Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Banquet at Bethany

A lesson developed from the writings of G.D. Watson and the book – Pure Gold

Martha, Lazarus and Mary represent three stages of Christian experience. Their lives help reveal the progressive steps that lead to a full revelation of Christ’s resurrection life. We will find that Martha served, Lazarus sat quietly and Mary poured out the anointing. (John 12:1-10)

Those born of the Spirit will begin their spiritual journey in the Martha life of diligent outward service. In this beginning stage, we strive in earnestness to serve our Lord. But it is not without some self-centeredness. In these early stages of our Christian service, we naturally compare ourselves with what others are doing. We also expect some form of reward for our service. While it may not be expressed, there will need to be some kind of recognition, or praise, or honor, to keep us motivated.

The Lazarus stage takes us through an inward sickness, a death, a burial and into resurrection life. This death and resurrection occurs after we have lost all hope in our own strength. It is then that we are prepared to sit quietly at the table with Jesus and learn how to live through Him.

Those who have truly learned to live through the life of Jesus will eventually enter into the Mary state where His love overflows into a display of sacrificial devotion. These are the saints who gladly and joyously break the most costly alabaster boxes for Christ’s sake and the good of His eternal kingdom.

The fullest enjoyment of this heavenly banquet feast with Jesus is found by passing forward into the Mary stage of spiritual life. Earnest souls will be helped by examining these truths and using them to search their heart.

1.) Martha served. Her outward service typifies a born again child of God. Service lies at the foundation of a real Christian experience. Unless these outward acts of service are entered upon, with the distinct determination of persevering along all lines of known duty, it is not possible to progress into a deeper life in Christ.

And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all…so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness… (1 Thess. 3:12-13)

The Holy Spirit will be revealing needs all around us. He will also be testing our obedience by how we respond to these needs. It is in this sense that Jesus has only promised to manifest His Kingdom-life of holy love to those who obey the leadings of His Spirit. (John 14:21) We shall never reach the higher spiritual life typified by Martha’s brother and sister until we have chosen to serve the Lord with our current understanding.

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Gal. 6:9-10)

Martha remained “worried and troubled about many things.” (Luke 10:41) Those who are attempting to do the Lord’s work in their own strength will have many things to be worried and troubled about. They will naturally become disturbed when others are doing things that are contrary to their own will. This inner turmoil, which often leads to upset feelings, will cause them at times to react in ways that are not Christlike.

It is this inward unrest and upset feelings that will eventually lead earnest souls to begin a more thorough search of the Scriptures to discover why they are not living in the fullness of life that has been promised in the Scriptures. They begin to see how there is a Sabbath-rest where God intended for each of His children to share with Him in His own righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. This is what prepares them to move forward into the next stage of Christian life.

2.) Lazarus sat at the table with Jesus. Lazarus presents us with a form of experience that is representative of death and resurrection. It is brought about when the believer has become very sick of his spiritual state. He begins to acknowledge his inability to consistently reveal Christ’s nature of love in the many difficult tests he faces. This is what prepares him to die. He sees how there needs to be a death, burial and resurrection before there can be a true participation with Christ in His heavenly life. “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection.” (Rom. 6:5)

The death that Lazarus passed through made him a quiet and reserved man. Dying to the self-life always takes away the need for outward display and showiness. He also reveals how resurrection life results in a real freedom from worry, suspicion or hastiness. Those who live in the heavenly realms are no longer controlled by their circumstances.

Not one word from Lazarus is recorded. The old Adam is self-centered and self-exalting, and so it loves to hear itself talk. “He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory.” (John 7:18) But this self-exalting spirit dies when the old Adam-life dies a full death. It silences the tongue. While it is willing to be pleasant and fellowship with others, there is no longer a desire to talk about self.

Those who have entered this Lazarus stage where there is a real participation with Christ in His risen life, readily admit how little they know. They can begin to recognize how there is much to be learned as they see the infinite “light of life” stretching out before them. While there is a real enjoyment of a new heavenly life, they are not yet fully prepared to communicate to others what they have come to experientially know.

This is when the believer learns to live in harmony with God. He learns to listen to the Spirit and respond to every sway of God’s providences. He knows that all true life comes from above while walking in the Spirit. (Gal. 5:25)

God’s dealing with Lazarus, in allowing him to die, to be buried, to be raised to life, to be untrammeled from the grave clothes, and then to sit at the table with Jesus, is all representative of everyone who has entered into this second stage of the Christian life.

After becoming sick to death of himself, he passed through the valley of the shadow of death where the world and the ways of human wisdom faded away from his vision. It was then that he could begin seeing things from God’s eternal perspective. This death and resurrection is what makes it possible to begin sharing with Christ in the spiritual blessings that are found in His heavenly life. “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. (Eph. 1:3)

God gives His Spirit to His children to prepare them to be taken through this death and resurrection. We all need to be prepared to add to our Martha service a death to the old self-sufficient, self-exalting and self-directed form of life. And we should not expect to be raised up until this old life has begun to rot in the grave. He never raises us up hastily. All hope in the old Adam-life needs to be completely lost. He permits this death process to run its full course in spite of all the pleas to have Him come quickly to provide help.

Lament and mourn and weep! Let your {carnal} laughter be turned to mourning and your {worldly} joy to gloom. Humble yourselves {sink down into the grave} in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (Jam. 4:9-10)

Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. (John 16:22)

When the Lord finally came to raise Lazarus, Martha thought the decay of the body would render it too offensive to have the door removed from the sepulcher. That lovely brother who was once so full of worldly life had become painfully offensive in the grave.  Similarly, in a very significant manner, when we yield ourselves to be utterly crucified to the self-seeking and self-exalting ways of this world, this mark of death will become a fowl odor to the people who still depend on the world for their spiritual support. In fact, this way of dying to self to find life from above becomes so distasteful to worldly-minded people that even our loved ones will often keep their distance to protect themselves from the offensive aroma.

For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one {to those who do not know the ways of the Spirit} we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other {to the Spirit-led children of God} the aroma of life leading to life. (2 Cor 2:15-16)

Lazarus spent four ecstatic days in the third heaven. Anyone who comes through this kind of death and resurrection experience will find very little attraction to the things of this world. This is what brought him into that deep, unruffled stillness of soul with his reserved speech. Those who have had a taste of life in the heavenly realms find little interest in the typical conversations that take place in this world.

The act of quietly sitting with Christ at the table reveals great calmness and restfulness of spirit. Lazarus had gotten through the old wrestlings with self and human nature. Death and the grave had thoroughly conquered him. The old forms of self-righteousness, self-exaltation, self-seeking, self-expression, resentments and agitations were left in the grave. He was being turned into a deep, quiet, loving channel for the outflow of our Lord’s heavenly life.

In one sense our Lord’s banquet feast is now ready. The heavenly food is now ready to eat. Those who will follow Christ through this death and into resurrection life will know experientially what it means to sit at supper with Him. There is a heavenly spiritual food now being served that truly satisfies the soul.

This is the bread which came down from heaven… He who eats this bread will live forever. (John 6:58)

Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!… Come, for all things are now ready. (Luke 14:15-17)

If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (Rev. 3:20)

Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. (Isa. 55:2 NIV)

We are told that many of the Jews believed on Jesus because Lazarus was raised from the dead. Similarly, many today will begin to believe in the Christ who has come to establish His eternal Kingdom-life within the hearts of God’s children when they begin to see this resurrection life revealed before their eyes. The Christian who has been thoroughly crucified with Jesus and raised into this heavenly life will leave a deep and lasting impression on everyone who takes time to examine this miracle.

3.) Mary poured out her life. “Mary took a pound of very costly ointment and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair, and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.” This outward display of self-sacrificing love presents a still higher form of the eternal life of God. It represents a service of love that begins to overflow with extravagant giving. It is the result of the “rivers” of Living Water from Christ’s life of holy love fully satisfying the soul and then pouring out of the heart. “As the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38) It never considers the cost when it breaks the most expensive alabaster boxes.

Mary was the fitting character for this type of service. Her heart was utterly abandoned to Jesus. She was not concerned about what others thought of her or said of her. She seemed to be blind to all other things in comparison to her fixed vision on Him.

