Changed By Glory

"And we all… beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another." II Cor. 3:18


August 2009

Where Faith Meets Common Sense

For those reading this who hope that I have the ability to expound on the subject I must confess that the header is more a question in light of decisions that I have at hand.  The desire to walk in heroic faith has me on the one side and the desire to be prepared for long term ministry has me considering the other hand. Which is better? Both are driven by a desire to glorify God and see His Name made great throughout the earth!

I have complete confidence in the fact that my God is Sovereign, thus He knows my decisions before I make them. I have feeling that as a child of God I have the mind of Christ and that I should abandon myself to that. If I have confidence in that fact I will know that even my common sense is being sanctified. Those that are lovers of truth God will not lead astray. This leads to the aspect of peace. God’s Spirit convicts, guides, and comforts. I believe that peace should be pursued as it is a sure fruit of obedience. That does not mean the path of least resistance should be pursued  by any means, in fact I can be assured that battle is at hand both before and after obedience.

I believe we should put to use “sanctified common sense” when making decisions in our life. However, remembering that our common sense is upside-down from the world’s. The mind of Christ springs from the eternal and points to the Father. In order to use the sense of Christ we must  set out with the purpose which Christ had in all that He did, to glorify the Father. That is the only purpose I live, it is the only reason I am redeemed.

Now how do I reconcile a decision when both sides appear to point to glorifying the Father? How about getting on my knees and holding up both options in the light of Christ, to make myself disappear from each scenario? Which brings the most glory to God? I have some urgings in my soul, perhaps I will learn a lesson in the school of Christ on the matter very soon….

Power of a Testimony

As children of God, called and saved through Jesus Christ, we all have a unique story called a testimony in Christianeze. It is a beautiful display of God’s grace and can vary from the simplicity of a young child in a Christian home who puts their faith in Christ to the heroine-addict or prostitute wallowing in darkness responding to the light of Christ and being delivered from their wretched state. It is a story that does not end when the blood of the Lamb is first applied, but goes on with sanctification until the last breath is drawn.

A testimony is a powerful thing with three main functional aspects in the life of the redeemed.

Assurance: Our testimony is a reminder of who we are in Christ. It is the vehicle of the hope that lies within us. Our testimony is a component to God’s Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God. (Romans 8:16) It is a testament to us when trials come of what God has done, thus giving us assurance of what He will do, ultimately our complete salvation in His eternal kingdom.

Warfare:“And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” (Rev12:11) One of the greatest weapons in our spiritual warfare arsenal is that of testimony. In Ephesians 6 we see that the shield of faith can disperse all of the fiery darts of the evil one. Faith in who Christ is and who we are in Christ. 1 Thess 5:8 refers to the hope of salvation as a helmet, protecting the mind against the lies of the enemy. Satan has been placed under the feet of the redeemed, he has no authority over the one with a testimony. Our testimony declares that our destiny is secure and that the enemy can never pluck us from the hand of the Father. I often find myself verbally putting the enemy in his place, reiterating the work of Christ and declaring the chronicles of God’s grace in my life. This is an atom bomb to be used in the hour when darkness crowds around.  Arm yourself with testimony, take time to chronicle the works of God in your life starting with your salvation. This will lead not only to being mightily armed against the evil one, but will bring praise and thanksgiving to your heart!

Evangelism: This is a big one to me. The testimony of the saints is the greatest tool in the craft of evangelism. It is a beautiful thing that speaks truth from the heart in the simplest way. When backed by our lives it offers the most undeniable proof of the truth of God’s word and the power of His saving grace! This gets me excited! Every believer has a testimony, thus every believer is equipped to fulfill the great commission, to be ambassadors for Christ. I am not a good speaker and I often trip over my tongue, yet God has called me to the role of evangelist and church-planter. When I first began evangelizing I was compelled to build my presentation of the gospel around my testimony. I found that if, as I mentioned before, I considered my calling, redemption, and sanctification there was seldom a time that I could not find some way to relate to the person I was sharing with. There is power in looking in the eyes of a lost soul and declaring the hope that is in you. It is the greatest proof of the love of God and His sanctifying power. With a testimony you do not need formal theological training or to know the latest evangelism skit or other such hokus-pokus (though some of these things are great!). For those that are very timid you need only be able to declare in your own words that you are a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior. I could go on, but please, start telling people what Christ has done for you.

Conclusion: I believe that all three of these aspects of testimony intertwine beautifully. If you ponder upon you assurance you will not be able to help the urge to make known what great things God has done for you. As you share your testimony you are bringing light to darkness and doing battle with the enemy! Take some time in your devotions, ponder on what God has done in your life, study the promises of scripture, then let it lead to action. In this way your joy will increase, you will defeat the enemy, and you will fulfill the great commission.

