A Father's Heart
Pastor Bob Yarbrough
Series: A Father's Heart
December 2012
Posted by Justin Esposito on Tuesday Dec 4, 2012
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December 2012

THE SHINING LIGHT OF the ADVENT season

“The Light shines in the darkness….”

John 1:5

 

“The Light shines in the darkness….”

At this Advent season I invite you to meditate with me on the metaphor John chose to describe the coming of Christ into our world in the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. The Light from heaven appears! Though the material world had known the light of a physical sun, the spiritual world lay in utter darkness awaiting the “Son-rise” foretold by prophets. Then He appeared to the Epiphany people - those whose hearts can see through the darkness of a lost world to perceive reality.

 

 

THE UNWELCOMING DARKNESS

“…The darkness has not understood it”

 

The spiritual effect of sin upon the natural man is that he intuitively turns away from the Light of God. The first sinner Adam reacted to the voice of God in the Garden of Eden thus: “I was afraid…so I hid” [Gen. 3:10] . This instinctive non-responsive condition of the human heart gives Satan opportunity to solidify his hold on the human race which God created to live as creatures of the Light. This, Paul tells us, explains the resistance to the proclamation of the good news of God’s seeking Love: “The God of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ…” [2 Cor. 4:3].

 

As we celebrate our Savior’s coming at this season of Advent, we should not be forgetful that the unbelieving mind can only be excited about the surface thrills that have come to be associated with Christmas. The growing tendency to “leave Christ out of Xmas” is the natural response of the unenlightened mind of blinded secularists. “ The Spiritual man”[cf. 1 Cor. 2:15] will be keenly aware at this season of the scriptural truth that though “we are in the world, we are not of the world” [Pause and meditate on John 17:8, 11, 15, 18, 21, 24 till till you see this reality]. True, once we “…followed the ways of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” [Eph. 2:2], but a miraculous birth has occurred in us through our receiving of the gospel. By God’s grace we are now “in Christ” and Christ is now “our Life.” We are now a wholly “new [order of] creation” [2 Cor. 5:17]. We have had an Epiphany [“We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” Matt. 2:2]. Everything is different in our new life in God: “For you were once [part of the] darkness, but now you are [one with] light in the Lord. [So now we can] live as children of light…” [Eph. 5:8].

 

THE UNRELENTING LIGHT

“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness, has made his light shine in our hearts to give us the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” [2Cor. 4;6].

 

The miracle that those who are “born of God” celebrate is that of a new way of seeing! Once we could only see surface forms with natural, physical sight. Now “the eyes of our heart have been enlightened in order that we may know the hope to which he has called us” [Eph. 1:18]. The ancient prophesy is now fulfilled in us: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” [Is. 9:2].

 

Spiritual Light dawned in Bethlehem in the darkness of a humble stable. Those seeking that light were led supernaturally as their hearts fully followed the natural light they could see. And hearts that obey the heavenly vision still today, like the “Wise Men” of old, follow their own special light “until it stops over the place where the child is.” And once, by the illuminating power of the Spirit, “they see the child with his mother Mary, they bow down and worship him.” [See Matt. 2:10].

 

Pray at this season for those who will seek and find the “I AM,” who is still the spiritual, SHINING “LIGHT OF THE WORLD.” Let us join them and enter anew His humble birthplace within us.

 

GOING HOME ANOTHER WAY - Matthew 2:12

“And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route”

 

These Wise “Messiah-seekers” were chosen by the Holy Spirit through Matthew to indicate the dawning of the day when Gentiles would seek Zion’s true King. When they had found and worshipped Jesus Christ, God gave them special instructions for the way ahead. They were warned that the seemingly helpful Herod, the secular tyrant ruling over Israel, was in fact an enemy of God’s Holy Child. As they returned to life in their world, they were to be led supernaturally by the newborn King whose Light they had seen and not by the dark forces of the lords and masters of the old world.

 

As we recall at this Thanksgiving season the remarkable birth of our beloved nation, we do well to listen to the warning of heaven for the days ahead. We have lived in a country so influenced by the gospel of Jesus Christ that we have come to believe, wrongly I believe, that “this vile world” is “a friend of grace to help us on to God.” It is time that we awaken to the reality that “…our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” [Phil. 3:20]. We have seen His Light!

 

The secular mindset of those our electorate has chosen to rule over us, like Herod of old, only feigns interest in our Lord Jesus Christ. “…Report to me, so that I too may go and worship him”[ Matt. 2:8], was Herod’s cunning ploy to destroy Heaven’s King! But God intervened and led his wise worshippers to go home another way. Now, we, on our journey to the Heavenly Kingdom, must heed the guiding Light of God’s present Word speaking in our hearts as we move through the gathering darkness of this present age.

 

Meeting in the Name of Jesus Christ

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together… but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day [of the Lord’s appearing] approaching” [Heb. 20:25 KJV].

 

A worldly, secularly oriented church system has used this verse as a means to increase the size of our gatherings. Now we must heed the call to return to the sense of being “gathered together” even if there be but “two or three” [Matt. 18:20]. To assemble apart from “…discerning the Body of the Lord’[1 Cor. 11:29], being unconscious of His Presence is to have “meetings that do more harm than good”[1 Cor. 11:12]. We will not find God’s path to our heavenly home if we continue to walk that way. Receive my witness of a better way:

 

A Charge to Pastors

“Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers” [Acts 20:28].

 

Living in a secular culture, it is incumbent upon God’s under-shepherds to remind the members of their flock of the Word of God which is our only rule of faith and practice. As in the decaying culture of the “last days” of Rome’s power, perilous times are ahead of us in America [See 2 Tim. 3:1-5]. The responsibility of those who lead God’s people in such times is spelled out clearly: “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction”[2 Tim. 4:2]. In these days of entertainment overload, the pulpits must become again the authentic focal point for the anointed proclamation of the Word from heaven, even if it be “out of season,” unpopular and opposed!

 

A Challenge to Fathers

“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man” [Matt. 24:37].

“By faith, Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family”  [Heb. 11:7].

 

The attack on the family in our secular society must be met by faithful men whom God calls to “endure hardship…like a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” In a day when even the military, long a bastion of integrity and honor, gives way to the sensual temptations of the flesh, a new discipline must rise as faithful men entrusted with the Word of God teach their families by word and example the ways of God. Let accountable “bands of brothers” stand together as “spiritual militias,” to fight this good fight of faith.

 

A Calling to the Faithful

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses” [1 Tim. 6:12]

 

We stand now at a fork in the road in America. There is a “low road” of conformity and destruction, a detour from the way home. Every confessing believer must now take the “high road,” the way of the cross that leads to our eternal home. May we return to the spirit of our forefather’s Thanksgiving hymn:

 

“We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing; He chastens and hastens His will to make known; the wicked oppressing, now cease from distressing; Sing praises to His name, He forgets not His own.”

In the days ahead, this wicked world system will more and more “oppress” God’s people, but it will lose its power to “distress” those whose hearts find their way home by another route. Take courage, dear pilgrims!

 

Bob Yarbrough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 2012
Posted by Justin Esposito on Thursday Nov 1, 2012
November 2012

Hello Friends,

 

As we anticipate the "super storm" forcast for the Mid-Atlantic region, let us rejoice in our "Shelter in the time of storm," the "secret place of the Most High"! 

The message of Isaiah 30 has continued to resonate with my spirit for many days.  Thank you for receiving my witness to what I hear.  May you hear the Him who speaks to your heart from heaven. 

 

Your listening companion,

Bob

 

To hushed hearts that hear Him who speaks from heaven, The Holy Spirit calls us to go beyond visible shadows to unseen reality: “See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks…from heaven” [Hebrews 12:25]. Pondering the words of the prophet Isaiah [Chapter 30], may the words of my mouth, committed to print, incite the meditations of your heart as you listen and hear with spirit ears. We wrote last [October, 2012] of God’s promise to the “People of Zion” that through the mercy of His ‘shaking’ of their lives they would come to discern the One True Teacher in every lesson of life. Now, see and receive another spiritual promise as people of God’s heart:

“…your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’” Isaiah 30:27

Isaiah perceived that God would raise His people to know Him as “Beloved Sons” who share His heart and know His affirming Voice. What he saw as a prophetic possibility, Jesus Christ fulfilled in living reality. Jesus, “…in the power of the Spirit...”, began his ministry declaring from the scroll of Isaiah ‘the Spirit of the Lord is upon me… to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor’.” Then, to the astonishment of his audience, he boldly declared, “Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” [See Luke 4:14-21]. What was to Isaiah a prophetic possibility had become Jesus’ present reality among those who had ears to hear!

Recall the events preceding that moment when Eternity invaded time. John the Baptist had fulfilled the task as the forerunner prophesied by Isaiah who would announce and identify the coming Christ/Messiah [Study Isaiah 40:3; John 1:19-34]. While most of John’s followers may have missed the significance of John’s mission, Jesus would later clear up the confusion in his disciples’ minds concerning the spiritual fulfillment of the “Elijah task” that John was given: “…if you are willing to accept it, he [John the Baptist] is the Elijah who was to come. He who has ears, let him hear” [See Matt. 11;14, 15 and Malachi 4:5]. John was heaven’s appointed witness.

The specific moment of this identifying of Jesus as the long awaited Messiah, moreover, is recorded in Luke 3:21-22: “When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased’. ”

Thus began the process of the revealing of the glory of the Son of God that would reach it’s fullness in the death, resurrection and exaltation of Jesus to the right hand of the Father. I believe the Lord would have us consider this in the extended light of the Father’s desire to incorporate those who believe the gospel into vital union with His Son. The book of Hebrews teaches us that what God accomplished in Jesus Christ, He wills for us to consciously know as participants: “In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God…should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family”[Heb. 2:10- 11]. Peter speaks of our being “participants in the divine nature” through our receiving of these “great and precious promises” [2 Peter 1:4].

It also seems clear that the Lord intends the “author of our salvation” to be the pattern for the “brothers” in His family who will come to experientially share in His glory! We, who by grace are “Holy brothers” of Jesus are to “share in the heavenly calling”[Heb. 3:1]. As participants in the heavenly priesthood with Jesus, our great High Priest, we do not “take this honor upon [ourselves]” but “must be called by God.” That calling is by the hearing of the Voice from heaven that says: “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.” [Meditate on this teaching of Heb. 5:4,5]. Dear reader, have you heard His voice? Does the Spirit bear witness in your spirit that you are indeed one with the sons of God in the Beloved Son? If so, you are destined to share in His glory which lies beyond our present sharing in His sufferings! [See Romans 8:16-18]. Let us not harden our hearts to His voice, but “press on to take hold on that for which Christ Jesus took hold of us” [Phil. 3:12].

There is a path, a process of development, by which those “who follow the Lamb wherever He goes” by faith overcome the world, the flesh and the Devil, and sit down with Christ in His Throne! Prayerfully meditate upon the following witness and, as Mary instructed thirsty servants at the wedding: “Do whatever He tells you” [Jn. 2:5]. The

 

teaching I seek to give is not mine, but I bear witness to what the Spirit has given us in Holy Scripture and has been embraced by a long line of witnesses through the ages. With Paul, I admonish you: “All of us who are mature should take such a view of things…. Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you” [Phil. 3:15,17]. Created in Christ Jesus “For we are God’s workmanship [Greek: ποεµα −creative product] created in [of the substance of] Christ

The early Church Fathers in their effort to put spiritual revelation into rational language were careful to say of God’s Son, Christ Jesus, that He was “created not made.” By this they sought to distinguish the Eternal Substance of that which was manifest in Jesus Christ. It is this same understanding that is conveyed by Paul’s words concerning the nature of our “New Creation Being”[2 Cor. 5:17]. It is “Christ in us” – that of us which is in union with Christ – that is our “hope of glory.” As with the miraculous conception of our Savior, when the “Holy Spirit comes upon us…” in regenerating power, “…the Holy One to be born [in us is] called the Son of God”[compare Luke 1:35]. Christ becomes the “treasure,” our true Life in an “earthen vessel” [2 Cor. 4:7 KJV].

