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Newsletters

February Newsletter- Inferior Living

Posted on by Laura Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

We’ve just stepped into a new era, the election has come and gone, inauguration has taken place.  Elections are what man does to man.  They don’t really hold the power of what The Father has done or does for man.  In the Kingdom that Jesus established, believers live in a circle within a circle separated by their simple faith in the middle of a world of trouble.  None of this surprises God, not even our choices to look the other way, away from Him.  He doesn’t need to re-invent the future, doesn’t have to come up with plan B.  He has prepared a way to live that’s allowed for the ‘miss’ that culture makes and has purposely set aside a place for His children to experience and trust in, a Kingdom if you will, inside the kingdoms of men.

From the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, the Father’s Kingdom has always been misunderstood. Religious men, then and now, expected an earthly kingdom to ring in a new earth order and establishment of God’s rule.  The Jews did that back in the beginning; we still do that today.  After all, Israel wanted a king, what they got was a Christ.

For the most part, we’re living just like we want, generally doing as we wish. Oh, we might complain about our lot in life but we do very little to change where we’re at.  Most of the time, we’re not actually experiencing the kind of life that’s just been unpredictably dropped upon us, but more realistically, we’re experiencing the reasonable consequences of our own decisions. Are there really very many surprises here?  Generally the world over, we seldom really ask the question of whether Jesus was who he said he was, did what he said he did.  Is his story just a nice story or does it have the power to affect our lives, affect the world we live in?

I believe much of what we spend our time on is simply us being distracted away from God the Father, a Father who has a desire to gather us. Instead we scurry around in a culture that divides us feb1from Him. The works of anti-Christ masters the trivial with his sleight of hand, preoccupies us, woos us away from asking questions about Christ.  We spend generation after generation on questions that separate us from knowing God. In effect, we strangle on a gnat, missing the larger issue.  For example, right now, in this country and by much of the world’s standards, our big problem is what restroom to use, the men’s or women’s.  Seems we’re to buy into the idea that whether we are a man or a woman is determined by what’s between our ears!  We spend hours defending something that in all reality needs no defense.  Those kind of silly suggestions destroy our intellect, waste our time.  Is there any real argument there!  I remember a statement by the late Bill Gillham in his book Lifetime Guarantee, ‘Setting in a garage doesn’t make you a car.’  Raising those kinds of issues (and there are thousands more) takes time out of the time we should be learning about Him and converts our days to talking about the irrational.  Lifestyles promoted by a heartless and selfish powerful elite, elites promoting ‘Wisdomless’ (Godless) thoughts.  Unfortunately, that morphs until culture accepts the unbelievable as the preferred.  Life, as the Father would have it for us, is no longer precious. That’s inferior living!  The world’s motive for living is determined solely by the power of the wealthy, powerful and amoral.  We take instruction from Hollywood as though those folks have a corner on intellect.  The world today looks more like Germany of 1941 than the America founded on Christian principles over just 200 years ago.

Inferior living is about doing it our way, about asking the wrong questions and getting the wrong answers.  Inferior living is about throwing out the Wisdom of God and idolizing the wisdom of man.  Our cry for ‘progress’ around the world readily embraces the idea of throwing out all the past, when much of what is being thrown away are things that worked for us, made this country different from all the world and got us through some pretty mean and troubled times.

Earl Hamner, creator of The Waltons television program, once stated it like this.  ‘…the people who nurtured us and who passed on to us the notions that there was dignity in work, satisfaction in having a job and doing it well, that we can and must be self-reliant and resourceful, that our country’s laws are to be obeyed, that we have a right to practice the religion of our choice, the belief that our parents and grandparents not only deserve respect, but are to be treasured for the rituals and stories and rules of conduct that we all need to know and to pass on to our children if we are to call ourselves civilized…we would be foolish to deny that drugs and crime and scandal have taken their toll on us.  But I believe that there is still more Judeo-Christianity than crime, more virtue than violence, that there is more hope than heroin and more virtue than violence and more good than evil.’

