Monday, 2 December 2013

The Mithras Tree - reposted.

Since this particular post has been getting quite a few hits recently, I thought I'd re-post it as a new post. Last night, I had a long discussion with my German parents in law, who we were visiting, who love the German traditions of keeping Christmas the way they always have. Our 19 year old son, who is sentimental about Christmas too,  decided to be delibrately provocative and ask why we don't have any decorations up at home...'Christmas is SO lovely!' I wasn't keen on being drawn into a long discussion and quietly said what I felt the Lord giving me to say, but our son wouldn't leave it alone, and it ended up with father-in-law being thoroughly offended and leaving the table in a sulk. In the end I simply said to my mother-in-law that the Lord had shown me these things and that if I compromised with what He had shown me, then I would be being disobedient to Him, which would result in my relationship with Him being broken. As He is everything to me, what He has told me to do must come first, even if it means that those nearest and dearest to me cannot understand and even decide to withdraw from me. She was touched by this and was silent. 

Anyway, the accepted Roman date for the obligatory celebration of Christmas by Bishop Liberius of Rome, was AD 354.
A century before, Tertullian had written," On your day of gladness, we (Christians) neither cover our doorposts with wreaths, nor intrude upon the day with lamps. At the call of public festivity, you consider it a proper thing to decorate your house like some new brothel. We are accused of a lower sacrifice because we do not celebrate along with you the holidays..." Today, the Saturnalia's Lord of Misrule has been exchanged by Santa Claus, god of modern materialism and self-indulgence. Only the name has changed.
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It’s that ghastly time of year again - which I have been putting out of my mind for as long as possible, all the while knowing that it was inevitably creeping up on me. A friend wrote me an e-mail recently and mentioned the Christmas tree in the context of the Tree in the Garden of Eden and it got me thinking.
Genesis 3: 6 describes the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil as follows: it …‘was good for food, and … a delight to the eyes, and … desirable to make one wise.’ If Adam and Eve ate from this tree, in disobedience to the Lord’s warning not to do so, they would ‘surely die’, which is a Hebraism meaning ‘to die eternally’.
But the Tree of Knowledge was beautiful. It was full of tasty, delectable fruit (a rabbinical tradition says that the tree was a fig tree, from whose leaves Adam and Eve later made themselves aprons) and provided a short cut to wisdom if man would stretch out his hand to take it. What could be more reasonable and sensible than to do so? Wasn’t God being
mean to deprive man of such a wonderful source of provision?
The choice that Adam and Eve had before them was the choice between their reliance on Christ, the Tree of Life, (the God who walked in the garden in the cool of the day; the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world) to provide for their needs, for light, love, food, wisdom, right-standing with God - and the choice for self-reliance, which, instead of resulting in freedom, caused enslavement to the Tempter.
Eating from the Tree of Knowledge was man's deciding what was right for himself – to do good or evil, instead of simply and humbly obeying the word that God had spoken and remaining in peace, and pace, with his Maker.
It was common practice from the earliest days of disobedience to the word of God for pagans to cut down a tree, which to them symbolized the tree of life, (but was actually the opposite) decorate it, set it up and worship it, in rites of abandoned sexual immorality. They called it an Asherah pole and it symbolized male sexuality. Men and women would lie with priestesses and priests of the pagan cults of Canaan in order to ensure the fertility of the land. The result was widespread practice of child sacrifice.
Ever since that time, man has chosen his own way above the clear word of God. For example, God gave a calendar for the year to his people, in which seven feasts prophetically pointed towards the first and second coming of the Anointed One.  The tribes of Israel who were cut off from Judah in the days of King Rehoboam ended up under the rule of King Jeroboam, (1 Kings 12:28-32) who …‘said in his heart,
“Now the kingdom will return to the house of David. If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will return to their lord, even to Rehoboam king of Judah; and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.” So the king consulted, and made two golden calves, and he said to them, ‘It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt.” He set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan. And he made houses on high places, and made priests from among all the people who were not of the sons of Levi. Jeroboam instituted a feast in the eighth month on the fifteenth day of the month, like the feast which is in Judah, and he went up to the altar; thus he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves which he had made. And he stationed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. Then he went up to the altar which he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised in his own heart; and he instituted a feast for the sons of Israel and went up to the altar to burn incense. Even the Jews of Judah did not keep the feasts as they should have done. 2 Chronicles 30:26 says of the Passover feast kept in the days of King Hezekiah that … ‘there was nothing like this in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel.’ So the Passover had not been kept as it should have been since Solomon’s days. In 2 Kings 23:22 it says that such a Passover had not been celebrated from the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel and of the kings of Judah.’ Even Hezekiah had not kept the Passover as King Josiah did.
As followers of the Way it is clear to us that the Anointed One, the Messiah Yeshua fulfilled the first four spring feasts (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits and Pentecost) at His first coming and that He will, at His second, fulfil the last three; Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles. In Him, we are made righteous, so now, it isn’t the keeping or the not keeping the feasts which is important, but our being ‘in Him’, who perfectly kept and is the fulfilment of the Law.
For the first three hundred years after the church was born, no-one paid any attention to the keeping of birthdays of any kind. They were considered to be pagan and avoided by followers of the Way.
Someone has said that the church first became an institution in Rome. Certainly by AD 336, in an attempt to maintain power over what she considered to be her people, just as Jeroboam had nearly 1000 years before, this increasingly Babylonian travesty of a church had instituted a new feast, the celebration of the birth of Christ. This was to syncretise the pagan cult of Mithras, the Roman sun god, borrowed from Zoroastrianism, into the arms of the Roman church. Mithras, who was worshiped under other names like Tammuz, Osiris, Baal, Apollo and Baldur in other cultures in Asia and Europe, in keeping with the fertility cult, had his birthday at the time of the winter solstice, December 25th. It seemed expedient to the Roman church to bring all pagans under her skirts by amalgamating the sun god’s birth and that of the Son of God. The feast was celebrated with the decorating of palm trees in the Mediterranean and eventually, pine trees in Northern Europe.
By the 16th Century, Germany was celebrating Christmas by the decorating of fir trees and by the 19th, Britain was doing the same, after the Christmas tree was introduced by Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s German husband. Mithras Trees spread all over the world after that, thanks to the British Empire.
 Today, Christmas is still kept by the decorating of a fir tree. Presents are laid under it, garlands, lights and goodies hung from its branches; all because we insist on doing things our way. Children are told that it they are good, Santa /satan will bring them good things; if bad, they’ll get the stick - just more indoctrination into the teaching of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Where is the teaching about grace? It’s not about how good we are or how bad; all of that is useless to bring us to God.
The Tree of Life is Yeshua Himself – and if we choose Him, we need no other tree. Will we worship Him who is invisible to everyone but those who have faith, rather than taking our eyes off Him and gazing at the perishable tree which is good for physical, temporal food, a delight to the eyes and desirable to make wise? It’s only kept for two weeks, after all. After all the materialistic self-indulgence is over, it’s thrown away. Why do we set such store by rubbish? And for those who buy an artificial tree and put it away for the following year, the same principle applies; it’s still not the Tree of Life.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

