Jesus Christ is Lord of All

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


(Sequel to “Notes to Self on the Secret Sins of the Flesh”)

1.     Dormant Roots of Evil

Each of us has seen myriads of weaknesses and sins of the flesh that have dwelt in us prior to this moment. As we acknowledge the journey of our conscience, we realize that over time, not only did our awareness and sensitivity to evil increase as we were further conformed to His Image, but we have experienced instances where sins that remained hidden within us were drawn out by some new circumstances or temptations. We perhaps were unaware of our capability and propensity to fall in these areas because the roots of these new-found evils had lain dormant within ourselves. There are at the present time, countless hidden evils that must be yet purged from our being with the roots. In His forbearance He allows us to fellowship with Him and now, in His grace, the Spirit is working on our behalf as the Son intercedes before the Father on the basis of His own blood. The work of the Spirit in the saint is the crux of his/her holy choice. The heavenly Father will utilize such discipline as He deems best at His chosen times to so tenderly make known to us the extent of our frailty and to reveal yet another movement of His righteous right Hand to ultimately deliver us, restore us, and make us strong, firm, and steadfast, unmovable, and holding firmly to the hope which we profess.

21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. James 1

2.     Temptations which Necessitate the Seeking of Him

We were all, and still are in many respects, nominal in our experiences of the glory of Christ. This shallowness of our Spiritual depth could be explained by our failure to zealously pursue Him in prayer, our harboring of secret sins of the flesh which hamper with the holiness that precedes seeing God’s glory, or even the lack of knowledge in, our dull heart towards, or the absence of the moment-by-moment retention of the Word of God. For many, perhaps all, of us, if our lives consisted of no trials, no temptations, and no testings, and we remained in a state of Spiritual stagnancy amidst our apparent earthly prosperity, we would not know Jesus Christ in His fullness, we would not share in the fellowship of His sufferings becoming like Him in His death and thus attaining to the resurrection from the dead, and perhaps we would even be unable to stand firm in our faith until the end unto salvation. Thus, it remains likely that our Father utilizes the secret sins of the flesh to firmly urge us to pursue Him. For in the midst of the addictive and compulsive nature of such sins, we find ourselves unable to achieve any victory or success at all. And the thought of leaving behind some of these sins is appalling because we feel that we would not be able to survive physically or emotionally without them. But because we have known His Word and we have seen glimpses of His glory through the Gospel, we know that He must and surely is able to save us from these sins. We also know that the satisfaction, joy, peace, and ecstasy of His love would far surpass the deception of the pleasures of these sins if we were to behold them. Thus, the true sheep, when faced with enslaving patterns, are, in a sense, coerced into seeking their God with all their heart. For they know that if they do not find God, they will not be able to achieve victory over the flesh, and if they do not seek God, they will be unable to find Him. The sins of the flesh have resulted in some of the most intense passionate seeking of God in prayer and in His Word ever experienced among mankind. And a sobering thought is that perhaps without these sins of the flesh, the saints would not be inclined to seek Him, unless the Spirit so chose to move by another means. Thus, we may use the hopeless conditions of the sins of the flesh as opportunities to pursue God wholeheartedly in the way that He deserves and commands us: with all of our heart. His promise is that if we seek Him with all of our heart, He will be found by us!

17 Fools, because of their rebellious way,
And because of their iniquities, were afflicted.
18 Their soul abhorred all kinds of food,
And they drew near to the gates of death.
19 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble;
He saved them out of their distresses.
20 He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.
21 Let them give thanks to the Lord for His loving kindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men!
22 Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
And tell of His works with joyful singing. Ps 107