This beautiful, poetic song speaks spiritual truth about those who are created in Christ Jesus. They all have one Father {God] and are all “born from above” [cf. Jn. 3:3 margin]. A false “gospel” that calls only for a human “decision” to intellectually “accept Christ” and ignores the authority of God’s sovereign will as the source of true son-ship has produced a counterfeit “Christianity” that puts all its confidence in the flesh and does not glory in Jesus Christ [cf. Phil. 3:3]. While, in the mystery of being “born again,” man does freely choose to receive the truth in faith, still “… it is by grace you have been saved through faith – and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works so that no one can boast” [Eph. 2:8,9]. The primacy of God’s activity in our faith union with His Son is strikingly set forth in unmistakable terms: “…to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” [John 1:12]. To Him alone belongs glory!

“Zion” is the symbol of the spiritual center and capitol of the Kingdom of God. It is “the Jerusalem that is above,” [transcending time and space], the city [spiritual site] that Paul says is the “mother” of all the “children of promise” [Gal. 4:26-28]. There are no “naturalized citizens” of that kingdom state, only those who are spiritually born there! Indeed, “our citizenship is in heaven…” [Phil. 3:20] where “our life is hidden with Christ in God”[Col. 3:3]. Be sure your name is registered in that Holy city and that the fountain of your life flows from her!

All those created in Christ Jesus are being processed by life under the skillful hand of our heavenly Father ‘that we… might be for the praise of His glory”[Eph. 1:12]. Understanding this, Paul compared his ministry of prayer for the spiritual development of believers as being “in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you” [Gal. 4:19]. All our earthly journey is a spiritual process of “early childhood development”!

Years ago I was admiring the creative talent of a woodcarver in a set of “chipmunk”- shaped bookends. “How do you do that?” I marveled. “Oh, I don’t know, I just take a block of wood and then cut away everything that doesn’t look like a chipmunk,” was his chuckling response!

So, our Father, the Master Workman, uses the tool of life to cut away everything in our outward life that doesn’t look like Jesus Christ. Amazingly, even our Lord Jesus was subjected to this process –“Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted”[Heb. 2:18]. In fact, though he was the sinless model Son, to become our source of strength, “…he learned obedience from what he suffered” [Heb. 5:8]. What confidence we have that the same Father “has begun a good work” in us, and will faithfully “carry it to completion until the day of Christ

So, we come back to Isaiah, who prophetically anticipated our day! He understood that we, in our earthly experience would make choices and wonder whether to go this way or that way in the decisions of life. His “voice” metaphor foresees that as true “people of Zion,” we would need “back up.” For us, he presents a God who says, “I’ve got your back!” Will you trust a God who “leads from behind”? Trust and go forward! “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.” [Isaiah 30:21]

From your brother in Christ, Bob Yarbrough

 

October 2012
Posted by Justin Esposito on Tuesday Oct 2, 2012
October 2012

Dear Ones,

 

Thank you for receiving prayerfully my witness again this month.  The attached impression of my heart based on Isaiah 30 will encourage us in the days ahead as we listen to His Voice.

  

On a personal note:

  

On September 4, I experienced an acute coronary event that had the good people of the Manassas Rescue Squad rush me to Prince William Hospital. There my fine cardiologist intervened, opened a clogged artery and put in a second “stent.”  I recovered normally and was advised I needed a second procedure to insert another stent in a 90% occluded artery.  I went to Fairfax Cardio-vascular center on Tuesday to have that procedure.  I returned home yesterday [09/26/12] and am recuperating normally and feeling well. 

 

As in all the “things” that happen in our lives, I am seeing the truth that “in everything, God is at work….according to His purpose.”  This event is furthering the purpose of my life in being before the Father, hearing His Voice, and agreeing in prayer before the Throne that His Son will be glorified through His Church.

 

Thank you all for your fellowship in prayer that in all things Christ may be glorified.  As long as the Father’s plan for our lives involves us in the affairs of this world, we will be given strength.  As Paul experientially knew and wrote for us to believe:  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

 

I pray that you may have the eyes of your heart enlightened each day to see the Lord’s hand at work in your life.  Nothing ever happens that is not under the watchful eye of our Loving Heavenly Father.  To have Him interpret the events of our lives [even “acute coronary events”] is the glory of the sons of God!

 

It is a joy to know that you receive my witness each month and that you stand with me in faith for all that God is doing in our world!

 

Gratefully your servant for Christ’s sake,

 Bob

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Dear People of God’s Heart,

 

The burden of the Lord’s heart that I shared last month was set in the context of His call to those that were committed to His rule in their hearts, but who were blocked from knowing him as Loving Father by a “high wall” of a worldly religious environment. This month I want to continue with the “precious promises” spoken to the Remnant of those who would “overcome,” “go forth to Him outside the wall,” and inherit the “all things” of God.

 

THE PEOPLE OF ZION

O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you - Isaiah 30:19.

 

See how precisely the Lord distinguishes the people after His heart! Though their lives were set in the religious façade of a spiritual apostasy, God knew His own! All though Scripture this clear distinction exists: “Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: ‘The Lord knows those who are his,’ and ‘Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness’”[2 Tim. 2:19]. God marks those belonging to Him. Through these he carries forth His full thought. Many will participate in the “religious community,” but they are merely the “many who say Lord, Lord.” In the final judgment, as Jesus would later indicate, they will hear the Lord’s clarifying Word: “I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”[Matt. 7:21-23]. Motives once hidden by religious robes, will be exposed to truth.

 

“Zion” is a spiritual symbol written large in the Old Testament Scriptures. It speaks of the desire of God to manifest the Kingdom of his dear Son among men in a time/space setting. Jerusalem is the chosen setting of this “thought of God.” In God’s Mind it is settled: “I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.”[Ps. 2:6]. King David was known as a “man after God’s own heart” because he had received the revelation of God’s intent and was submitted to His ultimate will. The “rulers in Jerusalem” who came later did not share David’s heart or his revelation of Spiritual Zion. They occupied the earthly site of old Jerusalem while ignoring the Real King that David saw in the Spirit. They ruled by human, political force. God’s Anointed was rejected.

 

Peter made clear in his message at Pentecost that David’s glory was in this: “I saw the Lord always before me…” [Acts 2:25]. Because of that spiritual vision, David stood as God’s witness to a coming King who would reign in Spiritual Zion. In His death, resurrection and ascension, Jesus is declared by Peter to be that King: “The Lord said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet’” [Acts 2:34, Ps. 110:1]. These early witnesses were ready to sacrifice their very lives for this “Testimony of Jesus ”[Rev. 1:9,6:9,12:11].

 

Isaiah addressed these spiritual “people of Zion.” They were the chosen Remnant ‘…in Jerusalem…” who with David saw a spiritual kingdom and God’s Anointed One. They were the ones in whom God’s purpose would be carried forth. Malachi spoke of that same Remnant in his day: “Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name. ‘They will be mine,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not” [Mal. 3:16-18].

 

Today there is a “cultural Christianity” that sits in the same place of old “religious Jerusalem.” It, too, has replaced the vision of “a King who reigns in Zion” with a “form of godliness that denies the power thereof.” The call of God today is still clear: “Wherefore, come out from them and be separate. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you and be a Father to you and you shall be my sons and daughters.”[1 Cor. 6:17,18]. Those who “go forth unto Him, outside the camp, bearing the disgrace He bore” [Heb. 13:13] are the ones to whom God speaks words of promise as Isaiah did in his day. These “People of Zion” will be the ones who fulfill God’s purpose in this day. Of the individuals who form that Remnant, God says: “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word” [Isaiah 66:2].

 

The People of Zion, wherever they are living by God’s design on planet earth, once the high wall of spiritual blindness that keeps them from intimacy with the Father is taken away, inherit His blessing. While they too must eat the bread of adversity and drink the water of affliction, that diet nourishes supernatural benefits in their union with the Gracious Lord in Zion [See verses 19-26]. Mark the first inward blessing of Spiritual Zionists:

 

They are People who Discern “The hidden Teacher” in every lesson of life

“Your teachers will be hidden no more…” [v. 20]

The purpose of God and the destiny of the people of Zion is that they know the higher thoughts of God and manifest them in their lives. Isaiah speaks of this process of the transplanting of the Heavenly Way to earth, using the metaphor of “rain and snow…from heaven” sent to “accomplish what [God] desires” [[Is. 55:10,11]. Blinded by sin, man misses the will of God. Though “the whole earth is full of [God’s] glory [Is. 6:3] natural man does not see it. Only in knowing the Father in His Son by God’s grace, does the message God sends from heaven register in the human heart. God is pleased to “reveal His Son” in us [See Gal. 1:12,16; 2 Cor. 2:9-11].

 

God’s intention in allowing the “high wall” of material security to implode, is to bring His people face to face with Eternal Reality. This principle of God at work in the world is set forth in Haggai and Hebrews thus: “…the removing of what can be shaken – that is, created things – so that what cannot be shaken may remain” [Haggai 2:6, Heb. 12:27]. God is always working in His people to reveal the eternal, spiritual meaning behind the temporal, surface appearance of life. Our problem is that we allow “things” to get in the way. Jesus called his disciples to “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment” [Jn. 7:24]. “People of Zion” are those who look through circumstances and “…interpret the signs of the times” [Matt. 16:3]. The natural mind can observe the things that happen. Only the spiritual mind can discern their significance.

 

Jesus always saw His Father at work in His world. His disciples did not. They did not discern reality, but knew that Jesus did. By His death and resurrection, Jesus promised his faithful followers that He would send “the Spirit of Truth” to be in them as it was in Him [Jn. 16:16.17]. They would be endowed with Holy Spirit discernment. My earnest prayer for the professing church of our day is that the Lord will wean us away from seeing things only as the world sees them and from reacting to circumstances as “mere men” [See 1 Cor. 3:1-3]. The birthright of every “Born from above” person is “…an anointing from the Holy One…[that]…teaches you about all things…real and not counterfeit…”[1 Jn. 2:20,27]. It is given to us to know “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him…”and to discern their significance “according to His Purpose” [Rom. 8:28].

 

Nothing that happens in our lives is without significance. Everything is a “sign,” and we must not miss the “point” of the pointing sign! God has ordained that those alive in His Son should discern the message that life is teaching us. Behind every event of our lives there is only One True Teacher who wants us to discern the Father’s heart. Christ calls us not to let the world, the flesh and the Devil interpret life to us. The larger meaning of Jesus’ words is for us today: “You have only one Master and you are all brothers…you have One teacher, the Christ” [Matt. 23:8,10]. The will of Jesus Christ is “They will all be taught by God” [Jn. 6:45; Is. 54:4].

 

God’s people are always in danger of falling into the temptation of the Serpent who insinuates evil in the Lord’s intentions toward us. “Did God really say…?” [Gn. 3:1] is his subtle whisper in the face of puzzling circumstances. Our only defense is to “watch and pray” [Mk. 14:38]. Failure to remain alert in the Spirit exposes us to the “powerful delusion” [1 Th. 2:11] that comes upon the world that believes a lie. The Lord Jesus Christ in the person of the Holy Spirit prays for us and calls us to watch with Him in this hour to escape the corruption that is in the world through sin. God’s elect will not fall for the deception that comes on the world!

 

We will do well in the days before us, to listen only to The Teacher within us when our culture collapses. Let us receive Peter’s exhortation: “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” [1 Pet. 4:12].

Though Mary Magdalene loved Jesus with absolute devotion, standing at the empty tomb on Resurrection morning she fell victim of natural speculation: “They have taken away my Lord…” Did she forget Jesus had said, “no one takes my life from me, I lay it down…”? Her overwhelming human grief gave way to joy when the risen Christ spoke her name, Mary. In that revelatory moment “she turned to him and cried…Teacher.” May you be one of those blessed people of Zion who knows your Teacher, in whatever form He may come to you in your time of trial! [to be continued]

 

Bob Yarbrough

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 2012
Posted by Justin Esposito on Monday Sep 3, 2012
September 2012

WATCH WITH ME IN PRAYER OVER THIS WORD FOR THIS HOUR

“Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness.”