Seems we’ve lost our root-core: Faith in Father-Son-Spirit. Jesus taught of little faith, but he didn’t do so referencing to an amount of Faith large or small.   ‘Little Faith’ was a word Jesus himself (and only used by him) made up out of the language and referred specifically to anxiety, fear, doubt or forgetfulness.  When he said it in Luke’s Gospel, he was referring to the characteristic of those present, referring to the creature they were.  He wasn’t making a statement begging for their improvement but stating a fact about the kind of nature they had and we have; we’re creatures of little faith!  Creatures easily persuaded away from the Wisdom of God.

The good news is the Father’s Kingdom (simply any place that He is present) has been set before us to trust, given for us to step into and rest our hearts.  That Kingdom came when the Christ came.  Jesus taught of a time when man’s solutions would sound good, they would even give the appearance of Wisdom by embracing compassionate language, but their hearts would be far from God.

Feb2It’s always been True, just hard for us to get into our heads, that chariots and horses (man’s solutions) are not and were never intended to be trusted. (Isaiah 31:1, Psalm 20:7)  Christ established Truth and contrasted it with a counterfeit life, an inferior life.  Counterfeits resemble and persuade away from Truth but they cannot correctly interpret Truth.  Has God not spoken?  Has He not, in His Wisdom, given a caution about a way that seems right to men but the end is calamity!  That Kingdom is not one that’s necessarily observed in the political tapestry of the world’s cultures.  It’s not a Kingdom that can be measured by what we have, what we wear, what we do, but one that is evidenced by Grace and Peace in the Spirit of God.  We need no Savior if we, the creature, can make this work in our own efforts alone.  Christ builds His church and builds it right in the middle of the rubble of the wasteland of the culture’s best efforts.

Inferior living is living in opposition to the Kingdom that Jesus shares with us. He had a simple formula for seeing the Kingdom of God (it’s not meat nor drink, but righteousness, and peace and joy in the Spirit of God…Romans 14:17).  Seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness and everything else will be added. (Matthew 6:33)  Seek the Kingdom of His Peace and Joy and all things will come into purpose.  Jesus has placed a Kingdom within a kingdom, ours is to discern which to distribute into our daily lives.   Inferior living leaves us where we are, stepping into His circle of belief moves us into the very Kingdom of God.  His Kingdom, living His way, prepares for us a place of Rest in the shadow of the Most High in the middle of the world’s desert.

January Newsletter-The Father’s Son

Posted on by Laura Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

Mat 11:27  All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knows the Son, but the Father; neither knows any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

I wrote last month’s newsletter on the incarnation of Jesus Christ and that pivotal moment in time when heaven and earth came together in such a way as to change everything that had happened before, everything that will happen now and in the future.  It was a fairly long newsletter and I covered just about everything I hoped to in it.  However, sitting down to type again this month I found my mind wandering away from the subject that I wanted to write about to one little-bitty thing that I just couldn’t find a place for in December’s letter.

It seems in some ways a small point but it’s one on which I think the whole Gospel turns, the foundation to all other things we believe. It actually came to my mind out of an incident that happened a few days ago: someone accused me of being uncooperative!  Can you imagine!?  Well, I can.  Sometimes in holding things together the best you can, sometimes when you set up perimeters and little rules and regulations about some of your responsibilities, enforcing those guidelines can be interpreted as being uncooperative, perhaps harsh.  There’s an old saying that goes: it all depends on whose ox is being gored; i.e., it all depends where you are standing as to how you describe something.  I try to not get too bent out of shape when those things happen.  I know the other folk have responsibilities and pressures just like I do.  In this particular case, the necessity of holding onto the purpose and the integrity of this ministry required me to hold fast.  Not holding possessively or selfishly, but holding on to ministry policy so that the most possible listeners benefit from the most encouragement.  Now that I’ve piqued your suspicion I get to let you down by saying it really was not a life or death thing, not an ‘oh, my gosh thing’, just a simple chance in the interaction of two people to decide how they were going to manage handling something from their two different perspectives while standing on the same playing field.  That’s about all I can say really, but now let me jump off onto why I even bring that up in this letter.

