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Zerubbabel was the leader of 50,000 exiles returning from Babylon (A place of bondage), and he surveys the rebuilding of the temple. The Samaritans brought about an order from the Persian government to halt construction. Preoccupation with other personal demands on their lives and pressures that came from facing a time of radical change had drained their energies. Comparisons to stories of the glory of the former temple began to breed discouragement that they could never rebuild it as well, if at all.
If we want to be in the perfect will of God where do we start?
We start by the small beginning of thanking The Lord that we are in His will. (1Thessalonians 5:18)Å
Zechariah 4:10 Do not despise this small beginning, for the eyes of the Lord rejoice to see the work begin.
How do we start?
God encouraged Zerubbabel to call upon His grace and the power of the Holy Spirit to get the work done.

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." (TLB)

Grace means that it is not our power but God's which moves obstacles.
As individuals also, we are each a temple of the Lord. The Lord calls us to act to release His grace.
Note the use of the plumbline or spirit level. This signifies simply getting started and measuring what had to be measured.

There is our work in believing and there is God’s work in achieving. Then the 'capstone' or finished state demonstrates a true and finished work. God will help us to work on one thing at a time. When time becomes an enemy in your mind then turn it into eternity through stillness. This depends on whether you value more the things of time than the things of eternity.
The faithful work is ours – the supernatural work is God’s. There is our work in believing and there is God’s work in achieving.
The Holy Spirit teaches us that whatever the enemy has done to destroy our faith, the Lord is able to recover, reclaim, restore, renew, rebuild out of what has been broken, and to bring restoration to our soul, to our character, to our life and future.

God shares his will with your spiritual renewed mind but the natural mind demands its will of you which is the opposite to freedom or what we call free will. When the natural self will asserts its opposition to Gods will it is acting against its spiritually created true inner self. It even encourages you to oppose Gods will because it feels like it's missing out and not in control. The result is dissatisfaction and confusion in the soul. Gods will is free will because it is always loving and productive and totally without coercion.

The reality is that you and God are one - of one spirit. So Gods will and your will are actually the same. The result is clarity and satisfaction in the soul.

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There are certain questions for which it is hard for the natural mind to get an answer from God. These are; asking God WHEN he is going to do something, or WHY he has not yet done something or WHY he has allowed something to happen - what is the meaning and purpose? The answer we usually get from God is wait – and you will see.

God does not mind that the natural mind wants to know these things. But there is one thing that you can know for certain in your spiritual mind – and that is that God IS at work in the situation and that we must never give up trusting him to bring about an understanding of his will and purpose for us no matter what the situation happens to be. He is telling us to live by faith, trusting him totally.

God is in command and in charge of every detail to bring about his purpose for us and he is committed to showing us who he is and what he is like, and what he is doing. What God wants us to get is a greater revelation of him in our spiritual mind, not a better explanation from him in our natural mind. He always gives us what he wants us to know, not always what we want to know. We get a new view of God and we grow in faith and trust – but we learn to hang in there and endure and be patient, and to know the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

Habakkuk could not understand all the strife and injustice that was happening in the Nations round about him and he wanted God to do something but he was told by God that God’s plan of action would be revealed at an appointed time and ‘It would surely come and it would not be late’.

Habakkuk 2:3 ‘the revelation is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not be late. 4. For the just shall live by faith. And so too for us…

Hebrews 10:35 So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to know and be part of Gods purpose for you’. Then you will receive all that he has promised. For the just shall live by faith

So the natural mind still has questions because we know that God has said;

Isaiah 55:8-9 My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are My ways your ways… As high as the heavens are above the earth, so are my thoughts above your thoughts.

The New Covenant answers all such questions in the following way;

1Corinthians 2:14 Spirit can be known only by spirit—God's Spirit and our spirits in open communion. Spiritually alive, we have access to everything God's Spirit is doing, and can't be judged by unspiritual critics. Isaiah's question, "Is there anyone around who knows God's Spirit, anyone who knows what he is doing?" has been answered: Christ knows, and we have the mind of Christ.

We can be perplexed but not in despair because a new kind of meaning and hope lives within us.

Stille Nacht

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On Christmas Eve of 1914 in the first year of battle (17 million died in the course of the war) one of the most unusual events in military history took place on the western front. The weather abruptly became cold, freezing the water and slush of the trenches in which the men were bunkered. ‘No man’s land’ was covered in snow that Christmas eve afternoon.

