through whom God will yet deliver a groaning creation.

The Bible tells us that “the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but by reason of Him who subjected it in hope…” (Rom. 8.20 New KJV).  In two or three places the Bible hints that disorder entered God’s universe in a spiritual dimension prior to the creation story that is given to us in the first three chapters of Genesis.  But it was when Adam sinned in the Garden that God—reluctantly—placed a curse on the whole creation—this law of entropy that we see all around us.  There is a primal fault.  All things deteriorate over time.  They decay.  They atrophy.  They go into corruption.  They die.  Not only in the physical universe, but also in the world of man—especially in the world of man—in all the ways and works of man.  And nothing man has ever done or can do is able to change this law.  It rains into the sea, and still the sea is salt.

This has caused wise men to despair, and rightly so.  If only we too had such wisdom, and despaired, and then cried out in our despair, as this same apostle I mentioned did.

“Oh wretched man that I am,” he cried out.  “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

Who?  God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!  Paul discovered (by revelation) that the God who had subjected His creation to futility had later introduced another law into His universe, the result of the Cross of Calvary.  Oh, how Paul thanked God for this!  Let us too thank God—and let the words we are reading arrest us.  It is a law that liberates from the law of sin and death.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8.2).

Can mortal eyes actually be reading such words?  Can this actually be true?  You meant there is a law that to obey, to walk in, triumphs over the working of the primal fault?

Yes!  When Jesus Christ died on Calvary’s cross He there and then dealt with the primal fault—sin in the heart of man.

It was by His death that the primal fault was dealt with.

But it is by His life that the fix is manifested.  This is where you and I come in.

For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more being reconciled we shall be saved by His life (Rom. 5.10).

How are we saved by His life?  Paul is speaking here of the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.  This liberating law of life is working right now in those who are in Christ Jesus—in measure.  In its full working, those walking in this law will ultimately deliver a whole creation that was made subject to futility because of the sin of Adam.

Because the creation itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glory of the liberty of the children of God (Rom. 8.21).

…More next time. https://amendingfeast.org/2012/01/06/love-the-primal-fault-remedied/

A Burden Under Badger Skins

The apostle Paul exhorts us, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6.2).  The Greek word used here is baros, meaning, heavy burden, from which we get our English wheel barrow.  This is an exhortation to us all to put into practice the beautiful law of the love of Christ—everyone carrying the burdens of others instead of their own, and thus fulfilling what Christ did when, as He carried His own Cross, it was our burdens He was bearing.  If only we could see more of that.  When the law of Christ – the love of God – is working in the body of Christ, we do not to have to carry the heavy burdens of life in this world – at least not our own heavy burdens.

But there is a burden that God intends each of us to carry, and which we shrug off only to our great loss.  This burden is in fact a gift to us.

Let’s read that whole passage in Galatians.

“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.  For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.  But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.  For every man shall bear his own burden” (Gal. 6.2-5).

The Greek word for burden in this last sentence is phortion, or load.  We get our English portion from it.  In other words, each of us has a God-given burden to carry.  Each of us has been given a portion to carry in our Christian walk, and it is our responsibility, and privilege, to carry it.

This reminds me of the priests of old as they travelled from place to place through the wilderness.  It was the responsibility of the Levites, the priestly tribe, to carry the tabernacle—all of which was relative, of course, to the ark.

“At that time the LORD separated the tribe of Levi to bear the ark of the covenant of the LORD…” (Deut. 10.8)

The various pieces with which the tabernacle was furnished—the ark itself; the table of showbread with all its dishes and utensils; the lampstand, its tongs and snuffers, and its vessels of oil; the golden altar and its incense—“all the instruments of ministry wherewith they minister in the sanctuary” (Num. 4.12)—these were all covered with a veil of blue, and then over that veil of blue was placed a covering of “badger’s skins,” as the King James has it.  Other translations call it goatskins or sealskins or some other kind of hide—a rough exterior that would protect these things from the elements en route.  The brazen altar was covered with a veil of purple in which the vessels of the altar had first been placed, and then it also was covered with a veil of badger’s skins.

Then all these things were carried along by their staves upon the shoulders of the priests.  They were not to touch these things with their hands.

They were all veiled.  No outside observer would be able to tell what was hidden underneath that ordinary leather hide. The badger skin or goat skin veiled what was beneath.

There was one difference.  All these things were covered with a covering of blue or purple, then over top the badger skins were placed.  But the ark itself was covered first with the veil of the tabernacle behind which it was always hidden, then came the covering of badger skins, and finally over top of the badger skins was “a cloth wholly of blue” (Num. 4.6).  With the ark, the veil of blue was on the exterior.

When in transit from place to place through the wilderness, the ark could always be distinguished by this veil “wholly of blue.”

Many of the Levites were permitted to use carts to carry the burdens they had been designated to carry—posts, frames, bases, hangings, tent pegs, and so on.  But the articles of ministry, and the ark itself, were to be carried upon the shoulders of the priests. (See Numbers Ch. 7.6-9.)

And so, here is Israel walking along through the wilderness, the cloud of glory protecting them from the blazing desert sun (Num. 10.34).  They are a people on the move.  Where are they going?  They are not quite sure what the next stop will be.  But ultimately they have been promised “a land.”  They are not there yet.  That’s all right.  They trust their God to be faithful to His promise.  And the ark goes before them “to search out a resting place for them” (Num. 10.33).

And each of the priests is carrying a burden, each is carrying his own portion.  How long will he have to carry that burden?  As long as the cloud is on the move.  Till the next resting place.  He will have to carry it till the tabernacle is set up again in the “resting place” God has in mind.  Then every man’s portion will be called for, and the priests will lay their burden down.  What each one has carried will be set in its proper place, will be fitted together with all that the others have been carrying in the journey.

What each one has been carrying is all relative to the ark of the glory of the Lord.  That glory cannot rest till it finds its rest in the tabernacle in the midst of His people, and all is in place and fitted together according to His design.

Now… as we travel through the wilderness, others around us may not know what is hidden beneath that goatskin they know as you or me.  And as a result, we may often be misunderstood.  That’s all right.  The Lord knoweth them that are His, and we are content with that.  Let us be faithful to carry our burden, our portion, as we walk along through the wilderness of life—some burden that is forming in us, some beautiful facet of Truth God is causing us to rejoice in, and which we long to see fulfilled in His people.   Perhaps, while it is forming, we do not recognize that it is God Himself who has seeded our burden, and we wish He would relieve us of it.  But light dawns, and we recognize our burden for what it is—the glory of the Lord… veiled.  And we embrace it, and carry it faithfully.  Is our portion heavy at times?  Yes.  At times it is very heavy.  But we recognize it as God’s gift to us, and we will not part with it for worlds.  For, the time comes when the wraps are removed, the coverings are taken away, the tabernacle is set up, and the glory of the Lord is unveiled.  The glory of the Lord finds its home in His tabernacle and is revealed there—in you and me and others He has fitted us together with.

One thing more. What about that cloth “wholly of blue” over the ark itself?  We long to see the glory of the Lord. But… that precious burden He has granted us to carry.  Do we recognize that burden for what it is—the glory of the Lord… veiled? The inevitable time will come when the glory of the Lord is unveiled. But all along our wilderness way, difficult at times though it is… the blue of heaven is always over the badger skin, the goatskin, that others know as you and me.

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