[Isaiah 30 :8]

 

The solemnity of this hour requires that our words be measured. Glib speech characterizes our day. Words abound without meaning or power. Ministers are trained to always have something to say to keep the people interested and entertained. As I seek to heed the scriptural command to “…be quick to listen, slow to speak...,” enter with me into a spirit of humble receptivity in prayer that the Lord would utter His Voice:

 

Our Father in Heaven,

Not as a formality or mere custom, but with overwhelming consciousness of inadequacy and need we pray… we must pray. We are putting ourselves under an awesome responsibility, for we are asking you to speak to us. If today we hear Your Voice, that Word will judge us. Forgive us the times we have heard Your voice and hardened our hearts in unbelief and inaction. Enlighten our hearts now – today, to understand by the Spirit of Wisdom in Christ. Empower us as we choose to obey. We sense the truth of your compassionate promise to a very beloved disciple, “You cannot follow Me now, whither I go you cannot follow Me now. You shall afterward” [Jn. 13:36, KJV]. We feel the bondage of that “cannot” and ask for grace to wait for the “afterward” of your quickening power. Speak to us by name as you did to Your servant, Samuel. Our hearts are crying out now, “Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening.”

For Christ’s Name sake, Amen.

 

 

THE TRAGEDY OF EARS THAT DO NOT HEAR AND HEARTS THAT ARE HARDENED TO GOD’S WORD

These are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instructions. They say to the seers, ‘See no more visions!’ and to the prophets, ‘Give us no more visions of what is right!’ Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. Leave this way, get off this path and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel.” [Isaiah 30:9-11].

 

There is a famine in our land. I do not speak of the nationwide ‘sign’ of the drought of physical rain, but of the resistance to the “rain from heaven” – the Word that comes from God: “As the rain…comes down from heaven and does not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth… [Is. 55:10,11]. Scripture speaks of “…days…when the “Sovereign Lord” will send a famine through the land – not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.” [Amos 8:11]. These are such days!

 

Note that the Spirit does not speak of an absence of the Word of God, for it is always “proceeding from the mouth of God” [cf. Matt. 4:4 KJV and literal Greek]. Rather, it is a famine of “hearing the words of the Lord.” Jesus lamented this condition in His day: “Do you still not see or understand? Are you hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? [Mk. 8:17,18]. It should trouble us and cause us to examine our own hearts, that Jesus said that, not to the unbelieving Pharisees, but to his closest disciples!

 

We live in a day when more than ever before, “words” about the Lord and the Scriptures are spoken, recorded, and broadcast over and over. The noise of “words” is abundant. What is missing is a quiet heart for “hearing the words of the Lord .” We preachers “open our mouths” but little “utterance is given” from the Lord Himself [cf. Eph. 6:19]. [More on this below]. When the prophetic “words of the Lord” do find expression in yielded servants of the Lord, the reaction, unspoken but evident, is as Isaiah saw it in his day and wrote in His scroll.

 

Paul foresaw such a season as ours today when he wrote to his disciple, Timothy, from the isolation of his prison cell as his “departure” date drew near: “Preach the Word!” His emphasis is upon urging Timothy to align his words with the Eternal Word revealed in the Spirit. Then he gives this practical insight captured in the paraphrase of The Message: “You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food – catchy opinions that tickle their fancy…But you - …keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.” [cf. 2 Tim. 4:2-5]

 

THE WRITING IS ON THE WALLS OF A WORLDLY WISE, BUT SPIRITUALLY INSENSITIVE ‘CHRISTIANITY’

“Because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression and depended on deceit, this sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant, it will break in pieces like pottery, shattered so mercilessly that among its pieces not a fragment will be found for taking coals from the hearth or scooping water out of a cistern” [Isaiah 30:12-15].

 

 

As religious Israel hid from direct encounter with the Living God behind a “veil” [2 Cor. 3:14], so cultural Christianity today has allowed the wall of worldly thought and practices to obscure the face of God. The many prayers for “revival” show little fruit. Why? Is the Lord’s arm too short to reach us? Is His ear unable to hear us? No! But the wall of the subtle sin of unbelief and spiritual blindness has hid his face and blocked His Presence! [Is. 59:1,2]

 

As Israel refused to go up the mountain to meet the Lord but asked Moses to be their intermediary, so many Christians today trust their souls to priests and pastors. We put a ‘veil’ of mystery over the face of those we consider closer to God and refuse to meet the Lord face to face ourselves. This “second hand” relationship with a distant God becomes the wall of false security that blocks the Lord’s personal relationship with us.

 

But the Lord loves us too much to leave us behind that high wall. That “cracked and bulging wall” is about to “collapse suddenly” as “judgment begins at the house of god”. What will seem to be “merciless” will be in fact the highest mercy of a Loving Father. Because there will not be “a fragment found” to sustain even the barest necessities of living, many of God’s people will at last turn to the Lord. Then the words so often repeated at “prayer meetings” that seek the continuance of our vain life styles will take on true significance:

“If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land”[2 Chron. 7:14]

 

THERE REMAINS A REST IN GOD FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD IN CHRIST

“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…” [Isaiah 30:15].

In this verse, there comes into clear focus the picture of a Loving Father, waiting and longing to embrace His returning child just beyond the self-imposed wall of his headstrong search for meaning in all the wrong places. That’s how Jesus spoke of His Father’s desire to receive “all, [who] like sheep, have gone astray…every one [who] has turned to his own way…”[Is. 53:6]. The great gospel story of the Gracious Father’s joy over the return of the lost Son captures the deepest desire of God’s loving heart! [ cf. Luke 15:12-31 ]. Jesus gave His life that we might trust the forgiveness found in His blood and experience the Love revealed in His Father’s heart.

 

What Jesus finished on the cross for us, He now ever lives to perfect in us, interceding before the Father! His call to us now is “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden [with your own religious efforts to find solutions] … I will give you rest.” The peace we seek, the world cannot give, but the gift of God is the Eternal Life of perfect Rest in Christ. Jesus told us “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” that brings you to the Father. All who come out from hiding behind the “high wall” of pride in ego-self will experience the work of the Holy Spirit fulfilling in us the promise: “Take my yoke upon you [come in to the vital relationship with Christ in Spirit and in Truth]… In that abandonment to His Saving Love, He says, “…you will find rest for your souls.” [cf. Matt. 11:28-30].

 “There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God, a place where sin can not molest, near to the heart of God!”

Despite God’s loving call, Isaiah lamented the negative response of the people of His day: “You said, no…” {Is. 30:16]. They chose instead to rely on their own resources and to keep running from God. His last word is the revelation of the heart of God in one of the most intimate and moving presentations found in Scripture:

 

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” Then, on behalf of this “walled off” loving Father God, he issues this plea: “O people of Zion… you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’” [Isaiah 30:19-21].

 

Dear friends, as we begin to experience the adversity and affliction of the sudden collapse of the wall of deception, let this Word lead us to the Rest of God, to the peace that passes understanding, and to “…the full riches of complete understanding, in order that you may know the mystery of god, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” [Col. 2:2].

 

In the Love of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen!

Bob Yarbrough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 2012
Posted by Justin Esposito on Friday Aug 3, 2012
August 2012

A PRAYER IN THE HOLY SPIRIT FOR ALL WHO ARE CHRIST’S

[Part 2]

“…Dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit” [Jude 20] “I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours”

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better” [Eph. 1:17]

[Jn. 17:9]

 

Let us continue to receive the Word that is the source of the prayers of Jesus, of the Holy Spirit, and of the Apostles. I join them now in their continual intercession. Please know that, beyond our “prayer requests” frame, I am praying for all of you, “in the Holy Spirit… according to the will of God.” I am not unsympathetic to the surface “troubles” we feel in this world. But we are called to pray for you that “your faith fail not” - that you abide in Christ who for you, has “overcome the world.” And, “this is the [our] victory that overcomes the world- our faith.” You are chosen to gratefully receive “…the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” So, let us lift up our eyes, Saints of God, to see as God sees!

 

I wrote last [July 2012] of how Christ wants us to know. We are only able to know “the things of God” by the Spirit of Truth, who is given to us as “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ” surpassing the limit of the natural eye, ear and mind. Then I wrote of where Christ wants us to be. He went to “prepare a place for us… so that, in His words, “…where I am, there you may be also.” He offers us access into the unseen realm where He is enthroned as our King. In that “open heaven,” the Spirit invites us to “escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” [2 Peter 1:4] - to be liberated from the confining ‘prison’ of mere time-space conditioned thought. Reviewing those aspects of Spirituality, consider the following revealed insight as to our real-time “access” to Life in the Spirit – the now of the inheritance of the freedom of the sons of God

[See “access” in Rom. 5:2, Eph. 1:18].

 

When Christ Wills for us to Live His Life


“…I pray for those who will believe in me…that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you…. I have made you known to them and will continue to make you known, in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them” [John 17: 20, 21, 26].

 

For those who have begun by grace to experience this union of Spirit for which Christ prays above, the “laws” of human language are inadequate to express the Truth made known by revelation. To say that it is the will of God in Christ Jesus for us to live His life as our present experience speaks from our human perspective. Paul could say, “I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me…” The intimacy of His Christ union so transformed him and renewed his mind that he was bold to say “…the life I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God…”[Gal. 2:20]. A renewed “I” [Christ within] was living Paul’s life as him!

 

Most of us have a mental concept of what is said of us in Holy Scripture: “…you died and your life is now hidden with God in Christ” [Col. 3:3]. We believe that statement… but, that’s as far as it goes! We actually live a far different ‘reality,’ hoping that after we die, in the “sweet by and by” this will be true of us. For now, we reason, we are part of the “nasty, now and now.” To say we are “dead” to the “seen” reality rings hollow in our own ears. Faith has not yet brought us presently to know ourselves “…in Christ Jesus…set free from the law of sin and death…[by] the law of the law of the Spirit of life… [in our present Spiritual union with] Christ Jesus.” [let this truth of Romans 8:1 renew your mind by the Spirit’s revelation].

 

Take This Christ-Life “Entrance” Exam

 

 

What to the natural mind seems impossible to realize in this present world, was the basis upon which the Apostles staked all their hope for the Church of Jesus Christ! What Moderns call “deeper life teaching” today was foundational understanding for them! Even for the confused and carnal believers at Corinth, Paul laid down the basic marker that defined those with faith in Jesus Christ: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you? – unless, of course you fail the test. And I trust that you will not fail the test” [2 Cor. 13:5,6].

 

Dear believing reader, it is my desire in writing these things to you, that by the Spirit of Truth you will pass this test of knowing your actual present state as Christ living His life in you. Unless and until you have this “blessed assurance,” I, as your minister, have failed in my administration of the “…mystery…now disclosed to the saints…which is Christ in you...” [Col. 25-27]. That pressing concern comes through in Paul’s earnest appeal to believers in Philippi to “…become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation…in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing [Phil. 2:15.16].

 

Feeling this responsibility before the Lord, I join in praying over you what Paul prayed for his hearers: “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparable great power for us who believe” [Eph. 1:18,19]. May you attain to this entry level realization that Christ Jesus is in you as your true life! I am being strengthened in my inner being [as my outer being is wasting away] to see the glory of what God in His sovereignty has set about to do through the Church for the honor and glory of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Hear Heaven’s declaration of the victory assured:

 

 “And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment – to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head even Christ.”

 

One of God’s anointed teachers who lived in the last century has been one of my spiritual mentors in coming to the realization of the Mystery. His teaching can be found now on the internet at www. Austin-Sparks.net. I commend his teaching to you as you press on to “take hold on that for which Christ Jesus took hold of us” [Phil. 3:12]. I conclude these thoughts with this insight from T. Austin Sparks:

 

     It is a tremendous thing for spiritual strength, for spiritual power, for spiritual ministry, for spiritual impact, for spiritual food – yes, for every spiritual value – to have really had a heart revelation of God’s mind about the Church; not simply to have studied Ephesians and Colossians, but for it to have broken in upon your heart, to have seen it in an inward way. I say that is spirituality with an impact, it is spirituality with a dynamic; and what a dynamic it is!

