Minggu, 28 Maret 2010
The Immortal Mysterious Eternal Seed
By Bob Mumford www.lifechangers.org
You have been regenerated (born again), not from a mortal origin (seed, sperm), but from one that is immortal by the ever living and lasting Word of God.
Since Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a seed, understanding the reproductive nature of the Kingdom is essential.
The Seed reproduces after its kind. Apple trees produce apples and peach trees produce peaches. The source of this Eternal Seed is not from the earth, nor is its origin mortal as in human sperm, but from One who is immortal by the ever living Word of God. Coming in Seed form, Agape is required to mature or be perfected so that it can find expression and release. When the Kingdom Seed of Agape begins to grow, it brings forth characteristics of the Kingdom—it produces God’s agape as fruit after its kind. This is Paul’s reasoning to the people in Galatia. If we depart from Christ, the fruit or manifestation will be fleshly behavior. If we abide in Christ and water, nourish, and cultivate that Eternal Seed, the fruit will be Agape. Many Greek expositors explain Galatians 5:22 as: But the fruit of the Spirit is Agape out of which there appears joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, godliness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control.
The Seed is incorruptible. Agape enters our person in the form of the incorruptible Seed. Once the DNA is set, it cannot be changed. The Seed has remained the same in all of redemptive history in spite of the efforts of Satan to kill or corrupt it. The new creation and God’s eternal purpose were established before the foundation of the world and are totally dependent on the Eternal Seed. Consequently, God gave us Himself, in the Person of Christ, so that the Seed is the Seed of the Kingdom: uncreated, eternal, incorruptible, and unshakable. Thus, Peter says, “But the word of the Lord endures forever.”
While teaching in a prison one time, something significant happened in me. As I looked at these 60 prisoners, I felt deep internal compassion moving my insides for these men. The Greek word for compassion is splagchnon meaning bowels or to feel deeply, viscerally, or yearn. I felt my deep inner person move uncontrollably with Agape for them. This is the same love that came to us in imperishable and incorruptible Seed form when we were born again. This is what Scripture means by “Christ living in me.” The seed is God’s DNA brought to us in Jesus’ Incarnation, then inseminated in us when we received Christ, and it seeks to grow in us so that He can express Himself to a hurting world.
QUESTIONS & THOUGHTS
• How is Agape an incorruptible Seed?
• What are some of the characteristics of the Agape Seed growing in you and your family?
• In what ways is the new creation and God’s eternal purposes dependent upon the Eternal Seed?
Jumat, 26 Maret 2010
GEORGE FOX - the HOLY RADICAL
-by David Smithers.
In the year of 1647, a large man with piercing eyes named George
Fox started preaching throughout the towns and villages of England.
He prayed and fasted often, traveling with no other companion but
his Bible. He proclaimed a gospel of purity, power and repentance.
When George Fox began preaching, many churches were dead
and bound in man-made traditions and formalism. When the Church
drifts into formalism, the world drifts into further ungodliness. The
methods and appearance of George Fox to some, seemed quite
offensive and extreme. It is sometimes necessary for God's
prophets to be unconventional in order to thoroughly awaken the
indifferent and hard hearted.
Soon after George Fox began to preach, he had a remarkable
spiritual experience that lasted fourteen days. A certain Mr. Brown,
while on his death bed prophesied many great things concerning
Fox. "When this man was buried," says Fox, "a great work of the
Lord fell on me." During this mighty baptism of the Spirit, Fox
received a remarkable gift of discernment. "He seemed to be able
to read the character of men by looking at them." Miraculous
healings also accompanied his ministry. Through prayer and the
laying on of hands, the sick were often healed and devils were
cast out to the glory of Christ. When George Fox preached men
would shake and tremble. "The name Quaker was given to Fox
and his followers because of the quaking of the men who came
to scoff but stayed to pray." This remarkable power seemed to
accompany the preaching of Fox wherever he went.
Fox preached that Jesus Christ is the author of a faith which
purifies and gives victory over sin. He fervently exhorted men to
pursue complete holiness rather than empty religious ceremonies.
As a result, he was often beaten, stoned and driven out of town.
It is estimated that perhaps no other man since the time of the
Reformation was persecuted and imprisoned as often as George
Fox. He usually went about the country on foot, dressed in his
famous suit of leather clothes, which it is believed he made
himself. He often slept outside under a tree or in some haystack.
Fox also often pointed out that what was commonly called the
Church was only a building. He boldly declared that only the
fervent believers of Christ were the living stones of the true Church.