3.     The Refining Effect of Finding Him

     An endearing aspect of the nature of God towards His children is that without the Spirit dwelling in us, we would be utterly incapable of repentance. The fact that we have ever truly been able to repent prior to this day indicates the presence of the Spirit within us. He is our deposit and seal guaranteeing what is to come. There is a splendid effect of receiving victory over even one secret sin of the flesh. For in order to have achieved that victory, we will have tasted deeply of the grace and goodness of our God. We will have experienced His glory and felt His unconditional love. We will have eaten of His Body, the Word of God, and we will have drunk of the New Covenant in His blood poured out for the forgiveness of sins and of the Living Water, which leaves the consumer never thirsty again. As the apostle Paul states, “He who suffer in the flesh is done with sin”. The complete restoration of the saint from sins of the flesh, regardless of the hideous nature of such sins, will result in the use of this saint as a profound tool in the Kingdom, a great bearer of the Image of Christ, and a jar of clay that reveals the excellence of the true Light. The faith of such saints, though it has been tested by fire, will be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ and the fulfillment of the salvation of the soul.

 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. I Peter 1

4.     Iron Sharpening Iron

     There is a way in which our laboring on behalf of the progress of each other in our struggles against the secret sins of the flesh and our continuing in the faith will refine our own souls. For it is often the case, that as we stay by the side of another who achieves victory over the flesh, the glory of God that is revealed to that person is revealed to us. And as we behold the breaking of the curse of sin on our friend’s flesh, that same curse is broken from our flesh in the process. Think about the concept of dormant sin that we have discussed in item 1. If, for example, a friend came and asked us to help them through his/her struggle with a certain sin that was apparent to him/her but that dwelt dormant within us, it is very likely that in the process of exhorting that friend, we became aware of the hidden roots of the same evil within our own flesh. And thus, the Father trains His children together with Christ as the Firstborn elder Brother. There is a sense in which by laboring for the victory of the sins of the flesh in our Spiritual family, we are laboring for our own souls. We remember that Jesus prayed to the Father that all of His disciples would together see His glory (John 17). Our self expenditure in laboring with one another is not so selfless, for the Father has so chosen to work in all of us by the same Spirit, and to purge each of us in His due time. The Scriptures are clear that such sharpening friendships are vital for avoiding having our hearts hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Iron sharpens iron,
So one man sharpens another. Prov 27:17

5.     Excellent Quotes

"To go to God for happiness is to confess that without him we are frustrated, depressed, joyless creatures."
-        John Piper

“They, who are once effectually called and regenerated, having a new heart and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified really and personally, through the virtue of Christ's death and resurrection, by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them; the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified,  and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”
-         Westminster Confession of Faith READ HERE, Chapter XIII, Clause v

Me: Dad, do you think that we should confess all of our sins publically? (8/28)
Dad: I talked to my friend and he said that we ought to confess our sins to the offended party: always God and sometimes another person. (8/29)

2 Corinthians 4:1-12 goes well with what you were writing yesterday”
-         Mom (8/29)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012




Your secret sins of the flesh have been: your hidden lack of love for people, your temporary disbelief in the eternal Covenant of love for yourself and your Spiritual family, your bent towards emotional impurity, depressed escapades in lonely places (which dad and mom have forbidden you to do and you have committed to obey and trusted God to give you good quality prayer times at home), manipulation, pride, narcissism, fear of physical pain/illness, fear of apostacy, and fearing mankind rather than God.

Your Spiritual family’s secret sins may include the same and/or secret materialism, physical lust, anger, malice, demonic oppression…

1. If you and they are truly His children, you will be persecuted and tortured in the body, mind, and heart to the utmost. Remember when you heard of persecution in China: first the finger nails were torn off, then the fingers were cut off, then the limbs…and God enabled them to bear His Name until their death. Similar persecutions are undergone by you and your Spiritual family around you but the attacks may come in different forms. For example, your brothers’ struggles with lust is a similar torture of the flesh and great strength, faith, and knowledge of His love will be required for them to avoid any hints of immorality. The pain will be great, but they must choose to never deny Christ in spite of the turmoil of the flesh. You may expect arrows of temptations and fiery trials to fall on you all. The devil seeks to steal, kill, and destroy the people of God. But those of you who know your God will ultimately stand firm. He knows our frame and that we are as dust. He Himself will enable His people to stand firm and appear blameless before Him.

