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This is a story is about God accessing our hearts and minds with his good purpose and subduing our resistance because of our ideas of who we are and what we should be doing. God does the approaching.
God wants to guide us in the true manner of responding to him in faith, and to safeguard us from the two following extremes of misunderstanding – under estimating or over estimating our part in his will and purpose in our lives.
1. GIDEON - I’m not worthy so God would not bother with me.
Judges 6:15 So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.”
God had to do a lot of convincing with Gideon that it was all about God’s grace and power (Grace is a gift [charis] that works in a multitude of expressions – loving spiritual empowerment Ephesians 2:8)

2. SAUL - I’ll make the decisions about what I believe God should endorse (3rd commandment).
1Chronicles 10:14 and Saul did not inquire of the LORD. So the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.

Judges 6:11 Gideon was threshing wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”
Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours (just previously proclaimed), and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”
Judges 6:15 So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.”
And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.”
And THEN the Lord said to Gideon - after shrinking his army from 32,000 to 300;
Judges 7:3 “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me. And twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained. (The 10,000 was then reduced to 300)

3. DAVID understood the middle path of grace between the two deceptive extremes. David learned total trust that God knew what was right and best, and found rest and peace in his soul. Jesus is called ‘the son of David’ – the perfect example of that middle path. Acts 13:2 He will do everything I say… David did TWO BIG things – He trusted and he praised/worshipped God.
God has to be anchored somewhere in HIS BEING in the earth and it is in people who turn up as a Gideon willing to be God’s partner – Or as a Saul who is willing to become a David.

2Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us… 15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

 

Show us the Father

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John 14:9 Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
John 1:11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right (freedom) to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. (the freedom of becoming truly formed into who you are meant to be –(we also have the freedom to formed by whatever we might imagine)
John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son (the only One of his kind), who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him (made him known).

LIKE FATHER LIKE SON – LIKE FATHER LIKE US?
We are made alive to God by the Spirit, made one with God by Jesus, and formed in God by the Father.
Jesus had the freedom to be formed perfectly into who he was in harmony with his Father. He had to take all of humanity upon himself, from Adam, with the sum total of all of our human imperfection, so he could give us that same freedom.
Luke 2:52 And Jesus grew (prokopto) in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men…
He did all of this so that when he sent his Spirit to be received by us we could also have that freedom to walk with Jesus, and live in accord and agreement with our Father, and become our true selves.
Holy Spirit will always be making us aware of our need for Jesus to be our prayer intercessor and saviour, but Jesus will always be making us aware of our need to be formed as mature sons and daughters by the Father. This becomes more meaningful to us than having our needs met.
Jesus (the complete Son) is and always was The Son and says to us hey get on board with me in this.

How accurate is our idea of what a father is like? What is our idea of our Father God? What is Jesus idea of our Father?
Hebrews 12:9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who trained us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days trained us as seemed best to them, but He does it for our advantage…

What does our training involve? – The reordering of our lives – a higher goal than just our needs.
Why is there disorder? - Our world is invaded by fearful greedy envious violent careless people and the temptation is to become harmful like that instead of loving, like Him.
What are the consequence of that harmfulness? - harmfulness causes suffering.
Why can’t Father do something about stopping those harmful people from causing suffering?
He says I am doing something by forming you into the real you. He says you become part of the answer to this world’s suffering, even in your suffering.
What does Father feel about our suffering? - Father is saddened by his child suffering but he can comfort us in it. So He is more saddened by his child separating from him than by the suffering, because we cannot be comforted when we are separated, but we can be when we are close.