     Look at the Apostle. He looks out at the end of his life over the churches. He knows them intimately; and he has to say – ‘all in Asia have turned away from me’ {2 Tim. 1:15]; they have repudiated Paul to whom, under Christ, they owed everything. He looks out; and what a spectacle, what a heartbreak! And the man in his circumstances of imprisonment and isolation and limitation, looking out on that, might have died of a broken heart, or have sunk down into the uttermost despair and written his life off as a failure, and all his work as for well-nigh nothing.

     But this man in not down there, he is in triumph… he is emancipated from all that. The facts are true and real, and yet he is triumphant. Why? Because he sees God’s mind about the Church, and he knows that, if God has a mind about a thing, He is going to have the thing like that …No matter what appearances say, in the end God will have His Church like that. God has not conceived a thing and projected it, to be cheated of it. There it is and it

[From He That is Spiritual by T. Austin Sparks]


Yes, believers, this Church Jesus is building is receiving the finishing touches of the Master as He shapes “living stones,” putting them in the place He has prepared for them in His Father’s House, the Eternal Temple. Christ is working in every “happening” to shape each “chosen stone” to align with His perfection as the Keystone in this “House not made with hands, Eternal in the heavens.”

 

 

Do you see it with heart enlightened eyes? Set yourself to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ until His mind renews yours and transformation occurs within you! As you “go on to perfection” live by 

faith in the Son of God. Another great teacher helped me years ago to apply this truth: “Faith is living in the light of what is True, when in the present darkness it does not appear to be true, simply because our Lord says it is True!” Hear God’s Son! “Live by faith and not by sight!” [2 Cor. 5:7].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 2012
Posted by Justin Esposito on Monday Jul 2, 2012
July 2012

A PRAYER IN THE HOLY SPIRIT FOR ALL WHO ARE CHRIST’S

“…Dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit” [Jude 20] “I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours”

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better” [Eph. 1:17]

The Spirit reveals and Scripture records that Jesus presently lives before the Father as our High Priest. Touching us at the point of our feelings of infirmity, He identifies with and makes intercession for us [Heb. 4:15 and 7:25]. Also, even our inarticulate “groans” are said to be evidence of the Holy Spirit interceding in line with the will of God for us when our confused minds don’t understand how to pray [Rom 8:23, 26]. How awesome it is to know that we are the subject of continuous conversation in the circle of the Trinity! In addition we are objects of apostolic intercession, from the original appointees of Jesus to the “Ambassadors of Christ” who walk among us today! [cf. Jn. 17:20, 2 Cor. 5:20]. I invite you to reverently, join me in meditating on what I perceive from Scripture and the witness of the Holy Spirit to be the desires of Jesus Christ’s intercession for us:

 

How Christ Wants Us To Know

“Sanctify them [set them apart for sacred use] by the truth; your word is truth” [Jn. 17:17]

This is Jesus’ desire for us: to be formed by the Truth of God’s Word, not just informed by popular thought. In truly knowing the things of God, we are hindered by what we think we know about God. We confuse our

acquired mental concepts [“vain traditions” received from others – [cf. 1 Peter 1:18]] with the reality of true spiritual knowledge. We forget the Lord’s distinction of the different thought levels: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts…. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are…my thoughts than your thoughts.” This helps us understand Paul’s stark determination to “know nothing…except Jesus Christ and him crucified” [1 Cor. 2:2]. He saw that all his previous “wisdom” was actually deceived foolishness resulting in hatred and murder! He came to understand that “…no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” He abandoned the conceptions of his worldly conditioned mind to receive “…what God has prepared for those who love

him…revealed to us by his Spirit” [1 Cor. 2:11 and 9,10].

 

Paul also spoke of the need to “…take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”[2 Cor. 20:5]. It is time we examined the source of our thoughts! It is instructive to remember that the “reason” Adam gave for hiding from God, was “…I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” God’s question of judgment was “Who told you that you were naked?” [Gen. 3:10,11] Old Adam had “swallowed” fruit from the wrong tree! He had believed the lie of the tempter! That has been our pattern as well. Now is the time for us to stand before the judgment seat of Christ, trace every thought to its source and rule out anything contrary to the Word of God! It is time to say:  “Be it unto me according to Thy Word!”

 

In the “administration of the mystery of Christ” Paul speaks of the coming of age of the Body of Christ, when the understanding of the things of God would be a matter of revelation and realization. Beyond mere thought concepts and empty words, a different ‘day’ would dawn for the people of God. Jesus spoke to his disciples suffering from “spiritual A.D.D.” of a coming day: “On that day you will know [realize] that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” He spoke of the advantage of His “going away” [in bodily presence] so that the Spirit of Truth which they had sensed in Him, would come to reside in their hearts so that they would “know” all things by the Spirit of God. That morning broke at Pentecost. John declares that in this “last hour” those who “belong to us [in Christ]…have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of us know the truth” [1 Jn. 2:20,27]. It is time to “know” what to “think” by the Anointing within instead of carnally “thinking that we know” by natural reason! Jesus is praying for that!

 

Christ intercession for us is reflected in apostolic praying: “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be

enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints…”[Eph. 1:18]. The heart knows by faith what the mind does not understand! Let us say “Amen” to Jesus’ prayer for us! Knowing the Truth this way, as sons in The Son, sets us free to be “…as He is in this world.” [1 Jn. 4:17, KJV]. All creation groans for our growing up into Him.

 

Where Christ Wants Us To Be

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory…” [ Jn. 17:24]

In what we call his “High Priestly Prayer” [John 17] Jesus speaks intimately with our Father concerning those He “stations” in the world from which he is physically departing. Along with protection from the deception of the Evil One in a “world” that will hate them, Jesus asks that we be spiritually centered in Him. Since they [we] belong to Him by the gift of His Father, He prays for us to consciously be in Him to whom we belong. Thus would they be in the world [location] but not of the world [vocation].

 

For much of the professing church of today, these are lovely theoretical sentiments with little or no sense of reality. How different from the state of the apostolic church. They believed and knew they belonged to Christ and set about to become the Body of Christ on earth in living union with their exalted Head. They considered themselves alive unto God in Christ. They, by faith, had died to their former separate identity and had been brought into a vital oneness with Christ. They were now one new, heavenly man. “He who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit” [1 Cor. 6:17].

 

To such members of Christ, the apostles could speak realistically of their “former life” “…in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air…” But, in contrast to that, they now, consciously lived in a different realm: “…God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus…” [Eph. 2:2,6]

 

But because of being stationed bodily in hostile territory, behind enemy lines in this present evil age, reality checks were needful. Paul encouraged believers to keep focused on their true identity and the center of their new life: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set you hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

 

These apostolic believers knew they really were where Paul said they were! The question for the professing church of this day is similar to the one God asked “hiding” Adam: “Man [Adam] where are you?” Are you living in the consciousness of being One with Christ Jesus in heavenly places? We are so overwhelmed by the things of this world, and this present age, that though we profess to be “saved” we live strangely lost to the heart and purposes of Christ. It is a vague “virtual reality” to us.

 

Here is my sense: Until we know ourselves to be really seated together with Christ in heavenly places we will not be able to actually stand together for Christ in this world. Unless we personally experience being gathered into a Living Union with Christ in heavenly places, we cannot enter into the meaning of being gathered together in His name on earth. We may go to religious gatherings, but unless we “discern the Body of Christ” such “meetings can do more harm than good” in furthering the purposes of God in Christ [1 Cor. 11:17,18, 29]. The stated purpose is “to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ” [Eph. 1:10] . His realized Presence among us is the earnest of our inheritance in Christ, a seal upon us that we are the Lord’s Body and He is the Head of that Body.

 

This faith consciousness of our spiritual union with Christ is the right of inheritance of every child of God who will press toward laying hold of that prize [Study Phil. 3:12.114,15]. “To him who overcomes, I will give the right

to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne” [Rev. 3:21]. Our Father is pleased to give us all His kingdom blessings and says “He who overcomes will inherit all this and I will be his God and he will be my son”[Rev. 21:7]. Though the “world, the flesh, and the Devil” fights against us, “…everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith” [1

So, Believe! Belong! Become who we are in Christ!

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 2012
Posted by Justin Esposito on Monday Jun 4, 2012
June 2012

In the time of my active service to the people of God in the institutional church setting, it was very exciting to watch builders erect a physical site for the gathering together of the community of believers. But now, in “…the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation,… which is Christ in you, the hope of glory [Eph. 1:2; Col. 1:27], I watch with awe as I behold with the eyes of my heart a “…a whole [new] building [being] joined together and rising to become a holy temple in the Lord [Eph. 2:21]. Have you seen it yet?  Follow me, watch and pray with me, as I share in the Spirit what I see….


The Gathering of the Church


“Unto Him shall the gathering of the people be…”[Gen. 49:10 KJV].

“…How often would I have gathered thy children together…and ye would not! Behold your house is left unto you desolate” [Matt. 23:37,38 KJV]. “Blessed are you…for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven…” [Matt. 16:17 NIV]. “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” [Matt. 18:20 KJV]. “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all who are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” [Acts 2:39 KJV]. “But you are a chosen people… a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” [1 Pet. 2:9 NIV]. “Simon [Peter] has described to us how God [is] taking out a people for himself” [Acts 15:14].


Please ponder prayerfully before the Lord the preceding scriptural panorama of the purpose of God for the Ecclesia, the scriptural Greek word we translate “church” [literally, “a called out gathering or assembly”]. Go back to these scriptures and tarry in the Silence until “…our hearts are burning within us as [Christ] talks with us and opens the scriptures to us” [Lk. 24:32].


The eyes of my heart are blessed to see the building of this “spiritual house of a holy priesthood [that is even now] offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” [1 Pet. 2:5 NIV]. The Holy Spirit is preparing “living stones” quarried from the earth and shaped by divinely ordained circumstances. He is placing them “in heavenly places” in perfect alignment with the Cornerstone, the Rock of the revealed Christ!


A new awareness that material buildings are not the church is growing into an even deeper understanding that neither is the mere gathering of our physical bodies in one place - unless we realize Christ’s Presence. The Church is Christ and we gather unto Him corporately in the Holy Spirit and His Living Presence is made known to us in the Holy Spirit. What we have called “church” is coming to be seen as the “launch site” for those who practice resurrection living. Discernment of the Body of Christ is being ministered to “hearts [that are] set on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God” [Col. 3:1]. We want to join in the “fellowship” to which the Apostle John invited us: “Our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ” [1 Jn. 1:3 NIV]. We seek, like John, to live “…in the Spirit…in the Day of the Lord…”[Rev. 1:10, literal Greek translation].


So, our “meetings” become rehearsals for the rapture when, gathered by His Spirit, we contemplate Christ. Then,

“…behold, a door is opened in heaven, and the first voice I hear is as a trumpet talking with me; it says ‘Come up hither, and I will show you things which must be hereafter.” I rise, look about me and I see a “…great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb” [Rev. 7:9] . I realize that I “…have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God [Heb. 12:32]. I have taken my place in the Church Jesus promised to build beyond the gates of death! I have left sin’s “nightmare” and entered into God’s Dream! Can you see it? Are you there, yet? Will you seek this kingdom above every earthly good? The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come!”


The Gaining of the Church


“What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world [of ‘things’], yet forfeits his own soul?”

[Matt. 16:26]. “…Men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth…, think that godliness is

a means of financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain” [1 Tim. 6:5,6]. “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ, and be found in him.”[Phil. 3:7,8]. “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” [Phil. 1:21]. “For… Your {True, Real, Spiritual} Life is now hidden with Christ in God” [Col. 3:3].