"Above all George Fox excelled in prayer." It was his habit to wait
in silence for the movement of the Holy Spirit and then begin to
pray, causing whole congregations to be shaken and humbled
under the hand of God Almighty. "As he prayed the power of God
came down in such a marvelous manner the very building seemed
to rock." Through the ministry of George Fox, a glimmer of Apostolic
power was revealed to seventeenth century England. He was a man
of the Spirit in an age that emphasized theological and scriptural
accuracy at the expense of the power of the Holy Ghost. He always
stressed the importance of a Spirit filled life and refused to let dead
orthodoxy be a veil for the works of the flesh.
If we as believers are content with a gospel that merely comforts
our conscience and perseveres our traditions, then we are also
content to forsake the gospel of Christ and the Apostles. God
help us to truly seek the kind of praying and preaching that will
once again make men tremble in the presence of Jesus Christ.
Minggu, 21 Maret 2010
SHOCKING FACTS on "TARES"
Of course, we all know Jesus' parable of the Wheat and the Tares.
Tares are plants that look just like wheat until Harvest time -
when it turns out that they were counterfeit. Awhile ago I learnt
some facts about Tares that truly shocked and surprised me.
When you look up the word "Tares" on Wikipedia, it comes back
with the equivalent plant named "Darnel." This is exactly correct
according to most Biblical authorities. The Tares are almost always
considered to be the weed Darnel - also known as "false wheat"
which grows plentifully in the whole region around Israel. Here is
what Wikipedia says about it:
"It bears a close resemblance to wheat until the ear appears… It
parasitizes wheat fields. The French word for darnel is "ivraie"…
which expresses that weed's characteristic of making one feel
poisoned with drunkenness, and can cause death. This
characteristic is also alluded to in the scientific name (Latin
temulentus = drunk)… The plant is mentioned in… the Parable
of the Tares in the Gospel of Matthew."
So is this identification of Tares with "drunkenness" noted
elsewhere? Yes - many Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias say
exactly the same thing. In fact, the Faussett Bible Cyclopedia
states that "when mixed with wheat flour [it] causes dizziness,
intoxication, and paralysis" and says that bearded darnel is
known as "the only deleterious grain" among all the grasses.
On the giant website "Botanical.com" we read: "It is recorded to
have produced all the symptoms of drunkenness: a general
trembling, followed by inability to walk, hindered speech and
vomiting. For this reason the French call Darnel: 'Ivraie,' from Ivre
Out of all the weed-type grasses, Tares are seemingly the only
ones that produce this deadly "drunken" effect. Isn't that amazing?
In the parable of the Wheat and the Tares in Matt 13, Jesus states
that his "enemy" sows tares amongst the true wheat. Then He says:
"Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will
say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in
bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn" (Mt 13:30).
I guess I don't need to point out the possible parallels with today's
"Drunkenness"/ River movement. What an alarming insight - if it
does have relevance to what we have seen in those circles!!
Senin, 15 Maret 2010
THE HOLINESS of GOD
-excerpts by A.W. Tozer.
“God is not now any holier than He ever was. And He never was
holier than now. He did not get His holiness from anyone nor from
anywhere. He is Himself the Holiness. He is the All-Holy, the Holy
One; He is holiness itself, beyond the power of thought to grasp or
of word to express, beyond the power of all praise.”
“Language cannot express the holy, so God resorts to association
and suggestion. He cannot say it outright because He would have
to use words for which we know no meaning. He would have to
translate it down to our unholiness. If He were to tell us how white
He is, we would understand it in terms of only dingy grey.”
“It was a common thing in olden days, when God was the center
of Human worship, to kneel at an altar and shake, tremble, weep,
and perspire in an agony of conviction. We don’t see it now because
the God we preach is not the everlasting, awful God, ‘mine Holy
One’ (Habakkuk 1:12), who is ‘of purer eyes than to behold evil,
and canst not look on iniquity’ (Habakkuk 1:13).”
“We’ve used the technical interpretation of justification by faith and
the imputed righteousness of Christ until we’ve watered down the
wine of our spirituality. God help us in this evil hour!”
“We come into the presence of God with tainted souls. We come
with our own concept of morality, having learned it from books,
from newspapers and from school. We come to God dirty – our
whitest white is dirty, our churches are dirty and our thoughts are
dirty – and we do nothing about it!”
“If we came to God dirty, but trembling and shocked and awestruck
in His presence, if we knelt at His feet and cried with Isaiah, ‘I am
undone; because I am a man of unclean lips’ (Isaiah 6:5), then I
could understand. But we skip into His awful presence. We’re
forgetting ‘holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord’
“O God, soon every person must appear before you to give an
account for the deeds done in the body. Father, keep upon us a
sense of holiness so that we can’t sin and excuse it, but that
repentance will be as deep as our lives. This we ask in Christ’s
Senin, 08 Maret 2010
In the Face of the Impossible
By Francis Frangipane www.frangipane.org
The Making Of A Ministry
"The disciples came to Him, saying, 'The place is desolate, and the time is already past; so send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.' But Jesus said to them, 'They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!' And they said to Him, 'We have here only five loaves and two fish'" (Matt. 14:15-17).