Mary did not reserve anything for herself. In fact, Mark tells us that Mary broke the alabaster box containing the sweet perfume to prevent it from ever being used for any other purpose. She had gotten beyond the Old Testament law of tithing. She did not need law to teach her to give. In contrast, Mary represents the life of a believer that has passed through death and into the fullness of Christ’s Kingdom-life of perfect love. It is an outpoured life that takes every resource and dedicates it to the service of God’s eternal kingdom so that nothing will be wasted on the personal kingdoms of this world. It is a life that is fully expended in the service of God—a service that never has reservations.

Those who plan to enter into this highest stage of spiritual life in this current age of the kingdom will need to be prepared to break every box that still holds personal treasures. Only then can we enter into the stage of holy love that was displayed by Mary.

Sometimes it is a box that holds an almost hidden reserve in the will. It can be found in a half timid, half fearful holding back in some line of suffering, or from some lonely and strange-looking path. Even in sanctified people you will sometimes find this scarcely perceived reservation that holds them back from entering into the Mary stage of Christian experience. Something in this world still has a grip on their heart. It is preventing them from making a complete abandonment of everything to God and the work of His kingdom. This is a box that must be broken before the fragrance of Christ’s heavenly life can be displayed through a mortal body in this world.

There are many who are still holding onto their social box. It is the box that gives us concern about what other people think of us. Every saint who ascends the spicy mountains of burning love and enters into holy unity with God will find at every epoch in their experience the necessity of snapping another social cord. God must become our All in All. Over and over again there will be this breaking of some beautiful white alabaster encasement of human esteem. It will be necessary to accept the critical judgment of dear friends and loved ones if we are to ever be in a position to love them through God’s life of heavenly love.

Mary lived to see that her alabaster box was a fitting type of the spotless body of Jesus, which was utterly broken. The spikenard of His life was poured out to the last drop for her redemption. It is an axiom that the very life of the infinite Christ is poured through us in the same proportion that we are broken and are willing to suffer for His purposes. We are “always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” (2 Cor. 4:10)

We find that the house was filled with the odor of the ointment. In like manner, when Christ broke His alabaster-like body, the whole earth and all of heaven was filled with the perfume of His lamb-like spirit of self-sacrificing love. Similarly, as we break the boxes that contain the reserve for self, there is liberated from us the very odor of Christ’s heavenly nature.

Those who have gone to the greatest extent to count everything from this world as loss, become the most fragrant of Christian characters. But see, in wiping His feet with her hair the perfume came back upon her own head. What a world of truth is revealed here. Those who give all receive the most. What we pour out will eventually settle back as a sweet odor upon our own heads. The eternal soul receives its hundredfold return from the life of God in both this age and in the age to come. The way that God compensates His children with His spiritual life from heaven is minute in its detail, and as far-reaching as the white, shining years of eternity.

The last feature we note about Mary’s life is how it utterly shocked the conservative and calculating spirit of Christ’s pre-Pentecostal disciples. They began to find fault with Mary’s excess. Everyone who presses into this Mary stage of Christian experience and comes to know this heavenly love will find himself or herself being criticized by the colder members of the Church. Most Christians simply cannot understand the seeming waste that occurs when there is such an extravagant breaking of such precious and valuable things. And yet, this form of outpoured life on all lines for Jesus, just as He did for us, ends up being the very wisdom of God. It is the true radiance of Heaven. And as Jesus has indicated, it will be recognized and retold as the sign of full salvation wherever the real Gospel message is preached. (Matt. 26:13) This is the last and sweetest stage of the Christ-life in this age on the earth.

For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. (2 Cor. 5:14-15)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


-by Hadyn Olsen.

Recently, after reading the account of this historic meeting between David and Goliath, I was struck by the significance of it’s message concerning the end time period that we are entering into. David was considered one of the "sons of Zadok".

Far more than a children’s story, this account speaks of the collision of two kingdoms. The kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan.

There are a number of times in the Scriptures that we witness such a dramatic encounter between these two kingdoms. We may think of the time of Moses and the exodus from Egypt, the plagues and the Red Sea. We may think of Joshua and Jericho – or Elijah on Mt. Carmel. Then of course there is the Lord Jesus Himself and the many occasions of His demonstrating the kingdom.

In all these events we see something of the nature of these two opposite kingdoms, and of the superiority of God’s kingdom over Satan’s. We may also learn something concerning our own lives and of the conflict we face from day to day. Each of these historic events may teach us of the things God wants us to know and the victory He wants us to share.

We are coming to a time when we shall witness another great collison between God’s kingdom and Satan’s. No doubt it shall be as great, if not greater than all the others that have preceded it. And it shall be a time when once again, God displays His all-surpassing greatness and dominion over Satan.

To this end our spirit’s cry, ‘Come Lord Jesus’.

As we read in 1 Sam. 17 of the battle between David and Goliath we can first of all see that there are three principal characters which may represent three different peoples.

Firstly there is Goliath and the Philistines. They represent the world, or more specifically unredeemed, rebellious man. There is something about them which may be encompassed by the term, ‘The spirit of this age’.

There they stand, full of defiance and mockery. Wilful and arrogant, they represent man, in the fullness of self power and self glory.

This is the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil come to maturity. The Pride of Life that looks down upon God from it’s own lofty height. The fullness of man which seeks to be ‘as God’ and even to destroy all that is of God in his quest to have dominion of the earth.

We may notice in the description of Goliath that there is reference to the number six. The number of man. He was six cubits in height, he had six pieces of armour, and his spearhead weighed six hundred shekels.

We could say that he represents everything that the term ‘anti-christ’ may speak of, as he stands there mocking all that is of God and calling God’s people into battle.

As we look out upon the world today we can see Goliath readying himself again. We can hear the challenges ringing out saying, ‘Where is your God’ and the accusations pouring forth to belittle the church and call her to war. This has always been the very essence of that antichrist spirit.

The second character in this story is King Saul and his army. This group represent the people of God, BUT they are the people of God under the dominion of the flesh.

They are a defeated company. They stand there facing Goliath, fearful, intimidated and without anointing or strength from God.

We may ask, ‘Why is this?.. How can it be?’

How can the people of God find themselves in this kind of a situation and such a condition? The answer is, that although they are the people of God they are still ruled and controlled by the spirit of this world. They are under the dominion of King Saul – the flesh.

Let us take a look at them.

They stand there in all their worldly armour. They are fitted out with everything that the world counts for something. They have their WEAPONS OF FLESH, their horses and chariots, – and of course they have their king who stands so tall above the rest. They look just like all the other nations in so many ways.

I cannot help wondering how many of our denominations and church organisations are just like the armies of Saul. They are full of the ways of the world and their strength comes from money, organization, and the power of the flesh. We see in them the same spirit of this world that promotes itself with all manner of human ability, gimmicks, and sales techniques

There is also another characteristic that is common to the Saul church. That is, disobedience to the word of the Lord.

King Saul cared more for the outward appearances of success and power than for obedience to God’s word. He would obey God as long as it suited him and as long as it didn’t threaten his own ambitions and desires to be successful in the eyes of the people.

It is the same today. Success power and outward appearances are the most important considerations. God’s will and His purposes are often compromised for the sake of human interest and human traditions.

For that reason they will stand alone on that day that Goliath confronts them. They will discover that Goliath is far stronger in terms of this world than they are themselves, and they will realise that they are no match for him.

How frightening it will be on that day… although today they are so full of their own strength and hypnotised by their own praises and positive confessions.

Thank God there is a third group in this story. It is the group that is characterised by David.

Yes, David was one of the people of God. But he wasn’t a part of Saul’s army. In the same way today there is a third group. They are scattered around. They have no special organization or place to call their own. Yet they have two distinguishing characteristics that set them apart;

They have a heart after the Living God and… they are not of King Saul.

This David company, like David of old, is small, insignificant, unimpressive and unimportant. Yet God’s hand is upon them.

David was out in the wilderness tending his sheep when the call came to enter into the battle lines. He was doing that which God has placed in his care – even though it was insignificant and outwardly of little importance.

In the same way today there are those that ask, ‘What are you doing for God? What has come of your leaving the system?’ They measure everything by outward considerations and spend their lives racing around, organizing great things for God, yet in the end accomplishing little. The flesh profits nothing.

David knew nothing of Saul’s ways. He hadn’t been in any of Saul’s training schools. He didn’t know how to even polish his armour let alone wear it into battle. All David knew, he had learned out there amongst the ordinary circumstances of daily life. He had learned the simple things of truth, love and faithfulness. He had learned how to Walk with God each day.