May I live by His Life!

'O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!' (Rom 11:33)
 
Why do men look for wisdom and knowledge anywhere else but in Christ Jesus alone? Col 2:3 says that in Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge dwell in bodily form!
 
And yet we run around here and there, trying to get understanding for our lack of wisdom, from books, conferences, seminars, the internet; we seek advice from people who appear to have more knowledge and education than we, we rely on the wisdom and rules we have leaned from parents, school, college, employers, the media, religion, wherever we have gleaned wisdom from. But this is all worldly wisdom and it doesn't bear the LIFE of the Spirit of God because it doesn't COME from God.....
 
Where is the LIFE? John 1:4 says, 'In Him was LIFE,...'
 
As purported followers of the Messiah Yeshua, are we living from the Tree of LIFE; are we filled with His LIFE, or are we still living from the Tree of KNOWLEDGE?
 
We need to ask ourselves this question: What was the first knowledge that Adam and Eve attained through their disobedience? '.....And they knew that they were naked...' (Gen 3:7.)
 
In the awareness that they were naked, they felt self-aware; they felt insecure and weak for the first time and to cover themselves, they sewed themselves aprons of fig leaves. Before they had eaten of the Tree of Knowledge, they were only aware of living in the Presence of God. His Light clothed them. '...and the LIFE was the light of men.' (John 1:4) They didn't need anything else. The Presence of God led them in all they did. They depended entirely on Him and were content to do so. They knew nothing except God and His beautiful Life, filling them with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. They were innocent children, trusting in their heavenly Father for everything.
 
What did knowledge bring to Adam and Eve apart from the awareness that they were naked?
'But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.' (Gen: 2:17 KJV).
 
The result of eating of the Tree of Knowledge was death. And we see this same principle time and time again in countless ways; where man, who is spiritually dead, rejects LIFE,  he chooses death, and runs after many schemes, inventions, scientific discoveries, to cover up, make up for, substitute his insecurity, his weakness, mortality, his lack of control, with devices of his own making. These lead inevitably to more death.
 
What good is knowledge when all it brings is death? And why do we still insist on running after our own schemes or devices when the Lord has provided all we need in Him?
 
'So I turned my mind to understand, to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly.
“Look,” says the Teacher, “this is what I have discovered: “Adding one thing to another to discover the scheme of things—
This only have I found: God created mankind upright, but they have gone in search of many schemes.” (Ecclesiastes 7:25,27,29)
 
The word of schemes here is חִשָּׁבוֹן (chishshabown ), and in another verse, it refers to catapults and weapons of warfare like crossbow machines.
 
'And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented H4284 by cunning men, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal. (2 Chron.26:15 KJV)
 
Another word for devices is מַחֲשָׁבָ (machashabah ), which is connected to the above;
 
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts H4284 of his heart was only evil continually. (Gen.6:5 KJV).
 