 

John 16:28
"I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father." 
Luke 12:30
So do not be anxious… your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
John 14:23…
My father and I will come and make our home with you.
John 6:38
"For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 
John 14:31
but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me Get up, let us go from here. 
John 5:19
Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. 
John 10:30
"I and the Father are one." 
Even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 
John 15:10
"If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. 
1 John 4:14
We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. 
John 6:57
"As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who partakes of Me, he also will live because of Me. 
John 10:36
Do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? 
John 8:18
"I am He who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me." 
John 12:49
"For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. 
John 6:32
Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. 
John 8:54
Jesus answered, "If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, 'He is our God'; 
John 17:1
Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, 
John 10:18
"No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again This commandment I received from My Father." 
John 3:35
"The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. 
Matthew 11:27
"All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. 

 

 

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Jesus came to not only bring forgiveness once and for all, but to be always, every day in every way a saviour for us who believe, uniting his strength to our every weakness and our falling short of his glory, and he ever lives now to be doing that for each believer individually.
Hebrews 7:25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost (in every way, for his perfect result) those who come to God through Him…

But further to our individual salvation there is a corporate outworking for us together (with Jesus and one another) living out from and strengthening the gift of salvation that we already have, that bonds us to God and to one another through faith that works by love.
Philippians 2:12 work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your salvation (together) with reverence and awe and timidly quivering with apprehension from whatever might offend God and (discredit the name of Christ).

Philippians 2:1 If there is therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfill my joy, that you be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through ambition or self-conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own things, but also for the things of others.

Hebrews 7:25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost (in every way, for his perfect result) those who come to God through Him…since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Intercession is a third party meeting)
Someone is interceding for you now individually. That someone is Jesus, in partnership with The Holy Spirit and The Father. His perfect prayer is always being offered to The Father. (Romans 8:26,34.)

We can join him together for one another. Each one has ‘things’ to face and to live with. We are told that we don’t know or even have to know what to pray for but The Holy Spirit bears the burden of the pain of that with us and Jesus then prays for us. Our Communion today can be a time of standing with one another and with God for the ‘things’ of one another, fears, griefs, sufferings, pain and perplexities. Our ‘thing’ today may be the carrying of ‘things’ for someone else.

 

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We were on the life journey with Jesus when he was on earth, when he went to the cross and took us into death, and with him when he rose from the dead, and when he ascended into Heaven. He took fallen humanity with him.
Ephesians 1:4 He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world …13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,

HE LIVES IN US TO CONTINUE HIS JOURNEY WITH EACH ONE OF US WHO BELIEVE. (1Timothy 4:10)
John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me… But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things…

1Corinthians 1:30. But of God you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God
The Corinthians were not pleased with Paul’s preaching, and Paul was disappointed in the Corinthians willingness to embrace his preaching of the cross. Their culture had influenced their attitude to serving God. They were transactional in their relationship with Deity of any kind, and it had confused their understanding of wisdom. The hybrid culture of Jewish religion and diverse Greek philosophies shaped their wisdom into an earthly wisdom (James 3:13). They competed over spiritual things, quarrelled at their Communion services, took one another to court, and generally behaved as natural rather that spiritual people. Having natural wisdom gives people control over organizing their lives. But the cross means letting go of that control.

1Corinthians 2:2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
The cross is mentioned only eleven times in all of the epistles, and all of them by Paul.
It was another one hundred years before the cross was devotedly embraced as a symbol of Christianity.
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1Corinthians 1:20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 30. But of God you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness (Our alignment with God) and sanctification and redemption…
1Corinthians 2:14 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Paul explained having the mind of Christ in Philippians 2:5 …Jesus humbled himself and became obedient to the death of the cross. Jesus trusted the wisdom of his Father and we trust Jesus as our wisdom – like a master chess player who knows all the right moves. Paul yearned for them to love God and one another and reap the fullness of salvation of his gospel.
1Corinthians 2:9 “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

Extravagant Act

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Jesus was the one and only New Creation (God and man sharing the one being) on earth. Jesus came to give God to humanity as God and man, and took humanity on his life journey to give us to God as God and man. Jesus came as God, to do everything for mankind, to be born as us and for us, live and die as us and for us. Everything he did he made us part of it. He is in Heaven now, as us and for us, and now prays continually for us.

