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The struggle is between the Spirit and the flesh. Our spirit is designed to be in harmony with God’s Spirit, but our flesh gets drawn into a mindset of separation, which brings conflict. If we see ourselves as vessels containing water (the spirit) and oil (the flesh), the oil sits on top and wants to be the sole (soul) expression of who we are and to organize our independent responses to life in this world. So upsets occur and the flesh ‘i am’ reacts to life in conflict with the movement of the Spirit’s I AM. This up-set is a set-up for us to be aware of the unsettled state we are in, which needs to be settled.

THE OIL is the separation mindset (veil) that interacts with our mind and emotions, causing layers of self protective and competitive reactions we have used to survive our pain and grief and to drive ourselves forward in this life. Through childhood and onwards we accumulate separation junk material by going on our own little marches of protest or making demands for attention - carving out our personal I Am/my way. Our felt ‘I am’ gets provoked relentlessly. Matthew 4:3 If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.

THE WATER is our innocent genesis self that waits to be discovered, in our heart where Christ lives with us by faith – hidden treasure. The ever-vigilant Holy Spirit is always prompting us in this space to enable us to respond to Him in life’s challenges rather thank react to what is happening. Our agitated mind will prefer to analyze and judge and blame whatever it can (including ourselves) and get jammed, bound up, entangled, so we must learn to let go. 2Cor. 10:5 We either choose to bear the imprint of an independent mindset that was first experienced by Adam and Eve, or we choose to bear the imprint of The Holy Spirit 1Corinthians 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly…

SANCTIFICATION The process of separation occurs by being still and knowing God (IN BOTH structured and incidental time). We can be still and separate into the sanctifying presence eternally residing in our heart.

Hebrews 2:10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through pain and suffering )( Heb 12.2 hostile flesh...) For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one origin, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to take upon himself the sins of all people. For because he himself has suffered when tried and tested, he is able to help those who are also being tried and tested.

Faith enables the well to be always springing up and as we sit in sanctifying presence it forces the painful murky reservoir to rise to the surface to be poured off the top. The imprinting of pain and sorrow is a felt reality, and is erased by the imprinting of Divine love, the greater reality, through The Holy Spirit (sealed). John 4:14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.We then begin to realize who we really are.

THE PRESENCE PRAYER – I am now here with you. This is a powerful transaction of Holy Spirit within us who is healing us. We don’t try to control or sedate or suppress the painful feelings because God wants to carry them away. He is de-cluttering the room he wants to occupy.

IT MATTERS – IT DOESN’T MATTER 1Peter 5:7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares (melo – matters) for you. When we know it MATTERS FOR GOD it now DOESN’T MATTER for us – we are free.

Process of renewal

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Zech 4:2-10 "What do you see now?" he asked. I answered, "I see a gold lampstand holding seven lamps, and at the top there is a reservoir for the olive oil that feeds the lamps, flowing into them through seven tubes. 3 And I see two olive trees carved upon the lampstand, one on each side of the reservoir. 4 What is it, sir?" I asked. "What does this mean?" 5 "Don't you really know?" the angel asked. "No, sir," I said, "I don't." 6 Then he said, "This is God's message to Zerubbabel: `Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty-- you will succeed because of my Spirit, though you are few and weak.' 7 Therefore no mountain, however high, can stand before Zerubbabel! For it will flatten out before him! And Zerubbabel will finish building this Temple with its capstone in its place shouting 'grace and thanksgiving' for God's mercy, declaring that all was done by grace alone." 8 Another message that I received from the Lord said: 9 "Zerubbabel laid the foundation of this Temple, and he will complete it. (Then you will know these messages are from God, the Lord Almighty.) 10 Do not despise this small beginning, for the eyes of the Lord rejoice to see the work begin, to see the plumbline in the hand of Zerubbabel. For these seven lamps represent the eyes of the Lord that see everywhere around the world." (2Chronicles 16:9 - they see our hearts)

1. Where have we been? – Babylon – The past has been redeemed. Philippians 3:13
2. Where are we going? – Capstone – The future is planned by God – the goal of presence in the temple.
3. Where are we now? – Plumbline – God is happening now – Our alignment with His presence.