Christ centered souls with hearts set on spiritual realities above the material realm form the “house” that Jesus and his Father [and ours] is building in the heavenly realm [See Heb.3:1-4]. Saved from “this corrupt generation” [Acts 2:40], our focus is not just on “going to church” but on “being the church” Jesus is building. Baptized into death with Christ to the control of the things of this world, we rise to “live a new life” [Rom. 6:1,2]. Having suffered with Christ the “loss” of “former things,” we now behold “all things new,” coming from the present hand of God [2 Cor. 5:17,18]. We no longer live by material bread only, but by the Bread of God’s present breathing on us.

The “high calling of God in Christ Jesus” [Phil. 3:14 KJV] has replaced the “bottom line” in our account ledger. Like the “grown up Moses” of old, we “refuse to be known as grandsons of this world’s Pharaohs.” Instead we “choose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.” Like Moses, we “regard disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of ‘Egypt’” -the false value system of materialism, which is being exposed to be insufficient. [Heb. 11:24-26].


Along with the “persecution” predicted for “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus” [2 Tim. 3:12], we are made aware by revelation of “the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints” [Eph. 1:18]. Since, in our union with Christ in the Spirit, we are “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” [Rom. 8:17], we now have access to “everything we need for life and godliness” [2 Pet. 1:3 & 1 Pet. 1:4]. This explains how Paul, writing from his prison cell, could joyfully exclaim upon receiving material assistance from his “partners” at Philippi: “I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me….[But]… I am not saying this because I am in need…. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation!” [Phil. 4:10-12]. Though his physical body was in prison, His Soul was prospering in the “great gain” of the “inheritance of the saints in the Kingdom of Light” [Col. 1:`12]. He was, in

reality, “the richest man in Rome!”

Jim Elliott, who died a martyr’s death at the hands of the Auca Indians to whom he went to share Christ’s love, wrote of the gain of those who inherit the Kingdom of God. Before his sacrifice, he wrote: “He is no fool who gives that which he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose.” Wise accounting, indeed!


The Giving of the Church


“For God, so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son…”[Jn. 3:16]. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” [Rom. 5:8]. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” [1 Jn. 3:16].

While the masses are “dying to get” things that do not satisfy and will not last, Christ sends us to be those who “live to give” God’s love which is eternally fulfilling. In the days of his demonstration of the Life of God among us, Jesus called

and appointed twelve disciples “…designating them apostles [“sent ones”] – that they should be with him

and that he might send them out…”[Mk. 3:13,14]. After his resurrection, he renewed and expanded their mission

and promised them that they would receive the power of His Presence and all the resources of His Authority to re- present Him to all the people of the world for the duration of this present age. “In His Name,” fully conscious of their union with Him in the Holy Spirit, they were “sent as the Father sent the Son” with the message of salvation and the kingdom of God. They labored and we now enter into their labors.

One of the early records of Christ at work in the “acts of the Apostles” [Acts 3:1-10] demonstrates the place that the Body of Christ is to occupy in the ongoing giving of the Love of God to a lost world. Two witnesses, Peter and John, encounter a lame beggar [apt depiction of lost souls] sitting outside the “Beautiful gate” of the temple. Prompted by 

inner discernment, they command the beggar’s attention. The poor man expects only to receive some material help,

but Peter [representing the “sent” Body of Christ in the world] opens the riches of his heart to him, saying: “Silver

and gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”

The ‘miracle’ that followed meant that the Risen Christ had invaded this present age with the powers of the age to come! This is what the Christ conscious Body of believers is sent to do.

It is said that the titular head of the “church” of the middle ages, proudly gave to a famous artist a tour of the richly adorned buildings of the Vatican. “We can no longer say, ‘silver and gold have we none,’ beamed the presumed successor to Peter’s throne. Then the artist wryly replied, “But neither can we say to the helpless, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ, rise and walk.’” Is it not time for those of us who bear the Name of Jesus Christ but have lost our soul capacity to mediate the living Christ, to give our all that we may “gain Christ” and find our True Life in Him? ABSOLUTELY!

RESOLUTELY,

Bob Yarbrough

 

 

 

May 2012
Posted by Justin Esposito on Thursday May 3, 2012
0
Prayers
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Prayed
AMEN!
May 2012

Dear Friends of my heart,

 

Attached (below) is a record of my "musings" arising from the meditation of my heart, that I seek to put in words for your use.  My prayerful intention is that my 'witness' will be downloaded, first to a hardcopy for your reading in the Conscious Presence of the Holy Spirit, the Counselor sent to our hearts by Jesus to lead us into the real meaning of "His things" that He reveals from the Father.  Then, I pray that He may indeed "teach you all things" and "bring to your remembrance," what you already know in the deep place where the "Anointing" that rests in you and that "teaches you all things."  As you "upload" what you find in your heart, I have confidence that you will be empowered to do what the Word in your heart says.  Jesus said that we would be blessed in the doing of what we "know" in that heart sense. 

 

"I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.  I have set the Lord always before me.  Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken."  [Psalm 16:7,8]

 

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." Matthew 24:35

 

"'Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.'  The words 'once more' indicate the removing of what can be shaken - that is, created things - so that what cannot be shaken may remain.  Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming Fire."  Hebrews 12:26-28

 

"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.  The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.  Since every "thing" will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?  You ought to live holy and godly lives, as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.... But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.  So then, ddear friends, since you are looking foward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him."  ! Peter 3:10-15

 

"The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." 1 John 2:17.

 

Abiding with you in His Word,

Bob

 

 

 


 

“Pray…for me…, as I endeavor to “…speak a message of wisdom among…you who are becoming mature…. I refer to “…God’s secret wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.” As I abide consciously “…in the shadow of the Shelter of the Most High…” and “…rest in the shadow of the Almighty,” may …the power of the Most High…overshadow you…” as well. “Pray…that “…words may be given me so that I will fearlessly cause to be made known the mystery of the gospel…. The glorious riches of this mystery…is Christ in you…who has come to establish in you …the hope of glory.”

 

I am praying for you, that you may have “…an ear…” that can “…hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Because I know of your deep faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, “I have not stopped giving thanks for you,

 

remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you.”

 

“In reading this…, I pray “…you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ….” I commit

 

these words to the computer screen or to hard copy with a certain “trembling” as I seek to express the

 

“meditation of my heart… not in words taught by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.” In doing this I am keenly aware of the obvious “foolishness” of these words apart from the interpretation to your hearts by the other “Counselor…sent to you from the Father…the Spirit of truth who testifies to Christ” in your heart.

 

I have confidence in you to receive my witness, because of my confidence in the Living Christ in you. “I will

 

praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand I will not be shaken…. Father, You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

 

[I have sought to express my spirit in the Spirit of the Lord. In this desire, I have clothed my thoughts in the scriptural expressions found in the following references in the order that they were used: Ephesians 6:19; 1 Corinthians 3:6,7; Psalm 91:1; Colossians 2:27; Revelation 2:7; Ephesians 1:16-18; Ephesians 3:4; Psalm 19:14; 1 Corinthians 2:13; John. 15:26, 27; Psalm 16:7,8, 11. Diligent attention and meditation in these passages will be “fuel” for the Spirit’s Fire.]

 

MYSTERIES FOUND IN JOHN 11 I was recently called to minister at the celebration service for the life of a dear friend of many years. In preparing, I was given heart insight into things that had previously been hidden from my eyes. I share them in the faith that the Holy Spirit will minister grace to our hearts for His glory.

 

The Mystery of God’s Love “Lord, the one you love is sick” [v. 3]. “Then the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him.’ But some of them said, ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?’ [vv. 36. 37].

As we listen to the recorded words of Jesus and watch his actions in this gospel story, I am stunned by the reality of Isaiah’s insight from the Lord: “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my says,’ declares the Lord” [Is. 55:8]. In man’s long struggle with sin and sickness, the question of God’s love haunts us. We wonder, “Does God in deed love us when we are sick?” If so, ‘Why does he allow us to be sick?’ We think, “Either he doesn’t really love us, or he doesn’t care, or he is not able to do anything about it.” Our natural “thoughts” were not those of Jesus Christ! Instead, he saw through mere appearances and the “evil imaginations” of men, and gave us insight into the Divine perspective: “This sickness will not

end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it” [v.4].

 

Can we, will we, set aside our “thoughts” and receive this “implanted Word” [James 1:21] from the mouth of Him who is Truth! If we will abide in Him and allow His words to abide in us, the Truth of the Son in us will set us free from the control of mere appearances. He will empower us to “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen” [! Cor. 4:18]. While others remain “fixated” on appearances, and look for “fixes” to dull their pain, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to “fix our thoughts on Jesus [Heb. 3:1]. Because we see Him victoriously exalted over sin, sickness and death, we know we are one with Him in his victory and therefore “more than conquerors through Him that loved us…” because “nothing in all creation, will be able to

separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”[Rom. 8:37,39].

The answers to the questions of our minds remain shrouded in mystery, but The Answer Himself, Jesus Christ, lives in our hearts by faith. In trusting Him we see the glory of God!

The Mystery of God’s Timing “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days [v, 5,6]…. On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days [v. 17] Martha answered ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’ Jesus said to her ‘I am the resurrection and the life’” [vv.24,25].

Clearly, Jesus was living in a different “time zone” than those around him! He did not operate on a schedule of natural hours and days. He was living in “His Day,” the Eternal Now beyond the shifting shadows of our days and nights! Walking in the Light of that Day, he chose to use our time reference as a visible sign of what is eternally present, but beyond our ability to ‘see.’ For the natural mind subject to surface vision, Jesus acted in their “fourth day.” That was the traditional time allotted to be sure that a body was really dead and not just deeply unconscious. But from the ‘time’ Jesus entered the natural awareness of the death of Lazarus, he deliberately delayed “two days.” That meant that for his disciples, whom he was teaching by example, it would be the “third day” when He returned with them to “awaken” Lazarus. “Fourth day” living is the sad state of our experience – dead in trespasses and sin. For Jesus, living “present” to God, it was always the “third day.” Recall the sad disciples blinded to the reality veiled in Jesus’ death and resurrection revelation as they walked the Emmaus Road on the “third day.” It took an intense “seminar” by the risen Christ concerning Himself hidden in the Scriptures of the Old Covenant to renew their minds so He could make himself known in His resurrection glory [Lk. 24:13-32]. By God’s grace they were “raptured” from their 4th day sleep into the Light of 3rd day glory! Have you “changed your clocks”? Have you entered the timeless “Presence” zone? Did you forget and sleep through the resurrection? Hear this wake up call to us all: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” [Eph. 5:14] The Light of the “Son-shine” of the Eternal day has dawned! Walk in the Light as He is in the Light and have fellowship with us! There is no more need of “sun by day or moon by night” in the Now of this day of salvation!

The Mystery of God’s Guidance “Then he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go back to Judea.’ ‘But Rabbi,’ they said, ‘a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?’ Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light” [ vv. 7-10]

Jesus was not controlled by dark world situations, but walked by the Light from Father’s House. He always knew the Father’s timing, and consciously fulfilled His appointed schedule. We on the other hand, set our own schedule in the darkness of our minds saying, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” The disciple of the Lord who watched Jesus’ way teaches us another criteria for planning: “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that” [James 4:14,15].

 

In these dark days, made “evil” by such Godless plans, let us seek to return to the approach of our Lord who only said what he heard Father say, and only did what He saw Father doing. Instead of “taking thought” for tomorrow, let us seek to live in Christ as Jesus did, fully “present and accounted for,” ready to do the Father’s will! The Holy Spirit provides us with “night vision” capacity as we “fix our eyes” to the existing light filtering through from heaven. The time for “sons of Light and sons of the day” [1 Thess. 5:4] to “redeem the time” [Eph. 5:16] has come! We have no “obligation to the sinful nature, to live according to it”. Rather, as “sons of God” we are to be “led by the Spirit of God” [Rom 8:13,14]. Let us “declare [by our lives] the praises of Him who

called us out of darkness into His wonderful Light” [ 1 Peter 2:9].

