Friday, April 29, 2011

MY SABBATICAL. YOUR OPPORTUNITY.

Dear Brothers and sisters in Christ:

God has taken me off my blog writing for some amount of time into the future.
He has other things for me to learn.  Like love and faith and perseverance.
I am going to be taking a sabbatical from posting new teachings, though I will
monitor what you're reading, and your comments.

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ACCESS ALL MY PAST POSTINGS, AND
TO FEAST ON WHATEVER YOU FIND.  MAY GOD ILLUMINE US
IN CHRIST, AND MAY HIS WILL BE DONE TODAY IN US, AS IT
IS DONE IN HEAVEN.

A. Brother

Monday, April 25, 2011

I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH

I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH
A. Brother

“…I will build My Church,
and the gates of Hades
will not overcome it.”
Matt. 16:18

There is an understanding that can only come to us, as it came to Peter, whom Jesus was speaking to here, much later, after the Resurrection, from the Holy Spirit.  There is the natural man’s way of looking at the Church, and there is the resurrected-with-Christ, spiritual man’s way of looking at the Church. 

Look at what Jesus says here. 

First, He says “The Church is Mine—what is done in it I will do, what is worked in it I will work—because it belongs to Me, not you.”  The Church, which we’ll declare as the Scriptures teach is the Living Temple, built upon the foundation stone, who is Christ Jesus, being built up as living stones into this holy residence for God and His Spirit, is Christ’s, and belongs to no man.  What no man possesses cannot be controlled or defined or managed by any man or group of men.  Christ is all, and His Church is all Christ.  Those living stones (1 Peter 2:4-10), do not control Christ’s Church.  The world does not control Christ’s Church.  At all times, and in all ways, Christ owns His Church, and thus retains control.

Second, He says “I’m the builder of My Church, and if any man tries to build apart from Me, apart from My power, he is working against Me.”  In other words, it is the plain truth that Christ is the Builder here.  We are not the builders of the Church.  How is it then that so many of us act as if it is incumbent upon us to build something for God?  We get it backward, and so we are left with our silly structures, and our empty liturgies, and our bills to pay for them.  Jesus Christ, Lord of all, will build His Church, as He did at the beginning, and has He has always done.  Christ has never gone away from the Church, though He has pulled out of many man-made institutions who put a cross over their doors or on their letterheads.  Christ is the Builder, make no mistake.  This concept is closely linked to ownership also.  We, as the true Church, are “being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.”  (Eph. 2:22)  It is impossible for us to construct anything like this dwelling God builds through Christ.

Third, we must see the strong purpose of God after the resurrection in our lives.  He purposes that we, His people, will be built together into this dwelling for the Spirit of God, and He will fulfill His purpose.  God never lies.  He has been, is, and will continue this building of this Temple called His Church.  This understanding comes only from the Holy Spirit, who enlightened Peter after the resurrection.  None of us is enlightened until the power of God does it in us, raised like Lazarus, raised like Christ, by the power of God.  When we begin to see, then we see the Church, laid on the One Foundation, Christ, and being built by His hand, and being impossible strong in the power of God.

Fourth, and this is of vital importance in our day, is that we must take warning from this declaration by our Lord Jesus Christ.  Many of us have taken up any handy tool we can find laying around, and plunged into the work of “building” we think God has called us to.  However, our hearts and minds are tainted and painted with the ideas of man.  Until we spend our time in the desert with Christ, and know the fellowship of His suffering, the power of His resurrection from that suffering, we will not be worthy workmen.  Until we know our own depravity, our own daily capacity for sin, our own unworthiness, then we cannot, like Paul, declare ourselves the least of all the brethren.  So what building we do will be sloppy, self-touched, inherently manly.  We must take great heed to what Paul said:

“But each one should be careful how he builds…if any man
builds on this foundation (Christ), using gold, silver,
costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be
shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light.”
1 Cor. 4:10-15

Building the Church is Christ’s job.  We are only laborers on His mighty project, which is so amazing, so high in its purposes, that we don’t see the whole thing.  We must take care, and back off, and pray, and seek the Lord’s face for every nail we pound and every chisel we set to the stone.  It is His Church, and His purpose, and His life, and His cross and resurrection, and His Day coming.

This is our glory.  That God considers us worthy as His Children, born not of human descent but of the Spirit, to lay hands on His Building, His great work He’s designed to manifest His power to the universe.