Well, it’s because I had to make a decision that I really didn’t want to have to make.  In those moments, I always check it out with my conscience: that would be my wife!  Like most of us, I would like to please everyone and not have to say no to something someone asked me to do.  But the reality is that to maintain the integrity of what we do at WBVN I have to be disciplined while making hard decisions no matter how powerful the people asking.  But even that’s not my point here, what’s important about this story is this:  of all the people I know, all the people that think they know or understand me, Jane is that person that knows my weaknesses, my strengths, what I like, what I don’t like, my character, my interest, my motivation, my purpose.  Jane knows me better than anyone.  We are actually like one flesh.  Intimate thoughts, tears, laughs, dreams, hopes, and heartaches have all been a part of our togetherness, or oneness, for 47 years.  When someone misunderstands me, Jane knows the truth about me.  When people speculate on my reason for something, Jane knows the reason and gets why I choose to do things certain ways.  When I am foolish she gives me credit for being foolish, piles it on and shortcuts the chase to set me straight.  Simply, Jane can answer almost any question about me that you would ask.  What I do and why I do it.  Nothing is hidden from her, my rewards and the failures.  She knows me fully and completely.  Isn’t it amazing that someone could be that close to someone and know the other person even better than that person knows themselves?  Well, it’s true with her.

1 Jn 5:20  And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

Well, that’s another long paragraph and I’m still not back to why, after referring to last month’s letter, that I’m singling out being misunderstood or misinterpreted for a discussion on Faith.  Ok here we go.  Jesus, the incarnate Christ, knows the Father in the most intimate way possible.  He never misunderstood the heart of the Father, never did he not know exactly how the Father thinks, works, believes, desires, hopes, wishes, and loves.  He was THE spokesman for the Heart of God.  Never misinterpreted the Father’s purpose, never did not know what to think about God.  He was the exact representation of the Father, Jesus reflected everything the Father had to say and wanted to do.  Now I know we all say, and in some way believe, that about Jesus.  But my December letter and this month’s are designed to try and take that a step further.  Saying those things and even mentally believing those things with our brains still will cause us to miss the mark if we are not careful.  Saying and believing asks one more step of us….Doing!  Here’s my point, and don’t for a minute hear me say I’ve got this down; do hear me say that this is what I’ve been working on for 40 years.  Stop the inferior living that comes from doing this Gospel our way!  Jesus said in his Wisdom that there is a way that seems right to men but the end of that is calamity.  The big question: Did we follow through with doing those things he said would work for us?  Jesus came to tell us about the Father in the most informed, intimate way possible.  Jane, having lived with me, watched me, communicated with me, knowing me as no other, could tell you a lot about me of which other people have no clue.  Jesus was that to us.  Matthew 11:27 clearly states that no one knows the Father but the Son.  In the Greek text the inference is that no one perceives or understands the Father but the Son.  Our definition of God needs to come through the wisdom of Jesus for clarity.  Only one has been face to face with God.Jan17

Heb 1:2, 3  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

 

What he said about the Father is Gospel!  There is no debate here.  We may not understand it, may wish it wasn’t so, may even rebel and redefine it, but make no mistake; Jesus and the Father were One!  And, no matter what we see, what we think, what the flesh tells, every word that was said by Jesus was the real truth and everything else is a lie.  Every word that was uttered by Jesus was in unity with the Heart of God.  It does not take reason, logic, intellect, education, a committee, or a title to know God; to know God it takes Jesus!