The Mystery of God’s Presence “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe…[v. 14]. ‘Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here my brother would not have died’ [v.21] …he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “where have you laid him?’ he asked…. [v.34]. “Jesus called in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, ‘Take off the grave clothes and let him go’”[v. 43,44]. Now, follow me prayerfully in the

Spirit:

We who are part of the New Creation of renewed hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, “... regard [know]

no one from a worldly [outward appearance only] point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.”[ 2 Cor. 5:16] It is said of Jesus that “…he knew what was in man.” Jesus knew people in

the Spirit, and judged no one by outward appearance. He knew the real, spiritual presence of the being inside the human form. He also knew that because of the nature of spirit, it was not limited to a human form. “Jesus wept” [Jn. 11:35] and was “deeply moved and troubled” at the blindness of even his dearest, closest friends to spiritual reality! He who had opened physically blind eyes, longed to see the “eyes of [their] hearts be enlightened in order that [they] might know the hope to which he had called [them]”[Eph. 1:18] He still weeps for us today! I know it still breaks the heart of Jesus today as then, that his dear ones still wrongly believe that the physical form is the person. We still do not know one another in the Spirit! The ‘miracle’ of the raising of Lazarus is meant among other things to teach us by the Holy Spirit that reality is in the spirit being that lives in the Spirit of God beyond the physical form! Martha the extrovert, and even Mary the contemplative listener to Jesus, were both held in the mis- belief that the Spiritual Presence of Jesus was limited to his physical proximity. They were missing the “glory of God” behind the “veil” of a physical flesh form. It required a different kind of seeing – a perception of the soul nurtured in faith- to look on His glory.

This was his plea for the removal of the stone that lay over their hearts as he asked them to remove the physical rock that separated the “dead” body form of Lazarus from his loved ones. To demonstrate reality to their limited, natural minds, he called for Lazarus, the real Person Living in the Presence of His Father, to again take on the “grave clothes” so “dead hearts’ could see him again. We can only ponder in human terms the “bad news” the Father had to give Lazarus. “Son, you will have to return for a while to your grave clothes so dead people can see you!” And would the really Alive Lazarus have asked, “Do, I have to Father? I love it here!” Did the Father say to him, “let it be so for now.

Jesus is teaching your sisters what they have missed. At the same time he is preparing them for what they must understand when Jesus dies so that they may live?” And so, Lazarus, “comes forth” a sight for dead eyes! In instructing them to remove the exterior

grave clothes, I wonder if there was not a deeper call for them to release Lazarus, the person, from the dark, death focused prison of their minds to let him be all He really is in Christ? [The Spirit “guarantees” me, we’re going to like the way we look in our resurrection bodies![See 2 Cor. 5:5]

“Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” [v.40].

 

Ponder these mysteries! The Apostle of Heaven, speaking in the Name of Jesus Christ calls us:

“Listen, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed… He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” [1 Cor. 5:51-55].

Ponder my witness to these things in your heart, mediate on them and the Lord will give you understating. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, I pray. Amen

 

Bob Yarbrough 

 

 

 

 

 

April 2012
Posted by Justin Esposito on Sunday Apr 1, 2012
0
Prayers
I
Prayed
AMEN!
April 2012

Dear Friends,

 

Attached is an unusually long teaching that may be useful to you in your meditation on the saving events and spiritual implications of "Holy Week.

 

"E-mail is a wonderful tool, but it encourages us to "scan" quickly the messages we receive in our busy schedule without taking time to concentrate on spiritual content.

For this reason, I respectfully request that you open the attachment and print it out for reading and spiritual reflection when you have time to wait before the Lord for His Light to reveal Truth to your heart.

These teachings that I write are not for everyone, but for those who are feel drawn to the Lord and helped on your personal journey through them.  I pray for Christ's Life in you to increase!

I am so accutely aware of my inadequacy to express the "unsearchable riches of Christ and to make plain to everyone the administration of the mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God." [Ehesians 3:8].

 

So, I request: "Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth [and try to write it out],  words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,for which I am an ambassador in chains [the spiritual bonds of Christ's loving call on my life].  Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

"Rejoicing with you in this season when our hearts shout "he is risen....he is risen, indeed!"

Bob


Scale down to continue reading attachment


 

  A Word from April, 2012

 

 

 

HOLY WEEK: DAYS OF PREPARATION FOR A SPIRITUALPASSOVER TO LIFE IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD

 

BY A REALIZATION OF OUR NEW IDENITY WITH JESUSCHRIST IN HIS DEATH AND RESURRECTION.

 

 

 

“Holy Week” in our tradition has come to be a time for sacred reflection on the deeper meaning of Jesus Christ – his life, his death, and his resurrection.  The forty days of “Lent” is a period of sensitizing our souls to the reality that life in the “wilderness,” though it is our present state of consciousness, it is not our destiny in Jesus Christ.  At the end of our Lenten journey we recollectthe historic events of that intense final week of Jesus’ identity with us in our sins.  By faith, we seek to be there- to enter into the mysteries that lie hidden from our natural minds, but are revealed to us by the Holy Spirit given to us.  It is my desire to encourage that activity of our faith by my personal meditation on the Sacred Message recorded in Scripture. I pray with the ancient Psalmist that “my mouth will speak words of wisdom;” and that “…the utterance from my heart will give understanding” [Ps. 49:3].

 

 

 

In the presence of the Lord by the Holy Spirit, I ask Jesus Christ to reveal himself in you as you read with a receptive open heart and meditate in reverent stillness on the sacred texts given for our understanding of the mysteries of the gospel.  May our hearts burn with the fire of His Holy Presence as he “opens the Scriptures” to us.

 

“May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord” – [Ps. 104:34] AMEN!

 

Bob Yarbrough

 

COME, FOLLOW ME

 

“As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you.  Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’  He will show you a large upper room, all furnished.  Make preparations there…” [Lk.. 22:10-12]

 

 

 

I am not ashamed to be just “a nameless man carrying water” for my Lord, Jesus Christ!  I come out to meet you as you enter my city.  Please follow me as I enter the house of the Owner of all.  Reverently ask our One Teacher to show us the communion room in which we will partake of the Fully ComePassover in Him.  As we wait in Holy Silence, He will show us an ample, upper room in our souls furnished with all we need for life and godliness.   In that Holy Place, we prepare to pass over.

 

 

 

A KING HAS COME, BUT ONLY CHILDREN CAN REALLY SEE HIM

 

“Jesus sent two disciples saying to them: ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her.  Untie them and bring them to me.  If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.’ This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet [Zachariah]”….[Matt. 21:1-3]

 

 

 

“A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road….[The crowd] shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David!”  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!” [Matt. 21:8,9]

 

 

 

“The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them.  But when the chief priest and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ they were indignant.” 

 

 

 

“‘Do you hear what these children are saying?’ they asked him. ‘Yes,’replied Jesus, ‘have you never read, “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise?” [Matt. 21:14-16]

 

 

 

“Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples!’  ‘I tell you,’ he replied, ‘if they kept quiet, the stones will cry out.’” [Lk. 19:39,40].

 

 

 

“And do not say to yourselves, ‘We have “Abraham as our father.’  For I tell you, that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.”  [Lk. 3:8]

 

 

 

In this mysteriously arranged event was fulfilled John’s illuminating commentary: “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not from natural descent, nor of human decision, or a husband’s will, but born of God.” [Jn. 1:10-13]

 

 

 

As we sing our “hosannas” and wave our palm branches commemorating this event, have we  yet become “as little children” able to see in this unpretentious rider – not on a great White Horse but a lowly donkey with her colt tagging along- the King of Glory?  Many in that Palm Sunday crowd would join the mob later that week shouting “crucify him.”  It is even recorded “At first his disciples did not understand all this.  Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him” [Jn. 12:16].  Jesus was intent upon ‘losing none’ that the Father had given him.  Could they come to understand the real meaning beneath the mind boggling appearances of such an unseemly arrival?  Can we?

 

 

 

He had said to them, “…unless you change [be converted] and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” [Matt. 18:3].  In a few days, in an “upper room,” Jesus will concentrate his attention on the implications of this radical conversion of life for his not-yet-understanding disciples.  Boastful Peter, his leading disciple, is especially in danger and dependent upon the intercession of Jesus:  “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  And when you are converted, strengthen your brothers.” [Lk. 22:31,32].   Putting ourselves among them, let us also enter the preparatory “upper room.”

 

 

 

THE WORLD’S LAST SUPPER

 

“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.   For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God….” [Lk. 22:15,16] “It was just before the Passover Feast.  Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father.  Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love [Jn. 13:1]  

 

 

 

Jesus, having mysteriously spoken with the departed Moses and Elijah“about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem [Lk. 9:31], ... knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father” [Jn. 13:1].  In a little while the disciples will not see him anymore in his earthly form.  He must prepare them to be able to see him again in His resurrection presence.  This means, they will have to access the unseen-by-earthly-eyes realm to which he is ascending.  

 

 

 

Thus, he will “act out” before them the mindset that will open the door of their hearts for him, by the Spirit to “…come in and eat with [them] and [they] with him”[Rev. 3:20].   For them to pass over and “eat the Bread of Life in a new way in the kingdom of God” with him, he must set an example of how Divine Love acts, so that by “patterning” their atrophied souls they may come alive in his Love.  So, He “sets them an example” and promises them that they can access his “blessedness” by lovingly serving as he has done from the source of this his Son-consciousness.  [ The heart of John 13. ,esp. vs. 15-17].

 

 

 

Thus, their old “world and its desires” will pass away, but as they “do the will of God” they will “live forever” in him! [1 Jn. 2;17].  In the simplicity of “loving their brothers” they will “know that they have passed from death to life” [1 Jn. 3:14].   Specifically, they will know God’s definition of Love: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” [ 1 Jn. 3:16]. At this holy season, in the prison of sin, may we eat our “last meal” and become “dead men walking” into the “...glorious freedom of the children of God.” [Rom. 8:21].

 

 

 

AN INVERTED KINGDOM FOR CONVERTED SOULS

 

“I pray… for those who will believe in me…, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you…. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory…. I have made you known to them and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” [Jn. 17:20-26].

 

 

 

The vast expanse between the “Son-consciousness” of Jesus Christ and the “sin-consciousness” of his own will be bridged by an enacted word from Jesus’ heart to theirs.  Those who have sought to rise higher in their worldly estimation by putting others down, will be given the ultimate gift of love by the one they rightly called Master and Teacher.  Jesus will show them “the way” to live in the Father by breaking the social norms.  The consternation of Peter’s “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?....Never !” captures their shocked reaction.   Though the disciples will not be able to “see it” yet, he promises a “later” when He will come to them in resurrection Presence.  Then they will “get it.”  Jesus will graciously love them through their slowness of heart.

 

 

 

One spiritual writer insightfully refers to the meaning of this experience as “The Holy Thursday Revolution.”

 

“We think that Jesus is radical and innovative.  He apparently thinks that he is merely following out the original idea for human beings in the world:  he’s deeply conservative !  Conventional practices, in his view, demonstrate the hardness of many human hearts.  We tolerate this harsh usage, but, says Jesus, ‘It was not so from the beginning” [Matt. 19:8].  Our conventions of inequality and domination are departures from the first order of nature ordained by god, and are thereforeunnatural.  So the relation of what is real, right, and natural to what is a departure from the seemingly right way is turned on its head…. What is conventional now, seemingly right, will be realized to have been wrong, and we are called to return to a correct order of nature.”

 

 

 

Are we ready yet to enter a kingdom were a communion paradigm replaces our accustomed domination- subjugation model?  Can we receive a kingdom based not on power to make things happen by force, but on authority to create life by love?  Can we choose to bend in service to others instead of bending others to serve us?  I suggest that before we can “follow the example” Jesus set, there must be a spiritual “heart implant” of the Holy Love of Father, by the realized Presence of Christ in us.   For the new kingdom to come, the old must pass away and all things must be of God [2 Cor. 5:17].