“His intent was the now, through the Church,
the manifold wisdom of God should be made known
to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,
according to His eternal purpose which He accomplished
in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Eph. 3:10,11

Brothers, these truths should make us take pause, and throw down our puny, weak, human tools.  It is utterly impossible for us to do this work without the consuming power of Christ in us.  When it comes to the Church we must remember especially Jesus’ Word to us:

“I am the Vine, you are the branches…
apart from Me, you can do nothing.”
John 15:5

I pray that the eyes of our understanding will be opened, so that we will see only Christ, only His work, His Ways, and that we will humbly participate with Him in the building process by His Spirit.  We must resist the current Christian culture’s demands for new, exciting, man-induced ideas of what the Church should be.  We must listen, branch in Vine, one with the One and Only, and hear what He wants us to hear, so that He can do the building, not us.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Joseph's Faith in the Sovereignty of God

 Joseph's Faith in the Sovereignty of God
By Zac Poonen

In Genesis 37:18, we read how Joseph’s elder brothers plotted to kill him. And we see the sovereignty of God here in making one of the brothers stop that plan and change it to selling Joseph off to some slave traders who were passing by at that time. Who sent those slave traders there at that time? God. God timed the travel of those Ishmaelite slave traders such that they would land up there exactly when Joseph was about to be killed. And those slave traders were going to Egypt, which was exactly where God wanted Joseph to go!! It is wonderful to see the sovereignty of God at work again and again in Joseph’s life. God has a plan and purpose for your life too, and nobody can frustrate it. Not your jealous brothers and not your foolish father, nobody. That’s what we see here.

By the time Joseph was 17, God had already revealed to Joseph in dreams that he had a purpose for his life. It is wonderful when a young man is so sensitive to God that at an age when most teenagers have filthy dreams, he has dreams from God! Young people, don’t ever complain that older brothers are not giving you an opportunity to serve God. If you sincerely submit to God, no-one can mess up God’s plan for your life. When I was young, many older brothers were jealous of my ministry. They suppressed me in many ways. They would not allow me to speak in the assembly I attended. So I used to preach the gospel on the streets where I did not need anyone’s permission to preach! And that was where God taught me to preach – on the streets. In the assembly meetings, God told me to humble myself under the elders who were jealous of me and never to rebel. Those were the years when God broke me like He broke Joseph. But none of those elders could hinder God’s plan for my life. When the time came, God opened doors for me and His plan for my life was fulfilled. I say that for your encouragement.  So don’t ever complain against people. The only person who can mess up God’s plan for your life is you yourself. Remember that.

God used the jealousy of Joseph’s brothers to fulfil His plan for Joseph’s life by getting them to sell him off to Egypt. God makes the evil that others plan against us to work for our good and for the fulfilment of His purposes. Hallelujah! If God protected us against the evil that other people try to do to us, that itself would be a great thing. But God does something even better! He makes the very evil that others do to us to fulfil His plan for our life! Isn’t that much better, when God turns the tables on Satan like that? Just think - if Joseph’s brothers were not jealous of him but were good to him instead, Joseph might never have gone to Egypt. How did Joseph go to Egypt? Step One: His brothers were jealous of him. Step Two: They sold him off to some slave-traders. Step Three: The slave traders took him to Egypt and sold him off there. Thus God’s plan to take Joseph to Egypt was fulfilled! So, some of the evil things that others are doing to harm you will ultimately only fulfill God’s plan for your life – if you love God (Rom.8:28). You may face a few trials. Joseph had a tough time as a slave too. But it fulfilled God’s plan for his life. Praise the Lord!

A man of faith will say, “The God of Joseph is my God too. If I love God with all my heart, any number of people can be jealous of me, any number of people can plan evil against me. But they will not hinder God’s plan from being fulfilled in my life.” May you have such faith in our wonder-working God.
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For more information write to: wftw@cfcindia.com

Monday, April 18, 2011

WHEN SHOULD WE COMMIT CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE?

Note:  One of our readers here had some great questions and opinions we should all consider together, and I posted this reply.  I think it warrants a general discussion, and I'd like to hear what others of you have to say on these matters.  Please refer to Scripture for your main arguments, as the truth of the Word of God is what we're after here.
A. Brother



Sister in Christ:


Your argument bears much thought.  Let me ask you and others reading this to comment on the following.