On the German side, soldiers began lighting candles. British sentries reported to commanding officers that there appeared to be small lights raised on poles or bayonets - the British held their fire. Even more amazing, British officers saw through binoculars, that some enemy troops were holding Christmas trees over their heads with lighted candles in their branches. The message was clear: The Germans, who celebrated Christmas on the eve of December 25th, were extending holiday greetings to the enemy.

Within moments, the British began to hear a few German soldiers singing a Christmas carol. It was soon picked up along the German line as soldiers joined in harmonizing. The words were these: “Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!” British troops immediately recognized the melody as “Silent Night, Holy Night” and began singing in English. The singing quickly neutralized hostilities and, one by one, British and German soldiers began laying down their weapons to venture into no-man’s land separating the two sides. So many soldiers on both sides ventured out that superior officers were prevented from objecting. An undeclared truce erupted and peace broke out.

That night, enemy soldiers sat around a campfire. They exchanged small gifts—chocolate bars, buttons, badges, and small tins of processed beef. Men, who only hours earlier had been shooting to kill, were now sharing Christmas festivities and showing each other family snapshots. The truce ended just as it had begun, by mutual agreement.

But in one particular area some higher ranking officers who were at a considerable distance from the action ordered artillery fire upon ‘no man’s land’ and soldiers on both sides scattered back to their trenches.

“Silent Night,” the carol that briefly stopped World War I, is the most recognizable of Christmas songs and can be heard in shopping centres, churches, parks and on TV around the planet. Ironically, the world might never have had this piece of music had it not been for a last-minute crisis at a church in the tiny village of Oberndorf, Austria. The year was 1818 and within the church of St. Nicholas the mood was hardly one of joy that Christmas Eve afternoon. Curate Joseph Mohr, age 26, had just discovered that the organ was badly damaged. For the music, Mohr turned to Franz Gruber, a friend who was more skilled at composing than he was. Gruber was a teacher at nearby Arnsdorf. Mohr realized the only music for that evening would be led by guitar. The two agreed that Mohr would play his guitar and sing tenor while Gruber sang bass. Following each stanza, the church choir would join in on the refrain. The world now joins in year by year.

The insanity of that vicious war could not have been interrupted by such heavenly peace by any other spirit than the Spirit of God heralding the universal unifying truth of the birth of Jesus as saviour of the world. Every human being has this message planted deeply within them (the Logos), and only the Holy Spirit can awaken hearts in any situation, at any time, no matter how conflicted or violent, to draw people to Jesus.

What was really happening that day – in eternal terms? 2Corinthians 4:18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

This is a foretaste of what we can expect as the world becomes more and more conflicted and divided in these days, that Jesus becomes the light in hearts blinded by darkness and separation. Satan’s weapon is darkness and the darkness is the lie, and the lie is that we are separated from God and from one another; while Holy Spirit’s message is that we are made one in Jesus Christ. The next move of God will be the grace that awakens the conscious awareness of that love and unity with Jesus and the Father and one another, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

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Two of the four gospels, Mathew and Luke, start with the account of Jesus birth.– Mark starts with the ministry of Jesus. But what about John’s Gospel? He starts way before the birth of Jesus – back to the beginning – the beginning of time itself, when the world was created. His opening statement is: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word WAS God.” Then in vs.14 John says: ‘And The Word became Human and lived with us…’

This is the beginning of the Christmas story! Jesus is called ‘The Word - Logos' - The principle of divine reason and creative order. He could have been called ‘The Thought - alogismos’ or ‘The Act - poeisis’, or ‘The Feeling - Pathos’. But these would not have had the same clarity as ‘The Word’. ‘The Thought’ could have left us still wondering what the thought was, just as would ‘The Feeling’. And ‘The Act’ would have made us just mere spectators of some mighty deed.

No – It had to be ‘The Word’. The principle of divine reason and creative order. The Word is the expression and articulation of Who God is. Jesus was, and still is the Logos, summing up everything that can be said about Who God is, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (NB The Word of the Kingdom Matt13)

Hebrews 1:3 …He is the radiance of the glory of God, the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the Word (Logos) of his power. (ESV)

1Peter 1:23 having been born again not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible seed through the Word (Logos) of God which lives and abides forever.