I want to talk about how the Lord raises up a mature man or woman of God -- the drives and attitudes that propel a person into a fully committed walk with Jesus Christ. It is essential to realize from the beginning that, when it comes to doing God's will, both the person and God's provision will always seem inadequate. Oh, you will have been prepared, somewhat. You will have studied and prayed, but not enough. You will have faithfully given of your time and finances, but nothing you do will be something you can confidently rely upon. Indeed, when you've done all you could, you will mutter to the Lord your equivalent of the disciples': "We have here only five loaves and two fish."
Yet, to know that you are inadequate is a tremendous advantage in spiritual growth. It is a milestone en route toward true spirituality, which is born of dependency on God, not human self-sufficiency. Once a person knows he is inadequate, he will not waste years discovering it.
Not a day goes by that I am not aware of my inadequacies. Besides struggling with "feelings" of inadequacy, I know I actually am inadequate. I know the very best of my efforts, in and of themselves, are totally insufficient. The moment I think otherwise, I guarantee failure for myself.
While the Lord has many ways to inspire my spiritual growth, the greatest seasons of increase come almost in spite of myself. The process begins with the Lord revealing some task or need that is both absolutely necessary and totally impossible for me to fulfill. My first reaction is to pray, "Lord, raise up someone who'll do the job." But then, when no one else shows up, I realize He wants me to step forward. As I do, I soon hear Him say the words He spoke to His disciples, "You give them something to eat."
Sometimes, I hide in the "familiar" tasks I know I can accomplish, but a time of reckoning comes. It usually is a time of pressure or stress that, beginning with the rediscovery of my frailties, ends with me broken and waiting upon the Lord. It is right here, as I am contemplating the pitifully small "five loaves and two fish" which I am offering Jesus, that He says to my heart, "Bring them here to Me." And here is where the miracle of grace begins. For as I surrender myself afresh into His hands, a new dimension in my walk with God starts to unfold, one of supernatural multiplication.
"He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave to the multitudes, and they all ate, and were satisfied" (v.19).
Whatever you give to Jesus He will bless and break. A true disciple always carries these two seeming contradictory characteristics. We know His wonderful, undeserved blessing; and we are broken of pride, self-sufficiency and boasting. He lets us know assuredly that, as Christians, we have one source for all of our power. The sooner we realize our effectiveness does not originate in us, but in Christ, the quicker we will experience the miracles that He produces. Indeed, when He reveals to us our weaknesses, it is only because He is preparing us to receive more of His power into our lives.
Consider: When Jesus performed the miracle of the loaves and fish, He and His disciples were already weary and needed strength (see Mark 6:31). Added to this came the distressing news that John the Baptist had been beheaded. The Lord was seeking to take His disciples to a place where they could "rest a while." Yet, great multitudes came, perhaps over twelve thousand men, women and children. It was in this very circumstance of weakness that He performed this great miracle of grace.
As it was with Jesus, so it is with us: It is when we sense our weaknesses most vividly, that God can use us most mightily! The Lord will continually present to us tasks that we have never done before. He will require of each of us to give our all, even as inadequate as we seem. There will be no "knights in shining armor" in God's kingdom; our armor will have many dings and dents. No, no perfect Hollywood heroes will ride to save the day; just wearied saints who look to God and, in weakness, find Christ's strength. This, indeed, is the essence of God's kingdom: divine greatness manifest in common people.
In these days ahead, the Lord is going to show you a need that will seem absolutely beyond you to perform. Your natural response will be, "I'm just an average person with limited resources. I can't do what He's asked me to do." Yet, if you will be still, you shall soon hear your Master's voice quietly, confidently saying, "Bring the need to Me."
Do as He commands, for as you give the insufficiency of your skills and your pitiful provisions to Him, He will begin to bless and break you, and then multiply what you give Him miraculously. In all my years of ministry, I know of no transforming grace greater than that which comes when, in spite of our inadequacies, we obey God in the face of the impossible.
Jumat, 05 Maret 2010
Did You Pass Your Test?
By Steven Brooks
For you, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid affliction on our backs. You have caused men to ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water; But You brought us out to rich fulfillment. (Psalm 66:10-12)
Psalm 66 is truly a psalm that reveals the great wisdom and love of God.
The tenth verse says, "For you, O God, have tested us." There will always be tests in life that God calls upon us to take. The purpose of the test is for us to make use of that which we learned in school. These tests are difficult life experiences that are inescapable, all students of the Holy Spirit are required to study diligently, prepare thoroughly, and then take the test. The idea of course is not just to pass the test, but to score a high enough mark that we can graduate on to the next level.