But this is God’s way. He always takes the lowly things, the foolish things, and the things that are not, to bring to nothing the things that are.

Likewise God is preparing a people today. They are nothing now. Some have left denominations, some are still amongst them wondering why it is that they no longer feel a part of it all any more. They can no longer get excited by the latest seminar or out-reach.  Instead they sigh and groan at the lack of God’s presence in the church, and they are grieved by the way human power has filled the gap.

When David arrived on the scene, he had no organization backing him. There were no credentials or any such thing. There was only the anointing. God knew where He wanted David to be. God brought things together as He always does…. in the fullness of time.

David could stand before Goliath because God was with him. Nothing more and nothing less. His spirit was stirred against this monster David was not afraid. He knew that there was one far greater who was standing with him.

When David spoke to Goliath to challenge him, it was not so much David speaking as God Himself speaking.

When David took the stone and placed it in his sling, again it was God choosing and preparing.

When David sent his stone flying toward it’s mark.. it was God guiding it to just the right place.

Such is the way with all true ministry. It is God in man doing the work and bringing forth the fruit.

There are many today who are trying to achieve great things for God. They are using all of this world’s resources to try and do it. Yet God is not doing it. They imagine that human effort is the key to divine fruitfulness. They have missed God’s way completely.

God desires a people who are dead to man’s ways and man’s methods as far as kingdom work is concerned. He is preparing a people who will wait for Him, and move as He moves them, and who will work according to His power that works in them mightily.

It may take Him a long time to get a man or woman to that place… yet God has time.

That day is coming when that great conflict will arrive. Which company will we be a part of? Will it be Goliath’s? or King Saul’s?… or will it be David’s?

It may be hard to say right now, but the day will declare it. Nothing is surer… That day will declare it… For then we shall find ourselves in the place that our hearts have chosen.

Let us call upon the Lord today, while it is still today… asking Him to change our hearts and take us into that David company. May we seek to learn to walk with God and be faithful unto all that He may call us to do. May we learn the ways of humility and be satisfied with simply living before Him each day. May we also be careful to remain free from the ways of King Saul.

Praise God for His all-surpassing greatness and glory.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Unity With His Followers

By Zadok

In Isaiah 66:2, God reveals to us that He is drawn to Holiness and Humility. "For my hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being," declares the Lord. "But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word."

Unity is a by-product of Humility.

Jesus Christ humbled Himself when He took upon Himself human flesh. He reached toward us, out of pure love for His Father, to reconcile us, His enemies, to His Father & Himself.

Reconciliation means "to bring into a changed relationship" A changed relationship between you and your enemy. Laying aside strife and enmity.

Holy Jesus Christ was never offended by what He suffered---therefore we have no right to be offended by others.

Scripture states God has 2 purposes for creating us:
1- It pleased Him to dwell among us that He may pour Himself into us
2-To conform us to the image of Jesus Christ, Restoring His Image to creation.

Daily We must give up ruling ourselves and bow down to our Sovereign God's right to rule us. Allowing God's Spirit to conform our hearts and souls to the image of Jesus Christ. This is called "Filled with the Spirit", "Walking in the Spirit", or "Spirit-controlled". This is when we are Holy and Pleasing to God. You may only submit 5 minutes at a time in the beginning, but be encouraged, the time will lengthen until there is more of His control and less of yours. God desires to make you Holy as He is Holy.

Reconciliation is the highest form of Divine Love. Humbling ourselves to forgive others and humbling ourselves to ask forgiveness.

Jesus had to die to reconcile us to His Father.
We have to die to self to reconcile with others.

If you agree with your mind that God desires you to reconcile with someone, but your heart and will do not want to, be encouraged. This is to be expected from our sin nature, the flesh.

Godly sorrow and repentance are a gift from God. Only He can change our hearts and wills. If you know what is right and cannot do it, Pray and ask God to grant you Godly sorrow and repentance and ask Him to change your mind, will, and emotions.

God has given us the following scriptures for seeking reconciliation:

John 13:34 & 34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you. that you also love one another. BY THIS ALL MEN WILL KNOW THAT YOU ARE MY DISCIPLES, IF YOU HAVE LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER.

Col 3:12 & 13 "So as those who have been chosen of God, Holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

Mark 11:26 "But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.

Matthew 6:12,14,15 "And forgive us our trespasses, as we have forgiven those who have trespassed against us. For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

Romans 5:10 "For if while we were enemies we were RECONCILED to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

2Cr 5:18 And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Mark of the Beast

by Pastor BH Clendennen

Revelation 13:16-18, "And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred three score and six."

Revelation 15:2. "And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God."

To begin with, I want to set the record straight here that Satan's victories are entirely dependent upon deceit. He cannot stand exposure. Having been defeated at Calvary, he only exists by the will of God, therefore, his kingdom is built on a lie. It is important for you to know, especially you as ministers of the Gospel that this deception works in two directions.

First of all, he will accuse God's word of being a lie. He will use religious leaders, and tell you there is no hell, no mark, no Heaven, et cetera. Only a few will swallow this. So he hits them with his second lie. He will admit that there is a hell, that there is a mark, but he himself will interpret what that hell and mark is. You have got to know who is preaching the Gospel. The devil will use a man, God will use a man, but when it is a devil, you had better know it. There is no place he uses this last tactic more than concerning the mark of the Beast. He has sold the religious world on the thought that the mark is future, that somewhere there will be a decision forced on the individual as to whether he will take this mark or not. Hence, millions of Christians live out their lives in a lukewarm condition telling themselves, that if they miss the rapture they will refuse the mark.

When I speak of the mark of the Beast, I speak of more than a brand that's going to be put on the forehead or right hand. I come from cattle country, Texas. Men brand their own cattle, those that are theirs. They may look a lot like the man's cattle across the fence, but there is a brand, a circle R or something else, that says that is my cow. That is what the brand says. Satan will only brand those who are already his. That is a very important thing. He will not brand the true child of God, which walks with God. He will only brand those whom he has made his in time. Revelation 15:2, speaks of a multitude, who have gotten the victory over his mark and the number of his name. This is a very, important verse, for it points up two very important truths. Number 1: multitudes are already up there, John saw them, who have already overcome. So we know we can make it. John saw this multitude in Revelation 15:2, "And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over the mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God."

John sees the people that have already made it. They have already overcome. They have overcome the number of his name. Second, this verse tells us what the mark actually is. Naming in the Bible denotes character. These people, in overcoming the number of the name of the Beast, have overcome the character of that Beast. There are only two forces. Good and evil, God and the devil. Both of them seek man, for their own. God's ultimate purpose for man is to conform him to the image of Christ. By the new birth God makes man a part of His family. God's desire is to fill the new man with His Spirit. The Spirit is God's nature and God's life. As man learns to walk in the Spirit, that is, in God's nature, God's nature becomes his nature. This is conformity to Christ. This is the whole will of God for man after having brought him in to this union with Christ and this relationship with the Father.

On the other hand, the devil seeks that same unregenerate man, to conform him to himself. Man is the object of both worlds. He will be used either of God to express God in this universe, or he will either be used of Satan to express Satan in time. Adam chose the devil. God created him to be the express image of Himself. He was to grow in the knowledge and image of God and ultimately fill the earth with the knowledge of God. Had Adam stayed true to his calling, there would be no place on planet earth that God would not have been known. He chose Satan, and there is no place on this earth where Satan is not known. Anywhere you go, he is worshiped as God. That is true. No place is Jesus known except where this new creation has gone. Man is the object of both worlds. God will conform him to the image of Christ, fill the universe with the knowledge of Himself, or Satan will conform him to the image of himself. To do this, Satan must put his nature in man.

The nature of Satan is the mark of the Beast. "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six."(Revelation 13:18) This is man's nature in the extreme. Man without God is a beast. What then is the nature of a beast? Selfishness is the law of the jungle. That is the nature of the beast. An animal will eat its own for survival. This is the mark that Satan would put on every man and woman born of a woman. The law of the jungle is the law of survival of the fittest. I had a sow pig that I raised as a Future Farmers project. She gave birth to a litter of pigs in the night, and when I got there the next morning, she had eaten all of them but one. Her own life meant more to her than her offspring. This is the law of the jungle. It is the mark of that beast world. This is the very mark of the Beast.

