Monday, June 13, 2016
Sunday, June 12, 2016
This verse has probably impacted me more than many throughout my Christian experience, yet, I'm still asking the Lord, "How do I rise up on those eagle's wings today?" I'm learning, as my body grows weaker, what it means to "mount up," and to "run and not be weary," and to "walk and not faint." All through life we face the world, the flesh, and the devil in some way, and sometimes all 3 at once. This is the Christian life. It is not a life of ease and happiness in this world. It is as Paul put it "the good fight of faith." Sometimes we grow weak. But each time we learn to "put on Christ" and renew our strength. We see many metaphors in God's Word that shows us this same principle. Putting on Christ, putting on the whole armor of God, waiting on the Lord, and looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
(9) But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
(10) For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I have a problem with physical weakness and fatigue. Many times I've prayed for physical strength and sought ways to try to find health and strength, and I find myself many days unable anyway, to do much other than just give into it and lay down. I can't "mount up" physically, anyway. But I'm learning in those times to mount up on the inside, in my soul, by looking unto Jesus, surrendering my body to Him and giving myself up to Him for His glory, whether in strength or weakness of body. My nature is to wine and moan under it and complain that my life is good for nothing. But when I look to Him, and put on Christ, waiting on Him in prayer and embracing His promises and encouragement and strength of His Word I find inside my hidden life in Christ mounts up and overcomes and I can fly above it with wings of eagles. I can soar above the things of this world troubling me, oppressing me, weighing me down, and I can rise up into the heavenly places where my new life is with Christ.
This is where we really are, if indeed, we are "in Christ." We are here in this earth in these bodies yet we are "seated in the Heavenlies with Christ."
(4) But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
(5) even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
(6) and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
It is hard to fathom, yet it is true. It is our reality. He doesn't say He "will" seat us, but that He "has." And when we learn to embrace it, and to trust it as fact, we learn also to live there in that heavenly place with Him where our real life is, even as we walk this weary pilgrim path below in these frail bodies subject to pain and weakness.
(1) If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
(2) Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
(3) For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
It is a done deal. It is finished. It is His work. When we learn to believe it, embrace it, and count on it, it renews our spiritual energy and fills us with joy. His joy is our strength. With that assurance and joy we can face anything, we can overcome anything. Without it, we are weak and vulnerable to the enemy. We are miserable Christians crippled in our walk, unable to stand, but always faltering. Without that assurance, our eyes are always on ourselves and this life here, as though that alone were our life in Christ. But He has already raised us up with Himself in the heavenly places. How is that so? He dwells in eternity, where there is no time. He has spiritually made it so for us through His finished work, and declared us His forever, given us His Spirit as a down payment, and our life now, in the Spirit, is with Him there where He is. All the spiritual blessings we need to walk here, are there with Him, and available to us as we walk in faith in our heavenly position and calling.
We are to ask God for a revelation of this blessed salvation and power for life. As we do He reveals it to us more and more in our lives and teaches us to apply it.
(15) For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints,
(16) I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,
(17) that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,
(18) having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
(19) and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might
(20) that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,
Waiting on the Lord is simply taking the time to seek His face, to embrace His promises, to learn from Him through His Word and prayer and relying on His Spirit, as we each day, depend on Him to live His life in us and through us. It takes time to wait on Him. It takes effort. Sometimes it takes sitting before Him asking Him to examine our hearts, to reveal our flesh and weakness and failures to us, to lead us to His Word of instruction, encouragement, promises, and admonition. It takes laying our lives at His feet, at the foot of His cross, and surrendering to Him, trusting Him to raise us up with the power of His life in us, to a newness of life to Him. It takes time to wait on the Lord. Many times we don't want to take that time. So the Lord, in His faithfulness takes us aside, where our life's activity is put on hold, and we have to stop and seek His face, and renew our spiritual strength, waiting on Him, until He lifts us up again. If you find yourself in a humbled position, acknowledge God's hand in it, and rather than fight it, submit yourself under His mighty hand until He Himself lifts you up.
1 Peter 5:6-10
(6) Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,
(7) casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
(8) Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
(9) Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
(10) And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
We cannot rise up with wings of eagles unless we first humble ourselves under His mighty hand submitting to His working in our hearts and waiting on Him. He alone is our "eagle's wings." Faith in His finished work raises us up.
As I grow older and my body weaker, I realize I can still rise up in the strength of the Lord, even if not doing so physically. Even as I lay on my couch some days exhausted and weak, I am able to find my spirit can rise up into the heavenly places where I find the fellowship of my Lord, where I can pray for others, where I can be encouraged and strengthened on, until that day when this body is fully redeemed even as my soul is fully redeemed now. Yet even now, as I dwell in this body, my real life is risen with Him. Nothing on earth can touch me there. This body can have pain. This body can have trouble. This body can be weak. It can suffer persecution or evil. But none of those things can touch my real life, which is hidden in Christ, raised up with Him in heavenly places, seated with Him there, as long as I learn to realize and walk in this life, and wait on Him to enable me to embrace it and fully trust it.