These people are a picture of all of us. They had been in captivity to the world. They had been rescued (salvation). They were making a fresh start – renewal. That is all of us all of the time.
The captivity was Babylon – because they did not obey the Sabbath years for 490 years.
The fresh start of renewal was the prophetic word to Zerubbabel (to move away from confusion).

This is one of many stories of Israel in The Old Testament that are parables about the Church, and about our lives. We have been given faith, that if we exercise it, and believe in God's empowering through the Holy Spirit, (another way of saying 'grace'), we will experience a new dimension of powerful change in our lives. He allows us to cut through the unnecessary time wasting factors that our earthbound mindset can generate that trap us in our circumstances because of our reaction to them. We are not trying to fix our circumstances or fix others. Everything is designed to prompt us to call power from God into action – so why get into reaction? (messenger!) . The Holy Spirit allows us to witness within ourselves the supernatural work of God within us overcoming our reaction in us. It is discovery not just recovery.

Note the use of the plumbline. This signifies simply getting started and measuring what has to be measured or kept in alignment. The activity is Being, not Doing! The 'capstone' or finished state reveals a finished work of oneness with Him. God will help us to work on one thing at a time (Do not despise the small beginnings) –‘The eyes of The Lord rejoice to see the work begin!.

The Lord calls Zerubbabel to shout "grace" to the capstone - Shout (say with a depth of earnest humility and expectation) - 'Holy Spirit heal me/change me!’ God wants to flatten the mountains that are like high mountains standing in the way of our knowing Him. It is not by trying to think our way through the mountain with a garden fork.
Only God can do that. The ministry of the Holy Spirit allows us to expect that whatever the enemy has done to destroy our faith, the Lord is able to renew and rebuild out of what has been broken, and to bring restoration to our mind, our emotions, our life and future.

 

Life out of death

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Hebrews 2:14… So he took on a mortal existence. That way he used death victoriously, destroying the one that uses death to hold power over us – the devil. 15. He set us free from that dismal dungeon of mortal existence – the fear of death.
Life in this world is here to teach us to live above it.
Demanding that things of this world change, our way, attaches us to this world instead of to God.
The fear of death is the fear of the loss of the self that is attached to things of this world that try to name us and claim us. How do we let go? So often we try to write our own story. When we accept rather than resist His story, we can know a tremendous freedom. We can live in the ‘what is’, and be the ‘who is’ of God.
Psalm 139:13 You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book! How precious it is, Lord, to realize that you are thinking about me constantly! I can't even count how many times a day your thoughts turn toward me. And when I waken in the morning, you are still thinking of me
What about all the past times of ‘missing the mark? They are redeemed and have all been used to bring us to this awakened ‘now.’ That means all of us.
Colossians 3:3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Who died? The you that is always dying!!)
2Corinthians 5:15. And the fact that he died for all of us means that everyone who is alive should not live for themselves (the self attached to stuff) but rather live with and for him who died and rose for us and with us.
Revelation 3:18 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him…

What does it take to live this kind of resurrection life?
It takes a kind of letting go of one kind of life in preference for another.

Philippians 3:8. I have no problem with letting go of everything I have ever had so that I can have the supreme honour (hold myself above everything else) of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord. I have forsaken everything for him and see it all as meaningless, so that I can make having Christ the most meaningful thing in my life 9. I find the true meaning of life as I find oneness with him. I no longer have to establish myself by my rigid observance of the Law. I am fully established and brought into harmony with God by believing in what Jesus has done and is continually doing for me.10. I long to know and understand him as a person, and to be aware of the power within him that makes what is dead live again. I want to identify with the way he suffered, and let my soul be shaped by his heart of giving up his life for us. 11. If this kind of living is what is meant by bringing life out of death I want to be part of it.