All the vices of fallen men and angels have their root in the proud atheism of self. Men are dead to God because they are alive to self. Without a death to self there can be no escape from Satan's power. The Spirit of God is humility. The spirit of Satan is self-exaltation. Herein, lies the struggle for eternal life - Pride and humility are the two kingdoms in strife for the proud possession of man. The enemies of man rising out of the fall are many, but the supreme enemy called Antichrist is self-exaltation.

Paul writing in the book of Thessalonians says, of this Antichrist, he sits in the temple of God. "Know you not that your body is a temple of God." Antichrist sits in the temple of God, exalting himself above all that is called God. What is it that sits in the temple that exalts itself above God? S-E-L-F. There has been much speculation as to Antichrist and his mark, which is his nature. To know what Antichrist is not, one only need read the short description Christ gave of Himself, "I am meek and lowly."If this be Christ, then self-exaltation being in the highest and fullest opposition, must be that spirit of Antichrist that opposes the Spirit of Christ.
Jesus said, "Come unto me for I am meek and lowly."(Matthew 11:29) If this were Christ, this humility, then self-exaltation, being in the highest and fullest opposition, must be the spirit of Antichrist that opposes the Spirit of Christ. Though that man who is to be the embodiment of this Spirit is not yet revealed, that is Antichrist, no man need look further than his own heart to find that same Antichrist John said, was already in the world. Hence, self has become the god of millions who go to church every Sunday, they sit on the pew. Filled with pride, self-esteem, pay lip service to the Almighty. Pride is the only disorder of the fallen world, which has no place among other beings. It can only subsist when ignorance, sensuality, lust and impurity reign! If a man will boast of anything of his own, he must boast of his misery and his sin.

Selfishness, then, is the nature of hell, and as such is the nature and mark of the Beast. It's sad but true; multitudes sit on church pews every Sunday who are already marked by the Beast. Nothing is important to them but themselves. I pastored a church for thirty-five years. People came, sat in the church, and were blessed of God. They would come after the service, and say to me, the message is what our heart hungers for. The worship is beautiful, but we want to know, what do you have for the singles. What do you have for the young married? What do you have here for children? They would forfeit what they said they believed was God, for some program that would minister to the carnal needs of those around them. Much of religious teaching fosters that spirit.

We feed our kids to worse fires than Molech. You remember they sacrificed their children, by throwing them into the fires of a volcano. We feed our kids to the fires of lust and sensuality. Then wonder why God is not blessing. Both worlds are reaching for you. God wants to conform you to the image of His Son, and through us display the glory of that Christ in the ages to come. Satan is after you to conform you to his own selfish, lawless image. To fill the earth with the knowledge of himself. We are the objects of this struggle; our future depends upon our own choice. The Bible says in the book of Psalms, "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made..."(Psalms 139:14).

You can look at the human organism, at the miles and miles of blood vessels, billions of cells, the brain, the eye; you can say what a wonderful thing this body is. But the body is, not what God has in mind here. Fearfully was the first birth. Wonderfully the second. That works itself out in the spiritual world. Fearfully made, number 1, because everything born of a woman has within it the potential of being conformed to the image of Satan himself. It is hard for you and I to look at a Hitler, a Stalin, a Genghis Khan, and the evil that these men produced, and imagine them as an innocent child at play. Stalin is credited with killing eighty to one hundred million people. Hard to believe he was once a baby rocked in his mother's arms. Even studied to be a priest of religion. Fearfully made. That man, born with all the virtues and innocence of a baby, but carried with it the fearful possibility of being conformed to the image of Satan himself. When you look at that little baby, that same Stalin, that same Hitler, through the new birth, could possess the possibility of being conformed to the image of Him who is all love, all wisdom, all power, all kindness, all patience. Think about that, the possibility of awaking in his likeness.

John said, " doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."(I John 3:2) Paul said, "As we behold him, Christ in the Spirit, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory." David said, in the Psalms, "...I shall be satisfied, when I awake in thy likeness."(Psalms 17:15) We must make our choice always to be wonderfully conformed to the image of Christ. At the same time we must set forth without any mixture, the frightening possibility of being conformed to the image of the devil. We must set that before the people. Preach this; proclaim this in the name of God. We have been called of God to make a difference in this last generation. This is truly the mark of the Beast. Satan will only brand those who he has stamped his nature of selfishness on in time.

The church is full of people who sing about the coming of the Lord, but are going nowhere. Their whole nature is selfishness. If you don't do what they want you to do, they'll quit, or in the extreme split the church. That same nature on the street that believes, that what you have is his, if he can take it away from you, sits on the pew every Sunday. That, nature says, these people have already been marked, and because they are marked, Satan will brand them in their right hand or forehead one day. On the other side, there are those whose lives are given to God. The mark of a life under the control of the Holy Spirit is, it never lives for itself, always for others. You must proclaim this truth to all God gives you.

Growing With Ever Increasing Glory

Growing With Ever Increasing Glory

(The following lesson is taken from the writings of Steve Bray- “The Gospel of the Kingdom.”)

True growth in the glory or spiritual image of Christ will not begin until we have been lifted into the Sabbath-rest of God, where everyone rests from the work that comes from self-will. Before the baptism with the Holy Spirit takes place, there will remain a natural antagonism within our nature against God’s requirements of holiness. And if we are fighting against holiness, we will never grow with ever-increasing glory into the likeness of our glorified Lord. “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the {indwelling presence of the} Lord.” (Heb. 12:14)

The desert wilderness was intended be a time of putting off the old way of life. We are to come out from the ways of the world and touch no unclean thing. We are to put off the old self and its deceitful desires {all heart idols must be given up}. We also must allow our mind to be renewed as we turn from the self-directed way of life to the Spirit-controlled way of life. In this process, God will be bringing us to the end of our self-sufficiency, because only in perfect weakness are we able to perfect the power of God in our lives, “for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9) Only then are we able to begin putting on the “new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:24)

What we are saying is that all growth in glory, which is growth in the divine nature, takes place in the Sabbath-rest of God, where everyone rests from man’s way of human effort. When the Author and Perfecter of our faith has accomplished His work of entire sanctification, we are enabled to live wholly by faith in God. This is the land of superabundant fruitfulness. The Lord’s supernaturally imparted love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control will begin to flow naturally from our new nature.

The “light of life,” which has its source in the life of God, is infinite when related to our finite world. So once we are born of the Spirit with our willful nature cut off, we can know there is no limit to how much we can grow in the glory of the Lord.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is {in power}, there is freedom {from the sinful nature}. And we, who...all reflect the Lord’s glory {meaning His spiritual image}, are being transformed into his likeness, with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Cor. 3:17-18)

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect {in the life of the glorified Lord}, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (Phil. 3:12)

The man brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple {as a continuous river of divine life}... As the man went eastward...he measured off a thousand cubits {which relates to God’s perfect order} and then led me through water that was ankle deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the {living} water had risen and was deep enough to swim in – a river {of life} that no one could cross {back over into the world – Praise the dear Lord Jesus! This is the level of divine life that provides the only true eternal security.}…Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows... Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear, because the water {of divine life} from the sanctuary flows to them… (Ezk. 47:1, 3-5, 9, 12)

The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring WHOSE WATERS NEVER FAIL...then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will CAUSE YOU TO RIDE ON THE HEIGHTS OF THE LAND AND TO FEAST ON THE INHERITANCE {which is the firstfruits of the eternal life}... (Isa. 58:11, 14)

…Whoever drinks the water I give him will NEVER THIRST. Indeed, the water I give him will become IN HIM A SPRING OF WATER WELLING UP to {the firstfruits of Christ’s} eternal life. (John 4:14)

…If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me {which implies following Him through the cross}, as the Scripture said, “FROM HIS INNERMOST BEING WILL FLOW RIVERS OF LIVING WATER.” (John 7:37-38 NASB)

Jesus did not come to merely offer us right doctrines to agree with in our mind. He came to give His life to us. We are to believe in Him with the kind of faith that seeks out a union with His divine life and nature. He is the gate into both the “Feast of Firstfruits” and the “Feast of Ingathering.” We are to receive the firstfruits of His eternal life in this world, and the whole harvest of His life when we receive our glorified bodies.