12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13 But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.14 You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 2 Tim 3

2. Engaging in any amount of secret sin is like wandering near the gates of hell. These types of immorality are damning. They are damning not because they are unforgiveable and not because a true Christian will never commit these sins, but because if they are continued in, they will result in an irreversible hardening of the heart after which repentance is impossible.

20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it
would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. 22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “ A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.” 2 Peter 2

3. Because You and they are His own, His Spirit will remove these sins. He will do it in His own way and in His own time. The secret sins of His servants will graciously be found out. You have believed that all secret sins of the elect will be brought out into the open in His due time (Num 32:23). How much better it would be for one of you to be disgraced now then to stand before His throne and hear Him say, “Depart from me you worker of iniquity, I never knew you!”. When a saint’s secret sin is revealed, the Spirit will grant repentance and that person will be shown mercy by the entire body of Christ. The fallen and repentant member or leader of the flock will be restored even unto the fellowship of the saints. The Father will not let His child be overcome with excessive sorrow after he/she has repented.

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Prov 28:13

6 Sufficient for such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the majority, 7 so that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. 9 For to this end also I wrote, so that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. 10 But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did itfor your sakes in the presence of Christ, 11 so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes. 2 Cor 7

4. The Gospel is the only medicine for the illness of the flesh. In the Gospel the righteousness of God is revealed that is imputed to all those who have faith. Remember when the Israelites were given the deadly plague as a punishment for their sin and when they looked to the fiery bronze serpent bound on the tree, they were healed (Num 21:6-9). Just as Moses lifted up the Serpent, the Son of Man has been lifted up on the cross. He became sin in our place. Those who look to Him and behold their life-long cumulative guilt, shame, and due wrath for their sin placed on the perfect Lamb of God are granted healing. The Spirit has promised them an eternal inheritance in the knowledge of Christ. The extent to which the true Gospel is believed is the extent to which you are given victory over the flesh. Above all else, seek to find God as He revealed Himself in the Gospel. Whatever sin or trials derail your soul, go to cross for your healing. It is a daily process, a second by second
process. The work of God to believe in Christ is never finished until you see Him Face to face.

9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. Col 2

5. No one is immune to infidelity. As you have prayed for your leaders and companions you saw that the Godliest men and women that you know struggle daily with the secret sins of the flesh. You can see the weariness and fear in their faces at times. Often the demonic forces attack the greatest assets in the Kingdom: those who are walking in the grace, love, and power of Christ. These people are targets for the enemy. Never take the moral fidelity of the Godly people around you for granted. Rather pray for them daily and trust in the eternal Covenant of God’s love for their souls and yours.

12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. I Cor 10

6. Remember that the Excellency of the agape, delight, and splendor of Christ are yet to be displayed in full to your souls. Though you have not seen Him fully, you know that a single sight of Him would leave you enraptured for your life time. Your Father knows the intricacies of your heart, mind, and body. Because Christ was tempted in every way as we are, He knows the suffering of the flesh involved in resisting any and every of temptation. He has gone before you and empathizes with you in your weaknesses. He endured the worst pain because of the joy set before Him. He promises to make your joy complete, to reveal the Father to you, and to let you remain in Him and in His love. Your secret sins of the flesh are forms of disbelief in His promises. You must trust in Him as your only Way, Truth, and Life. You must trust that He will provide a way out, that He is able to sustain your deepest needs, big or small, moment by moment. Let His grace and love draw your weary, guilty, and ashamed soul back to Himself.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.2 Cor 4

7. Devote your and their secret sins of the flesh to destruction. Remember that destruction in the old testament refers to the irrevocable giving over of defiled items to God for complete destruction. Commit every sin revealed to you by the Spirit to God for destruction. Your Spiritual family may feel that their sins of the flesh are irresistible addictions, almost like a physical disease that cannot be healed with modern medicine, and yet you have seen the Spirit remove horrendous idols from yourself and others with all the roots of guilt and eternal consequence. He is able to perform sweeping acts of renewal and restoration. These acts are more precious than gold and are certain in their being granted to the elect. These acts will cure you from backsliding and pave the way for all of you to bear great fruit for His Kingdom.