JESUS BAPTISM

We were also on that life journey with Jesus when he was baptised, for us and as us in water and in the Spirit. Matthew 3:14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”(You have to let me be baptized because it is what God requires to be carried out for us) Then he allowed Him. (Jesus had to align humanity with God and become the ‘Yes’ of man to God – the One Baptism of water and the Spirit – a commitment to living the Kingdom of God) When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

His baptism with the Spirit was for the empowering of his life as a living witness on earth that he was one with God in Heaven. He then took us on his journey into the wilderness and became our victory over the devil. Jesus went to the cross and took humanity on that journey with him into death (2Corinthians 5:14, Colossians 3:3). Then he rose from the dead and took humanity on that journey too. He went to the Throne room and presented himself on our behalf to the Father. From there his purpose was to give all of mankind the Holy Spirit, and complete humanity’s ‘journey with Jesus’ which would bring humanity as the New Creation into being on the earth.

This corporate New Creation came into being at Pentecost – as momentous an Act as the First Creation – God and man as One – God with us.

It is not us getting our act together, but us getting his Act – together.

HUMANITY HAS BECOME A NEW CREATION IN CHRIST

Colossians 1:16 All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is prior all things, and in Him all things have their existence and are held together. 22 He has done this through the death on the cross of his own human body, and now as a result Christ has brought you into the very presence of God… (Christ in you, the hope of glory)

PENTECOST - BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT – The power of living the New Creation Life.

Acts 1:4 Wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 8 And you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me (a testimony that I AM) in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The disciples were waiting and prepared on the day of Pentecost for the Promise of the Father, to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, not that they perhaps understood what that meant until it happened. These were the first, since Jesus, to experience being a New Creation.

Acts 2:16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh. All were given God’s New Creation life within them but all did not KNOW IT (Ephesians 4:17). Not ALL were baptised with the Holy Spirit and power to be a living testimony that God lived within them.

1Timothy 4:10 … because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. These things command and teach.

Acts 19:2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptised?” So they said, “Into John's baptism.” Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

We too have heard the truth and are able to personalise it and fall in love with it as the New Creation. We continue to be ‘being filled’. (Ephesians 5:18)

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Mark 14:22 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said, “Take, eat; this is My body. ”Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many. Assuredly, I say to you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God. ”And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written ‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered “But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee. Peter said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not stumble.” Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” But he spoke more vehemently, “If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And they all said likewise. Vs.50 Then all His disciples deserted Him and fled.

The disciples could not share a communion of the Spirit with Jesus, but we can!

2Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

THE SPIRIT Ephesians 4:1…Live a life fitting for the invitation you have received from God, humbly, gently, patiently, forbearing one another in love, Be diligent to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit…

THE BLOOD 1Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? 1Corinthians 11:25 “This cup is the new covenant in my blood (cutting the covenant). 2 Corinthians 3:6 God has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, 2Corinthians 4:11 ... So death is at work in us, but life in you. We are called (invited) to be the anointing of God in the earth to bring the blessing that God desires for his children in the earth, so that they will respond to his goodness and come to know him.

THE BREAD 16. The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread. Hebrews 10:5 A body have you prepared for me; … Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Where God is present through us in faith and love, there the situations are reordered by God. Our existence becomes a secondary existence. It becomes our grateful assistance to the good will of God, to feed the bread of his will into peoples’ lives

Redeeming the time

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Ephesians 5:15 ‘See then that you live alert to what is going on, not as thoughtless but mindful and wise, 16 redeeming the (lost) time, because the times are dangerous and unsafe. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

The word used for ‘time’ here is kairos – God’s appointed time, not chronos – Clock time. The word used for ‘will of The Lord’ – thelema - God’s purpose/meaning your life. (Rom 12:2) Unfortunately the human mind feels more at home with clock time.