All of man's ingenuity only leads to more death in the long run. We make weapons to defend ourselves, or attack others who would try to attack us, we try to extend our lives by health programmes and medical research, we attempt to discover things to increase our knowledge, to improve ourselves so that we can feel better about ourselves, because knowledge begets hunger for more knowledge, because deep down there is this insatiable desire to be LIKE GOD.
 
We seek to regain the pure knowledge of God which Man once had, which was a free gift, but which he lost by his own disobedience, by his deliberate decision to act on the foreign thought which the serpent/satan had planted in his mind.... the worldly thought that he must do something to be like God. In other words, knowing God was considered of less importance than being like Him. And by deciding to be like God, Man lost everything: 1. the knowledge of God, 2. being like Him (ever since then, man has demonstrably shown that he is anything but like God... but he still tries) and 3. his own life as well.
 
And so he decided to FEED on knowledge rather than FEED on the WORD and SPIRIT of LIFE. He decided to make his own wisdom his guide.
 
Now. All this is old hat as far as many Christians are concerned. They will say, 'Yes, yes, I know all that!'
What we fail to realise is that we are still far from walking in the truth, as long as we live by the old knowledge we have.
 
Where are the areas where we still do this?
 
In Colossians 2:3-4  it says: '....Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.'
 
What are the satanic, 'beguiling words' which deceive us into making worldly wisdom our guide, rather than Christ Himself?
 
May I suggest that these beguiling words can be the things we learned from our parents? The things we picked up at school, work, college, from friends, the media...the things we imbibed from our past experiences - even bitter experiences, disappointments, failures; dare I even say it, from our Christianity?
 
All our doctrine is of no use if we don't have the LIFE. It might keep us from outward sin in the eyes of others, but it won't give us LIFE. We still stick to the principles of death. And they will result in death. The fleshly problems will still be with us. All our righteous-sounding Christian rules, even those we put together from the New Testament... and those we patch together from principles in the New Testament, to make a safety net in case we stumble... they are not the LIFE. Only Jesus in us is the life. His quickening Spirit, leading us in all the multitudinous areas of our daily lives, as only He can, because He knows what is best for each one of us, better than anyone else does, is the One we need to listen to and follow.
 
All our rules and regulations, 'Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!”, (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence. (Col.2: 23 NASB).
 
Jesus rejected satan's temptation to turn stones into bread by saying, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'” (Matt.4:4)
By this the Lord was rejecting the wisdom of the serpent, the 'Prince of this world' with his worldly wisdom, and choosing the wisdom of God, GOD'S Word...the Word made alive by the SPIRIT of GOD. He chose the LIFE, not the serpent's KNOWLEDGE.
 
Satan was effectively saying, 'If you change these stones to bread (which being the Son of God, you can certainly do) you can keep yourself from dying.' Now this was very good advice. It is certain that without food, the body will eventually pack up and give up the ghost. Jesus had been without food for 40 days and nights and we are told that He was beginning to starve. So what satan told Him was undoubtedly true.
 
BUT... Jesus knew of a HIGHER wisdom. He knew that His life depended on His Father alone, not on any worldly wisdom or counsel, so He rejected the advice which sounded so good.
 
In just the same way, we are encouraged to listen to the Holy Spirit's voice IN ALL THINGS. Our life is now hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3) and we are no longer to be led by our own thoughts, ideas, wisdom, the things we learned in the past, no matter how 'good' these may sound.
 
Jesus said,  "Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal LIFE, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” (John 6:27). He told us that His flesh and blood are our life... that is, His LIFE living in us...
 
“Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no LIFE in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal LIFE, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the LIVING Father sent me and I LIVE because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will LIVE because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will LIVE forever.” (John 6:53-58
In John 5:39, Jesus said, "You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have LIFE. '
 
We might say the same today. We study the word of God to gain knowledge, but does it really benefit us? Doesn't it just add more to our pride, our self-satisfaction, our security in ourselves? Does it give us LIFE? Are we more joyful, are we freer, is there more praise and thankfulness in our hearts? Are we more forgiving, more spiritually beautiful, do we show more love for others because of it? Are we brimming over with Jesus? 
 
If not, then all our knowledge and good ideas, our rules and principles, what we have gained from past experience, (fruit of the Tree of Knowledge - food which perishes) are frankly useless. They are all destined to 'perish with use'...(Col.2:22) they are dead words.
 
Jesus took all the old worldly wisdom, rules, regulations, knowledge on the stake with Him, when He died. There are no more rules for those who are His. We are free. Free to follow where He leads.
 
Now, some may say that this is all very dangerous. It could lead to all sorts of irregular activities!
 
What does 'irregular' actually mean? I looked it up.
 
Etymologically, it comes from the late 14th Century, and means, 'not in conformity with Church  rules!'  http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=irregular  In other words, institutional, Roman Catholic, or for the sake of argument, any other denominational church, rules.