What promises we have in this Christian life! What riches He has given us that we too often do not partake of! We must wait on the Lord to receive all that He has for us now, for His glory on us, in us, and through us, and His life manifested to us empowering us. There is no short cuts in the Christian life. There is no spiritual experience or anointing that somehow makes you super Christian overnight. There is no secret imparting by some spiritual person that will get you through the Christian life and give you super spirituality. There is only Christ, His life, received, submitted to, believed, and lived, day by day, waiting on Him, trusting Him, and surrendering all to Him. May the Lord grant us eyes to see, ears to hear, and a revelation of His great love to us, as we wait on Him, renewing our strength daily.
If you want to know more about this salvation and are not sure you are going to Heaven, you can know. His Word assures us how we can know. Click here to read more.
Saturday, June 4, 2016
(3) His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,
(4) by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
(29) For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
(30) And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
(31) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
"It is not by godliness that we obtain life, but by life, godliness." -J, F, & B
It is through our knowledge of Christ alone, knowing Him, that we are called to His own glory and excellence! Imagine for a few minutes what that means. Are you, am I, living life to that calling? Think on what His own glory and excellence are. Think of what life will be like with Him very shortly, when this life is over. What a gift of life and time we have right now to be daily more and more prepared for that excellence! That glory! All of life takes on a new perspective when we give up our own "glory" for His excellence and glory. We are even now, in His eyes, seated with Him in the Heavenlies (Ephesians 2:4-10), lifted up above this world where no evil can separates us from Him, even as we live out that here below, that He has given to us - His own glory and excellence. We realize it more and more as we walk in faith abiding in His Word, learning to know Him more and more.
"Glory” here is the manifestation of the Divine Character in Christ." -Robertson's Word Pictures
His own "virtue" or "excellence" is the glory of His divine nature. His perfection. His qualities. His excellence. All of these are beyond our abilities really to fathom. Yet He tells us here that He has given us "all we need" to partake of that, to live it out in this life, and to escape the corruptions that come to those who do not know Him and that are slaves of sin, which is what causes those corruptions.
We see more and more moral corruption in our society and in the world, all the more that the world rejects and hardens itself toward God. The restraining force of godliness is being removed and moral depravity is swarming the world. Even in those who were not born again but only had an outward form of Christianity, at least were under the restraining force of godliness because of His Word. Yet now openly, boldly, and blatantly, people are outright rejecting the authority of His Word, and the knowledge of Him, and so are unable to even reason what is good or bad, what is evil or not. They are being consumed by corruption of sin and don't even know it. But those who surrender in faith to the One true God, and Jesus Christ Whom He has sent (John 17:3), can know Him, and can escape this corruption, and can walk in greater and greater excellence and virtue, all the while having the hope of being perfected in that as we at last are called to our heavenly home. It is as we learn to know Him that we can become partakers of His divine nature.
It is never our nature improved on that we are called to. It is never our works enabling us to become better persons. Even an unbeliever can become a better person. Yet, they are not able to partake of His divine nature, that nature which is true godliness and virtue and excellence. They are only able to find ways to somehow manage their own impulses and passions the best they can, as they see their own benefit in doing so, to suppress their natural tendencies, at least outwardly. But the Christian, the one who is "born again of incorruptible seed" (1 Peter 1:3-4), is able to partake of that which God has given Him, learn of Him, and grow in his walking out and working out that life of Christ in his daily life.
J, F, & B commentary: the divine nature — not God’s essence, but His holiness, including His “glory” and “virtue,”( 2 Peter 1:3); the opposite to “corruption through lust.” Sanctification is the imparting to us of God Himself by the Holy Spirit in the soul. We by faith partake also of the material nature of Jesus (Ephesians 5:30). The “divine power” enables us to be partakers of “the divine nature.”
What is this human nature in us that settles for so less? What is it in us that thinks we have so much more if we satisfy our flesh right now, and if we find some temporal happiness in this world? Yet we do settle for so much less for ourselves than what God would have for us. It may require suffering now, ridicule, rejection, loss of friends, jobs, even freedom, yet we must look beyond it all and see what the glory and excellence that He calls us to, and that the more we see of His glory, and live for His glory, the more we are partakers of it and enjoy Him. This is where true life is. This is what will give us a rich entrance into His eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior knowing His joy and delight, rather than being ashamed (2 Peter 1:5-11). This is what will keep us from falling and enable us to stand when the world and the enemy comes against us.
As Oswald Chambers wrote about, I want to give my "utmost for His highest" when I think on His glory, Who He is, and the wonders of His love and His salvation and the calling He has called me to. As Paul said,
(8) Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ
(9) and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—
(10) that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
(11) that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
(12) Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
(13) Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
(14) I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
No looking back, but only forward to the excellence of His high calling! To the glory of Christ! Whatever difficulties, whatever weaknesses, whatever trials or temptations, this is the way to walk above them, to get through them, to overcome.
(2) looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
(3) Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
I am tempted many times to grow weary and fainthearted with this life and with this world. But I am called to something more excellent. So the Holy Spirit in me gives me power and faith to press on, revealing to me the glory of Christ and the rich reward that He brings. He energizes me with His love as I fellowship with Him in His Word partaking of that life. I'm lifted up again. I'm encouraged. I'm nourished. I'm fully dressed and prepared once again in the full armor of God.
1 Peter 1:13
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 John 3:1-3
(1) See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
(2) Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
(3) And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
If you want to know more about this salvation and are not sure you are going to Heaven, you can know. His Word assures us how we can know. Click here to read more.