When the test is given in class, no talking is allowed. The teacher remains silent, expecting us to apply what we have been taught. This is when God's presence withdraws - when there are no "goose bumps", no tangible awareness of God, just silence. The silence doesn't mean that God is not there, but rather that he enforces the rule of "no talking during a test. " Have you ever taken one of these tests?
These types of tests are somewhat like a final exam given at the end of a lengthy period of time. They don't come that often, but when they do come they have to be taken seriously. God allows this examination to bring out a faith in us that will be revealed as an attribute more precious than pure gold. To bring forth this type of precious faith, God often allows the heat to be turned up. "You have refined us as silver is refined (verse 10b)". When silver is refined, it is done so through intense heat to burn out the dirt and other impurities. These tests are neither fun nor easy - they are designed to be difficult. The classroom atmosphere is intense, with each student extracting every ounce of knowledge that was placed within their spirit during the season of preparation.
"You brought us into the net (verse 11a)."
The author of Psalm 66 is not mentioned, but we should have no doubt that it was David, for the psalm is written in the Davidic style. Here David points out the truth that he was brought into the net by the Lord. Like a bird that is entangled in a net, there seems to be no way of escape. Some Christians give the devil way to much credit, and attribute any difficult challenge as originating from the devil. But yet David attributes the Lord for allowing the trial. God is in control of your life. God at times will permit these tests and trials, not to destroy us, but rather to develop us more into the image of His Son - Jesus Christ.
The next statement reveals the deep reality of the strenuous demand that is placed upon a child of God when taking the final exam. "You laid affliction on our backs (verse 11b)." The word "affliction" does not in any way refer to sickness or disease. The word in the Hebrew language can be translated as "pressure" or "distress". This, my friends, is where the rubber meets the road. During times like
this it is irrelevant whether one holds a degree in theology, or whether they graduated from the finest seminary. One's financial or social status means nothing. The only way out of the net is through a "real faith" that is founded upon the living Word of God, and made alive by the Spirit's power. During the hardest part of the test - when hope looks lost, when you feel awful, when your body hurts and your mind is exhausted, when tremendous pressure is applied and your situation appears doomed -that's when you must apply every ounce of spiritual strength you possess and not let anything come out of your mouth that is not in line with the Word of God. If you can hold to the Word during the most difficult moments, than you are on your way to a passing score. If you can't speak in line with God's Word, then don't say anything, lest you hinder your score and fail to be promoted.
The pressure cooker type exam continued for David.
God was endeavoring to develop within David the qualities of a king that were essential for a successful and long term rule over His people. "You have caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water, but you brought us out to rich fulfillment (verse 12)." To bring the promises of God to pass in our lives requires commitment and discipline. David received the "word of the Lord" from the prophet Samuel that he would be the next king of Israel. Such words are designed to lift us, inspire us, and allow us to dream big regarding the divine plan for our life. Yet, it was not until years later when David actually saw the fulfillment of that prophecy. When Samuel gave that prophetic word to David, it is highly unlikely that David had any idea of the many difficult and distressing situations that he would eventually find himself in. Even so, the grace and mercy of God will always be there for us, just as it was for David. God has not promised that we would never have trials or difficulties, but he has promised to deliver us out of all trouble (Ps. 34: 17).
Do you remember what it was like in school when you were about to have your final exam handed back to you after it was graded, for you to see? Even if you thought you did well, there was still some apprehension because maybe you were a little unsure about a few questions. But when the paper was handed to you and you saw your score, you either breathed a sigh of relief, or a reaction of grief! When I was in school, it usually was a reaction of disappointment. Often I had not studied nor prepared adequately and my grade was reflected by that. For me, it meant study hall after school and other humbling tasks that extended me beyond a level that I potentially could have exceeded. Since those days, I learned from my mistakes and determined to offset it by endeavoring to please the Lord in my walk with Him. When we give Him our very best, He then releases His best to us.
Eventually the test is over.
"But You brought us out to rich fulfillment (verse 12b)." I like how the King James Version says, "but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place." It can also be translated as a place of moist refreshment and abundance. This is the end result of where God wants to take us spiritually, mentally, financially, physically, and in every aspect of our life. If you are presently not in a season of taking your test, than you need to prepare and have the Word of God planted deep within your heart that you may be strong for anything that comes your way. If you are in a test right now, then continue forward and walk by faith, not by sight. The teacher is watching you closely, now is your time to shine and praise His holy name, even through your tears. I'll see you after the class is dismissed and the test is completed. Then we can both ask each other, "Did you pass your test?" Through Christ, I'm confident that we will both be able to smile from ear to ear.
By Steven Brooks