But we cannot gain access to the rivers of living water which are waiting to flow through our inner being by the power of the Holy Spirit if we do not die to self and enter into the firstfruits of the eternal life through Christ’s life. As the Scripture said, when we are drinking of His Living Water, we will never thirst again. He is able to satisfy our soul because His river of divine life comes directly from the throne of God in the heavenly realms. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in {the life of} Christ.” (Eph. 1:3) We are now able to feast on the firstfruits of the life we will experience throughout all eternity.

Are you still relying on a right belief in mere words and doctrines? If you are, it is time to turn from your religion to a faith that actively seeks out Christ’s life and nature. We are not questioning your belief in Jesus. But have you ever believed in the one Lord who is able to produce rivers of Living Water from within your eternal soul and keep you from ever thirsting again? “According to your faith will it be done to you.” (Matt. 9:29)

Have you become a fountain of divine life or are you still attempting to carry your Christianity around by human effort while believing the words in a Book? There are lots of people who think they know the word of God, and there are a few who have become great scholars of the Bible, but most of them have never turned to the Lord in childlike humility and truly depended on Him to turn them into a vessel of His ever-flowing river of divine life. Remember, the goal of our faith is to become a lamp that manifests the light of His life and nature in this world.

You diligently study the Scriptures because YOU THINK {in error} THAT BY THEM YOU POSSESS ETERNAL LIFE. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me {through the cross and a death to your self-life} to have {my divine} life. (John 5:39-40)

…I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me {through a death to self on the cross} will NEVER walk in {carnal} darkness, but will have the light of {divine} life. (John 8:12)

The apostle John described the never-ending river of life that is to flow from the throne of God through our soul as a work of the Holy Spirit. (John 7:37-39) In other words, this river of Life is made up of the fruit of His Spirit. There should never be a moment when we are not filled to overflowing with Christ’s love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The fruit of the Spirit is a result of Christ’s life being manifest within our eternal soul. It is no longer a burden to walk as Jesus did when His living water is continuously flowing out of our new nature. And for this reason, where the supernatural fruit of the Spirit flows like a river, there is no need for law. We should, however, remember how our entrance into the Lord’s kingdom-life through the new birth only begins as an ankle deep river. But, as we grow with ever-increasing glory, the river will eventually become so deep that it will sweep us away into the eternal life of the Lord.

I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it {into a whole new being}. (Isa. 41:18, 20)

And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that {new} Way {Spirit-led and Spirit-controlled}... They will enter Zion {into the presence of the Lord} with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. (Isa. 35:8, 10)

But now that you have been set free from sin {the self-willed nature} and have become slaves to God {through the New Birth}, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is {the presence of Christ’s} eternal life. (Rom. 6:22)

God did not lie or distort the truth when He said, “I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. You will live in the land {of Sabbath-rest}... I will SAVE YOU FROM ALL YOUR UNCLEANNESS.” (Eze. 36:27-29) God does not give false promises. This is the long awaited “Promise of the Father.” He poured out this Living Water for the first time on the day of Pentecost. SUDDENLY, in a moment of time, all the disciples who had received this baptism were changed in nature. While they had already given up everything to follow their Lord, they still needed to be clothed with power in order to be united with the submissiveness of Christ’s nature. They truly entered into the Feast of Firstfruits. It was not spiritual regeneration, but rather an entrance into the firstfruits of Christ’s eternal life.

We should not be shocked when we hear this gospel message. The preordained plan of God was to have many sons who would walk in the spiritual image of the firstborn Son, being conformed to His likeness. (Rom. 8:29) As promised, the glorified Lord came to manifest the firstfruits of His eternal life from within each of His disciples. In this way they were enabled to “walk as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:5-6)

As we said before, Jesus did not come merely to teach doctrines for us to believe in our heads. He came to provide each of His consecrated disciples with a new life from heaven. He came to enable the sons of God to have His same mind and thought processes. He wanted us to understand God’s perspective in all matters of life. Furthermore, this new life in the Promised Land is intended to satisfy our soul as with the “richest of foods.” (Ps. 63:5) When all our spiritual needs are met by the indwelling life of the Lord, the arrows from this world will no longer be able to reach into our soul. We can say with Paul, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation... I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:12-13)

Remember the time when Paul and Silas were locked in a cell in the middle of the night after a very “hectic” day? They had been whipped until their backs were nothing but open wounds and blood. Not only were they tortured, but it happened to them as innocent men. You might say their “rights” were extremely violated. But in spite of all this trouble, we find them singing praises to their Lord and worshiping the glory of their God. In contrast, many Christians today have a difficult time finding joy in their scheduled worship services whenever the worship team does not put together a really good hour of entertainment. And if someone has merely said something bad about them, they find it impossible to sing praises to their Lord with true joy from the heart.

The difference between Paul and most Christians today is related to the covenant they are living under. Everyone who is still living by human effort is still living under Old Testament principles. It is easy know this because they have not gone any farther in the faith than to begin waiting until physical death to enter into the glorious life of their Lord.

When Christians do not enter into the ever-flowing river of Christ’s divine life, they must live by their carnal emotions on a moment by moment basis. This carnal way of life will be greatly influenced by their current circumstances. Consequently, their Christianity is only as good as the current conditions surrounding their life. Paul and Silas were living under the new covenant way of life. They had a supernatural river of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control continuously flowing from within their new nature. They did not have to struggle to produce this Christlike life. It naturally flowed out of them regardless of their temporal circumstances. The explanation is simple: Everyone born of God overcomes the world and shares with Christ in His life and nature in the heavenly realms.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with {resurrection} power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ {with His divine nature} may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you...may have power, together with all the know this {supernatural agape} love that surpasses knowledge {which means it cannot be taught by human wisdom} – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his {resurrection} power that is at work within us, to him be {the} glory... (Eph. 3:16-21)

The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him {by a supernatural work of God’s grace}. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him MUST WALK AS JESUS DID. (1 John 2:4-6)

In this way, {selfless agape} love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, BECAUSE IN THIS WORLD WE ARE LIKE HIM. (1 John 4:17)

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of {supernatural, self-sacrificing agape} love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Eph. 5:1-2)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Virtuous Woman (and who she really is)

by Kathleen It's About HIM

Disclaimer: I was in these Scriptures a few years ago and recently, the Lord directed me to go back to them, to study them and then bring them to Him and ask Him to make them a reality in my life. What an invitation! So that is what I'm doing. But I wanted to share this because He's no respecter of persons. He showed me these truths, and the fact He wants to make them real in my life is both humbling and awesome. He is a matchless God, worthy of our lives. To Him alone be all the praise and honor and glory.

Pro 31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

What is a virtuous woman? To the American culture, the word 'virtuous' means above reproach, excellent moral character. A virtue is a trait or quality deemed to be morally excellent and thus is valued as a foundation of good morals. It's the opposite of vice. In the Hebrew it means much more. It is someone who is strong, valiant, with great capability, power and resources far beyond what others have. Someone with the efficiency, strength, wealth and the force of an elite army. It speaks of substance, valor, a very capable, powerful warrior. A woman of ability, power and resources. Who can find such a woman? There is only one place. To find such a woman, you would need to find her married to such a man.

In Mar_5:30, Jesus was surrounded by a crowd pressing on Him. Many were touching Him, but one little woman with an issue of bleeding pressed her way through the crowd with faith in her heart, and she managed to touch Him. She knew He was her only Hope. And when she touched Him, virtue went out of Him. The word is dunamis in the Greek. It means a force or miraculous power. It's the life and power of the Holy Spirit in Him. He gives this Life, this part of Himself to her. He baptizes her into this.

We are not talking about an ordinary housewife here. This is why her worth is far more valuable than rubies. A real ruby is the red sapphire, next in value to a diamond. In Pro_3:15, the Scripture says she (wisdom) is more precious than rubies, everything you could desire is not comparable to her. Who can find such a woman? Who could be such a woman? The Bride of Jesus Christ.

Today, you always hear these Scriptures read in churches across America on Mother's Day but I have never heard it preached beyond a surface understanding of a dutiful wife and mother with excellent moral character. That's the Americanized version of this message-not the spiritually accurate version. Such a woman shall be praised with the focus on honoring her, as a human being. The Pastor knows many mothers are not like the mothers of by gone days. Many have to work instead of keeping the home and the children. Many rely on TV to babysit their kids or the computers. He spends the rest of the sermon chastising them for their shortcomings, using his own yardstick to measure them by. They are frustrated because they try to parent with only their own human strength and wisdom which continually fails them. He has a good point but this goes far deeper than that.