For My sword is satiated in heaven, Behold it shall descend for judgment upon Edom And upon the people [idols in our case] whom I have devoted to destruction. Is 34

Dear Father,
I commit all of my secret sins of the flesh to You for irrevocable destruction. Let every hidden sin be brought into the Light. Let every sin that must be found out be brought out from me for all the days of my mortal life. Grant me grace and comfort to repent and humility to receive your grace. I pray the same for my Spiritual family, both the leaders and members of the flock. Teach us to regard our own holiness. Unless we fight daily for our own holiness, we cannot be concerned with and fight for the holiness of others in Your Body. Free us from the snares of destructive privacy. Let Your refining Presence dwell with us Father! Without Your powerful Arm, our infinite fragilities would damn us. But You are greater than all and no one can snatch us from Your Hand. Let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together as is the manner of some, but may we do so more and more as we see the Day approaching
In Jesus Christ’s Name,

Monday, August 27, 2012

Notes to Self on Submission/Respect/Obedience

Notes to Self on Submission/Obedience/Respect
to your Father, parents, future husband, etc.

1.     Define your desire for freedom. You are prone to desire freedom without laying down your terms. What do you mean when you claim to desire freedom? Freedom for what and freedom to do what? What is it that you truly want in life? You want freedom to obey. You want freedom to live and act in the imputed righteousness of Christ. The freedom you desire is a freedom of soul to remain in a state of peace and joy in the midst of any yoke, gentle or harsh, that God has placed over you. What do you want freedom from? You do not necessarily want freedom from oppression or pain. You want freedom from the wickedness of your own sinful nature. In the submission of yourself, rather than becoming constrained or restricted, your soul will be set free. In obeying you will not become enslaved, rather, you are entering the domain of Spiritual freedom. Outside of this domain, your soul will be nothing but imprisoned to despair and guilt.

I shall run the way of Your commandments,
For You will enlarge my heart. Ps 119

2.     Remember that His will is good, acceptable, and perfect. You will never be apart from His will in submitting to the authority that He has placed over you. Though you may feel that you are Spiritually hindered by something that you are commanded to do, remember that His will is good, acceptable, and PERFECT. He will never have you to sacrifice one item of righteousness to fulfill another. His narrow way consists of pure obedience and you cannot falter at any point. He is able to sustain you and provide for you in ways that you cannot imagine at the present time.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Rom 12

3.     In your attitude of respect, do not forget the grace that you stand in. Remember that you are forgiven regardless of what is conveyed to you through others. In the midst of condemnation you may remain quiet just as Christ was like “a sheep before her shearers is silent”. Remember that God will defend you. Christ intercedes for you. Jesus stands at your right hand to save you from those who judge your soul. Love, respect, and obey, but never forget that there is no condemnation for you because you are in Christ Jesus.

30 With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to the Lord;
And in the midst of many I will praise Him.
31 For He stands at the right hand of the needy,
To save him from those who judge his soul. Ps 109

4.     Love your authorities. Obey the higher law of love. Not only must you obey, but you must seek Him and wrestle with Him until He gives you an unconditional love for your authorities. Continually pray for your authorities. You must continue to watch and pray otherwise you will surely fall into temptation. You need Him every hour. You must keep praying and seeking for God to correct the attitude of your heart. And once it has been corrected, you must continue to let the Spirit purge your soul in this regard. The agape that the Father grants you for your authorities will form a solid foundation for your obedience. Without love, submission is tremendously more difficult. Communicate your heart whether or not your feelings are treated well. With unconditional love, do not be aloof or non-communicative, but pour out your heart in love and humility.

Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Rom 13

5.     Know that the benefits of the conformance of yourself into the Image of Christ far exceed any temporary pain of obedience.The pain of the flesh during submission is a figment of the effect of pride on your mind. This pride will lock your mind and behavior into rebellion unless you allow Him to crucify it immediately as many times as you need to. The internal resistance to obey and respect and the resulting external flippant disrespect are easily washed away if only you will choose to deny self and remember His work on the cross. Your obedience is far less painful that you imagine it to be in the midst of your pride. The feeling of the breaking of pride is all in your head. The obedience and time afterwards will be an easy downhill journey. The breaking of the deception of your pride is the most difficult part. The minutes of momentary struggle are achieving for you a lifetime of peace and contentment in Christ. Once you overcome, remember the tremendous benefits to your character.

But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— Col 3

6.     Look for His hidden gifts and be gladdened by them.He will always encourage your heart with a special blessing and a “mercy for each hour”.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; as it is written,
      “ He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor,
His righteousness endures forever.” 2 Cor 9

7.     Remember that God will administer His justice in His time. When your authorities are His children, the Father is infinitely more concerned with their holiness and righteousness than you are. He is at this very moment laboring on behalf of your and their progress in the faith. He is working to achieve true justice for all of His people so that their knowledge of Christ will be so great that regardless of what trials and temptations come their way, they will be hidden in the love, joy, and peace of Christ. For those yokes who are still in darkness, the destruction that awaits them is incomprehensibly terrible. View this even as a driving force for you to submit, knowing that His Gospel may be revealed in your submission so that they may escape this destruction by the knowledge of His great salvation.

21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; I Peter 2

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Vision of the Alpha and Omega

Dear Father,
      Thank You that though the earth and the heavens will be destroyed, You remain the same. They will become old like a garment and like a mantle You will roll them up. But Your years will not come to an end. You are our Light and in Your Light we find Life throughout our few days on this earth. We look to You, Jesus, as the brilliance of Your Father. Thank You for the seed of faith that You have granted to us. Please help us to act according to the measure of faith that You have given us and to trust in You to multiply our seeds and increase the harvest of our righteousness. Please forgive me...and thank You for keeping me in Your promise.
In Jesus Christ's Name,

Theme Song: White Flag

So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.2 Peter 1 

     This letter is about the ongoing vision that we ought to have throughout each of our remaining days on earth. This vision is based on faith in the eternal Light of God. As we remember our past, walk in our present circumstances, and contemplate the future, our vision of the brightness of the glory of our God must guide our every step. In view of this vision, we are called to live in the faith that we have been granted. Whatever is the measure of faith that we have received, large or small, we must live, act, and think according to it. For this faith has been granted to us by the Spirit of faith. One day, our faith will be sight and we will behold the full brightness of His Light.

I. The Vision of the Alpha and Omega

      God taught me something about the vision of the Alpha and the Omega in the car ride on the way home from Indiana last weekend. I was staring out the left window in the evening when the sun was just starting to set. The sun was on my left hidden behind numerous trees and other obstructions. I could faintly see the splendor of its brightness for most of the ride. Sometimes, after a long wait there would be a partial clearing and streaming streaks of light could be seen from the sun. Rarely, the view was completely cleared and I could see the full perimeter of the sun. When I could see the entire sun, my eyes were blinded and tears came to my eyes. Then, almost instantly the forests would block the sun again, but I still had tears in my eyes. The forest would remain for a long time and the tears faded, but I knew that the sun was there. I knew that it was there because I had seen it and it had overwhelmed me. I knew that if all of the forests and other obstructions were burned down, I would see the sun in its majesty. And then I dreamed of a chariot that would come and bring me to the middle of [the heart of] the sun and yet leave me unscathed. I could then experience the warmth and brightness of the sun in full glory and nearness. From my place in the car, covered with the exterior of the car, held down by gravity, limited by my human frailty that would render me destroyed by intense heat/brightness unless supernaturally protected, and my lack of a chariot to take me to the heart of the sun, I still knew that there was a sun that was brilliant and warm. Nothing could shake my belief in the existence and power of the sun....and the sun only reflects the glory of the One true God who alone is to be worshiped.