Redeeming time means that God is able to restore time that appears to have been lost. That includes time you think has been wasted, effort that has come to nothing, and dashed hopes. God can redeem all things, buy back all his plans and purposes for us and get us on track with his desire for our future blessing. He won’t necessarily bring the same circumstances back, or the same people or the same events. It means new and better opportunities ahead for a life of meaning and purpose.

Faith is not faith unless it is in what God can do in his goodness and determined desire to have his best for us. God is more interested than we are in our welfare

Numbers 23:19 God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? Behold, I received command to bless: he has blessed, and I cannot revoke it. He has not seen futility in what has happened to you nor does he regard you as a failure. Redeeming time can only really happen at the present time. If we have to put it off till we feel better about it, all we are doing is wasting more time. It requires a ‘now faith’ consciousness. John 4:34 … Fields white for the harvest. John 4:23 … Hour is coming and now is.

So the world really stands still and isn’t going anywhere. Only God is moving forward with his story, his plan – and that plan includes our lives! There is an energy that directs us, and carries us forward, even though we cannot see where it is taking us. Jesus has blessed us, and he intends to bless us with every spiritual blessing there is in his heavenly world. When we hear the word of truth through him and are awakened to faith through him, the change in us is as thorough as it could possibly be.

With this kind of faith we see this present world chaos and disorder fall away beneath us, as our faith reorders all things, while our independence and anxiety fall away with it. That is Time Redemption.

Psalm 139:1. O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know everything I do. 4.You know what I am going to say even before I say it. 5. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. 6. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! 16. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. 17. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! 18. I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me

God with us

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God with us

The appointed time finally came to heal the earth. It was twisted and torn and it could not heal itself. There were many religions apart from Judaism, and all the rituals, the pomp and ceremony, had only allowed that gap between God and man to remain. God was about to give humanity the perfect answer, not a religion, but Himself. The Divine Being, Jesus God, was to make his transition from eternity into time, from heaven to earth, from pure Spirit existence to human flesh existence.
Father had always planned that a new species was to be born into the earth. He had planned for his son to begin this new species of being, a Spirit species. Now was the time for Jesus to go to earth as The Father’s Son, to become the pain of what human life had become, and to walk the path of its sorrow and its lost hope, and to lift human life into a place of shared friendship with The Three in One. Jesus knew and had agreed before the beginning of time that this was to be the plan. He knew that it was the only way for the love of God to be known by humanity. Jesus knew that he would become the expression of that love in the most perfect way.
Holy Spirit was to become a partner with Jesus in the completion of this glorious plan. It was not just Jesus God who would inhabit the earth, but Holy Spirit would also become a person of this planet by sharing every moment of life with Jesus, and in that way, he too would experience human life.

Father would send a divine seed of life from heaven, and He had chosen a young woman called Mary to receive that seed, which was to contain the full genetic potency of their love and goodness and truth. He sent an angel to announce this amazing news to Mary.
Gabriel entered the place where Mary slept. She awoke startled and afraid and sat upright, staring at the heavenly being. Gabriel motioned her to be still and stood quietly in her small room.
Mary was told she had been chosen amongst all women on the earth to give birth to a child who was to be 'God the Son' and that she was to call him Jesus. She answered back that it was impossible and that she never been with a man. Gabriel told her that the birth of this Child will not have anything to do with Joseph, her betrothed, and that The Holy Spirit would shine his life over her and divine life from heaven would come alive in her womb, even though she was a virgin. He told her that this was the will of Father God, and of Jesus and of the Holy Spirit, that they had chosen her to be the mother of this special child who would be the liberator of all mankind. Mary humbly surrendered her being to the magnificent will of God.

Meanwhile Gabriel visited Joseph in a dream also and told him that Mary had been chosen by God to give birth to a son, who would be ‘God The Son’. This was to be a divine work of The Holy Spirit who would cause a holy life to ignite within her being, and that this was the fulfilment of a prophecy in the Scriptures with which Joseph familiar ‘A virgin shall conceive and bring forth a son, and his name will mean ‘God with us’.
Joseph awoke suddenly, and faith filled his heart. “There will be no shame,” he declared loudly to himself.
“She will become my wife immediately, and we will have this wonderful child and I will care for him as an earthly father.”