At a pre-determined time in history Divinity joined Humanity and a new species was born – Homo Divinicus. He had come to plant the Divine Logos into Humanity for all time. Humanity is now lifted into a new plane of intelligent existence. Jesus was the incorruptible seed, the Logos, planted in us as he went into the ground and died and rose again in all of us.

James 1.21 Receive with meekness the implanted Logos that redesigns and shapes your soul.  This now creates our reality shaping our thoughts and our emotions. It creates what we do. Humanity is now lifted into a Heavenly position, and ANY human can have 'the principle  of divine reason and creative order' - that is Jesus as Logos fully expressing Who God is in their daily life – He became human to live with us. He has joined Himself to us because Jesus wants humanity on earth to express God.

The Jesus Word is our blueprint that will live in us and bring understanding, truth and wisdom into any and every situation we face. He will inspire acts of virtue and courage, feelings of joy and peace, and most of all, plant love deep within our hearts. It is no wonder this event is celebrated around the world every year – even by people who do not understand or believe in the cosmic truth it contains. It is universal – it is to be believed by ALL of humanity because it is for ALL humanity.

Above all kingdoms

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ABOVE ALL KINGDOMS 

John 3:27 John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven (- we can try to take) yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and his speech is of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all KINGDOMS!

 

Hebrews 12:25 So don't turn a deaf ear to Him who speaks these gracious words. If those who ignored earthly warnings didn't get away with it, what will happen to us if we turn our backs on heavenly warnings? His voice that time shook the earth to its foundations; this time—he's told us this quite plainly—he'll also rock the heavens: "One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern." The phrase "one last shaking" means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered.

Do you see what we've got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander…

 

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given;

And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end.

 

WHO IS IN CHARGE?

 

Kingdoms are spheres of influence that determine the general terms of our lives, our freedom, our opportunities, our safety and our comfort. Our lives and well-being are affected by the deliberations of whatever authority is in power. Some worldly kingdoms are more visible than others, and two of them are invisible – The kingdom of darkness, and the Kingdom of God. 

 

GOD’S KINGDOM WORD IS DELIBERATE AND DETERMINED

 

There are still some extremely oppressive dictators in the Middle East (Daniel Ch.2). There is much kingdom oppression happening globally at the moment ranging from terrorist warfare through revolution and violent protest. There are some extremely confusing issues with leadership in Europe. There are still extremely conflicted and contentious issues with leadership in USA. And there is some general bewilderment regarding leadership in Australia. In ordinary cities and suburbs in the western world there is a sense of being not just leaderless but rudderless All of these issues bring oppression and anxiety and negativity to some degree in peoples’ lives. But God is fully in charge.

One of the greatest blessings a person can have is to be rescued from an oppressive kingdom and placed in a benevolent kingdom (Salvation). In the spiritual realm there is kingdom within you, and indeed within everybody, waiting to be claimed and proclaimed. This kingdom is above all kingdoms. God is drawing people to the discovery of this kingdom in these days. 

Colossians 1:13 He has drawn us out from the domain of darkness and placed us within the Kingdom dominion of his beloved Son.

 

Everybody is under the influence of one or another invisible kingdoms and most people do not know they even exist.

 

Ephesians 2:1 God’s own life force has now been activated in you, lifting you out of the deathly void of self absorption and self gratification, 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 don’t know any better. 

 

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)

Father gave us a place in heaven and a shared life with Jesus, which is available for anyone to experience

SO OUR RESPONSE OF FAITH MUST BE AS DETERMINED AND DELIBERATE AS HIS WORD KINGDOM POWER WITHIN US

 

 

 

Preparing the Way

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Just as John the Baptist prepared the way for the Christmas story of Jesus’ birth, he also prepared the WAY for the Kingdom life of Jesus to be lived in us. Jesus spoke about John powerfully ‘forcing’ his way into the Kingdom, but Jesus spoke about this as ‘preparing the way’ for himself to finally release the power of his Kingdom life into us.

The Old Testament often uses the example of one person being taken away so that another person can take their place. The New Testament is about transforming the one person into a new kind of person. Esau/Jacob, Saul/David, John/Jesus.