John 6:29  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

Our work, according to Jesus’ words, is to believe!  Believe what?  That Jesus was exactly who Jesus said he was and did the things he said he did, the little and the big things.  Not just the personal miracles of fishes, healings, water to wine, but the huge world changing miracles of being our substitute and victory over all creation, of reconciling the world unto the Father.  We are not just to believe his works but believe all that the incarnation accomplished as described in the December newsletter.  Sometimes, in Gospel terms, inferior living is using the flesh to measure the spiritual, doing our thing and asking God to bring it on for us, sometimes asking the wrong questions therefore getting wrong answers.  Life will distract us from the simple Life of believing on Christ.  Sometimes we can spend our days living trivial and missing the glaring Gospel.  We strangle on a gnat and miss the profound.  The Gospel begins with Christ; he’s to be the center of attention, the cornerstone of our salvation, the captain of our souls.  Literally, our all in all. In him is the fullness of the Godhead and by him all things hold together…powerful Savior!

Rom 8:38, 39  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What are we to believe?  We are to believe the Father’s Son.

December Newsletter-Incarnation

Posted on by Laura Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

I quit! Well actually that’s not new news or big news from me.  I quit long ago.  And, now I’m laying back a bit, believing and seeing more and more that He’s the answer I’ve been seeking all along.  He has become the Captain of my Faith, the center of my Gospel.  It hasn’t always been like that; for a long time it was like I was the center of this thing.  Everything depended upon me to figure it out, my coming to understand.  That said, it doesn’t mean I’ve quit seeking and studying about Christ, just means that in the seeking and studying I’m comfortable with Him revealing Himself to me in ways that I’ve not noticed before.  At Christmas you might say, why bring this up now? I mean these are the ‘high-holy’ days of the Christian faith, the birth of Jesus. Well that’s the reason right there!  Jesus’ birth changed everything.  That birth was not just the continuation of the Christian story, it was the period at the end of a long Promise and history found in the heart of God from the very beginning of Genesis 1, before the foundation of the world!

Incarnation is the correct word for what happened on the birth night.  Incarnation was not just another incident in the story of God to be added to all the other stories about God; it was the pivotal, targeted, unique and purposed incident of all incidents.  I think we sometimes look at Jesus’ birth as a picture of God’s compassion or, in our minds, we see how beautiful it was for God to come as a man. Truly it was both of those, but from God’s point of view, it was not just a loving and beautiful thing, but even more profoundly, a powerful night.  So powerful that angels filled the air, stars lined up to declare that night, and at that moment a virgin gave birth, shaking all Creation.  No other night, no other time in time, held that moment’s meaning.  Before time began, back when only the Father, Son and Spirit huddled before the foundation of the world, did any time equal this time, this night.  Our celebration of the birth of Jesus, along with his crucifixion and resurrection stand alone as unique days in all the universe with echoes and overtures that overpower all the other days before or since.  Christ’s birth was not a day, but the day!  Ephesians 1 calls it the fullness of time, all that is heaven and all that is earth collide and is reconciled with Jesus’ birth.  On that day His Kingdom did come, not a political one, not a social one, not a powerful worldly one–His Kingdom is based upon a relationship forged by that very birth, death and resurrection.  On that day Jesus stepped into our world, and this world would never be the same again.  His arrival did that and no matter that the world refuses to yield to that fact, whether the world agrees with Him or not makes no difference in His being Truth.  In Christ, His Kingdom did not come in overpowering might as the Jews expected but came as Jesus himself said, as a mustard seed or a bit of leaven.  Jesus’ Kingdom was humanly looked upon by the Jews as embarrassingly small or weak and by the Romans as simply irritating. (For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Rom 14:17) But this Faith, this moment, penetrated all the creation.  When Jesus stepped into our world all the weight shifted from the first Adam to the second Adam, to a single man, resting on Jesus’ teachings and what he did.  Everything about the relationship between creature and the Creator was altered to reveal the nature and character of Father, Son and Spirit–forever forward the secret is out!