 

 

 

AUTHORITY TO LAY MY LIFE DOWN

 

It was to prepare these remnant disciples for such a transition in the center of their being from the domination of the world to the freedom of communion with the Son and His Father in the Holy Spirit, that He “eagerly desired” to share himself with them and to give real meaning to that transition pictured inPassover.  For the reality of the Life Jesus knew to become their reality, they must become One with Him through identity with Him in His death and resurrection.  What he told them in the “upper room” would be made real in them in another “upper room” experience when the Day of Pentecost was fully come [Acts 1:13, 2:1].  

 

 

 

On that day of destiny, the disciples came to know that the Life that had been “with them” in their Lord Jesus Christ, was now filling them.  On that day of transition the I AM identity of Jesus Christ rose in them as Jesus had prophesied:  “On that day you will realize, that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you” [Jn. 14:20] . The awaited promise that they would “receive power”[Acts 1:8] caused them to understand at last what Jesus had prepared them to realize in the upper room example of life in His Father’s Kingdom.  

 

 

 

Now, with the “mind of Christ” they had experientially entered the “later” of promised understanding! [1 Cor. 2;15,16].  They no longer thought in terms of who is greatest and who is the least.  They saw themselves as equally loved “living cells” in their individual placement in the One Body of Christ[1 Cor. 12:12,13].  Identified with Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection, they began to practice a new authority in life [Rom. 6:3,4; 5:17].  They were enabled to “lay down their life for the brothers” [1 Jn. 3;16] as thelove of God they had seen in Jesus was poured into their hearts by the Holy Spirit [Rom. 5:5.]  They were now “partakers of the divine nature” [2 Peter 1:4].

 

 

 

Since they had experienced the crucified Jesus, rising again in their hearts[Eph. 3:17], they now knew that they also, could “lose their [ego-centered, sin-bound] life and find it” in communion with the Living Christ, whose Presence they knew when “two or three were gathered in His Name.”  As St. Francis, centuries later would describe it, “in dying they were raised to Eternal Life.”  This new communion in the One Life of Christ, was nurtured as they gathered together to encourage one another to abide in His Love and the good works that flowed from that inner core [Heb. 10:23-25].

 

 

 

A HOLY THURSDAY STATE OF MIND

 

Presenting our bodies to be “the host” of the Living Christ by the sacrifice of our sinful egos, requires an ongoing “renewing of the mind” to make living proof of the reality of His Life in us.  Breaking free of our former “hostage situation” to the sinful ways of the world, is a constant “good fight of faith”that “takes hold of eternal life” in our daily living. [Rom. 12:1,2; 1 Tim. 6:12].   The “New York state of mind” [or Washington, or Atlanta, or Denver, or wherever] must be replaced constantly by “the mind that was in Christ Jesus” [Phil. 2:5, KJV}.  

 

 

 

This is the deeper spiritual understanding of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet.  Cleansed inwardly by their love relationship with the Word, Jesus Christ, they still walked in the dust of a sinful world.  The loving, solicitous, covering care of individual members of the Body for one another is meant to lead to mutual confession, forgiveness and refreshing in the Presence of the Lord.

 

[ 1 Peter 4:8; 1 Jn. 5:16; 1:9;   Acts 3:19; Jn. 20:23; – May we see the Fellowship of Love in Christ as a ‘no sin zone’!]

 

 

 

THURSDAY’S CHILD HAS FAR TO GO

 

Most of us have heard this line from a children’s rhyme used to teach English speaking children the days of the week as far back as the 16th century.  It is surely an appropriate finishing line to this Holy Thursday meditation!  All of us in looking at this “…goal of winning the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus…” must sadly confess with Paul, “I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it.”  But what grieves my spirit is that so many of us professing Christians are “aiming at nothing and hitting it every time!”   Instead we should be “…straining toward what is ahead…”and seeking to “…live up to what we have already attained.” [Phil. 3:12- 16].  “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” [Gal. 6:9].

 

 

 

GIVING LIGHT TO EVERYONE IN THE HOUSE

 

Our cultural darkness needs this Light of the world!  Jesus told us to find a“stand” from which our light could shine and illuminate our good deeds for the praise of our Father in heaven [Matt. 5:15,16].   I, with many of you, have been experimenting with “trial stands” that don’t seem to be very effective.  Let us not be discouraged.  I remember that Thomas Edison tried more than 3,000 combinations of materials searching for a substance that would hold and transmit efficient, sustainable light from the energy of electricity.  He turned each “failure” into a successful knowing of what wouldn’t work!  He persevered until he succeeded in lighting his world!  May we resolve to begin again to become corporately the Body of the Living Christ, and with our eyes fixed on “…him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light...Let us live such good lives among the pagans that…they may see our good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us![1 Pet. 2:9,12] 

As we sit together in our upper room of preparation for this spiritual transition, hear the faithful voice of our Savior: “I am going to send you what my Father has promised.”  Let us “stay continually at the temple” of the Holy Spirit, who dwells now in our individual bodies, with firm purpose to “stay in the city [where God has planted us] until [we] have been clothed with power from on high.”[Lk. 24:48,53].  

 

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” [Lk. 12:32].

 

 

 


March 2012
Posted by Justin Esposito on Monday Mar 5, 2012
March 2012

 

SENT TO BE ABOUT OUR FATHER

“As the Father sent me, I am sending you.” And he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Jn. 20:21

 

“Praying in the Holy Spirit,” is a heart communion in which sons ask questions and Father answers.  Three basic questions asked from our hearts and answered with the aid of the indwelling Counselor given to us by Jesus will define the life Father desires for each son He is bringing to glory.  Ask them, seek His answer, and wait at His door till it opens for you [Mt. 7:7,8].

 

What is the meaning of my life?

             The “knowing” that is the mind of Christ Jesus has been lost in the sin condition of Adam’s race.  Like ships without rudders, we plow the sea of life imagining that we just “happen” to be here.  By contrast, Jesus knew he was sent by the Father and he was ever mindful of His Sender.  John speaks of the continuity of Jesus’ consciousness in these words: “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God…”

             The mission passed on to the disciples by the resurrected Christ was based on their “knowing” the Father as He Knew Him.  His Spirit had to become the air they breathed.  Have you breathed that “Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you know him”[Eph. 1:16]?  Are you consciously aware of the “preface” of your earthly life – that you came from God?  If so, you can go forward “backing into life” with your eyes always on the Father!  Father becomes your reason for living.

 

What is the measure of my life?

            The darkened understanding of the natural mind measures the value of a life by what one does.  Jesus knew his value was in being the Son of God.  Affirmed by the voice from heaven that said, “This is my son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased [[Mt. 3:16] ,” Jesus was free to “…make himself nothing, taking [instead] the very nature of a servant” [Phi. 2:7]. 

           The measure of your life is in who you are, not in what you do!  In consciously being Father’s beloved child, you are free to do “…whatever you do, whether in word of deed…in the name of the Lord Jesus [conscious of your true life in Him], giving thanks to God, the Father [yours and His] [Col. 3:17].

           Have you heard of the hypothesis of physics called,  The Law of Sensitive Dependence Upon Initial Conditions?  New York Times best selling author, Andy Andrews explains it:

     “ In 1963 Edward Lorenz presented a hypothesis to the New York Academy of Science.  His theory, stated simply, was that: A butterfly could flap its wings and set molecules of air in motion, which would move other molecules of air, in turn, moving more molecules of air – eventually capable of starting a hurricane on the other side of the planet.  Lorenz and his ideas were literally laughed out of the conference….It was preposterous.  But it was fascinating.  Therefore, because of the idea’s charm and intrigue, the so-called “butterfly effect” became a staple of science fiction… a combination of myth and legend…. So imagine the scientific community’s shock and surprise when, more than thirty years after the possibility was introduced, physics professors working from colleges and  universities worldwide came to the conclusion that the butterfly effect was authentic, accurate and viable. [Andy Andrews, The Butterfly Effect, How Your Life Matters.]

      Let your spiritual mind perceive that if “butterfly wings” stir hurricanes in the natural, what will happen when believing Sons of God in the Spirit wait upon the Lord and “mount up with wings like eagles”  [Is. 4:31] to effect the unseen realities of the heavenly realm?  By that activity of sons living in and walking in the Spirit, behold! Our Father is making everything new![Rev. 21:4]

 

What is the mission of my life?

Jesus explained to his confused parents his mission was to “be about my Father…” [literal rendering of Lk, 2:29].  He simply watched Father and did what He saw Him doing! [cf. Jn. 10:37].  You need originate nothing,  you simply execute Father’s plan as He reveals it to you by His Holy Spirit breathing the life of Christ into you!  In Christ, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is our Father, loving us as He does Jesus and using us to do the same loving, healing works that He himself went about doing.  [cf. Mt. 4:23;  Jn. 14::12].                                                     

 

Bob Yarbrough

 

 

 

 

 

February 2012
Posted by Justin Esposito on Friday Feb 10, 2012
February 2012

A CALL TO CHRIST’S CHOSEN OCCUPIERS

“A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.  And he called his …servants…and said ‘Occupy till I come.’  [Luke 19:12,13 KJV]  “You did not choose me, but I chose you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last…. You do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.” [John 16:16,19 NIV].

 

The current fad of the “Occupiers” of Wall Street and other sites, in a perverse way, is a rebuke to a dislocated church that Jesus is building in the heavens.  Nature abhors a vacuum, it is said, and in the absence of Christ’s chosen ones fulfilling their noble calling of filling the earth with the glory of God, “the enemy has come in like a flood.” This moves me to believe that God is responding by “lifting up a standard against him,”as awakened souls begin to occupy their places in Christ.[Is. 59:19 kJV]

 

IN THE WORLD, BUT NOT OF THE WORLD

Before Christ’s chosen ones can rightly occupy their place in this present age, they must “know their place” in the age to come - now!  Shortly before Jesus ascension to the Father, he shared with his disciples a secret that is now being revealed to us by the Spirit of Truth.  He told them, “where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later” [Jn. 13:36].  The disciples were troubled by this mystical saying, so Jesus went on to say “Don’t be troubled, trust me…. I am going to prepare your place….and I will come back and take you to be with me… where I am” [My interpretive paraphrase of Jn. 14:1-3].  Jesus “sealed the deal” by asking His Father on our behalf:  “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am and to see my glory….” [Jn. 17:24].

 

We are enabled to live in that “later.”  Access to the Living Christ in the Holy Spirit is now opened to all who will seek Him!  It is time that Christ’s followers come to “know their place”!  Though we still operate in mortal bodies, Jesus Christ has “…has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” [2 Tim 1:10].  Paul walked in that light and explained to his fellow believers, “…You have been raised with Christ… for you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” [Col. 3:1-3].  I am giving myself continually to prayer and to the ministry of this word:  Christ’s chosen ones are called to move out of “later” mode of unbelief and occupy the “now” center of our being in Christ by faith!

 

ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN

The next time you “say The Lord’s Prayer” may you have spiritual understanding to realize that you have already been “…rescued… from the dominion of darkness and brought… into the kingdom of the Son he loves” [Col. 1:13].   From your seat “in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” may you absorb that atmosphere.  Then as you descend with Christ to confront this present darkness may you know within your spirit that God is doing His will on earth now through you! This is that day! [See Jn. 14:20]

 

As Christ’s ambassador, authorized to “re-present” your King, just “give -‘em heaven”!  Where your feet touch earth is Holy Ground, for the Lord in you by His Spirit sanctifies it for heaven.  Give up your tendency to “conform” to this world, and your futile efforts to “reform” it, and let it be “transformed” by God’s Spirit as you live with a renewed mind.  Prove to all who know you that what is happening in you is “good and acceptable” because it flows out of “the perfect will of God” in heaven [Rom. 12:1,2].

 

Jesus has brought you into His Heavenly Light.  As you “fix your eyes on Him” and “with an unveiled face reflect the Lord’s glory”[2 Cor. 3:18]  continue to “become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life – in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.” [Phil 2:15-16]. 

Until He appears and we appear with Him in His glory, occupy!