In due course Gabriel put it into the heart of Caesar Augustus to do a census and register every person in the known world. Everyone had to go to their place of birth to be registered, so Joseph had to take Mary back to Bethlehem because he was of the house and lineage of David. Joseph and Mary were sent to the right place at the right time for the birth of Jesus, fulfilling the prophesies of his birthplace.”
Micah 5:2. "O Bethlehem, you are but a small Judean village, yet you will be the birthplace of my King who is alive from everlasting ages past!" God will allow the conflict and chaos until she who is to give birth has her son. And he shall feed his flock in the strength of the Lord… and he will be greatly honored throughout the world. He will be our Peace.
Joseph walked beside the donkey that carried his wife. He was getting weary and the journey was tiresome for Mary and he knew he had to get his wife to the place of his family’s household and out of the cold, and the time was getting close for her to give birth. They finally arrived at the family home where they were warmly welcomed and invited inside. The dwelling complex was the usual cluster of rooms surrounding a central courtyard and it became clear to Joseph that the house was overcrowded, and that all the guestrooms (kataluma = Inn = guestroom-Luke 22:11) were occupied. So he and his wife would have to stay in the stable downstairs, in that warm place near where the animals slept and fed. He saw the signs of the oncoming birth in the drawn face and the discomfort in Mary’s eyes and he settled her as quickly and gently as he could. A mother sweated through her mother pain and a baby cried its baby cry of shock as it entered the world. The smile upon Father’s face in heaven became a laugh of joy, which was echoed by Joseph in the earth, who would now adopt the role of the child’s earthly father. Loving mother hands washed the newborn child in a water trough. On earth it was the natural and familiar scene of new birth. In the universe it was the most supernatural of any birth in history. It was also ordained that this birth would become the most celebrated event for all time, celebrated annually by millions upon millions down through the ages, many of whom had no idea why or what they were really celebrating.

Nearby, where shepherds were looking after their sheep upon the hills a huge shining star suddenly lit up the entire night sky. The shepherds looked up in wonder at this light and suddenly more lights dazzled them and they became terrified and ran and huddled together. Gabriel appeared above them, sent to tell them of the birth of Jesus. He told them not to be afraid, and that he had great and marvellous news for them, for all the world to hear. He told them that they would find a child, the newborn king of the universe, God The Saviour, wrapped in simple clothing in a nearby stable. Suddenly Gabriel was joined by a multitude of angels as the brilliant night sky resounded with their voices singing, and they listened enraptured at the magnificent words. “The glory of God is being seen in the heavens, and his love and goodness is creating a new era of peace for all mankind.” Their singing of this new creation was the magnificent sequel to their song of the first creation – ‘When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy’ (Job 38:4,7,8 ).
When the singing had stopped and the angels had left they were guided to the place where this extraordinary and singular event was taking place in the earth. These simple shepherds told everyone they met what the angels had said about the birth of this king of kings, this child, and all who heard them were astounded and amazed.
A great light shone that night. The light shone upon a newborn child who would bring light into this world, to every person born into this world. But this light would be contested by darkness in every single life.

God with us means more than just alongside us. It means he is within and through our being, and more than that, we are within and though his being. This is how we get to ‘know God’. Holy Spirit speaks into our spirit the mind and words of Jesus, and we ‘see and know’ Jesus in this way. Faith lets us speak to him as a person, person to person, Word with word, spirit with Spirit. Christmas waits to be truly celebrated. Without Christmas there is no way we could ever have known God.

1John 2:27 But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true

Two trains

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Romans 7:24 O desolate man that I am! Who will deliver me from this embodiment of deathly separation? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! 25 So then, So now I can know I am one with God in my spiritual mind and heart while the old mindset of separation still misses the mark by making its own arrangements. 8:1 There is therefore now a ‘not guilty for being a flawed human’ verdict understood by every human being in Jesus Christ who commits to living as one with God in mind and heart and not according to the mindset of deathly separation. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death.