You say we should pay taxes, yet those taxes, as in the US, may go to fund abortions, give condoms to children as young as 11 years old, and fund a military presence in several wars.  Do we refuse to pay taxes because some of the money is used for things that violate your conscience?


I just filed my taxes here in the US.  I know many things will be done with them which I don't necessarily agree with.  Yet I believe that is up to a Sovereign God to deal with.  He is able, and He will handle that.  I will use my vote, and my personal influence as He gives it to me to stand for the right uses of government money. However, part of my discipline and obedience in Christ is to faithfully "render to Caesar what is Caesar's" as Christ commanded us.  Do we really think Jesus Christ was in agreement with how Caesar spent the tax money He gave him?


The forced abortion issue in China brings up many hard thoughts.  Our Christian brethren there must prayerfully make that decision.  If they disobey their government, there are consequences, and I'm not sure what those are.  Are we willing to go to prison for our stand?  Are we willing to have our son or daughter taken away from us for our stand?  Are we willing to lose government benefits because we've disobeyed?  These are questions of conscience they must answer.  Like the "meat offered to idols" issue in Paul's day, we must do what the strength of our faith dictates.


To your final point.  I want you to think about something.  No government can take charge of your heart and soul if we belong to Christ.  This body is Christ's, and God may do with it as He pleases.  It is not ultimately ours to decide over it.  As Jesus said, "Don't fear those who can kill the body, but fear Him who can throw your soul into hell..."


We must take fear out of the equation here.  We are controlled too much by our fears.  We have a Sovereign God who will keep us safe, no matter what a government or evil individuals do to this body, and what they require of us.


Please remember, everyone, that Daniel was respectful of his governing rulers, and went to them with an alternative proposal, asking their permission to eat his own way.  When that permission was granted, he then instituted his own eating plan.  His eating was not an act of civil disobedience, but an approved thing.


We must remember some of the most well-known examples we have of civil disobedience, and let's use Daniel and his friends.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo were commanded to worship the King as God.  They properly refused, and were thrown into the fiery furnace, and of course, unlike many who've faced that furnace since, were saved without dying.


Daniel hit the same problem, when the edict went out to worship only the King, and Daniel continued to have prayers in his room to the One God he worshiped.  Then came his lion's den experience, again, with God saving him.


We must trust God completely for our dealings with our governments, and remember that ultimately, we must disobey carefully and for the right reasons, with faith in our Sovereign God, not fear in our hearts.


A. Brother

Sunday, April 17, 2011

SHOULD WE OBEY OUR GOVERNMENTS?

SHOULD WE OBEY OUR GOVERNMENTS?
A. Brother


Recently I have come across “Christians” who are teaching that we have misinterpreted Scripture, and that God does not mean us to obey the governments under which we live.  They talk about “good” and “bad” taxes, and that only some need to be paid.  They talk of how because their government is not a “godly” government, and is led by ungodly men who do not acknowledge Christ, that means they don’t need to obey its edicts.

There’s a big problem with this argument.  It is not in agreement with the Word of God.  And where in the world is there, or has there ever been, a government that obeys God, and is led only by godly men?  There isn’t one, and never has there been one.

For some here to say that Paul in Romans 13 was talking of obeying only godly governments instead of the pagan, worldly, local, regional, or national governmental authorities is a twisted interpretation.  Paul was inspired to write what he did by the Spirit of God, and the meaning has been clear for saints throughout history.

We have plenty of examples throughout Scripture of men of God who obeyed the authorities in their day.  Today, there are millions of believers around the world who live under godless, pagan regimes. 

They obey the authorities in every matter except this:  teaching and preaching the gospel.  (Acts 5:17-41) When a government tells us NOT to preach, teach, or share with others the gospel, we are to disobey.  For we obey God rather than men.  If a government tells you to do anything that is contrary to your conscience in Christ, you must disobey.  But the paying of taxes, and the following of day-to-day laws, and the obedience to civil and criminal law, and business law, these are required of us in Christ, whether we agree with all of it or not.

READ THROUGHOUT THE NEW TESTAMENT HOW BELIEVERS ARE EXHORTED TO LIVE OBEDIENT, QUIET AND GODLY LIVES IN SUBMISSION TO GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORITIES.