      The Lord God is the only eternal brightness and splendor by which we are able to see Light in our days on on this earth. He tells us that He is the Alpha and the Omega, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty (Rev 1:8). It is our Vision of the Alpha and Omega that carries us along and sustains our souls. Our Vision of the Eternal God is by faith and not by sight. And yet, in His grace, the Father has chosen to give us the Light of the Knowledge of the glory of God at the present time. Think back to your past and think of the cumulative brightness of His glory that You have seen. You are likely thinking of times that you spent at the foot of the cross, beholding the love of the Father shown in the sacrifice of His Son. All parts of the Trinity suffered in love at the cross. The Father sacrificed His Son, not reluctantly, but willingly and with pleasure. The Son suffered as He bore our sin and drank the cup of His Father's wrath. The Spirit of God suffered as He endured the shame of Christ's suffering until Jesus committed Him into the Father's Hands. There is a great brightness that we have seen as we comprehended the great love shown at the cross. We have also seen His brightness as we look back to His refining and sanctifying power. Think of all the sins that laid so very hard on our souls, but which the resurrection power has freed us from either completely all at once or slowly over time. We have seen the waning of the power of the enemy in us over the flesh to some degree. We know that there is a vision of His splendor that causes us to loose appetite for sin and to be filled with expressions of praise and worship for the freedom that the Son has granted us. We also think of the outstretched Arm of God during those difficult times of our lives, when apart from Him, our hearts and our flesh would have failed. Our God has been the strength of our hearts and out portion forever. Thus, the Vision of the eternal God has been granted to us in part, by our remembrance of the streaks of brightness which we have seen up until this day. And as we contemplate the past brightness, we are truly contemplating the future brightness. His brightness has been as great in its infinite magnitude as it will ever be from the beginning to the end. It is a strange concept: any glimpse of the glory of God which we have seen is pointing to the future and eternal Light of God. And in this sense, our life is meant to be lived in faith in the true Light.

So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.2 Peter 1 

    During the car ride, I could not see the full brightness of the sun for most of the time. Much of the time the sun was blocked. In a similar manner, we do not continually see the full glory of God. And even the greatest vision of His splendor that we have seen is minuscule compared to the coming glory. Much of our lives, the toils, hardships, persecutions, and temptations, like trees, are used by the devil to tempt us to forget the brightness that we have seen: the sheer ray of the coming brightness. But as we walk by faith and not by sight, we are believing that Son of God is radiant and perfect in His brilliance. We believe that one day we will not have a need for a lamp, because the Lamb will be our Light. Before Jacob breathed his last he said, "The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day,16 The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil, Bless the lads;"(Gen 48) Jacob had seen the glory of Christ as his good Shepherd who has redeemed him from all evil. Did Jacob harbor no evil thoughts and commit no sin in his time on earth? No, yet he states that the Angel of God has redeemed him from ALL sin. In view of God's faithfulness, he trusted in the future Messiah who would truly bear his sin onto Himself and impute His own righteousness onto him. Joseph who told his brothers before he died,  "I am about to die, but God will surely take care of you and bring you up from this land to the land which He promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.”25 Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones up from here.” (Gen 50) Joseph had seen the brightness of the Alpha and the Omega in part, and in faith he was able to pass on the confidence and assurance of the coming glory to his brothers. All of the chosen people of God have walked in this manner, trusting in the future brightness. They died in faith without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were aliens and strangers on this earth (Heb 11:13). Though the coming of the Christ was in the future, Joshua says that not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass (Josh 21:45). 