Practicing dying (so we know how to embrace it one day).
It is done in the little things. When we don’t rush in to fill a space, we leave room for God to come in to that space – having or not having (Revelation 3:18) - doing or not doing – obligation/expectation (Romans 13:8), speaking or not speaking (3 rules), thinking or not thinking (imaginations), judging or not judging
(Separation – 1Cor 4:3 – let God judge). We can celebrate life. We can enjoy the things easy to enjoy more and enjoy the hard things just as much.

 

Seated with Him

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People who say they have no belief system do have one. It is the belief that they have no belief system. So they believe or not believe anything they feel to for any period of time that suits them. There is no anchored heart, mind or soul in this. It is bad enough to not have a belief system but very sad to have one and not believe it

Ephesians 2:1-7 God’s own life force has now been activated in you, lifting you out of the deathly void of self-interest and self-delusion. 2. which you once shared with the rest of humanity. We were driven by the desperate self serving attitudes and values of this world that are energized by the power of the prince of darkness, who still holds sway over people who don’t believe and who resist being convinced or persuaded.
3. Once we were all trapped in that way of life, compelled to do whatever our mental and emotional and physical wants and needs demanded of us. Our entire disposition was one of being herded along with everybody else in a torrent of intense feelings that focused us in on ourselves.
4. But God, whose entire disposition is one of overflowing goodness and kindness and love toward us
5. Supernaturally activated the life of his son Jesus into our beings while we were still stuck in our self-absorption and not even looking in his direction. (God’s goodness planned and implemented your salvation)
6. Father raised us up into heaven to be seated with Jesus, sharing his life, all of us together.
7. And in this coming age it will be fully disclosed for all to see the extravagance of his loving goodness and kindness to us that transcends all else through what Jesus did in becoming one of us. (CAV)
Seated means rest – with Him means partnership – Heavenly Places means Kingdom authority over the gravitational pull of the earth.

Colossians 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Our real life is the one that God fills, in or minds and hearts. Things on earth have an enormous gravitational pull upon us because of our emotional and physical needs. These things seem to promise peace and fulfillment but they do not release the flow of God's rich endowment of love and peace that only abides in that space of truth and real faith. That place of reality is consciously in our heart. So it is good to learn to give space for the right space to live and breathe in us. There are countless opportunities for this throughout each day

SO WHO IS THE WE THAT DIED? ARE WE IN TOUCH WITH OUR INNER STATE?
The conscious act of ‘things above’ faith is invited to surrender, to die, to the ‘me self’s’ gravitational pull to the ‘things on earth’. This releases the inner power of God from captivity – Kingdom authority, not ‘things of earth’ bondage.

Ephesians 3:16 to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man
Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
2 Corinthians 5:14 one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

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The example of Peter being freed from prison by the angel in Acts chapter 12 was a powerful sovereign act of God through angels. Peter was suffering a threat to his life. Herod had just imprisoned and beheaded James and had now imprisoned Peter. But Peter, who was not always ready, was now ‘ready’.

Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death).”

Jesus had cause to mention Satan a couple of times to Peter. Once was when Peter told Jesus he did not have to go to the cross. Jesus said ‘get behind me Satan’. Peter didn’t like the idea of suffering (then), but he learned to treasure it. God let Paul have his dealings with Satan also. Paul was buffeted (2Cor 12:7) and hindered (1Thess 2:18) by Satan – but he was never stopped by him because he had authority over the demonic powers of the region –
Acts 19:15 Jesus I know and Paul I recognize but who are you…

Peter had no idea that God was testing his faith. All he could hear was his own fear speaking when he denied The Lord three times – I might go to jail, I might be killed, I might lose my reputation. Peter lived in the stronghold of his fearful mind and he suffered unnecessarily. He had wrong expectations of himself and of God, and of many other things. Peter had to go through intense suffering to be awakened to spiritual reality – Three times Jesus asked Peter ‘do you love me?’ and three times Jesus commissioned his ministry. Then Peter becomes the message of the virtue of suffering in his epistles. Peter learned to live in the prison of hope.

