I want to start this letter by speaking from my heart…
This past month has held within it several situations that have affected me personally and required the strength and care of the body. The response that has come forth in His love, the flood of care, and the selflessness of Christ that has poured over me through you has been something eternal. I am truly and deeply touched and grateful. Thank you, all of you, for being His so beautifully. Some of these recent needs have come because of my health condition, yet oh how the Lord is moving in this area to bring forth Christ through it all. During this time when the whole world is groaning with the pandemic and other continual crises, how wonderful that we can move from groaning to travailing in birth to bring forth Christ (Romans 8:22 / Galatians 4:19)! There is an eternal purpose hidden within every crisis, the Tree of Life… the slain Lamb Himself, waiting to be discovered and loved. He transforms crisis into Christ and groaning into birthing forth His Life! He openly displays God’s true Being on a platform stained with injustice, issues, and division by simply dying for His enemies with a love so profound it can redeem the crucifiers. Oh, sweet Lamb of God, be formed in us… shine forth from within us. Be our Life. What a time we live in to manifest the Lamb in His true beauty. May we not miss the many opportunities that we are daily blessed with.
I appreciate you all as vessels of His glory.
Let us shine Him forth together!
This month's song:
"More of You, Less of me"
Click the image below to listen and worship.
This Month's Article:
To Justify or To Die?
That is the Question!
To Justify or To Die? That is the Question.
There is a question that is brought to the heart of every human who ever lived.
It is a question that comes time and again, demanding an answer, exacting a choice, and directing the future course of that individual.
It is not a complicated question or one that demands deep spiritual insight or reflection.
It is a heart-choice. It is a decision based on love, although many believe it is only based on the knowledge of good and evil.
This “answer” of the heart has the power to break through blindness and rip down veils of separation. It can hasten the “coming of the Lord” to possess vast areas of our inward parts that have remained uninhabited by God’s Spirit and nature. Or it can keep one trapped in their own darkness and deceived concerning their true condition.
What does it mean to justify self?
From the beginning since the Fall, the response of self-justification has been one of the strongest forces in human kind. We see that with Adam and Eve when being confronted with their sin in Genesis 3:9-13. Shifting blame, covering up, making excuses, self-deceiving, minimizing our guilt and maximizing our own “goodness,” lifting up ourselves when deep inside we know we are desperate. It seems to come as easy as breathing to fallen man to respond in these ways when being confronted with our corruption and darkness. Some people fight for and cleave to their own righteousness as if it was their firstborn child. God Himself offering His own Firstborn Son in exchange for our defiled old nature is still not enough for some to let go of their own righteousness. We must hold onto to something of ourselves in which we can glory. Yet 1 Corinthians 1:29-30 says that God has made Christ our righteousness so that NO FLESH should glory in His Presence. God crucified His only Son Who put to death our righteousness (which is as filthy rags, Isaiah 64:6). God then justifies us by making Christ Himself our Righteousness alone (1 Cor. 1:30).
This is a “glory hallelujah” reality, until the Spirit of God begins to deal with us in personal and practical ways. When the Spirit of God confronts us with our self-promoting motives and secret ambitions to use others for our own glory and ends… rather than falling on our knees and crying out for Jesus, we start explaining our pure and holy intentions. We begin to justify rather than agree with God, letting the Cross enter in and circumcise all that flesh that needs to be removed. Rather than going to Gilgal with a sharpened knife ready to deal with our flesh by enforcing the reality of Christ’s death (Gal. 2:20), we beg for approval and acceptance over the flesh that God already condemned by crucifying His Son who bore it (Isa. 53:6, Rom. 6:6, 2 Cor. 5:21, 1 Pet. 2:24). When no mercy comes to our flesh from the God who condemned it already, we go into self-pity and condemnation, blaming God for being harsh and uncaring. Think about it: we are blaming God for not caring and accusing Him of being too harsh when He literally “put the knife in” and crucified His own Son that our flesh might be removed and we might be justified by allowing Jesus to be our righteousness.
If you take a walk through the scriptures, from beginning to end, you will find a procession of those who did not justify, but rather embraced their death with Christ and entered into His Fullness. These people did not have a relationship with their flesh to cover it and promote it, but had a relationship with the Living God! He was the object of their affection, and their desire was to see Him, exchanging their wretched self-exalting life for His glorious Lamb nature. Their end was His beginning!
Just listen to a few of them:
Judah in Genesis 44:16 “And Judah said, What shall we say unto my lord? what shall we speak? or how shall we clear ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants: behold, we are my lord's servants, both we, and he also with whom the cup is found.”
Job in Job 42:5-6 “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
David in Psalm 51:3-7 “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You may be found just when You speak and blameless when You judge. Surely I was brought forth in iniquity; I was sinful when my mother conceived me. Surely You desire truth in the inmost being; You teach me wisdom in the inmost place. Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”
Isaiah in Isaiah 6:5 “Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”
Paul in Romans 7:24 “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?”
One might ask, “Where are the David’s, Isaiah’s and Paul’s of this generation?” And like Samuel did before he anointed David, we may look around for the best and brightest among us to christen as those in which we place our hope. We look at each other’s flesh because that is where many glory, like the Judaizers in the churches of Galatia during Paul’s time. But there are some who “glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by whom they are crucified…” (Gal. 6:14). These seek not to justify or anoint flesh, but to truly apply the circumcision of Christ’s Cross, that Christ alone would be glorified as our Source and Life. Peter, who truly understood, tells us that the anointed of the Father in Whom He is pleased rises out from a DARK place (Luke 1:78-79, II Peter 1:19). Peter began to understand just how dark this place is when he denied Jesus. In II Peter 1:19, Peter defines this dark place as our hearts. Jeremiah also speaks of the darkness of our hearts when he says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9) Yet Isaiah has something to say to the people who realize their own wretchedness and choose not to “call darkness light” (Isa. 5:20). It is to these SPECIFICALLY that the greatest hope arises beyond all compare.
Isaiah 9:2, 6-7
“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”
If we want the SUN/SON to rise and shine in our hearts…
If we want to bring forth the Son to the glory of the Father, then we cannot be the light and the glory. We are the darkness; He is the glorious Light. We are NOT the son; HE is the Son of the Father’s love. Once we see and embrace that we are NOT, we are ready for the Father to reveal within us the ONE Who is. He is our Light. He is our rightness. He is our only hope of giving God glory. He is our justification. And we are crucified with Him that it might be no longer “I” but Christ who liveth in me (Gal. 2:20).
Therefore, instead of resisting the dealings of God, and running away from the sharp two edged sword that is able to divide soul from spirit, motive from intent…LET’S RUN to the Cross of our own death and EMBRACE our end so that JESUS ALONE may fill the temple of our hearts with His glory and be our everything each and every moment. What a wonderful, indescribably blessed gift we have been given. Jesus... His death as our death, His Life as our life.