To say, as some current teachers do, that the decline of America's churches is because they have submitted to a wrong interpretation of Romans 13 is absurd.  I have attended and ministered in hundreds of evangelical churches across America for over 40 years, and yet have never heard a ringing sermon (ever) on Romans 13.  It is virtually ignored.  American Christians, if anything, are almost contemptuous of government, because of this underlying belief that their freedoms and rights allow them to ignore or fight any law they don’t agree with, no matter how small.  Why do you think that American conservative talk radio, which is mostly fueled by Christian listeners, is so blatantly contemptuous of our government?

The "we must obey God rather than men" argument only applies when, as the apostles were, we are forbidden by the authorities to speak or preach or teach in the Name of Christ.

American Christianity is apostate because the individuals who claim to follow Christ are not being obedient to Him.  Pure and simple, the problem is American "Christians", not the government.  In fact, the reason for America's steep decline morally and spiritually lies in that disobedience.

Remember, all that is not of the character of Christ in us will be burned up.  The final day will result in many surprises.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
AGAINST SUCH THINGS THERE IS NO LAW." 
Gal. 5:22,23

No government can keep you from exhibiting the Life of Christ in your body, heart and mind.  Outward laws do not quench the Spirit of God in us, nor His work in His True Church.

I suggest we put our eyes on ourselves, and quit blaming obedience to government as the problem.  We have on good authority and ample evidence, that our brothers and sisters in oppressed nations, where Christ is forbidden to be preached, still live by the laws of that nation.  All except one.  They continue to live Christ, and the display the fruits of the Spirit, and practice the only form of civil disobedience we are given in Scripture, which is to continue, no matter what, to preach and teach the forbidden gospel. 

This is what Scripture means when it says God is Sovereign, and all civil authority comes from Him.  IF WE TRULY KNOW AND UNDERSTAND THE ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD, IT TAKES ALL FEAR OF MAN AWAY.  WE NO LONGER GET CAUGHT UP IN FIGHTING POLITICAL BATTLES, BUT SPEND OUR TIME FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH IN CHRIST.

A. Brother

Monday, April 11, 2011

THE WAY OF THE WINEPRESS

THE WAY OF THE WINEPRESS
T. Austin-Sparks

“We were so utterly burdened beyond our strength
that we despaired of life itself.”
2 Corinthians 1:8 ESV

The Lord Jesus said "I am the true Vine," and it was prophesied of Him that He would tread the winepress alone. The Cross was His winepress. How He was pressed in the Cross!

He was crushed and broken, but out of that breaking has come the Life which you and I have, and which so many in all the nations have received.

That is true, in a measure, of His Church. It was out of the breaking and crushing of the Church that the Life came to the world.

And that is true of every member, every branch of the vine. If we are to fulfill this true, living ministry, it will only be through suffering, through the winepress, through pressure and through breaking.

Paul said: "We were pressed out of measure, above strength" (2 Corinthians 1:8 - A.V.) - but what Life has come out of that man's pressure! It is like that.

We are not talking about preaching and Bible teaching, but about this great ministry of Christ giving His Life through us. It may be passed on to others through preaching, or through teaching, or through living, but if it is His Life it will come out of experiences of suffering. A preacher or a teacher who has never suffered will never minister Life.

Well, this may not seem a very pleasant outlook, but it is true. The best doctors and nurses are those who know something about suffering themselves. Some are just professional, treating you as a case - you are just case number blank. But, ah! there are others who treat you as a person, a human being, who care for you. If you ask why, you may find that they have a background of suffering themselves. They know just a little of what you are going through.

We have read in the Letter to the Hebrews: "We have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that hath been in all points tempted like as we are... He is able to succor them that are tempted" (Hebrews 4:15, 2:18). He has been the way of the winepress and we have received the benefit.

By T. Austin-Sparks from: The On-High Calling - Chapter 6

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

UNLESS A SEED DIES IT REMAINS A SINGLE SEED

UNLESS A SEED DIES IT REMAINS A SINGLE SEED
A. Brother

“The hour has come for the Son of Man
to be glorified.  I tell you the truth,
unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground
and dies, it remains a single seed.
But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
The man who loves his life will lose it,
while the man who hates his life in this world
will keep it for eternal life.
Whoever serves Me must follow Me;
and where I am, My servant also will be.”
John 12:23-26

Are you anxious about your life, and what you will drink, what you’ll eat, what you’ll wear, where you’ll live, when you’ll get that job, how you’ll survive?  Are you constantly worrying?  Are you stressed inside, and can’t seem to find peace?  Are you trying your best to lead a good life in this world, hoping to be successful, hoping to do things just right, hoping that life will go well?  