Jerusalem In Ruins: Seeing the Need

As is the case with overcoming almost everything we must first see the need. Many of the saints may see the need in “Jerusalem”quite clearly, or even to clearly. What we perceive, however, may not be the need at all or it is at best symptoms of something more. It is important that we Biblically search for that something more. Let me give an example…. Say for instance you are in a body where there is no life or passion and you are surrounded in the church by people who living in sin and seem quite content to continue in it. Aha! Immediately the response is to connect the dots and decide that the church needs to preach more about holiness! The problem is the little silhouette our dots shaped out was merely that of a vicious little Piranha, cloaking the sea monster beneath it. As westerners it is in our nature to with little patience desire quick info for a quick fix. This is unwise and can lead to fleshly decisions that can lead the body down any number of rabbit trails to some new or more complicated form of bondage. Maybe on the other hand you find yourself in a situation where you see legalism as the culprit for the lifelessness and lack of gospel impact your church is having and you believe the answer is that grace be preached more and reliance on God’s sanctifying work be more emphasized. In either of these examples what the tired saint has observed may very well be the root problem, but often it is only the surface.
In order to Biblically see the true need this we must start at the roots. According to scriptures before can ever begin “rebuilding Jerusalem” we must start right here. Yes… right here. Before we can understand what is weakening Zion we must identify what part we play in it, especially before we can play a part in restoration. Matthew 7:3 is the cardinal verse here as we seek to see the need, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brothers eye, when there is a log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you may see clearly to take the speck out of your brothers eye.” Interestingly, this verse by no means denies that there is a speck in your brothers eye that must needs be removed, but a clear view of the problem must be there in order for us to give aid. So the process must start with individual saints. If we do not start by evaluating ourselves with God’s word we fall into danger of sinning, Galatians 6:3-5. I will write about this matter more at a later date. It is very important that when we see sin in the body that we begin seeking God with a spirit of repentance. Test yourself with God’s word.
Before I get to confusing and scattered let me just state a point. From what I see in scripture if we see a need in Jerusalem for restoration we must first see the need in our lives. If we, with humility and sincerity, seek for God to purify our personal lives He is faithful and eager to do it. My experience has been that when I begin to do that, I don’t like what I see and I quickly wish to look away. We must see the the need, while also looking through the need to a New Testament Zion, a bride holy and vibrant.
When Nehemiah first arrived in Jerusalem he didn’t even announce his purpose or make any effort to hail himself as a hero. Instead he went silently by night (Nehemiah 2:11-16) and inspected the damage. At one point the rubble was so high that he could not pass through one of the old gateways on his beast. In order to see how to rebuild Jerusalem we must first removal rubble from our section of wall. Pray and seek God’s word. Read through the sermon on the mount, the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians, ponder on 1 John. Next I will explore what realization and repentance, personally and corporately, looked like for this remnant, exemplified in Nehemiah, and their unlikely leader.

Jerusalem In Ruins: Introduction

Recently I once again found myself in the book of Nehemiah. The first time I studied this book I saw the main theme as a guide to godly leadership. I was captivated by all that can be learned about Nehemiah as a leader and how clearly it applies for today. However, this time as I began to casually scan over the verses I was hit for some reason by the words “…Jerusalem is broken down…..the city….lies in ruins.” (Nehemiah 1:3, 2:3) My heart was tugged and convicted immediately by the first chapter. As the book continued, and as I pondered on the history leading up to these events, I was struck with an alarming sense of deja vu. I saw a picture of the western church as Jerusalem with its defenses torn down and smoke billowing from it gates. The few believers huddled within these ruins are hungry, discouraged and in constant danger of attack. They long badly for a leader to come and save the day, to rebuild. With a troubled heart I can with hindsight rewind my vision, back to the time when Solomon’s temple stood tall and the walls were a place of refuge and were a symbol to the world of might and splendor and glory of the God of Israel. A city that was a bold proclamation from on high that these were a chosen people, set apart for the glory of the one and only eternal Sovereign. I began to think over the elapsed time to see if I could learn what went wrong. After wading through the muck of the sin , unfaithfulness, and compromise of God’s chosen I was grieved as if looking in a mirror. Amidst countless warning the congregation of Zion continued in their rebellion. With my usual rashness I was quick to begin dictating a grim message against the sin of the western church. Then I stopped… my thoughts went back to where I started, to that small band of huddled believers. This group knows of the sin and compromise that led them there, to them it has been told. They scratch out a survival and wait for restoration, wait for someone to come and make it happen. Really what they need is to be shown how to be a catalyst, starting with Nehemiah as an example. Revival and restoration in the church take place when the individuals that the church is comprised of repent of their sins, personally and corporately and then seek to get on mission to glorify their God and to once again make themselves a monument to His glory and grace.
As I seek God for this in my life I would like to post a series of blogs on what it looks like to be a catalyst for revival and restoration in the church and get on mission for God’s glory. How we can be a part of restoring a Jerusalem in ruins.

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