     Foremost, we remember Jesus who is the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Whatever faith that we have been granted has been authored by Jesus. He will perfect our faith in the days to come. His promise to conform us to the Image of Christ as we behold His righteousness by faith is very precious and as we hope and long for the coming brightness, our hearts are purified at the present time. Jesus knew the glory of the Father and had shared in it before the world began (John 17:5). If any man had a vision of the brightness of the Alpha and the Omega, it was the Word, the God-man, Jesus Christ, who walked in perfect faith, obedience, and love. 

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Heb 12:2

     This week a young man who was heart-broken over some events in his life said "God won't talk to me Preethi, we don't speak the same language". Do we not all feel this way during some trials in our lives. We start to doubt that we are even His children, or that there is any way out of a prison of an earthly desire, temptation, illness, etc. We forget the brilliance of His glory seen in the Word that we had read through the Spirit who brought understanding to the eyes of our heart. Remember, dear saints, Jesus is the Authors and PERFECTER of our faith. If we have seen anything of His brightness in your past, may the Spirit grant us repentance, faith, and hope so that we have have our consciences sprinkled clean of a guilty conscience. Has this young man been hardened eternally? Have we been eternally hardened? God tells us "Today if you hear My Voice do not harden your hearts..." (Heb 3:15). Are we unable to repent? If we can repent, may we repent! But do not resist the Voice of the Spirit. For when we speak against the Spirit and resist His power in doing so, we are unable to repent. And when we do not repent, there is no forgiveness. Thus, the blaspheme of the Spirit is the unforgivable sin in the sense that in our blaspheme, we are resisting the Person who alone is able to cause us to repent and receive forgiveness. There is no other way to repent, but to heed the Voice of the Spirit through the Word. And there is no way to receive forgiveness for our sin unless we repent.

II. Offering Ourselves with the Faith that we have been Granted

Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Cor 9:7

     God comforted me this week with the exhortation that I must act according to the faith that I been granted. Our gifts are accepted according to what we have, not according to what we do not have (2 Cor 8:12). Just as the widow was praised for giving the two coin that she had, God is pleased when we obey Him with whatever measure of faith that we have been granted. Often, we have ideals of moral perfection, and we feel so far from meeting them in the attitudes of our heart. And yet, though we seem to have failed almost entirely, God tells us to obey in whatever faith that we have, however small it may seem, and how vastly we seem to be failing in other areas.

     God has allotted a certain measure of faith to each of His children (Rom 12:3). To some, great faith has been granted and to others, just a mustard seed of faith has been granted. Why did God tell us that if we have faith like a mustard seed, we can move mountains? Was it because no more than a small amount of faith is required to accomplish great wonders for the glory of God? Yes, but the manner is which this occurs is important for us to consider. The way in which small amounts of faith result in great revelations of God's glory to the world is the Father's ability to multiply our faith. Just as the young boy gave up his lunch and Christ multiplied it for the satisfaction of many, when we obey in the small amount of faith that remains in us, the Father is able to multiply it unto His glory and our conformance to the Image of His Son. He is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us (Eph 3:20). He is the very Person who has granted us this mustard seed of faith. He is the supplier of seed to the sower and bread for food. He supplies and multiplies our seeds for sowing and increases the harvest of our righteousness (2 Cor 9:10). We will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God (2 Cor 9:10-11). As we make a step, however small it seems to us, according to the minuscule faith that we feel that we have, God is able to give us more and more faith. He gives us a growing faith, a growing obedience, a growing LOVE which is the essence of the perfect unfailing eternal goodness of God. To the one who has faith, even a mustard seed of it, more will be given to him and he will have an abundance (Matt 13:12).