1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, preparing your minds to be ready for action (not reaction), and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

God wants gracious action to flow from our lives – not reaction. That peace and gracious flow comes from a place of settled hope and right expectation. Whatever fear you might be living in right now in the stronghold of imagination does not have to separate you from faith and trust in God, and from the peace that God wants for your life. It awakens you to expel it and hear God. That awakening prepares you for awareness and action, always ready to respond knowing that God is always involved in every aspect of our lives.

 

Two strongholds

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Acts 16:23 Paul and Silas were in a stronghold. There are natural prisons and spiritual prisons.
By faith they swapped prisons, becoming prisoners of hope (Zechariah 9:12 Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope). Q. Who put them in jail? God, the devil, the Romans, the jailer. Ans = Probably all of those.

THE STRONGHOLD OF IMAGINATION – We can be imprisoned by the conflicting thoughts we have about ourselves. Which of those thoughts are true?
2Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; We do away with all the internal debates between our conflicting thoughts (imaginations - logismos – argument/debate of conflicting thoughts - Romans 2:16), and every lofty opinion that raises itself up against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience (attentive hearing) of Christ;
Stronghold means exactly what it says – Something that has a strong hold upon a person – either for safety or for bondage.
Our internal debates (imaginations) hold us in the power of our emotional involvement with our conflicting thoughts (Romans 2:16). These thoughts take on a life of their own. If we put one hopeful proposition to ourselves our mind will think of something that could go wrong to dash those hopes. It is conditioned to debate with itself. ‘If only my circumstances could change. Why is this happening to me?’ could become a stronghold of hopelessness, but ‘If only my thinking could change. You are happening to me’ could become a stronghold of hope

THE STRONGHOLD OF HOPE Zechariah 9:12 Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope;
We put our trust in the most trustworthy and loving of truths – God himself. Anything else is an argument/debate (imagination) against this. Jeremiah 29:11. Decision making can now have freedom and confidence. Prov 16:9

EXPECTATIONS AND ACCEPTANCE
What are our expectations of a) God and the devil, b) our circumstances, other people, and c) ourselves? What do I know is true, what is uncertain, what can I be in control of? a) God (Rom 3:4) and devil Eph 2:1, b) circumstances and others, c) my thinking – These things are what they are. God gives us an ORDERED mind 2Timothy 1:7.
My future depends on my bank account, having what I want, controlling my circumstances.
Our stress or discomfort or frustration etc. is the wake up call to listen to God. Our future depends upon how we are responding to what is – now. Then miracles become commonplace. We don’t seek them, we expect them/surrendered to God. He is in this and he is with me in this. It is not the circumstances that defeat us. It is our reactions to them and our thinking that defeat us. Why did God let IT happen? (IT happens a lot). IT is a trial of faith… Without IT Abraham would not have been Abraham.1Corinthians 10:13 1Peter 1:6

WHAT ABOUT SPIRITUAL WARFARE? Why did God let the devil do that to me? (God does that a lot – Job, Jesus, Peter Luke 22:31, Paul 2Cor 12:7, you, me…) But I rebuked the devil and he still did it. Ans = The devil will not do what we tell him to do. He doesn’t do what God tells him, so why us. Just remember that he is a limited being! SO spiritual warfare is more about us not doing what the devil tells us to think and to do, rather than us telling him what to do. He gets into our heads and tells us we are not worth thinking about, victims, not loved, cheated… He is the liar (John 10:10). We recover ourselves out of the snare of the devil… (2Timothy 2:24-26)

GOD’S IDEA OF US IS WRITTEN IN A BOOK Ps 139
Psalm 139:13 You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book! How precious it is, Lord, to realize that you are thinking about me constantly! I can't even count how many times a day your thoughts turn toward me. And when I waken in the morning, you are still thinking of me