These Scriptures are a type-an illustration from the heart of God of the Bride of Jesus Christ. It's a portrait of His Church. In a world sick with sin, filled with selfishness, and violence, and full of darkness, she shines as a bright light, as a city set on a hill. She stands out because she does not need medication or worldly entertainment to find peace or rest. She stands out because she thinks of others more than herself. She stands out because she has a servant's heart. Her agenda is not her own, neither is her word. It is HIS. The Light that shines from her comes from Him. It is HIS light. He is her Source. She abides in Him. To Him, she is far more valuable than any gemstones.

Pro 31:11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. Pro 31:12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

She is sold out to God, she is dead to this world, and He knows she will not forsake Him and walk away for vain and passing treasures. He is her Treasure, and He trusts Her with His Name, and His Word, and with it, delegated authority and power over her enemies. (Luk_10:19-20) The Lord is not looking for another, He is satisfied with His Bride. She yields to Him and lets Him make her what she needs to be. On the other hand, her friends, her family, her employer, they can safely trust in her, as a Christian, as part of the Bride of Christ, that her word is her bond, her fingers are not sticky, her eyes are not covetous and greedy. If this part of the Bride, this Christian, is married, then the spouse has no worry of betrayal. She is different, so unique that others wonder.

Pro 31:13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. Pro 31:14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

She pursues, looks for, searches for this wool and flax. When you dig into these two things, you will see she is truly searching for purity and sanctification-the righteousness that is the Lord's alone, imputed to us by faith alone. Wool was of the highest value among the Jews. It was one of the most widely used materials for clothing. Wool was forbidden to be woven or mixed in with linen garments. The priests could not wear woolen garments while ministering to the Lord for it would make them sweat and He would not allow sweat in His presence-the self effort of human nature. Yet this woman seeks it. She follows Him who has it and pursues it, for she requires it. This tells us we are not talking about wool, the material for clothing, for clothing was also made from hemp, flax and cotton. Another thing I found interesting is wool was used mostly for the outside garments for its ability to either keep heat out or in. There are so many applications here, for yes, the wife would search for material to make clothing for her family but this goes deeper.

Wool represents purity, it's white. God told Isaiah to tell His rebellious, sinful people to come, meet with Him, let us reason together, for though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. In Rev. 1, when John was in the Spirit and heard the Lord talk with him, he turned around and just the glory and power of the vision of the Lord who talked with him was so pronounced, so awesome, he fell like a dead man on his face. He said the hairs of His head were "white, like wool" and it signifies purity. We can only have this kind of purity from sin by the blood of Jesus Christ. It must be given to us we cannot produce this through any effort of our own.

She seeks wool and flax. Flax was cultivated in Egypt and Palestine. Of the two, wool was more common in Judea, flax was more common in Galilee. It is torn from its native soil where its seed was planted and grew. The stalks of the plant are laid out in strips, to dry out in the scorching sun. In Biblical times, they were laid out on the roofs of houses to dry in the hot, desert climate. In later times, they were put in ovens to dry out. After drying, they are then peeled, to separate the stalk from the fibers inside which are used to make fine linen cloth and also wicks for lighting lamps. Then, it is torn by a comb designed to straighten, and remove knots and impurities in the fibers, then it's tied to stones, and immersed in water until it starts to rot so the loosened fibers can be separated from each other by combing. It is washed several times and suffers long exposure to the weather to be ready to produce white linen garments on a spinning wheel. The fibers were to be made into thread and were gathered into a loose rope which was wound around a distaff which is a round tool or reel that kept the thread in line and untangled so it could be spun into cloth.

We, as Christians, are taken out of the miry clay of sin, rooted up from our dark, sin-gripped prison in this world, and put in the kingdom of God's dear Son. We are put on His potter's wheel. We are bathed in His Light, and we have a purifying, sanctifying process to go through, as well. We often are faced with fiery trials to test our faith and give God the opportunity to manifest Himself and His ability in our lives. This builds our faith. It's in the trials that we learn more of God than any other way. Our flesh life, our self-life has to be stripped away, and destroyed, like circumcision of the heart. It's a very painful process. Flesh, which is self has to go. We have to learn we can't find or trust anything in ourselves to be good enough to bring to Him. Then when we are tired, and empty of ourselves, He immerses us in living waters, fills us with Himself, He anchors us to Himself-He is the Rock, the Cornerstone the builders rejected. Or, to put it another way:

Mat 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Mat 3:12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Act 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.

And this Bride, she works willingly with her hands. This word willingly means she takes great pleasure and delight in doing His will. Jesus said I delight to do Thy will, Oh Lord. This work she does is something she desires to do, it's valuable work, and she takes pleasure in doing it. Her hands are His hands. She is busy, accomplishing what He gives her to do, she is occupying until He comes. She is doing His will, laboring in His vineyard. She raises her hands to her Lord, she uses her hands in and for His service. She uses them to reach out to and minister and help others. What she is doing is having an effect on those around her. She does it happily, serving her Lord. She doesn't grumble or complain over her lot in life. He promised in Php_2:13 that it would be HIM who was actively and mightily working in us both the desire and delight to be actively and mightily doing His good pleasure. We can't be mighty in our own selves, so it is His ability in us that is mighty. The word 'worketh' in that verse is also the same Greek word used for the word 'do' in that verse. In the Greek, it is energeo G1754. It means to be active, efficient, effectual, mighty in work and deed. He's working in us what we can't do ourselves. We can have nothing, as Jesus said unless it's given to us from above.

Pro 31:14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. Pro 31:15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

The merchants' ships would transport goods, food, and materials people needed across the oceans and seas to other lands. The Bride of Christ is like that, she is a vessel who travels, she doesn't hide. She carries with her, inside her, the Bread of Life that come down from Heaven, the living waters of the Holy Spirit, to share with whosoever will come, the hungry and thirsty. Such as she has, she gives. She is not one given to laziness and slumber. She gets up early, and seeks the face of God for a word for her household, for her family, her neighborhood, those the Lord brings across her path. She feeds on HIM for He alone delights her soul. Because of this, she is able to give to others around her what she has received from Him when she is given opportunity to minister to them in whatever capacity presents itself.

Luk 12:42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?

She knows she has been given the responsibility, she's been set as a light in her home, her town, her school, her workplace. She understands she is not the Source, but has constant access to the Source. She depends totally on Him for all the provision needed for the task, so there is no room or excuse for failing to shine. He never fails. She brings her food from afar because it's the Bread of Life, and she got it on her knees and in His Word. It's for those around her who are hungry, for those who are sick of the world and the elusive peace so many seek and never find in a dark and dying world.

Pro 31:16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

Mat 13:44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

She considers the field. She has counted the cost and deemed everything else as dung that she may win Him. She has a plan of action, His plan, for there is buried treasure in this field. Exceeding precious promises made by her Lord, that she might be partakers of His Divine Nature. She has this precious Word of God, a gift from on high, paid for with the blood of Jesus Christ. Holy men of old sacrificed their lives to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and she will do no less. She doesn't take it lightly or for granted. She cherishes it.

She's digging in this Word, she's finding the promises of God, taking them to Him and praying for possession of what has been revealed to her, and He is becoming her strength. He alone can make these promises reality in her life. She's considered the promises carefully. She has sold out completely to the Word of God. As a result, the work of her hands is blessed. She becomes fruitful. The fruit of her hands is the result of the Spirit of God working in her life, sowing the Word, birthing in her the gentleness, peace, joy, patience, long suffering, all the fruits of the Spirit, listed in Gal_5:22. It touches the lives of those around her. His life, his living water flowing through her spreads out with healing and transforming power to bring hope into the lives of the hurting souls around her. She's been to the Source. She's sold out to Him. She's given everything to buy the field, and all the Treasure hidden in it. But this Treasure is not to be kept for self. It's to be found and shared with others.