Today lay all that down.  Quit fighting on your own.  Rest in Christ, who will take care of you.  Die to your own goals and dreams and desires for this life, and invest in His Kingdom.  What is your ultimate investment?  YOUR OWN LIFE IN THIS WORLD IS THE PRICE TO GAIN ETERNAL LIFE.

Jesus speaks to us constantly of death bringing life.  It is a principle in the physical world, and is given us so that we will understand the spiritual realm.

There is no life without death.  Each day when farmers go out to farm, they are dealers in death.  They throw the poor little seeds out onto the earth, cover them with dirt, allow them to be without comfort, without shelter, left alone to die in the soil.  But what happens next is amazing and miraculous. 

The seed dies, and from within its dying, it produces a seedling.  This tiny seedling is alive, and begins to grow.  It draws its nutrients and moisture from the very soil that killed the seed.  It thrives on the rain, the storms, the hot sun, the dew, and the chemicals that it draws from the earth that surrounds it.  This new life bursts out of the soil, seeking the sun, seeking to enlarge its place, its own structure, its stem, its leaves.

Eventually that one plant produces not only food for the sustenance of others like ourselves, but it produces many seeds, sometimes hundreds and thousands per plant, so that these other seeds may die, so that other plants and other edible produce may be realized for the world.

So in the spiritual realm each who follows Christ must die.  Jesus told us here plainly.  If you want to serve Christ you must follow Him.  Where He is, you will be.  Just as He willingly died so that we might live, so you must die so that others might live.

Many of us say we want Christ, yet we are unwilling to follow Him. 

Gethsemane leads to Golgotha.  The prayer garden leads to the hard, ugly cross.  And the ONLY WAY TO THE EMPTY TOMB IS THROUGH THE CROSS. 

Being a seed means being willing to let our great Master Gardener throw you upon the ground, and be cold and wet and hungry and tired, and to experience many difficulties, and go through hardship for Christ’s sake.  If you follow Jesus, you will eventually suffer “many things for His sake”, as Paul was told he would when he came to Christ. 

You will be alone at times, and sad at times, and yet learn the gracious provision of our Gardener God, who allows us to die so that we will know the joys of being the producer of many seeds, much fruit, and a bounty of spiritual blessings for others.

The Kingdom of Heaven is produced this way.  By being like Christ in our dying, we attain to the resurrection of the dead, and live beyond our fears, our hungers, our desires for comfort and security and pleasures in this life.  The worldly man lusts after all these things.  Unfortunately, many of us who claim Christ Jesus are living just like the pagans do, chasing after what Christ forbids us from chasing after.

If you would follow Jesus, you must lay down and die.  What that means in your life, only you and Christ may work out together.  No man can tell you what your dying is to be.  You must enter Christ’s rest (Hebrews 4) in order to know.  You must give up your own life in order to know what Life Christ will give you.

Dying comes before living, brethren.  If we ignore Christ in this matter, He will not know us, we will not know Him, and so on the final day we will be lost.  How wonderful that day will be for some.  How terrible that day will be for many.

Be among those who take Christ seriously, and heed His Words.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

UNDERSTANDING THE SIN AND DEPRAVITY OF THE WORLD

Text:  Romans 1:14-32


Highlight:  "...since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them."  (1:19)


The world is a mess, and we all know it.  There are some around us that keep their heads in the sand or in the clouds, and so refuse to admit it.  However, they are in the minority.  Usually they are either affluent, and enjoying the fruits of their affluence, or they have decided to give up and party-hearty, having the philosophy of "eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die."

Some have trouble reconciling the evil around us with God.  They look at the world and wonder how God could allow such depravity.  They say He must not exist, because there is no evidence of His existence.

Hogwash.  Excuses.  Deflection.  Denial.  Pointing fingers at God, when God has given mankind everything he needs to know that He exists, and that He is a good God, who expects good things from mankind.  Not one man or woman, whether the most remote pagan in isolated cultures, or the most modern, educated person in the most advantaged of cultures, will be able to stand in the final day and accuse God of not giving us enough to learn about Him.