Matthew 11:11 "Let me tell you what's going on here: No one in history surpasses John the Baptizer; but in the kingdom he came to prepare you for, the lowliest person is ahead of him. For a long time now people have tried to force themselves into God's kingdom. (Message Bible)

Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. (NKJ)

Matthew 11:12 The days of John the Baptist have ushered in a vigourous taking hold of the Kingdom of God up till now, and forceful people have been forcing themselves into it. (CAV)

John the Baptist took heavenly things to himself by earthly force, but Jesus releases the force of heavenly things into us through our faith. The first-stage of preparation life is what you were born with. The second-stage life of the WAY is what you were born for (There is no age boundary). John knew what he had to do – he handed over. John’s disciples came to John wanting to know who he was, in relation to Jesus.

John 3:27 John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and his speech is of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.

Jesus was letting the people know that the time was coming when instead of having to force your way into the kingdom, His kingdom of authority and rule over all things, would find its way into your heart and its loving powerful force would flow through you. It is a different spiritual energy. It is from above and it lifts you above. It surges into you and subdues you, if you are willing to receive it, and yield to it. God’s kingdom is not passively waiting for people to wander in. It moves through all things and sweeps you along with it. Everything belongs in and to this kingdom. (Wordsworth)

The first voice is us telling ourselves to work harder in our own strength for spiritual and material goals. That is not a bad thing; it is just the lesser thing. The second voice is the bridegroom saying I’m here to help you, to give you rest, but even more productivity, more wisdom, more fulfilled relationships, more appreciation of life’s beauty. The second stage of life, the Way, is concern for the content of the vessel, having it filled from the above/within presence of Jesus, and pouring from it the goodness of God. We can all experience both halves of this full and abundant life. God’s grace So what voice do we hear? One voice must give way to the other. We let him have his voice through us.

First-stage ‘prepare the Way’ life wants to have what it loves – Second-stage ‘Way’ life loves what it has. The first-stage life is necessary, and the world would be a dreary unproductive place without it, and a better-prepared vessel can manage the right contents with more wholeness. We can actually live both halves most of the time. They interplay with each other. But without the second-stage life the world (and the church) can become hectic, frantic, conflicted and even quite scary. Corporate and institutional doing doesn’t often validate or reward second-stage being/new kind of doing.

Second stage doing doesn’t have to judge people harshly like it used to, or have to proclaim or force its opinions on others. It can see its own preparation-stage high energy in others and compassionately accept that, as it accepts its own. This vessel allows God to be the human being/doing He can be through our own lives. Love and relationships rule. This reality is waiting to be discovered in our life circumstances as a wake up ‘call’ to powerful things hidden within us. God hides his ‘getting it right’ in the midst of our ‘getting it wrong’. Only God could think of that. Our faith realizes and discovers this firstly through God’s grace, and secondly through the torch of conscious alert presence.

LINES WRITTEN ABOVE TINTERN ABBEY – William Wordsworth

For I have learned to look on nature, not as in the hour of thoughtless youth;

But hearing oftentimes the still, sad music of humanity,

not harsh nor grating, Though of ample power to chasten and subdue.

And I have felt a presence that disturbs me with the joy of elevated thoughts;

A sense sublime of something far more deeply interfused,

Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, and the round ocean And the living air, and the blue sky,

And in the mind of man; a motion and a spirit, that impels all thinking things,

All objects of all thought, and rolls through all things.

Cup of blessing

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Any nation that claims to be a 'Nation under God' will at times have its heart revealed. (Matthew 25:32, Luke 12:48).

Psalm 75:8. In Gods hand there is a cup of mixed wine. It is his judgment (crisis of accountability), poured out upon the ungodly of the earth. They must drain that cup to the dregs. The psalms speak of a number of cups in the Lord’s hands – There is a cup of salvation (Psalm 116:13), and a cup of blessing (Psalm 23).

But psalm 60 says that before the cup of blessing and salvation there will come another cup. Psalm 60:2 O God, You have cast us off; You have broken us down; You have been displeased; Oh, restore us again! You have made the earth tremble; You have broken it; Heal its breaches, for it is shaking. You have shown Your people hard things; You have made us drink the wine of humiliation and confusion. You have given to those who fear You an unfurled flag, that it may be displayed because of the truth.

