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Surrendered To Divine Intention

It never ceases to fill me with awe and wonder whenever contemplating the following passage, summarizing why the Church exists. She is the Bride extraordinaire to her Bridegroom, one with Him as a spiritual warrior fighting powers unseen and bringing captives to freedom at the deepest and most profound levels, in Her Bridegroom’s Name.

“…God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God… For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3: 9,10,14-19 KJV)

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Several aims of the Apostle’s prayer stand out dynamically as something worth pondering, something really worth entering into through the work and life of the elect, by way of prayer as the central focus and purpose of our being.

The question is, does our aim as the church align with what is revealed here? Do we pray this prayer with the Apostle, or are we approaching God, in a manner of speaking, looking for beads and trinkets instead of the heavenly spiritual pearls and diamonds of priceless worth?

The first order of business is intention, not of self interest, but surrendered to Divine Will and Purpose. Paul isn’t talking about simply making a better life for ourselves. He is revealing that the the elect are called to a very supernatural purpose – that the multi faceted Wisdom of God is to be revealed by the elect – not just to Earth dwelling human beings, but to the principalities and powers in heavenly places!

(The reader may want to meditate on Romans 8, to access even more insight into “the fellowship of the mystery”, as Paul refers to it in Ephesians 3:9. This fellowship is the “Ecclesia”, the ones Jesus prayed for, those called out of worldly religions and systems, per John 17:6, to a specific and supernatural purpose.)

The second thought addressed is the idea of being strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man. There’s much to be done, and it begins with “an inside job” – the work of the Spirit in and through us. Being surrendered to the work of the Cross of our Lord Jesus – His redemptive work – so as to be set free from the entanglements of evil, beginning within ourselves – is what this is about. This takes place in time and space, here and now. It is in the innermost being where the process of salvation begins and continues. We’re liberated at the most foundational level, cleansed, healed, restored and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

The third point is that Christ’s Spirit must make His abode in us. This is so easily taken for granted. I’m baptized, so I’m a Christian… I belong to such and such a church or group, so I’m a Christian… I answered an altar call… I speak in tongues… Such ideas are “blessed assumptions”. Assuming does not make it so. Redemption is given freely through Christ, yes. But salvation is a process worked out by surrender to God’s will and work through the power of the Holy Spirit, with fear and trembling.

The fourth issue is this. Prayer in alignment with the Mind of Christ embraces a spiritual and supernatural vision unlike anything we can imagine. Prayer means continual asking, seeking, and knocking so we – being rooted and grounded in Christ Love – may comprehend the breadth, length, height, and depth of His Love (in all dimensions and directions!) surpassing all knowledge! Why? To be filled up to all the fullness of God – a far greater Reality than most of us ever thought possible!

Something happened a very long time ago. Angels staged a coup in Heaven. Humanity became complicit and was drawn out of its blessed and perfect estate, falling into a cosmic trap. A plan of redemption was conceived by the Godhead and carried out by none other than the Fullness of the Godhead in bodily form – Jesus the Messiah.

He now calls forth His elect to live a life that serves notice to all principalities and powers hostile to our Supernal Father Creator and His children. Those fallen rebels are to be evicted from the Creation which they hijacked, and is to be restored to those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, Christ Jesus.

The question is, who has actually heard and understood the call – the call to come out from among the world’s systems, false religions, philosophies, and paradigms and to stand apart in His Name on behalf of His Kingdom which is not of this world? This mission is not for the faint of heart, but in Christ it is also not “mission impossible”, for with God all things are possible. In Christ, let us be about the Father’s business.

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Picturesque Passages 6

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Words of encouragement in a dark time, when we need to be reminded that things are eventually made right, and that all is in His hands. So let us keep on asking, seeking, and knocking – according to His proclamations and promises to us.

Thanks be to God.

“With the kind You show Yourself kind; With the blameless You show Yourself blameless; With the pure You show Yourself pure, And with the crooked You show Yourself astute. For You save an afflicted people, But haughty eyes You abase. For You light my lamp; The LORD my God illumines my darknessFor by You I can run upon a troop; And by my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the LORD is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.”