Jesus took the church rules on the stake with Him when He died.
He also took our old man, our fleshly, sinful nature onto the stake with Him, when He died. This has now been neutralised. The flesh no longer has power over us because we are no longer controlled by the law of sin and death but the law of the Spirit of LIFE. (Romans 8:2)
 
So now we are to live and walk by the SPIRIT, (Galatians 5:16-25) not by rules and regulations, which are only useful for sinful man, to restrain his flesh. If we are in Christ, sin no longer has a hold over us, because we are living to please Him alone, and not ourselves. Our lives are hidden with Christ in God. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is FREEDOM!
 
This could be very offensive to some, who in their pride, think that by keeping to what Paul and others write in the New Testament about church practice and moral behaviour, they will be able to please God. May I suggest that they actually just create a new set of rules to live by? Except that they don't live through them; they don't experience LIFE because of them; they are not able to, because it's only by being led by the Spirit that we experience LIFE. It's only by living in intimacy with Jesus that we will have His LIFE.
 
This is why this kind of life is offensive and seems dangerous to many. Because they rely on their own wisdom to keep them from falling, instead of the Life of Jesus within them. Their pride in their own wisdom blinds them.
....“Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and LIFE."' (John 6:61-63) 

What if the Lord told you to go into a porn shop, and didn't tell you why? Would you be able to hear His voice well enough to know that it was Him speaking, and not your flesh? What if He told you to buy a lottery ticket? What if He told you to drink wine or any other alcohol in a bar, or anywhere else for that matter (particularly for Americans)? What if He told you to do something, that if you did, all your family and friends would call you the worst sinner and you would lose your reputation for spirituality and goodness? Would your old rules rise up and say, 'Thou shalt not?'
 
What if He told you to marry a prostitute? Or bake your bread on human excreta? Or offer your child, your only child, as a human sacrifice? Or cut a baby in half? Or talk to a heathen, immoral woman, alone at a well, knowing full well that your reputation would be lost?
 
All these examples, of course, are just some of the things which God Himself told some of His beloved followers to do... All of which demonstrated the wisdom and knowledge of God... in hindsight.
 
If Hosea, Ezekiel, Abraham and Solomon (and Jesus Himself) could hear the voice of the Holy Spirit  how much more can we, who have the Holy Spirit living inside us, if we have come to know and follow Jesus?
 
But that's just the thing. None of these knew what would happen if they did what the voice of God was saying. They could have lost everything. Reputation being the very least of them.
 
We are called to trust Him...trust the LIFE in us. It's a walk of faith, not trusting our own understanding, but trusting the LIFE in us, that He knows better than we do what He's doing, even when our own minds naturally rebel against it and say, 'This is madness! This goes against everything I have ever been taught, everything I KNOW.'
 
This is why Paul could say, in  1 Corinthians 2:2, '"And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling..."'
 
If we rely on what we know, then we despise and belittle the death of Jesus, which dealt with both our sinful nature and the rules against sin, because we rely more on our wisdom and knowledge to protect us than His LIFE.
 
1 Corinthians 1:23
...but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews (the moral ones) and foolishness to Gentiles (the intellectual ones),...
 
Galatians 6:14
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
 
1 Corinthians 1:30
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
 
Yes, because it's not KNOWLEDGE that we are called to live by, but the LIFE of Jesus.
 
 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Babylon Revealed ("Come Out of her…" Revelation 18:4)