God’s judgment (crisis of accountability) is for the purpose of redemption, not punishment. The Chinese character for crisis has two elements; one is danger and the other is opportunity. The danger is being manifest right now, in the polarity and conflict seen in the global media warfare that is taking place, particularly in the USA. There is also opportunity for God’s grace of salvation and blessing as God disciplines a nation under God to bring his love and truth to them. God wants to get people to trust him but he has to disrupt their trust in man and in self so that they will call on his name, and so receive His salvation and blessing.

Psalm 23 establishes prophetically the Lordship of Jesus not as a Lord and servant relationship but a shepherd and sheep relationship. The psalm starts with the Chief Shepherd caring for his flock, and then finishes with his people being blessed with the cup of blessing in his own house, around his own table, forever.

PSALM 23 The first four verses are his cup of salvation message and the last two are his cup of blessing message

Psalm 23 – THE CUP RUNS OVER.

SALVATION 1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want

2. He makes me to lie down in green pastures - He leads me beside the still waters

3.He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake

4.Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me, Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

BLESSING

5. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.

6. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever. 

 

There is a cup

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There is a cup

Any nation that claims to be a 'Nation under God' will at times have its heart revealed. (Matthew 25:32, Luke 12:48).

Psalm 75:1 How we thank you, Lord! Your mighty miracles give proof that you care. "Yes,"the Lord replies,"and when I am ready, I will deal with the ungodly! Though the earth shakes and all its people live in turmoil, yet its pillars are firm, for I have set them in place!" 4. I warned the proud to cease their arrogance! 5. I told the ungodly to lower their insolent gaze and I said Do not brandish the horn of power, and to cease being so stubborn. 6. For promotion and power come from nowhere on earth, but only from God. 7. He promotes one and deposes another. 8. In Gods hand there is a cup of mixed wine. It is his judgment (crisis of accountability), poured out upon the ungodly of the earth. They must drain that cup to the dregs. 9. But as for me, I shall forever declare the praises of the God of Jacob. 10. "I will cut off the strength of those who do evil," says the Lord," and increase the power of the godly in their place."

This psalm contains three striking signs. The first sign is the picture of a shaking world, (vs.4). These are the times in which we live today- unsteady, shaken, and insecure. Enormous disorder is in the earth, and unrest is being felt across the world. But God intervenes, so trust him (I have set the pillars in place). The second sign is that of the horn that symbolises power, majesty, and dignity, (four times in the psalms). However, these can be raised in pride and defiance, as in verses 5-6. Which ever party gets into power at any given time, there will be the temptation to think man is in charge and not God. Vs.6. For promotion and power come from nowhere on earth, but only from God. 7. He promotes one and deposes another. Verses 5 and 6 are God's word of warning to the boastful and ungodly, collectively, both those who deny his lordship or those who try to use his name for their own ends. Those who exalt themselves instead of trusting in him are denying the fundamental nature of reality: God is in charge, and His dealings will come. To those who truly call themselves God’s people this is a word of hope. The third sign is that of the cup of mixed wine of judgment (crisis of accountability) in the hand of God (v 9). The psalms speak of a number of cups in the Lord’s hands – There is a cup of salvation (Psalm 116:13), and a cup of blessing (Psalm 23).

But psalm 60 says that before the cup of blessing and salvation there will come another cup.

Psalm 60:2 O God, You have cast us off; You have broken us down; You have been displeased; Oh, restore us again! You have made the earth tremble; You have broken it; Heal its breaches, for it is shaking. You have shown Your people hard things; You have made us drink the wine of humiliation and confusion. You have given a banner to those who fear You, that it may be displayed because of the truth.

There has been longsuffering from God, which means He waits till the people’s collective behaviour has filled the cup that is in His hand and he will make them (and us) drink it. He tips everything upside down so that all expectations are dashed. When the cup is drunk there comes a realization by many that God is in charge – the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Chaos will erupt, but God’s steadying hand will be there to restore order. God wants to get people to trust him but he has to disrupt their trust in man and in self so that they will call on his name. Then they will see the cup in God's hand for what it is.

The psalm ends with the promise that ‘The horns of power of the ungodly will be cut off, but those of the godly will be lifted up’ (who are the godly?). This is the basis for those who truly fear the Lord to give thankful praise to God.