(From Psalm 18:25-30)

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A Hard Kind Of Praying

Matthew 5:44,45. “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

1Timothy 2:1-4. “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers,
petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Luke 23:34. “But Jesus was saying, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’…”

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This is the last thing our fallen flesh nature wants to do, to pray as Jesus prayed, and to pray as He commands us to pray. But picture for a moment the spectacle, the miracle – a multitude being led forth out of a very dark dungeon, a multitude who were once sworn enemies of our Lord and of His Church.

Yet He desires to save them because He knows their souls have been ensnared by the father of lies. The adversary common to them – which they serve – is also the common enemy to us who no longer serve him. Therefore, Christ commands us to pray for them, because the adversary of those we regard as our enemy is the adversary to us both!

This view can shed an entirely different light on our human foes, who are not actually – at least as far as our Lord is concerned – enemies, but human beings like ourselves in need of the Gospel and the experience of their Redemption, just as we are. They are people whose minds and bodies may yet be in abject servitude to the uttermost darkness.

Seldom is it easy to love and pray for those whom we see as the adversary because we comprehend them according to the flesh, rather than perceiving them as our Father in Heaven sees them – as His children for whom His Son died, still in a terrible captivity, awaiting the dawning that awakens them and calls them forth from “the grave” of spiritual death into the glorious liberty and Light of Christ.

Jesus went to the cross for them, just as He did for you and for me. What magnificent and perfect Love it was that looked down from that cross and prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

When we begin – by faith that ignores feelings and opinions – to pray as Jesus prayed, pretty soon we realize that it is difficult to hate anyone for whom we are praying. The Holy Spirit opens our eyes to see them with the eyes of Jesus! Our heart opens up to the horrible bondage they are in. They may have never known anything else! So to hate them is like hating someone who is dying of a terminal disease they were born with, for that it what it is spiritually.

Pretty soon our Father’s love is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit as we pray for those with whom we are at odds. We simply yearn for our brothers and sisters to also come home, with the all consuming love of the Father Who waits for them, just as He waited for the rest of us prodigals!

Thus we cannot allow disdain for anyone to stand in the way of our praying for them, whether personal or political. Prayer on their behalf is a way of resisting the devil who holds them in his prison, and that dark one desires to arouse feelings in us about the lost ones – feelings which we should reserve toward him who is our common foe!

In praying for our enemies and those who hate us, it is a way of extending our Father’s grace and forgiveness in Christ Jesus to them, as the body of Christ. We cannot afford not to do this… “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.” (Mark 11:26)

Praying for such as these is a co-participation in the work of Christ Himself, Who came to destroy the works of the evil one! (1John 3:8)

May the name of our Lord Jesus Christ be glorified now and forever! Amen.

Posted in Christianity, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Becalmed In The Deep Blue(s)

It’s being reported that numerous faithful Christians find themselves in a space where they don’t feel like they amount to much, as if they have come to the end of themselves.

That may be a good thing.

Having been through this more than once, I would offer the following, only by way of what I learned from it. For what it’s worth to you, here goes.

Sometimes, believe it or not, that sense of futility can be a normal part of the Lord doing His work in us, where the perception is more that He seems absent than present. He can be asking us to move on with Him more by sheer faith than by feelings. We may find that it’s not so much about our will, or our efforts, but being brought by the Holy Spirit to a point of surrendering that will-fullness. We may need to have our eyes opened to the fact that we’ve been striving under our own power of will and ego to “serve” the Lord.  What we thought was serving Him may actually be self effort and self reliance. Flesh effort, not led of the Holy Spirit.

This can come along with a sense of exhaustion, and even the onset of physical health issues. Been there, done that.

It can be unnerving – this sense of futility – and it may last a long time – until we can see and understand this. It is not fun. It’s kind of like sailing along, then being becalmed in the middle of the sea. However, what we may find out is that we thought we were sailing, when in truth we were rowing under our own efforts. And someone has stolen the oars!