Thanks to:
Clay Sikes 6/12/04  www.lighthouseprophecy.com
God is equipping His remnant people with an understanding of the times. It is not His desire that His very elect be deceived, thus He is raising voices in the wilderness to proclaim prophetic truth for this hour in which we live. This teaching is heavily influenced by several prophetic voices, including Joseph Herrin and Arthur Burt, who believe the mandate in Ezekiel 33:6,
"But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood."
This word is a shot across the bow of our proverbial boats to warn us, to encourage us, but most of all, to awaken us. Let us awaken from the slumber of self-will, presumption, and apathy that we may follow the steps that have been ordered for us since the beginning of time. Let us be willing to share this word with others and not shrink back when opportunity knocks.
Joseph Herrin recently wrote, "Babylon is a land of works where man must accomplish every task and fulfill every mandate. Babylon knows nothing of rest and faith. Oh yes, Babylon speaks very much about faith, but it is a faith that is rooted in man's ability. Babylon's faith is founded upon man's ability to envision some end and to see it through. Babylon is built with blueprints, and planning sessions, and organization, and fund drives, and pep rallies, and the sweat of untold men and women. Then when it is all said and done and some project has come to completion, the people of Babylon feel justified to stand and proclaim:"
"Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built…by the might of my power…?" (Daniel 4:30).
"Zion, however, is not seeking to build anything of her own will and initiative. Zion is a people of faith. Zion knows that salvation is of the Lord, as is sanctification, and as is glorification. Zion does not labor to build a city, for she seeks a city not built with hands whose builder and maker is not man, but God. Zion does not seek to work for the approval of Yahweh, she works because she is approved by Yahweh…Zion is a city of rest. This does not mean that those who are of Zion are doing nothing, it means that they are doing nothing of their own initiative. They are doing those works that God prepared beforehand for them. They are not dreaming up their own works, nor are they stretching out their hands to labor in fields to which they have not been sent."
In April of 1988 God began dealing with me about this very time in which we now live, and about understanding the difference between the World's System and the Kingdom of God. He spoke a powerful prophetic word to me that has not only sent me on a quest to understand, but also produced life-changing events as slowly I am learning to walk in the Kingdom. It is my destiny to continue this search for truth, and share it whenever possible. A true watchman can not only see through darkness, but also articulate what is being shown. I pray the voice of the Lord is heard in this word (John 10:2-4).
It began on an afternoon jog with God speaking clearly, "Forego the world's system for your reward and gain the Kingdom's method of receiving. If you engage the world's system you will be dependent upon it for your reward." Without realizing it at the time, God was speaking Revelation 18:4 to me, "Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues." I knew I was being called out of something much better than anything I had experienced, but wasn't sure of what. I also knew I was being called into something, but wasn't sure of that either. Was it my business; was it my church, the town I live in, my group of friends, or simply my method of doing things? I didn't have a clue. During much of the last sixteen years, God has revealed the dichotomous nature of these two systems, especially in the realm of personal experience. When I touched one system it produced life, while touching the other produced death. Experientially, I began to see a pattern.
I have touched the World's System with severe consequences, while touching the Kingdom with equally drastic results on the opposite end of the spectrum. Some are aware of my testimony. You can argue my doctrine, but you cannot argue my testimony. As stated, one produces death, while the other produces life and it more abundantly. One is based upon my goodness, good ideas, good intentions, creative ideas, and motivations, while the other is based purely upon entering His rest, ceasing from my own works and being obedient to do what the Father has said.
These two systems are constantly competing for our alliance and affections. Most of our training, indoctrination, and natural inclinations are aligned with one, while the spiritual force of God, the peace within us, is aligned with the other. One is natural, the other Spiritual. One requires that we think, analyze, toil and strain to succeed (Genesis 3:17); the other requires prayer, hearing God, and obeying (Genesis 2:15). One requires us to work for things; the other allows things to work for us. One is based on works, the other based on obedience.
The amount of lordship that we maintain over our lives relegates which of these two systems we are most tied to. Again, self-will, coupled with intellectual logic and reason epitomize the World's System, while faith, trust, hearing, and obeying God are aligned with the Kingdom. In the World little is accomplished without toil. Toil is work that is accomplished only with great and painful effort. We labor in the Kingdom of God, but the Lord's yoke is easy and His burden light. In His Kingdom, far more is accomplished with less effort. All toil brings weariness, but the labor in Christ, regardless of whether it is secular or a Spiritual endeavor will bring rest and refreshment. "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest in your souls" (Matthew 11:29).
The World's System or Babylon in human form IS ME DOING MY OWN THING! Babylon is all about me; my ideas, my great works, my goodness, the righteousness I have attained for myself through my works. Much of what we see in the Institutional Church today is man doing man's thing. Much of what we see with most Christians, and I include myself, IS ME DOING MY OWN THING! The system that I engage the most is the system to which I belong. Does the Spirit lead me, or am I led by my own ambitions, good ideas, intentions, and conveniences? Make no mistake about it; at the risk of redundancy, Babylon screams that righteousness can only come through works. God's word says something different.
"So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts" (Ephesians 4:17,18).
"Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: "He catches the wise in their craftiness" and again, "The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile." So then, no more boasting about men!" (I Corinthians 3:18-21)
Most are caught short in understanding the Holy Spirit's desire to guide and lead with specific instruction. There are others who have progressed beyond the point of the first group, but who will not yield to the Spirit when it is not convenient. And then there are those who after hearing a bit of God's instruction act presumptuously calling their presumptive efforts GOD, and blaming Him when things don't work out! This is not Sonship as described in Romans 8:14 "Those that are led by the Spirit of God are the Sons of God," nor is it walking in the Kingdom. Those who truly walk in the Kingdom are completely yielded to the Spirit of God and will wait patiently upon the Lord to speak or move before they themselves move. If we are not completely yielded, we are yet engaging the World's System because we remain dependent upon ourselves. The instant we divorce ourselves from self-dependency and self-will is the moment we enter the Kingdom and its benefits.
Perhaps we are beginning to see that Babylon is not a place or even a system as much as it is a condition of man's heart. Much of what we call the Church today is an outcropping of Babylon, just as we could say about other physical evidences of Babylon; American corporations, the stock market etc., but these are simply limbs from the tree, not the root of the problem. The root of the problem is the condition of man's heart, which says, "I don't need God!" It is man's supreme confidence in himself: his intellectual prowess, his expertise, his financial might, or political power. We see this spirit in individuals, institutions, governments, business, armies, churches, and sports to name a few.
Our ability to hear and obey is dependent upon the depth of our dependence upon Him. If we are not hearing, we are not depending, and many unfortunately have yet to learn to completely depend upon God. How dependent was Christ, who is our example, upon the Father (John 5:30)? TOTALLY!
Here is where the rubber meets the road. It is not enough to conform to Christ in outward form and actions. OUR CONFORMITY MUST BE INTERNAL. Without internal conformity we will never see true Kingdom life upon this earth, and we will be called "lawless" on our day of judgment. We can act like Jesus and even perform the way Jesus did, and still be rejected by heaven. What is internal conformity? Internal conformity is simply doing the will of the Father; seeking God, hearing His instructions, and obeying.
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the Kingdom of heaven, BUT HE WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME: YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS" (Matthew 7:21-23).
Matthew 7:21-23 in NIV calls those who are not submitted to the will of the Father, "evildoers." How many well-meaning Christians do you know that are Spirit-filled, but not Spirit-led? God's word calls them "evildoers." How can you do the will of the Father if you do not regularly hear His voice? (John 10: 2-4) Have you seen those with extraordinary gifts to preach, heal the sick, do miracles, and yet felt no witness to them as strong men of God? Many prophesy, cast out demons, and perform miracles, yet do not do "the will of the Father." These men, despite their outward appearance, are not walking in the Kingdom upon this earth, nor will they enter the Kingdom of heaven according to Matthew 7:21-23.
We can put on a show for, and even fool man with our external conformity to Christ, doing miracles, prophesying, and preaching the gospel, but until we line up inside with an internal conformity committed to hearing God and obeying, we are lying to ourselves and to the people we lead. Internal conformity is being the Father's son; being led of the Father's Spirit: a Romans 8:14 Sonship. Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing. He realized that of His own self He could do nothing (John 5:30), which really means that He had a revelation that any works outside the boundaries of the Holy Spirit's leading would profit little. Jesus existed to do the will of the Father, and so should we. Lawlessness is acting on your own initiative independent of God's Spirit. There are many Shepards leading sheep, who themselves have never become sons. The spirit of Babylon is alive and well and explains the chaos and powerlessness that we see in most churches today.
Jesus never did anything outside of hearing from God. He did nothing on His own initiative while remaining totally submitted to the government of God. He is our great example of what INTERNAL CONFORMITY is all about; He is our key to walking in the Kingdom upon this earth and the key to our entering the Kingdom of Heaven when our journey is finished. How can we have faith for what we have not heard: anything that is not done in faith is sin, so to move without hearing, to act without a confirming word (which often is the inner witness of the Spirit producing peace), is to act foolishly.
Through God's mercy and grace, many of us have survived being Spirit-filled, yet not necessarily Spirit-led Christians. For some of us, the consequences have become greater and greater, the fire of the consequences revealing the level of importance in taking time to hear and obey. Those who have experienced these consequences have an incumbent responsibility to share this word and subsequent testimonies with those who have not. Let us become that voice in the wilderness teaching that there is much more to our Christian life than simply being Spirit-filled, that they too can become Spirit-led.