Pro 31:17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

In Bible times, they wore close fitting tunics over their bodies, that were normally about knee-length. They covered these with long, flowing robes. When people relaxed or were at ease, they left the robes loose. But when it was time to move, fight, or travel, they tied up the robes with rope or a sash of sorts, so they might more easily move. In the Hebrew, the word "gird" means to put on a belt, or armor, the loins in the Old Testament refers to that area of the human where the reproductive organs are but in the New Testament the word loins refers to our minds. She's put on HIS strength, stands in His strength because she knows she has none of her own. Remember, HE is her Source. The promises of God in His Word are what she wraps around herself and moves and lives on. She stands on His Word to her. And the her I'm talking about here, be reminded, is every born again believer, (for there is no male or female in the kingdom of God) (Gal_3:28) She strengthens her arms, meaning she fortifies herself by drawing from Him His strength. She is established on the Rock, and His life in her is her strength. It is also the light of those around her. In John 1:4, the Word says in Him was life (meaning true, eternal life) and that life was the light of men. That life was the power and presence of the Holy Ghost. That life is to be the same in us as it was and is in Him. As He was in the world, so are we to be. We can't be that except by the power and abiding presence of the Holy Ghost in us.

Pro 31:18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.

She has tasted and seen the Lord is good so she feeds on Him continually. Because He is her constant source, her light doesn't go out when things get dark. That word for night in verse 18 means a adversity, in times when things look dark, her light still shines because it's His light and she has the oil in her vessel and her lamp. His Word is her lamp and directs her steps in this dark world. She is as one of the wise virgins described in Matthew 25. She has a constant supply available, as we all do, but she makes sure she gets that supply. She does not neglect seeing her vessel and lamp are filled with oil. She does not have the cavalier attitude of casualness, knowing the oil is available but being too busy to fill her lamp.

Pro 31:19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

She is trusting, in verse 19 the rod and staff of the Lord to be her comfort, the word distaff literally means a crutch. When spinning thread into cloth, the distaff was the round tool that supported and kept in line the thread so it went evenly on the spinning wheel. That is what the Word of God is, it holds her up daily. Remember in Heb_1:3, He says he upholds all things by the word of His power.

Pro 31:20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

This word stretch in this verse has an unusual meaning in the Hebrew. It means something that is broken in pieces and spread out. This speaks of one who is broken, humble, as was Christ on the cross. His bones were not broken, but his body was. This doesn't mean literally broken in two. Consider the proud and wild horse. It has to be broken and tamed before it can be of use to man. Human beings are the same way-proud, arrogant, stubborn-and must be broken in spirit before they can be of use to the Lord. She reaches out in verse 20, to the poor, meaning in this verse, according to Strong's Hebrew Dictionary, the depressed in mind or circumstances, the afflicted, the humble, needy and poor. Those around her who are hurting, who are bruised by the world, circumstances, and hard times. The Christians around her who are harassed by the enemy, or circumstance, and are weak. She reaches out with the compassion of God, to minister strength and encouragement to them. She speaks His life into their situation, because she has sat at His feet, and heard His Word. Remember, such as she has, she gives.

Pro 31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. Pro 31:22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Pro 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

She's not afraid of the cold for her household, because all of her household are covered, by the precious, crimson blood of the Lamb. Remember, Jesus said in the last days because iniquity would abound, the love of many would grow cold. But this woman has covered all of her household with scarlet-with the blood of His sacrifice, spiritually speaking, through prayer and laying claim to the promises in His Word. She makes herself a coverlet of tapestry, her clothing is purple silk. Silk means white linen, and purple is a symbol of royalty.

Rev 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his wife has made herself ready. Rev 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

Righteousness in verse 8 means acts or deeds. A decision has been made by the Judge concerning this woman and she has been justified or declared right. She prepared herself with the provision He made available to her.

To sit in the gates of a city symbolized one had authority and power to render judgment in legal matters, sentence criminals, make business decisions, set prices for goods bought and sold there, issue decrees, taxes, legislation and other important decisions, etc. In the Bible to say one sits in the gates means they had power and authority. Her husband, master, owner is known and honored, He is revealed to be One who is wise and has great knowledge. Others are instructed by Him. He is One others look and come to for instruction and understanding. He sits among the elders-the senators, the ancient men. When He takes the judgment seat in the gates of the city, everyone understands and accepts His authority.

Pro 31:24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Pro 31:25 Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. Pro 31:26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

Strength and honor are her clothing. If you look up these words in the Hebrew you will see this doesn't apply to natural clothing. They mean force, majesty, security, praise, boldness, power, might, magnificence, beauty, excellency, glory. In other words, she is clothed with power from on high. She will have much to rejoice over in the future, when she reaps what she's sown. When she opens her mouth, in verse 26, her words are kind, her tongue is under control, the law of kindness rules there. Translated as it's used here, that means in the Strong's Hebrew, piety, beauty, favor, goodness, kind, loving, merciful, having pity, and mercy. She speaks what is right, gentle, and good. Her words are profitable to those who hear them. They are not idle or cruel. Her wisdom is not worldly or sensual.

Pro 31:27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

Pro 31:28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

She looketh well to the ways of her house: She observes, waits, keeping watch over and looking out for her family, those under her care. She is careful to watch their progress on this journey so they don't go in the wrong path. She's like a watchman, prepared for the enemy when he tries to come in and do harm. She doesn't listen to or feed on idle words, or lies. She is not slothful. She feeds on the Word of God, she prays and communes with Him at His table, and fills up on His wisdom, and is directed by Him. Only with this kind of communion can this virtuous woman be and achieve all that these Scriptures say she does. It must be HIM working in and through her. Human flesh could not do this led by a carnal mind. Her children rise up, well aware of her wisdom, and being affected with the power in her, are stablished, strengthened, and grateful. They call her blessed-here that word means straight, level, honest, guide. This means her journey, her walk with the Lord is straight, honest and right.

Pro 31:29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Pro 31:30 Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Pro 31:31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Strong's Hebrew for 'favor' means graciousness, kindness, pleasant and precious, well-favored, beauty. A person can put on a sham, and lie and pretend to like someone, but a woman that feareth, or reveres the Lord, is morally reverent toward the Lord, shall be praised. They might not understand, they might mock her devotion, but in their troubles, they will look to her for her wisdom. In their folly, they will see her wisdom. They will look to her for guidance because they've seen her ways are right, because her ways are the way of the Lord. That is called being a light to the World, letting Jesus shine through her life. He is where the virtue, the force, the power comes from. As the world around her that is lost and in darkness and misery to a harsh taskmaster, and quickly perishing, sees the peace and light and strength that are so evident in her life-she doesn't have to preach Scriptures to them. Her life is the light to those around. Her life is the evidence of the testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She knows she doesn't have to back up His Word, or prove anything to the world. It is His Word to prove, hers to believe and live by. He will back up His Word however He chooses.

At the end of her journey, the result of her faith, her trust in His promises, will be the souls saved who have been touched by the life of Christ in her, flowing out of her to a lost and needy world. What better reason to live can you think of? I love how Bro. Leonard Ravenhill put it, when he asked the question "Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for?" If you are living for yourself, for pleasure, and gain, that is not why He died. He came to seek and save the lost. To bind up the wounded, to heal the broken hearted, to loose the slave and set the captives at liberty, to open the blinded eyes. He desires to minister His grace and power and life through His Bride to continue ministering to the poor and needy. He knows His Bride will not take the credit or glory from Him. He knows she will faithfully point others to Him. He shares His heart with her, and He knows He can trust her. Is this the kind of intimacy you have with Jesus Christ? Do you want it? I do! Will you let the lies of the enemy stop you? Will you let the weakness of your flesh or your fears stop you? When He promised that He would perfect what concerns you, (Psa_138:8) and do the work in you (Php_1:6, Php_2:13) and that because He promised (2Pe_1:3-5) we could partake of His divine nature, just because He promised we could! He didn't say we deserved this honor. He didn't say we couldn't. He made us meet or acceptable to partake of Him! HE MADE US ACCEPTABLE!