The trains travel in opposite directions – East and West. The West train is full of problems with a problem consciousness. It has an internal environment of anxiety, self-fixing and other people fixing. It is a place of reaction. Baggage is stowed in the overhead locker! We are all invited to get off the West train and make a connection with the East train. The Holy Spirit issues free tickets at the stations along the way, where people can get off onto the large platforms and mingle and change trains.

The East train is full of the peace of God with a consciousness of oneness with God. It has an internal environment of love, joy and peace, and a certainty of the direction and destination of the train. It is the place of receiving (grace). People getting onto the East train from the West train have their baggage managed for them. It is sorted out and nonsense thrown out so that they can have their genuine troubles lifted off them by Jesus and be healed. The same scenery somehow looks so different. We don’t despair if we find ourselves on the West train – it is real, and confusing, but we know there’s a connection waiting for me to access.

There was only one train before Jesus came – the West train. The original West train had some good ads in the cabins like the Commandments, but with guarantees of falling short and missing the mark and the penalties of guilt and shame.

Interesting conversations happen on the platform. Jesus had a few. The woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, the two contentious brothers with a family inheritance problem, the rich young ruler, Zaccheus, etc etc. There is freedom on the East train to be always receiving GRACE, the life, love and peace and joy of God, and to be giving thanks in all things (Grace=God does it all, salvation, sanctification, prayer etc.).

The positive ads, posters, and announcements on the East train. (There are also cautions)