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Paul wrote Romans chapters 7 and 8 to open up to us the mystery and the paradox of faith. We are aware of two things happening at once – our weakness and his strength. God always present and God always active – but not seen. This requires a life of faith. This is the life to which we are now accountable – to fulfill the destiny of the person we were created to be. Hebrews 11:6.

Romans 7:10 And the wise rules that were ordained to lead to a life of fulfillment in fact led to a life of misery.   
11 For my flawed and defective nature trapped me into reacting to the imposition of those rules and caused the rules to destroy me.       
12 But the reality is that the rules are right and appropriate and the regulations are fair and just.        
13 Does that mean that something that is good and right was designed to confuse and destroy me? No way! The point is this; My flawed nature, in order to be seen as defective as it really is, has had to be shown up in such a contradiction as this; that the good Commandments that were supposed to make me good actually made me look bad and feel bad.
17 Moreover it is not really the essential me that is doing those things but the flaw of a defective humanity that has its home in me.18 For now I fully realize that within that dwelling place of my imperfect humanity there is nothing of any lasting virtue at all. My true self intends to act with the purest of motive and intention, but when it comes to living it out, the capacity just isn’t there.
Romans 8:1. So there is a ‘not guilty for being a flawed human’ verdict understood by every human being who knows what Jesus Christ has done for humanity and who takes this on as the way to live life.
2. Because the Spirit principle of sharing life together with Jesus in his divine existence sets us free from being trapped in the cycle of sin and its deathly consequences.
3. The law could not achieve this result because it was limited to what our flawed humanity could achieve. But God sent his own son who took on this limited capacity of flawed humanity and who lived perfectly within its weakness, breaking for all time the hold that this death-lock had always held upon mankind.
4. So that the right living that the law commanded could now flow freely from us who live a shared life together with Jesus in his divinity instead of a life isolated and limited by its own flawed condition.

We are a flawed human being operating a new and miraculous operating system.
We were once a flawed human being operating a flawed operating system. 

The old operating system demanded performance – if you wanted to please God.
It was all about regulations and it made you look stupid and feel inadequate and ashamed about falling short. The heart might want to please God but the system was weighted against you because error messages would come up all the time and stop your spiritual progress. Guilt and shame outweighed freedom and peace and joy. 
We can be acutely aware of our flawed self. BUT faith says ‘learn to live with your flawed self, but at the same time live with the new operating system of the joined self.

So now we sit at this new keyboard and key in our yielded but limited and often weary life and God graces it with his love and wisdom.
The password is JESUS. It can’t be hacked into by the devil. He uses the other old operating system – he’s a master of it.
This allows for the peace to reside in us and it allows for the love to flow through us and it cares not for the uncertainty. You cannot be certain of the future circumstances but you can be certain of your present faith in the goodness of God to order those circumstances.

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MEASURE OF THE STATURE
God wants to be the best kind of a human being he can be through us (James 4:3). He was able to be the best of all through Jesus and he has ‘begun a good work in us’ (Philippians 1:6) – and he wants to win over our will to his (Philippians 2:13). And he has the power to subdue all things in us to transform us to himself (Philippians 3:21). 

THREE STAGES OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH.
Before our spiritual growth starts God starts by drawing our hearts from trusting in the world into trusting in him (John 12:32,John 16:8).  

CHILDHOOD – Dependant  - not wanting control but wanting comfort safety and security. Matt 18:3– God accepts and blesses. This is the way to enter into the Kingdom of God. It is not the way God wants us to remain (Hebrews 5:13)

ADOLESCENCE - Needy and often demanding – God responds to us lovingly but firmly, often having to say no. He meets our needs and teaches (disciples) us into maturity (1John 2:27) where dependence starts to get blended with an active receptivity. The lesson is life. The challenge here is that where we once trusted as a child we might now question as an adolescent. We know more facts about spiritual life than before and we start to think more rationally and start to challenge things that challenge us. We can get attached to our idea of what is just or fair for us personally. God says ‘What you call unfairness not all my fault. You can be rational but please be reasonable’. We learn to realize that we can’t solve the paradoxes of life with rational thought alone. A robust faith is expected. 

MATURITY – We learn to live a life of receiving from him in all things with thanksgiving (with some regressions along the way). We are on the way to maturity (Hebrews 5:14) becoming co-labourers with him (1Corinthians 3:9) - God delights in this. The concern becomes not about getting things from God, but rather not getting in the way of God.

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