 www.lighthouseprophecy.com

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Moving from Babylon to New Jerusalem

 
By Ron McGatlin

Most of you reading this are probably aware that you, along with the rest of us, are at some stage of a spiritual journey from where we have been to somewhere that we are going that we have not before been. Abraham was called to depart his home land in search of a city whose builder and maker was God. Since then followers of God have been moving toward the spiritual reality of the City of God.

The journey actually is our becoming the holy pure city of God. It is our becoming one with and abiding with Spirit God in perfect union and relationship as a beautiful pure and holy Bride adorned with the love gifts of God. It is God with man abiding in His holy light where there is no more darkness and nothing that defiles. This is the city of God the New Jerusalem pattern of life as the spiritual wife of Spirit God abiding in His glory and provision.

Rev 21:9-11:Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God.

Rev 21:2-4: Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.

Heb 12:22-24: But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

Whether we realize it or not, we as a worldwide population living independently apart from God, having been born in the linage of Adam, are coming from the life of a spiritual harlot who has sold her purity to meet her own needs and desires. All of us, as a world population, are either still stuck in the life of making our own way apart from God, having not yet even met our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus, or we are at some point on our journey to becoming the fully purified holy Bride without spot or blemish. We are traveling from being the old mystery Babylon toward becoming the glorious New Jerusalem.

This is a journey that no natural human being can make.Only God has what it takes to transform us from Babylonian harlotry to the purified holy Bride, New Jerusalem. God had to become a human being born of a virgin, live a perfect sinless life, and give that life at the cross to break the curse and provide the way for all mankind to be restored as the pure and holy mate of God, to be returned to the image and likeness of God fully alive in God and God in us.

Christ in you and you in Him is the only hope for the glory of God to transform us into His pure and holy counterpart on earth. It is Christ in us that empowers us to make the journey to total freedom from all the residue of Babylonian harlotry and take us into the fullness of God’s holy pure love as His wife, the Bride of Christ on earth. Col 1:27: To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

CREATED AND DESIGNED TO BE ONE WITH GOD

From the beginning you and I were built for the love of God. We were designed for His hope and His light. We are built for the love of God to flow into us, through us, and around us. We are designed to be carriers of His love and life. All of our physical, mental, and spiritual make-up can only function properly in the light and love of God. We are fully equipped to handle the life of God in and around us. We are made for His presence: for loving, praising, and worshiping our God.