Romans 8:1…There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ

Romans 8:26… All things work together for good to those who love God

2Corinthians 5:17…New creation… I make all things new

2Corinthians 12:9…My grace sufficient for you…

Hebrews 4:13 … come confidently to the throne of grace…

Ephesians 3:18 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

The Temptation

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Ephesians 6:18 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the principalities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness. Jesus walked forward steadily into the stony desert. He felt the sweet refreshing presence of Holy Spirit with him. A cascade of love spilled upon him from Father in heaven. He was totally at peace. His Spirit anointed ministry was about to begin and this would be its first great test. Spirit had led him into the desert to fast and pray and to find within his own spirit the empowerment from heaven to withstand the savage onslaught of Lucifer. He was ready, and so was Lucifer. Ten hard days without food had passed in the wilderness, and Jesus' body was growing weaker. Dust blew into his face and made him cough as his throat became parched and dry. He fought gnats and dust which assailed his body during the day, and phantoms of his mind that Lucifer assailed him with at night. He dreaded the strange visitations during the night hours when his mind seemed to pitch and surge through channels of darkness. He would fight off sleep in order to maintain control over his thoughts and connect with the love of his Father. He thought of his cousin, John, who was able to stick it out in the desert, fasting and praying and becoming stronger in faith. He knew he would probably not see his cousin again, not on this earth anyway. He felt terribly lonely and sad, and he felt great pangs of hunger gnawing at his stomach. He slumped to the ground, then a voice, deep and melodious, and yet so hollow rang in his ears. “If you're hungry there's some fresh bread over here.” He looked and saw only stones, and thought to himself he must have imagined what he heard. The voice taunted again. “They look like stones don't they? Well turn them into bread. It's easy. I'll show you how if you can't do it.” Jesus looked up at the spectre, his mind confused. Michael and Gabriel were watching from heaven. Gabriel placed a restraining hand on Michael's arm. “Don't do anything. Father has it all in hand. He trusts Jesus to withstand Lucifer. It is a massive test of faith.” “I know.” Michael glowered. He calmed himself, then he added strongly, “But I have been given charge over him, to protect his life on earth from unlawful acts of evil.” “Yes, but he will be subjected to evil no matter what, and Father knows he can withstand,” said Gabriel with authority. They watched as Jesus stood erect and looked Lucifer full in his face. They watched as pure light and total darkness confronted each other, and they waited to hear what Jesus would say. It was a long moment in time and all of history was caught in the look that passed between them. “There's only one kind of bread that I need in order to stay alive, and it's nothing you can conjure up.” I am strengthened and fed by every word that comes out of Father's mouth, and bread for me is to do what pleases him. Don’t try to tempt me to use supernatural power to feed my own appetites. Just leave!” Lucifer vanished and there remained a swirl of dust where he had stood. Gabriel continued to speak to Michael. “These trials only serve to strengthen him. In his weakness he is trusting totally in Father God to protect and rescue him. He must not rescue himself. All he goes through is so that he can strengthen those who come after him.” “How will that happen?” “It is still a mystery to me,” answered Gabriel, “but I do know that Holy Spirit and Jesus God are experiencing something entirely new together. They are sharing a life together in an earthly body. It has never happened before.” Twenty days had now passed by and Jesus was finding a new kind of inner strength. For some reason the grotesque phantoms of the night had disappeared and the comforting presence of Michael and Gabriel lingered in their place. Sometimes they made music that quietened his soul. At other times it seemed that they had simply created an envelope of peace that surrounded his entire being. He thanked his Father for these very special beings, so powerful yet so gentle. Lucifer was furious. Archons and Prince Powers shouted along with him and fuelled his outrage. Lucifer had, throughout time appointed Archons, who were the archangels of darkness, Prince Powers, who had influence over all the significant cities on the earth, and spiritual powers that relentlessly pummeled the human spirits of mankind. These beings would feed off the way of life, the ethos of that region. They would ingest the corruption, the hatred and malice, the greed and the power, the religion and idolatry, the indulgence and lust, and they would amplify it back into the culture. This way Lucifer fed himself into and leeched from every power base in the world. This is why Lucifer called himself the ‘god of this world.’ Chief Archon stood and addressed the gathering. “I have a strategy master.” Lucifer looked at him, impressed and interested. “Speak on, let me hear it.” “There are rules of engagement - and he can be trapped.” “Go on,” said Lucifer, liking the idea. “Well, if Jesus were to try to use angelic powers for his own personal empowerment, and not for their assigned mission, then it would be an unlawful act. He would be acting independently from his Father and be acting in self interest like any other mortal. This could bring his demise.” “What do you suggest?” from Lucifer. “Make him demonstrate the protective power of his angels who don't appear to want to leave him alone at present. Push him into showing off their power beyond the legal limits. An empty display like that will dishonor him for all time.” “Excellent strategy,” clapped Lucifer. “You can even quote a Scripture,” said Chief Archon, almost bursting with pride. “That always works, said Lucifer. “Which one?” “It's in Psalms, you would know it, about angels being given charge over him, and lifting him up, lest he dash his precious foot upon a stone.” “Yes I know it. Good, that’s excellent work. Now you just watch this.” There was a place in the side of a high mountain that Jesus would retreat to at night to shelter away from the wind. It was not quite a cave, more like a space underneath an overhanging rock with soft earth and some low- growing vegetation along the front. He stretched himself out there and was preparing to sleep, his eyes closed. He found himself suddenly jerked to his feet as though being lifted by some kind of harness under his arms and around his chest. For a fleeting moment he thought this was an hallucination, or he was dreaming a dark dream again. It was neither. He was being physically lifted into the air out of the cavern and over the desert. He heard Lucifer's voice again. “Just relax and enjoy the ride.” Jesus was not perturbed. As he looked down he saw that they were heading out of the desert and towards the city, where they alighted at the top of the spire of the great temple. “Aren’t you afraid?” goaded Lucifer insolently. “No,” said Jesus calmly. “Do you think you are safe then?” “I am in Father’s hands, not yours.” “Then if God is your Father throw yourself down to the ground and let's see what he does. Doesn't even Scripture say ‘Angels are looking after you so you don’t even need to worry that you will bruise your foot on a stone’?” Jesus replied. “Scripture also says 'Don’t put God to the test.' I will never call on angels just to save myself. Father can send them whenever if he wishes. I don't have to prove my power to you.” Lucifer knew he had been beaten, and better to bow out of this one and wait for another day. Jesus felt himself being swept through the air again and back to his ledge, where he sat and gave thanks to Father God and Spirit for giving him wisdom. Lucifer called for one of the greater Prince Powers, the one that he had appointed over Jerusalem. “Give me a report on John the baptizer and his talk about preparing the way for a kingdom.” “He speaks about the kingdom of God which Jesus is to establish somehow during his lifetime on earth. He also calls it the kingdom of heaven. The baptizer has also angered Herod, he won’t last long.” “So Jesus wants to rule the world does he?” “I am sure he does,” said The Prince Power. “And who is the god of this world?” “You are my lord. We worship you.” “I know, and so shall he, Jesus will worship me!” he vented angrily. Jesus had now been thirty days in the desert without food and he was famished. He was feeling weak in his body, but there was a distillation of strength in his spirit. He felt ready for anything. Lucifer appeared again at twilight as he was setting himself for prayer and meditation in his grotto halfway up the lofty mountain. “Let's go for another ride to the top of this mountain. The view is much better from there.” And with that Jesus felt himself again being transported through space, upward, to the top of the high peak above his retreat. Jesus breathed peace into himself. It was a supernatural peace that he could breathe into his spirit like breath into his lungs. It was the peace of his Father in heaven and it was always available to him. When they arrived at the mountain top Lucifer sat opposite Jesus and engaged him face to face. “Do you know that I am the god of this world?” shot Lucifer at Jesus. “I know that is a name you are called by.” “Do you know what that means? It means that I hold sway over kingdoms. It means that I rule. I influence kings and they control people.” Lucifer paused and then went on. “People worship gods.” “I know,” said Jesus. “I am the god of this world, and I hold sway over the kingdoms of this world and so… so if you will bow down and worship me, I will hand over the power and rule of all these kingdoms to you…forever…” There was a dramatic silence. Because of Jesus' humanity and its inherent weakness Jesus could fail at any time and accept the bribe. He could choose, as Adam did, to operate independently from Father, but he chose not to. In standing against Lucifer he was designing the destined victory for the soul of mankind. Part of his mission was to relive the trials of Adam and prove faithful where all other men had failed. “Did you hear me? I said forever! menaced Lucifer. “I heard you.” “And?” “Just leave.” “What?” Incredulously. Jesus muttered the words again without even looking at him. He stood up and looked towards the twilight horizon in its beauty. He turned to Lucifer. “Only The Lord God can be worshiped - There is no other. I will get back without you, I don’t need your transport.” Michael and Gabriel waited for Lucifer to leave then flew in and stood by Jesus on top of the mountain. “Father sent us to take you back.” Jesus slumped to the ground, his body exhausted by his ordeal in the wilderness. The angels swept him up and took him back to his shelter. There he relaxed and felt a surge of energy. He had outlasted Lucifer, a limited being, who is energized by fear, and Jesus had fed him none. Lucifer was utterly spent. Jesus had moved forward into a new spiritual authority. In those forty days he had also moved history forward towards a new authority for the people of God. Jesus became the ultimate spiritual gladiator or swordsman, girded up and ready to overthrow the enemy. In his right hand he wielded the Word of God to cut off the head of deception. In his left hand he used his smothering shield of faith against the menaces of taunts and provocation. He was protected from fear by love, a breastplate of gold covering his heart, and a helmet of truth protecting his mind from disorder. (Philippians 4:6) After his resurrection and ascension Jesus would empower mankind with this same power to overthrow cosmic powers. Those of faith on the earth would stand (Acts 7:55) with Jesus, above these beings and rule over them with a holy and unassailable authority.

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