 

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Acts 16: 21. They are teaching a philosophy and a practice that is not acceptable or even lawful for us to receive as Romans. 22. So the multitude rose up against them while the magistrates tore off their clothing and commanded that they be flogged. 23. When they had flogged them severely they cast them into prison, telling the jailor to lock them away securely. 24. When the jailor heard this he put them both into maximum security and chained them up with their feet secured in timber shackles. 25. At midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing praises to God and all the other prisoners could hear them.
26. Suddenly there was such an earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken, and all the doors of the prison flew open and all the prisoners’ chains fell off. 27. This woke up the jailor who then saw the prison doors open and drew out his sword to kill himself, thinking that the prisoners had all escaped
28. But Paul cried out to him in a loud voice and said ‘Don’t do yourself any harm; we are all still here. 29. The jailor called for a light and ran into their cell and fell down on the ground shaking, at the feet of Paul and Silas. 30. He brought them out of the cell and said to them; ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ 31. They said; ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, as will your entire household’ 32. Then Paul and Silas spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all that belonged to his household. 33. The jailor then took Paul and Silas and bathed their wounds from the flogging, and was then baptized, along with all of his household. 34. Then he took them into his home and set a table of food before them. It was a time of great joy, believing in God, with his entire household.

1. The story of God’s reality in Jesus Christ challenged the philosophy and practice of the Roman world and its law.
2. The tellers and doers of this life and practice were punished and silenced and locked away.
3. Paul and Silas sang praise to God in the midst of this midnight hour darkness.
4. God intervened - an earthquake, destruction of the prison, everybody set free – chains fell off.
5. Hopelessness, futility and despair of life fell upon the man with the useless keys of imprisonment.
6. The man with the useless keys heard the voice of Paul, called for light, and shaking, asked to be saved
7. He was told to believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and his household would be saved.
8. Paul and Silas spoke the word of God to the whole household.
9. The man bathed their wounds, then he and his household were baptized.
10. There was a great celebration in the man’s home for all, with food shared at table, and great joy in believing in God.

THE REALITY
1 Corinthians 8: 6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we live in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we exist through him.
7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: (Holy Spirit revelation)

Faith that brings the true freedom of salvation here on earth has arrived. Faith is our discovery of God’s reality. We discover, then acknowledge, then commit, with our will to that reality. It is like being in a dark room, then someone turns the light on and we realize we are at a celebration party, and we join in, and hear the music and the laughter (Luke 15:7). Everything can now change.
If we live in the awareness of this reality of the determined fellowship of the Father and the Son toward us we will be swept up in the bigness of their goodness and love, and will be the manifestation of God by His Spirit.
Something true and powerful and loving from God is waiting to find expression in the earth. The soul of man is groping in darkness but it is searching perhaps now more than ever in history. At some point society realizes failure somewhere. And now it is everywhere. Some dreams have become nightmares, and ‘all creation groans, imprisoned, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God’.

 

Such a time as this

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DO NOT HINDER THE CHILDREN
Matthew 19:13 Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid (hinder/defraud) them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” And He laid His hands on them and departed from there.

Ephesians 5:30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

JUDGING THE WORLD
1 Corinthians 5:12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges

JESUS CAME TO SAVE THE WORLD NOT TO CONDEMN IT
The woman caught in adultery - Zaccheus the covetous tax collector.
1 Timothy 2:1Here are my directions: Pray much for others; plead for God's mercy upon them; give thanks for all he is going to do for them. Pray in this way for kings and all others who are in authority over us, or are in places of high responsibility, so that we can live in peace and quietness, spending our time in godly living and thinking much about the Lord. This is good and pleases God our Savior, for he longs for all to be saved and to understand this truth:

GOD WILL DEAL WITH THOSE IN GOVERNMENT
Ephesians 1:21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Daniel 7:25 He will defy the Most High God and wear down the saints with persecution, and he will try to change all laws, morals, and customs. God's people will be helpless in his hands for three and a half years.
Esther 4:14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for your people from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

www.acl.org.au coalitionformarriage.com.au www.marriagealliance.com.au

 

The life of the cross

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Luke 9:23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

The daily life of the cross is about having an understanding of the vertical and horizontal dimensions of the cross of Jesus, and finding God’s presence in the very centre of the cross in our lives. The vertical dimension is the ‘being’ dimension of our life in the cross, and the horizontal dimension is the ‘doing’ dimension of our life in the cross. We find ourselves in the very centre if we practice being still enough to connect to both at the one time. The horizontal ‘doing’ is always moving through time across our vertical ‘being’.

Colossians 1:16 All things were created through Him and for Him. He was before all else began and it is his power that holds everything together. He is the Head of the body, his Church--which he began; and he is the Leader of all those who arise from the dead, so that he is first in everything; for God wanted all of himself to be in his Son.
It was through what his Son did that God cleared a path for everything to come to him--all things in heaven and on earth--for Christ's death on the cross has made God one together with us all.

The Laminin molecule has proteins that form a cross, giving a structure that can bind to other cell membrane . The three shorter arms are particularly good at binding to other laminin molecules, which allows them to form sheets. The long arm is capable of binding to cells, which helps anchor organized tissue cells to the membrane.

 

 

 

A serving heart

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A SERVING HEART

Matthew 20:20 Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.”But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.” So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the world lord it over people, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

THE PLAN – CHAPTER 14 - INSTRUCTION

They heard the approaching sound of voices talking excitedly, and especially loud and excited was the voice of a woman. It turned out to be James and John arriving with their mother, who was greeted warmly by them all, as she was a woman well known for her religious zeal. She knelt down, facing Jesus, with her two sons standing behind her.
“Jesus, I have a favor to ask of you concerning my two sons. I know that they are favorites of yours, which is wonderful, as they are very special boys. So I was wondering if you might give them a special place in your kingdom, to be seated next to you, one on your right hand and one on your left. I don’t mind which side, as that would be entirely up to you.” There was a stunned silence.
Peter could contain himself no longer. He let out a loud explosive ‘Baah!’ like the bellow of an ox in distress. Similar irate sounds and heated words were hurled at the two sons, from the rest of the disciples, and then even at one another, as it became clear that they were all coveting some special position one day, if not right now.

Jesus knew he had a difficult situation on his hands, so he addressed the mother first.
“You don’t know what you are asking for. It cannot be done that way.”
He helped her to her feet and she stood, shaken. Then Jesus addressed the men.
“What you are all wanting for yourselves is not even mine to give. Father has given you all to me, but he alone gives place and position as he sees fit. I will give you instruction and teaching and serve as an example for you to follow, but if you are to follow me then you must follow all the way. I have a cup of pain and sorrow that I must drink, and an ordeal of suffering that I must go through. Are you able to share that with me, instead of some position of importance that you think you deserve?”
“Yes Master,” they all said, nodding and mumbling sheepishly to each other, sobered by the rebuke, and surprised at the meanness that they had witnessed in their own hearts. Jesus went on.
“Well you have been called by my Father to share just that, and you can get your minds off anything else. You cannot behave like the Empire rulers. They like positions of power so that they can dominate others, using fear to get what they want out of them. That is not the proper use of authority.”
“We are truly sorry,” said James.
“I have not finished yet, so please listen. I will know that you have demonstrated true authority when I see you serving one another, not competing with one another. This is the way it has to be in my kingdom. I have been sent to serve, not to be served, and to lay down my life for others. This does not stop me from having complete authority in all that I have been called to do. It is the same with you, and for all who want to follow me.”
They lifted their downcast eyes one by one to look at him, expecting to see anger in his face, but all they saw was kindness.
“Just because I have to correct you doesn’t mean that I don’t love you. In fact it means that I do love you.”
They believed him. That day they learned a lot about God and a lot about themselves. They realized one thing above all else, that they could not live life without God. No one could.