Col 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

Whose report will you believe, the devil's, your carnal mind's, or the Word of God? I can honestly say I am not there yet, but praise the Lord when I was in these Scriptures in 2006 I didn't see all this. So I'm growing in grace and knowledge of HIM. He's taking me where I can't go and He's making me what the devil said I could never be!!! Hallelujah! Don't let these Scriptures discourage or dishearten you! Don't listen to the voices that say you can't be what this says you are to be! Of course you can't be like this on your own! HE works the work and HE is the power in you to do it. When the circumstances are over your head, out of your control and beyond your ability to understand, they are under His feet. Remember that. He sits as King of the floods. He knows all. He is everywhere. He sees everything. He is ALL Mighty. And HE in His great power and majesty LOVES YOU....what an honor. I tell myself and you, is HE not worth getting up early for? Is He not worth digging into this Book He had written so we can know HIM better? OH, YES!! Does my flesh want to? No. Does my carnal mind? No. Does my heart and soul? YESSSSSS sigh, sigh...I got to have Him. My family has got to have Him. We all have got to have Him. He is so precious. What a privileged people we are to have such an invitation from HIM. We have access. Time is running short. The call is out to everyone. Let us come while He may be found.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

My Sheep Know My Voice


Jesus said in John 10:27: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me”

How can we be deceived?  It seems the voice we have heard at times sounded like the voice of the Lord, in fact was very sure it was the Lord. But later found this voice had led us in the wrong direction. What went wrong? Does God lie?

The scriptures say. “God is not a man that he should lie” (Numbers 23:19). Yet we see in 1 Kings the 22nd chapter what seems to be a contradiction, we see the Lord sending a lying spirit to deceive Ahab. (1Ki:22:23) "Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee."

Paul explains in 2 Thessalonians 2:10b-11, “...because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie”

These scriptures are showing us that God does not lie, but he will give us over to a lie if we do not want to believe or obey the truth. In this way, it is our own hearts that is lying to us.

In 1 Kings chapter 22 mentioned above, God only gave them the answer they were looking for. God saw their heart and knew they didn’t want direction from him; they wanted God to bless what they wanted, not what God wanted.

Ezekiel:14:3-4 Says, "Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be inquired of at all by them? Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols”

In the 22nd chapter of Numbers there is the story of Balaam who wanted to hear a word from the Lord to curse the children of Israel. The Lord told Balaam that the Israelites were blessed and not cursed. But Balaam was not satisfied with that answer. Balaam had been offered a bribe to go with the Princes of Moab and curse the children of Israel. So he went back to ask of the Lord again, this time God gave him the answer he wanted. God told Balaam to go with the Princes of Moab. But when Balaam left to go with the men from Moab“…God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him” (Numbers 22:22) and would have slain him if his donkey hadn’t gotten out of the way of the angel.

Ezekiel 14: 4 says “...I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols”

An idol is anything that is placed above God and His will, including preconceived ideas with self-will being the most dangerous and evil idol. Should we ask the Lord for direction if we are not willing to believe it or follow it? It is the most dangerous thing if we have self-willed motives "before our face and inquire of the Lord". We may get the answer our flesh wants rather than the truth that could have been used in the process of conforming us into His image. “...because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” (2 Thessalonians 2:10).

We should examine our own hearts by asking ourselves if we would be as willing to go in the opposite direction of what we thought and wanted if that was the Lord's will. If we would not, then we have an idol. We should ask the Lord to deal with our idol first.

We need to be careful not to put our religious beliefs, "good works" or assumptions of what is right before the true direction from the Lord; these are also idols and can be a “stumblingblock” for us. This is why there are so many different beliefs in the “Christian faith” and they all say that they have “heard from the Lord”.

Not to be confused, there are different reasons why we don't all hear the same things from the Lord at the same time; it is not always the "idols" of our heart that can causes this. We all have our place in the Kingdom of God and He leads us in His timing giving us what we need in relationship to where we are in Him and what our individual needs and callings are.

Years ago the Lord began to teach me how to trust Him in all areas of with my life. He began by leading me to total dependence on Him for my health. The word was so loud and clear to me I would have thought all Christians would see it and live it this way. I also though it meant the Lord would always heal me if I got sick and keep me in good health. But as I grew in the Lord He taught me that He didn't always lead His children this way, some He would, but others He would never require it of them. As I learned to trust in Him more and more in different areas of my life, He also showed me how to trust Him even if He didn’t always heal me; I just needed to trust Him in whatever state I was in. He showed how we have been bought with a price and we are His to do with as He pleases. He has a purpose for us that is much larger than our health or happiness that comes from the things of this world. His purpose is to transform us more and more into His image and He chooses the course it takes to get us there. Let Him brings us to a place where we will say in EVERYTHING, “not my will Lord, but your will be done”, just as Jesus prayed, “not my will, but thine be done”.

God assures us, if we really want to know the truth, no matter where it takes us, he will give us the truth. There are so many preconceived ideas and self-willed ways that must be laid down at His feet, allowing Him to rebuild the truth in us so we can have confidence that "if we ask we will receive"!

M't:7:7,8: Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Lu:11:9,10: And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Above all we must truly desire the Lord to lead us in every aspect of our lives in spite of our own “wisdom”. We have to be willing to wait on Him even if He doesn’t answer right away and resist the temptation to return to our own understanding for answers and get ahead of the Lord; we need to trust that He will lead us. The ability to hear the Lord comes from Him, we do not have this ability in ourselves (thank God it doesn’t rest on us, only our willingness and desire for Him) as this is only done through Him in the Spirit. This too is a process through trials and tribulations as He teaches us to depend on Him and not our own understanding as we learn to wait on Him. He will lead us more and more to recognize His voice so we will “not follow another".

Saturday, January 01, 2011

The Way to A Happy New Year by Zac Poonen

In John's gospel, Jesus used the symbol of water to describe three levels of spiritual development possible through the Holy Spirit:

• Level 1: In John 3:5, He spoke of being "born of water and the Spirit". This is "the cup of salvation" (Psa.116:13), with which we begin our Christian lives. With this cup of water, we are cleansed and brought into God's kingdom as His children.

• Level 2: In John 4:14, Jesus went further and spoke of that cup becoming "a well (spring) of water". This is a deeper experience of the Holy Spirit, where all our inner longings are met by Him, so that we live in perpetual victory and joy, lacking nothing. A man who has a well in his own compound is not dependent on the city corporation's water supply. No outsider can turn off his water supply, for he has the source of water within his own compound. This is how it is with the Christian who has found the secret of perpetual abundance in Christ. No-one outside of him can cut off his supply of joy or peace or victory (Jn.16:22).

• Level 3: In John 7:38, Jesus went still further and said that the well would now become a river, and many rivers, flowing out of the believer. This is a picture of overflowing abundance. Such a believer is able to quench the thirst of many needy people around him. Whereas a well satisfies only our own longings, rivers of living water make us a blessing to many people, wherever we go.

The blessing with which God blessed Abraham was, "I will bless you....and in you ALL THE FAMILIES of the earth shall be blessed" (Gen.12:2-3). This is the blessing that can now be ours through the Holy Spirit (Gal.3:14). When God blesses us to the point of rivers flowing out of us, many families in many parts of the country and even in the whole world can be blessed through us.

The good news of the gospel is that we can be saved from such a miserable existence. We can now have rivers of living water flowing out through us constantly, and be a blessing to every family that we meet. We can be merciful to others just as God has been merciful to us. We can release others just as God has released us. We can bless others just as God has blessed us. We can give freely to others just as God has freely given to us. We can be large-hearted to others just as God has been to us.

A.W. Tozer in his article Five Decisions For Spiritual Power says:
"If you are really serious about your spiritual development - the gaining of new joy, new power and new life - then you should make certain decisions in your heart concerning your life, and proceed to keep them.

"One decision is: Never pass on anything about anybody else that will hurt him.

"`Love covers a multitude of sins' (1 Pet.4:8). The talebearer has no place in God's favour. If you know something that would hinder or hurt the reputation of one of God's children, bury it forever. Let God take care of it. `With what judgment you judge, you will be judged' (Matt.7:2)."

If you want God to be good to you, you must be good to His children. The rules of our Father's table demand that you don't tell stories about others who are sitting around that same table with you, no matter what their denomination, their nationality or their background." (From the book THE BEAUTY OF HOLINESS).

It will be a good thing if all of us make that decision today - never to pass on anything about another that will hurt him or his reputation - and keep that decision, not just for the rest of this year but for the rest of our lives. Those who have lived by that decision in past years have found that when they discarded the worthless from their daily conversation, and spoke only what was edifying and profitable, God in turn, fulfilled His promise, and made them His spokesmen - His mouth (Jer.15:19).

This year - and every year - can be a happy year for all of us if we release everyone who owes us anything, or who has hurt or harmed us in any way. Bury those grudges permanently and be merciful to all men and thus make a new beginning with the Lord today.

Wish you a Happy New Year