That is what this passage is about.  Knowing that God has given mankind every indication of His divine nature through what is in the world.  Creation speaks of the glory and wisdom of God.  Every leaf, every small creature, every baby, every small child, every spark of love between people, every fantastic discovery about the diversity and fragility of life, every mountain, every valley, every star, every moon, every new planet, every
friendship, every cloud, every storm.  Every one of them speaks of God's incredible creativity, His care for the tiniest detail, His wonderful love.

Men are without excuse, God says.  And so, in mankind's descent into darkness, God has given him over to evil.  He has given mankind over to sexual perversions and sins, to foolish worship of the creation rather than the Creator.  He has given mankind over to shameful lusts, even to the lowest lusting of men for men and women for women.  He has given mankind over to their depraved minds, and they are full of a huge list of all sorts of terrible character flaws, including hatred, greed, and malice.

This is the state of the world.  Recently the President of the United States gave His annual State of the Union address.  In it, he goes over the condition of the nation in every aspect.  He gives what he thinks is the solution to the problems we face.

God has given us His State of the World address in Romans 1.  This is the most succinct and clear definition of mankind's situation in every aspect that a person could find.  This is God's clear pronouncement of why He is justified in revealing His wrath from heaven against mankind. (1:18)  He is justified, because mankind has every opportunity to know Him, and to seek Him, but has chosen to ignore Him, hate Him, refuse His offers of reconciliation, and mankind has turned away from what he knows is right, to pursue his own lusts, and his own evilness.

Don't be swayed by arguments to the contrary about "poor mankind" and how God is so unjust.  Understand this passage, and you will gain great wisdom regarding the affairs of this planet.

In Christ,
A. Brother

Sunday, April 3, 2011

ON DIVISION AMONG CHRISTIANS

ON DIVISION AMONG CHRISTIANS.

Division is a product of man's fallen nature, and is Satan's basic nature.

Unfortunately, today we have much division among those who claim Christ, and who claim the name “Christian.”  Why is this?  There should be agreement. 

“Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?”  Amos 3:3

Our pattern to follow is laid out in Acts 2:42-47 and Acts 4:32-35, where the Lord shows us His desire for His people.  In Christ's Kingdom we are to be so focused on Jesus and His Father, and so in love with Him, that we don't need to fight and bicker and disagree on petty things.  When we truly know Christ, and He is our Lord, and we live in love and humility toward others, then we will fulfill the Scripture:  "All the believers were one in heart and mind."  Acts 4:32.

Wherever Christ goes in the world, He brings division, because He is the "stone the builders rejected" and many will reject Him.

However, among believers, we have our directive:  "I appeal to you brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought."  1 Cor. 1:10

Let's strive to spend our time talking about the things we agree on, which should be the things of Christ and of God, and not the things all the pagans worry over, like the world, the economy, the political upheaval, and this or that fine point of questionable doctrine.

We have Christ, and when He is our focus, our vision is 20/20.

Love in Christ,
A. Brother

Friday, April 1, 2011

THE ONLY THING THAT COUNTS.

In this day when thousands claim dreams and visions, fire and smoke and signs and wonders, Christ has a vision for His Chosen.  It is a simple vision, and one that cannot be worked out in dreams or in prophetic utterance.

It is love.  It is faith in Christ, that results in love for God and others.  The practical expression of God's character upon the earth is love, and it is the gospel's message, the "full message of this new life" as given us in Scripture.

Do we want treasure in heaven?  Then heed this command:

"The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." Gal. 5:6


Remember God's expression of love in Christ.  If we know Christ, and love Him, then we will love our brothers, and express God's love on a daily basis to them and to the world.  This was Jesus' message to His disciples when He washed their feet.  It is the vine and branch model given us.

Read the New Testament again.  There is nothing else that counts.  If we love, we fulfill all laws.  If we love, we express God's character to the world.  If we live lives of faith expressing love, we are not just making noise, banging cymbals, burning our bodies, but we are gaining real treasure in heaven.  Love covers a multitude of sins.  God is love, and when we love we know God.

God is surely tired of our cymbals and our pomp and ceremony, our loud "worship", our activities.

The scoreboard in heaven does not ring and light up, the angels don't rejoice, the heavenly choirs stay silent for all our religious finery.  But the all the "great cloud of witnesses" celebrate joyously when the least act of love is committed upon the earth.

Your brother,
A. Brother

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