     As we walk in obedience that comes from faith, we know that even small acts of obedience in us are completely His work of grace in us. For it is God who is at work in us, both to work and to will according to His good purpose (Phil 2:13). Therefore, to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, we must obey in the faith that we have been granted. He is the PERFECTER of our faith and He will surely increase it. God tells us to go in the faith and strength that we have from Him at the present time as He told and sent Gideon to go in the strength that he had to deliver Israel from the hand of the Midianites (Judges 6:14).

     A prime example of the infinite reward of a seemingly petty faith comes from the parable of the lost son (Luke 15). After the prodigal son had squandered his father's inheritance in wild living, he came to his senses and said "‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’ (Luke 15) In his weakness and brokenness, this son did not have faith in the full extent of his father's love to receive him wholeheartedly as a son. But he did have a little faith. He had faith that his father would at least receive him as one of his hired men. He remembered that his father's hired men used to have bread to eat. In this memory, he was remembering a small amount of his father's goodness. So for us, dear saints, we may be going through seasons when our faith is minuscule and we are not comprehending His love for us. But as we remember having seen His brightness in the past through His salvation and faithfulness to us, we have enough faith to turn to Him. And He will increase our faith and obedience in the time ahead of that step made in the small faith that we had acted upon. 

     I want to share with you a view that I have towards the sins of the flesh. Some of you may have struggled with certain sins of the flesh that you felt you could never overcome. You prayed and wept and tried to refrain from this slavery to sin, but regardless of your desire for righteousness, the sin still weighs heavily on your soul and you wonder if the day will ever come when you will be free from that sin. You may even wonder if God has ceased to love you since you are "given over" to this sin at the present time. I have struggled with such types of sins. These sins are like the temptations of the demons that only come out with fasting and prayer. And in the midst of my plea to God to remove the grip of sin's curse on me, I imagine that there are two buttons. If I push the first button, I will receive the satisfaction of the sinful flesh, that is, the object of the deceitful promise of sin's temptation. If I push the second button, I will remain in the narrow path that leads to eternal Life, though many trials and persecutions will be along the way. We may do what we do not desire to do in the midst of our sins of the flesh, but we must ask God to show us what are the true desires of our heart. May it never be that our hearts truly desired the pleasures of the flesh over the perfect will of God for our righteousness...that we would have pushed the first button. Oh Lord, please perfect and guard the desires of our heart! If He had not predestinated us, we would never be able to overcome the desires of the sinful nature. But those He foreknew and predestined, He conforms to the Image of His Son. The work of His Spirit to purge the heart occurs just as surely as He has chosen us as His children and occurs in His perfect chosen time. 

     I have not completely understood the Words of Jesus below in Luke 14. Here Jesus speaks of discipleship. He essentially tells us that we must be willing to give up anything and everything for His sake. But just because we are unable to give up everything perfectly now, I feel the Father's call to give up what He has given me a willing desire to abrogate. He promises to continue to move in my heart to help me give up everything. I hope that day comes soon. Jesus also speaks here about the example of someone who starts building a tower but is unable to finish building it because the cost was too great. He also speaks of a king who is deciding whether he is powerful enough to go to war against another king. This king is too outnumbered to defeat the other king's army and must send a delegation to ask for terms of peace. The general principle I gather is: I cannot work against Him in wickedness, for then I would be destroyed at the final judgement. I cannot work to be righteous like Him through obedience to the law, because I would never have enough goodness [I would not have any at all] and would be unable to "finish building the tower" of my righteousness. The only thing I can and ought to do is to ask for a delegation of peace. Christ has granted us peace with the Father through His blood shed on the cross. In faith, whatever measure of faith that has been granted, may we continue to send the delegation of peace. May we never recant this delegation and seek to build our own tower. We do not have enough righteousness on our own to build it. And we cannot over-power this King by working against Him. Let us honor Him for He is our Lord, Master, and King!

25 Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, 26 “ If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand?32 Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. Luke 14

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