Most research points to the first week of April as the actual day that Jesus was born, but it’s not the actual date/day that’s important about that birth. Its importance comes from the fact that it was a new beginning, a new Genesis.  Here, on that night, God (Father, Son, Spirit) revealed themselves in their fullness.  That night took away previous speculation about the heart of God and an incarnation took place in Jesus’ birth that clarified all things, made all things new.  It defined the Mystery of Christ in such a way that all guessing about, all the gaps of knowledge about God, were made transparent for all people to see.  All that had been dim was made plain.  The essence of that is declared in much of Paul’s writings:  If you have perceived Jesus you have perceived the Father…I am the Way, the Light, the Truth and the Life…All the fullness of the Godhead abides in Christ…All things have been given over to Him… Jesus came to show you the Heart of the Father.  Christ Jesus is the Revelation of God, the Cliff’s Notes of what the Godhead is like. (Math. 11, John 8, John 17, Heb. 1)  The Scriptures do not prove Christ Jesus, He proves the Scriptures, He existed long before the Scriptures.  All things are subjected to Him. (Strong stuff to match a strong incarnation!)

That’s why I quit trying to reason my way to the knowledge of God. I’ve gotten comfortable trusting that His ways are superior to our ways.  That’s not to diminish our part in a Faith response, but subjecting Him to our Greek logic and human mind, much of the time clothes us in silliness. That ‘greekness’ doesn’t glorify God.  In some ways, it boxes Him into our earthly expectations, frustrating our wee-little brains and locking our hearts away from the Spirit Life that’s granted to us as a gift through Christ. There was only one motivation for The Word to be manifested in the flesh: to express the Love found in the trinity of God.  Jesus came for one reason: to seek/save those that were lost, people in the dark.  The mystery contained within Jesus is the knowledge that you’re related to the Father, Son and Spirit by Their desire to have you enter into Their Life, even when you don’t deserve to be present in Their Life at all.  In Jesus’ incarnation we discover that our approval is part of God’s desire to bless us, include us.  That’s what we find in His Word that makes us free.  We’re not set free so we can sin more which only causes us to oppose ourselves more. We’re not set free so we can be foolish with our lives even more than before; no, we’re made free so we can step into a life-style that finds the embrace and cheerleading of a loving God, a Life where we can be free to Love without being afraid or ashamed, free to care without fear of the vulnerability for doing so.

I’m resolved to knowing there’s a lot I don’t know about Him.  In fact, seems to me we know only a small portion about Him compared to all there is to know; actually, there’s more we don’t know than we do.  It is said in Scripture that thousands of things could have been written, volumes of books about Jesus, not just the recorded words we do have recorded about him.  What I’ve learned over the past few years is we have a God that wants to reveal Himself to us, in fact, eagerly wants to do that.  He’s not absently sitting by and watching us dig through books, tapes, conferences and prayer to see if we might figure this puzzle out about Him.  In the incarnation, He revealed Himself in all the fullness of the Godhead.  As the old saying goes, it would be comical if it weren’t so sad seeing people struggle at knowing the heart of God when He has shouted His will in the very incident of the incarnation.

It’s so much more fun, more rewarding, to lean in and trust in God, becoming comfortable in His hands rather than constantly looking for a God who meets my simple, sometimes even small expectations. His surprises and unexpected blessings are so evident when they’re not cluttered with our vision and our struggles in the implementation of His ways.  It is Finished, He has won, victory declared, authority to walk in His Mercy and Grace has been declared in the heavens.  Truly Peace on earth, good will toward men has come in the birth of Jesus, on that unique day, for all times. Sometimes He reveals Himself in small daily bits and pieces and many times in explosions of big events in our lives.  Knowing He is a Father to us, God desiring to live within our earthly circumstances takes all the frustration away of having to solve some mystery of God.  Actually the Mystery of God has already been revealed to us in every way: Christ Jesus is that Mystery.  Figuring Him out would take no telling how many lifetimes, probably it will take an eternity. Knowing Him through the birth of His dear Son, Jesus Christ, Father, Son and Spirit intended for it to be possible in one simple birth that declared Their intentions to all the world: for God so loved the world that He gave a son to prove and show us who He really was.

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