What’s somewhat unfortunate is that the overall tone of present day (American – Western in particular) Christianity is to always be doing and doing and doing. Ministers have little to offer in the way of advice, since the prevailing thought is frequently about what we should do, to be “active” for God, rather than what He wants to do for us and or within us. Thus – when we come to the point of being becalmed, and send out a distress call, and it’s advised by a pastor or friend or spiritual advisor to just go and do some more “good works,” or get more active – that counsel may actually be counter productive to what the Lord Himself is trying to get across to us.

He may want us sitting still for His own reasons! “Hey, you, now that I have your attention….”

At that point, it might be good to consider being as Mary of Bethany, sitting at the feet of Jesus and quietly taking in what He may want to let us know, Bible in hand, in prayer. Might it be time to let Him minimize Martha and magnify Mary?

We may discover that He’s calling us up from being a servant to being His friend. Consider John 15:14-16. “You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because everything I have learned from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will remain—so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you.”

Fruit emerges due to the branch abiding in the vine. The branch does nothing of its own efforts.

Remember, His ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts. But I do think that at times He likes to let us in on what He’s doing every now and again… when we have a need to know.

May Christ’s peace, blessing, and understanding be bestowed upon you, dear reader.

Posted in Christianity, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Prayer: The First Line Of Defense

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While engaged in morning prayers for needs and concerns personal, familial, and political, I was impressed with the thought that it is increasingly important for Christians to “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2.

This was also coupled with the idea that prayer – our hotline directly to God, made available through Jesus Christ – must never be given up, in spite of circumstances, in spite of everything our senses tell us, in spite of our perceptions of what is going on in life or in the world, or in spite of our mind’s interpretation of those perceptions. Never ever give up on prayer – even in the face of doubt, fear, or the illusion of hopelessness. …

These “feelings” will come! These perceptions will make it seem in every way as if the Lord has forsaken this planet. But this is precisely the time we must not give up on prayer. We have to see by faith beyond these things, into the holy vision of salvation that God provides for us through Jesus Christ.

Thus it behooves us to devote ourselves to the practice of prayer, keep alert, and in spite of what we perceive, to honor the Lord with praise and thanksgiving.

When we are devoting ourself to prayer, and keeping our minds and hearts attuned with the mind of Christ by meditating on Holy Scripture, praying them, we will find ourself in a space of peace that transcends circumstances and ordinary comprehensions.

In prayer we are not simply giving vent to some tepid, humanistic centered evaporating hope. For when we pray we are calling on Abba Father to send forth all the faithful host of heaven on behalf of a world ransomed from darkness by the blood of Christ! These angelic hosts are far more powerful than the adversary who besieges us with accusing thoughts, great temptation to wickedness, self centered concerns, and the physical situations contrived by those in league with the dark side.

There are also actual spiritual attacks on the part of the demonic realms called forth by humans who invoke such things! Let us get past the idea that this is not real!

But truth be told, the forces of darkness have no legitimate authority here. When we pray, as we stand in Christ, we are exposing and dismantling the agendas and influence of darkness.

Here is what also needs to be understood: The host of heavenly angelic warriors may actually have some challenges breaking through enemy lines. (That may seem surprising, but please go to Daniel 10:10 and verses surrounding this account for further insight.)

So it is all the more needed that we are faithful and continual in prayer during times when we may not be perceiving breakthrough. We are calling forth – through petitioning Abba Father in the name of Jesus Christ – our most powerful allies in the cosmic spiritual realm in these last days! In this we are one with Christ Jesus in heavenly places – the interceding Great High Priest, and the priesthood of all who are in Him at the all powerful right hand of the Father.

Prayer is thus a mighty privilege not as well understood as it ought to be. It may be said that it is learned through its practice. Prayer is the very work of the Church – the house of prayer, those who are of one heart and mind with Christ in the understanding of the outworking of salvation.

So let us pray for the Spirit of holy prayer, and the understanding of its importance, and then be diligent about our Father’s business.