We are not designed to handle darkness, strife, debate, contention, bitterness, hatred, death, and evil of every sort.We were not built for death and have no built-in capacity to handle these things. Religious debate and theological striving with one another is death to our natural bodily systems. Fear with its insecurity, anxiety, doubt, unbelief, jealousy, worry, covetousness, and the backside of fear, which is pride, arrogance, selfishness, self-focus, haughtiness. These and every other work caused by the lack of experiencing love bring death to our spirits, souls, and bodies. Our spirits, souls, and bodies were not made to handle grief, remorse, and guilt. Provision for dealing with death was not included in the original creation of man. You were never meant to endure these types of things. Sickness, disorder, and eventually death are the results of having to carry these things in our lives.

God graciously provides, through Christ in us by the Holy Spirit, the ability to be healed of all these things. However, we are not created to endure these things.

All of this darkness and hopelessness entered by sin, and death began to be upon all the descendants of Adam. Man’s attempt to deal with these things and overcome them through self-effort, human cunning, and natural striving are the foundations of Babylonian harlotry. Man trusting in his own strength and knowledge to meet his own needs and taking care of himself without God is man attempting to do the works of God. Babylon is man becoming his own god apart from the life and provision of the one true God.

New Jerusalem is the pattern city coming down from heaven into the hearts of redeemed man. New Jerusalem is the life of heavens ways coming to earth. It is the core or ruling city of the kingdom of God on earth in us as it is in heaven. It is life eternal now and in the life to come.

As New Jerusalem, the pure Bride city, comes forth into the earth, Babylon the pattern city of spiritual harlotry is being destroyed.

THE FALL OF BABYLON

Rev 18:1-10: After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. 2 And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! 3 For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.”

4 And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. 6 Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. 7 In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’

8 Therefore her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her. 9 “The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning, 10 standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’

Made for His Love,

Ron McGatlin
www.openheaven.com
basileia@earthlink.net

 

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Diving for Pearls

We’re on holiday in Scotland at the moment and walking along a sea loch this afternoon, I was watching the water. The tide was completely out and the beach was empty of everything except lines of blackened bladder-wrack, pebbles and rocks and the painters of a few small boats which are moored further out in deeper water. The surface of the water was like a mirror – hardly a ripple disturbed it except when a seagull alighted, and its colour was a deep emerald green.

Looking more closely I could see how clear the water was. I could see the bottom several yards out, where it suddenly dipped and then all became opaque. It was beautiful. I wanted to wade right in and swim in it. It was certainly clean enough for swimming. And there must have been a host of interesting things below, much further than I could see; oysters, mussels, fish of different kinds, wrecks, even treasure, who knows?
Last week the children had gone out and brought back some mussels which we cooked and ate for supper. Suddenly, half way through a mouthful, my husband bit on something hard and gave a cry of anguish. He was afraid that he had lost a bit of tooth and bitten on it. It turned out to be a minute pearl, not more than a millimetre in size. I hadn’t known that mussels, as well as oysters, produce pearls. Well, out of that meal we isolated about twenty tiny pearls, some white, some grey or even purple, some rather bigger than others, mostly imperfectly round, but none bigger than a red lentil. I’m sure they’re not valuable. But all this was under the surface of the water and had the tide not gone out we would never have found them unless someone had dived for them. Anyway, it started a train of thought in my mind.
Sometimes, when we look at spiritual things on a superficial level, all appears clear. We think we have understood something because of what we have seen with our natural eyes. Many things however, can’t be understood by simply looking at the surface of things.
Just as the depths of the sea can’t be understood by merely looking at the surface of the water, to understand the depths of God, we need to actually get into the water and dive deep down. Not many can take this kind of diving. Only those who are trained can do so – like pearl divers. They learn to dive from a young age and their lungs are trained to take the pressure for several minutes at a time.
Life is rather like that, I thought. It’s full of pressure. Many can’t take the pressure and drown. Some weeks ago a friend took me to the Blausee, a natural lake in Germany, which has an unearthly blue colour. It’s free of algae, completely clear and perfect for swimming in. I hadn’t swum outdoors for a long time and was keen to get in. It was wonderful. The water has a marvellous softness, it wasn’t cold after weeks of blisteringly hot temperatures, and you could dive under the surface and see a good distance. Anyway, I tried diving down as far as I could. I got quite far, but realised that I wasn’t going to get any deeper and I still hadn’t seen the bottom. I was gasping for air when I finally reached the surface. I didn’t have lungs which are trained, even though I’m a fairly strong swimmer.
Life is like deep waters. Sooner or later, we all find ourselves out of our depth. It’s at those times that we find out whether we have been trained to develop lungs which can take the pressure or not. God teaches us in apparently impossible situations to learn to breathe His air, the Ruach haKodesh, Holy Spirit of Wisdom, and not to breathe with our own natural wisdom. ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding’ (Prov. 3:5). We need to develop lungs which can take the pressure. And pressure there will be.
We will look at a given situation with our natural eyes and think that we know what to do, or think that we understand it. In reality, though, there are depths to the situation which only the Holy Spirit can reveal, and in time, He will do so. When things don’t go as we want them to, when people or situations bring us out of our depth, that’s when our lungs are tested. Do I breathe the Holy Spirit? Do I take my situation to God? Do I thank Him for His wisdom, or do I see the circumstances from my own limited perspective and react accordingly? Am I then inclined to thrash around in my own failing strength, and cloud the clear waters with my exertions, possibly even drowning others in the process? Will I ask Him first, and wait on Him to deliver me, or will I try and do it myself, by allowing my flesh to act? This will only produce death. If I am dead with Christ, and I am, then I no longer have to breathe with my natural lungs; I have the supernatural breath of the Holy One Himself within me. I need to obey, learn – be trained to breathe His breath. Again, as I said in my last post, it’s all a matter of letting Him do in me what I can’t do.