“Could you teach us how to pray?” asked John.
Jesus thought for a moment then he knew exactly what he had to say. “Let me tell you how I pray.”
They sat up as one and prepared their minds and hearts to hear what he had to say.
“The first thing I think of is my Father, and of how I respect him and honor his name, Father. I think of the fact that he has made me to be who I am, and who I am comes from who he is. My life on earth exists because his life exists. This connects me to him, and he is always waiting for that connection, always.

Then I tell him that I want everything in my life to go according to his plan, the one he has thought of for His heavenly Kingdom, and for his will to be done on earth according to that plan.

I then ask him to provide for me all that I need for his plan to work out in my life. This takes away any insecurity about my personal needs. I thank him for pouring out his forgiveness upon a struggling humanity, and for allowing me to flow with him in this towards others. I also ask for protection from the evil plans of The Lie, who wants me to become independent from Father, the way he did.

After that I just give glory and honor to him in praise, telling him how great and awesome he is. Then I just relax and wait for what he puts in my spirit for us to talk about.”

He sat and waited.
Thomas had a question.
“How can we have the confidence to approach Father God like that? We are not like you, we are sinners. We feel shut away from him when we have let God down by being selfish. There are all kinds of things that we keep getting wrong.” He looked at his companions to see what they might say, or if they would just remain silent and let him look the fool. James coughed nervously, then stammered out,
“The worst thing I find about myself is that I tend to judge others for their faults and not see my own glaring mistakes.”
John edged forward and said tentatively,
“There are times when I just want my own way, and being kind like you is the last thing I think of.”
The kindness of Jesus again washed over their souls.
“Father knows that you fail quite often and that not one of you can be the person you would like to be, but nobody can escape the tug of the ‘Me’ self and its need to have its own way.” He looked at Peter who finally decided to speak up, the words rushing out of his bursting heart.
“I get dragged away by something dark inside of me that makes me want to defend myself. I find I have no room for God in my heart at times like that.”

Jesus leaned forward.
“There is only one way that you can rise above that tug from the darkness inside all of you, and that is by living each moment within the love of Father God. He has always wanted this for you and for every other person ever born.”
Jesus paused for a moment, and waited for this truth to sink into their minds.
“He can put aside all your wrongdoing and not let it come between you and him. He can draw you into the same love that he has with me, that is his Plan. But I must die first, lose my life for you, then rise up and present that life to Father, then I will be able to give you that life, and the same closeness with Father that I have.”
“How will this happen?” asked John.
“I am creating a new heart for humanity, a new motivation for living, so that everyone can enjoy and share in the love that exists between Father and me. Holy Spirit will place that amazing love in the hearts of all who ask for it.”

 John 12:25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.

Losing our life to save it is when the ‘me’ self makes way for the ‘Jesus with me’ self which is the true self. That is the narrow way that leads to life. ‘If any one serves me him my Father will honor’ (to honor means Father recognizing what we do as honoring Jesus and himself – not ourselves - out of our hearts) The ‘me’ self can live it's own life and follow its own idea of serving and not be where the ‘Jesus and me’ is going to.
That is where Jesus has to say as in - yes I saw you doing a lot of things saying you were doing them in my name but I never knew you (Matthew 7:23). Jesus was preparing his disciples for this narrow way - but they had to wait till the Holy Spirit had come before they could enter into it. Holy Spirit has arrived and now true serving can happen.
God is not impressed with our performance, at least he does not have confidence in it, as also Paul in his flesh (Philippians 3:4). But God has confidence in his empowered performance within our hearts in doing the best we can. His mercy overrides our imperfect performance when our hearts are knit with his. (don’t have to think of what it looks like before man, but what our heart is before the Father)

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