May we only see with His eyes and, diving deep beneath the surface of things, breathe with His breath.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Essentials


Over the last few weeks I have been rethinking what I wrote in the page 'Inessentials' and in this context, I have been seeing that in His discipleship of His followers, the Lord is uncompromising in His challenge to us.
Is there anything in my life which I would be unprepared to give up for Him if he asked me to? Is there anything which holds a sacrosanct place for me? In other words, are there any areas in my life which are off-limits for the Lord? Do I keep secret ‘high places’ to myself, like the Israelites in the Bible, where I worship idols?
In my case, I have been asking whether or not this whole area of literature isn’t one where I have nurtured pride in some subtle form or another. 

I wrote above that …’I don't usually want to read 'worldly' literature anyway. My soul doesn't need it.’

 Why did I write that? Looking at it again, I would agree with it, but I would add that if I am close to the Lord, I don't usually want to read 'worldly' literature anyway. My soul doesn't need it.

 This obviously means that if I am not walking closely with the Lord, then there is a void in my heart which I want to fill with other things, and in my case, that has often been literature.

 I know very well that if I am walking closely with the Lord, then I’m not even interested in reading Christian books in a desultory sort of way, as a sort of stop-gap measure. These are in any case often written with a view to making money. Do I want to promote this?

I don’t want anything else other than to hear Jesus’ voice and to experience His Presence all the time.  He fills all my being with His Life and fullness. What more could I want when He is near? It’s an insult to His Majesty to even contemplate allowing myself, His Temple, to be filled with anything but worship and love of Him.

What do I love?

What is it which motivates His uncompromising call to discipleship? Law? Or Love?

Is He like so many legalistic Christians, who forbid any activity or pastime because they think it’s wrong? What is their motivation? Their lives often display a sad lack of joy and attraction. Most people run a mile when confronted by such people and are anything but drawn to the Jesus they purport to follow.

May I suggest that if we were perfected in LOVE, then there would be no need for LAW, by which I mean legalism.

May I suggest that rather than love motivating them, such people are motivated by fear, or pride in their own righteousness or holiness?

They are so worried that they will put a foot wrong, because they have their eyes on SELF instead of on the Lord, that they forbid certain activities to prevent them from sinning. Colossians 2:20-23  says ‘If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world,  why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, ‘Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!’  (which all refer to things destined to perish with the using) – in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence…’

Nothing prevents us from sin and acting out of the Self but reckoning ourselves dead and crucified with Christ, so that He can have full authority in us.

So I spoke to the Lord about it. ‘If I died, then all these books and literature in general, no matter what kind, would be of no interest to me. If I were dead, then nothing this world contains would hold the slightest interest for me. So why do I hold on to them? James says that friendship with the world is adultery in the eyes of God.
 
Am I dead? Yes, of course! Crucified and dead and buried with and in Christ! All that matters now is His Life in me. His Life, and nothing from the Tree of Knowledge which only puffs up the mind, only temporarily satisfies the soul and doesn’t fill me with love of anything but self, which produces death.

Paul then goes on, (Colossians 3:1-3) ’If then, you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things which are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. SET YOUR MIND ON THE THINGS ABOVE, not on the things which are on earth. For you have died…and your life is hidden with Christ in God.’

So I have put all the love and interest in literature, including ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and other fantasy literature, on the altar.

Paul says in Philippians 3:7-8, ‘But whatsoever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of (one might say, ‘compared to’) the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered loss of all things, and count them but rubbish (actually the word is shit) in order that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own which is derived from the LAW, but that which is through faith in Christ…’

How can I compare anything in this world with Jesus? Nothing can compare with Him, or knowing Him? My highest joy is in being in His Presence, worshiping Him, in loving Him with all my heart and all my soul, all my mind and all my strength. How can I allow any other thing to take His place in my affection? Do I want to build up my mind, or my spirit?
 
What do I love?