Bob

 

THE PRAYER LIFE – WALKING WITH GOD

[ This article by our brother in ministry, Bowie Curry, reveals his heart for the vision that we have sought to encourage in Citiprayer.  He is the director of Prayernet of Fredericksburg and faithfully strengthens those who pray throughout that area.  We are blessed to be able to be part of his financial support team through your gifts.  Pray for him now as you read and as the Holy Spirit brings him to your mind.]

 

“Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.”  [Genesis 5:24]

             Now there is an epitaph I would love to have on my tombstone!  Three short phrases to sum up Enoch’s remarkable life!   First, “Enoch walked with God…”

            Can there be a greater testimony?  Is there any experience this world can offer that can hold a candle to the peace, the joy, the pleasure, the sheer privilege of simply walking with God?  It is significant that Scripture does not say that God walked with Enoch, but rather Enoch walked with God.  God is not interested in blessing our plans.  He is not a cosmic sugar daddy who exists for the sole purpose of making us happy and prosperous.  He is God who invites us “to know him, the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings.  Becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible we may attain the resurrection from the dead.” [Phil. 3:10,11]. Eternal life is the resurrection life of Christ that arises victoriously out of the ashes of a very real death to our self life.

            There is a cost to walking with God.  He must increase and we must decrease.  The Spirit of God is only leading one way, The Way of the Cross.  If we are to continue walking with Him, the way will become narrower and our self life will be diminished to the point that we can say with the Apostle Paul, “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me and the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me” [Gal. 2:20]

            Secondly, “He was not…”  There is within every human heart a mortal enemy to a life of walking with God.  It cannot be reformed and is utterly beyond reclamation. It must die.  It must be crucified!  Its name is self!  Self will never walk with God!  Hebrews 11:5,6 offers some insight to how Enoch lived this out:  By faith, Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him.  Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.  And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who diligently seek him.”              The choice in walking with God is really very simple, not easy, but simple: please self or please God.  How do we please God?  By believing that He exists and demonstrating that faith by becoming a “diligent seeker.”  What it means to be a ‘diligent seeker’ differs for each individual but is finally reduced to the use of our time, time alone with God in His Word to dialog with Him.  What was Enoch’s reward for seeking God?  He found Him!.

            Finally, “…for God took him.”  Like a refiner of precious metals, the Father is constantly gazing into the crucible of our lives looking for the reflection of His Son.  The irony of the process of death to ourselves is that rather than losing our unique identity we discover it.  When no more dross comes to the surface of the molten metal and the Father can see the perfect image of His Son.  He claims that one as His own.

            Ponder prayerfully these verses:  “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased [Mt. 3:17]. “The eyes of the Lord run to and from throughout the earth to show Himself strong on behalf of the one whose heart is perfect toward Him  [2 Chronicles 16:9]  “Know that the Lord has set apart the godly one for Himself.” [Ps. 4:3].  “When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory.” [Col. 4:3].  “All things work together for good to those who love God, who are the called according to His purpose…. To be conformed to the image of his Son…” {Rom. 8:28,29].

                        When the searching eyes of God find such a soul, He “takes him” to be His special treasure, an object of His special favor, a recipient of his eternal rewards!

 

Father, I thank You for the example and testimony of Enoch, a man who daily walked in the light of Your countenance and was transformed by that blessed communion into the image of your Son.  Father, ‘Draw me and I will run after You.’  Say to my heart, “…seek my face.’  And my heart will joyfully exclaim, “Your face Lord will I seek.”  I gladly lose my life for Your sake and the gospel that I might find it in Christ.  Father, consume upon the altar of Your love, all that is of self.  Let it be Christ Who is seen and known and heard in every aspect of my life.  When you look into my heart may You be able to exclaim, “This is my beloved child in whom I am well pleased.”  In Jesus’ Name!  Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 2012
Posted by Justin Esposito on Saturday Jan 14, 2012
0
Prayers
I
Prayed
AMEN!
January 2012

 Dear “Keepers of the Holy Child,”

[Reflections on Joseph – Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2:41-52]

Prayerfully read these passages for the context of my thoughts – Bob Y.

 

Mary, the virgin maiden and chosen “mother of Christ,” would call Joseph “a keeper” – [yes, in the popular modern sense, but more in the Biblical meaning of “husbandman,” a “keeper of a garden.”  I wonder if that could have inspired Jesus’ use of that metaphor when he said “...my Father is the husbandman” [Jn. 15:1 KJV] ?

 

Joseph saw his calling in this light.  When he found that his fiancé was expecting a child, his mind reacted in the natural way “a righteous man” with sensitive feelings would. His thought was to “…put her away privately…” to spare Mary public humiliation. This was “the right thing” according to the conventional, social and religious customs.

 

But something happened that made him “a keeper.”  An Angelic “marriage broker” intervened:  “Not so fast, Joseph!  Get past your fragile ego fear and “…take unto thee Mary thy wife…”  To the everlasting credit of sJoseph, he rose above his natural thinking and did the “God thing’ instead of just the “right thing.”  He became the husband of Mary and “keeper” of her Holy child, Jesus!

 

As shepherds keep watch over their flocks by night, so Joseph protected and cared for his Holy charge in the dark world of Herod’s murderous, anti-Christ hatred.  Miraculously led by Angels beyond Bethlehem’s birthing center to exile in old Egypt, Joseph kept the child safe under the mighty hand of God.

 

Those were hard times!  But then there came a dream in which Angels announced the obituary of those “who sought the young child’s life.”  Returning to old familiar places and patterns, Joseph doubtlessly relaxed and enjoyed the formative years with his special “son.” But in these “good times,” in a careless moment, Joseph lost the Holy Child!

Returning from the excitement of the feast of Passover in Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve, Joseph was unaware that Jesus was not with them!  Surely, a mixture of fear and guilt must have flooded the “keeper’s” heart, when despite their intense search in all the  old familiar places, he could not to be found!

 

The recovery of the “lost child” may be a parable for us today, if we have ears to hear.  We are leaving the excitement of our high Christmas feast and going into a new year that looks ominous and threatening.  We dare not face it without the sure presence of Christ as our hope. Let Joseph’s experience help us find that little child God promised to lead us.

 

  1.  The first step is to become sensitive to where Jesus is in our lives.  To many believers he is somewhere in the periphery of our minds.  But God sent His Son to be the center of our personal, family, social, and business relationships.  Is He there?  Honest to God?
  2. Search diligently for the child!  These very instructions, but out of shameful motives were given by Herod to Wise men.  Still, with pure intent, they found and worshiped Him.  God promises us that if we like them will “search for him with all our hearts,” we will find him.  Will you devote time and effort to keep the Presence of the Holy One in your heart?
  3. Learn to ask the right questions and the answers you seek will be found within you.  Jesus lovingly, yet firmly corrected Joseph. He replaced his ego-centric question: “Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us?” with the Christ centered one:“…don’t you know that I must be about my Father’s business?

Yes, he knew it in his heart, but needed to be “re-minded”:  It’s not about us, but all about the Child!  In that light, Jesus could return to his assigned place in Nazareth to fill each moment with the glory of His Presence.

 

As we go with God into this coming year,

Let us keep the Holy child close in our hearts,

Bob

 

February 2012
Posted by Justin Esposito on Saturday Jan 14, 2012
0
Prayers
I
Prayed
AMEN!
February 2012

A CALL TO CHRIST’S CHOSEN OCCUPIERS

“A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.  And he called his …servants…and said ‘Occupy till I come.’  [Luke 19:12,13 KJV]  “You did not choose me, but I chose you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last…. You do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.” [John 16:16,19 NIV].

 

The current fad of the “Occupiers” of Wall Street and other sites, in a perverse way, is a rebuke to a dislocated church that Jesus is building in the heavens.  Nature abhors a vacuum, it is said, and in the absence of Christ’s chosen ones fulfilling their noble calling of filling the earth with the glory of God, “the enemy has come in like a flood.” This moves me to believe that God is responding by “lifting up a standard against him,”as awakened souls begin to occupy their places in Christ.[Is. 59:19 kJV]

 

IN THE WORLD, BUT NOT OF THE WORLD

Before Christ’s chosen ones can rightly occupy their place in this present age, they must “know their place” in the age to come - now!  Shortly before Jesus ascension to the Father, he shared with his disciples a secret that is now being revealed to us by the Spirit of Truth.  He told them, “where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later” [Jn. 13:36].  The disciples were troubled by this mystical saying, so Jesus went on to say “Don’t be troubled, trust me…. I am going to prepare your place….and I will come back and take you to be with me… where I am” [My interpretive paraphrase of Jn. 14:1-3].  Jesus “sealed the deal” by asking His Father on our behalf:  “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am and to see my glory….” [Jn. 17:24].

 

We are enabled to live in that “later.”  Access to the Living Christ in the Holy Spirit is now opened to all who will seek Him!  It is time that Christ’s followers come to “know their place”!  Though we still operate in mortal bodies, Jesus Christ has “…has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” [2 Tim 1:10].  Paul walked in that light and explained to his fellow believers, “…You have been raised with Christ… for you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” [Col. 3:1-3].  I am giving myself continually to prayer and to the ministry of this word:  Christ’s chosen ones are called to move out of “later” mode of unbelief and occupy the “now” center of our being in Christ by faith!

 

ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN

The next time you “say The Lord’s Prayer” may you have spiritual understanding to realize that you have already been “…rescued… from the dominion of darkness and brought… into the kingdom of the Son he loves” [Col. 1:13].   From your seat “in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” may you absorb that atmosphere.  Then as you descend with Christ to confront this present darkness may you know within your spirit that God is doing His will on earth now through you! This is that day! [See Jn. 14:20]

 

As Christ’s ambassador, authorized to “re-present” your King, just “give -‘em heaven”!  Where your feet touch earth is Holy Ground, for the Lord in you by His Spirit sanctifies it for heaven.  Give up your tendency to “conform” to this world, and your futile efforts to “reform” it, and let it be “transformed” by God’s Spirit as you live with a renewed mind.  Prove to all who know you that what is happening in you is “good and acceptable” because it flows out of “the perfect will of God” in heaven [Rom. 12:1,2].

 

Jesus has brought you into His Heavenly Light.  As you “fix your eyes on Him” and “with an unveiled face reflect the Lord’s glory”[2 Cor. 3:18]  continue to “become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life – in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.” [Phil 2:15-16]. 

Until He appears and we appear with Him in His glory, occupy!

Bob

 

THE PRAYER LIFE – WALKING WITH GOD

[ This article by our brother in ministry, Bowie Curry, reveals his heart for the vision that we have sought to encourage in Citiprayer.  He is the director of Prayernet of Fredericksburg and faithfully strengthens those who pray throughout that area.  We are blessed to be able to be part of his financial support team through your gifts.  Pray for him now as you read and as the Holy Spirit brings him to your mind.]

 

“Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.”  [Genesis 5:24]

             Now there is an epitaph I would love to have on my tombstone!  Three short phrases to sum up Enoch’s remarkable life!   First, “Enoch walked with God…”

            Can there be a greater testimony?  Is there any experience this world can offer that can hold a candle to the peace, the joy, the pleasure, the sheer privilege of simply walking with God?  It is significant that Scripture does not say that God walked with Enoch, but rather Enoch walked with God.  God is not interested in blessing our plans.  He is not a cosmic sugar daddy who exists for the sole purpose of making us happy and prosperous.  He is God who invites us “to know him, the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings.  Becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible we may attain the resurrection from the dead.” [Phil. 3:10,11]. Eternal life is the resurrection life of Christ that arises victoriously out of the ashes of a very real death to our self life.

            There is a cost to walking with God.  He must increase and we must decrease.  The Spirit of God is only leading one way, The Way of the Cross.  If we are to continue walking with Him, the way will become narrower and our self life will be diminished to the point that we can say with the Apostle Paul, “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me and the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me” [Gal. 2:20]

            Secondly, “He was not…”  There is within every human heart a mortal enemy to a life of walking with God.  It cannot be reformed and is utterly beyond reclamation. It must die.  It must be crucified!  Its name is self!  Self will never walk with God!  Hebrews 11:5,6 offers some insight to how Enoch lived this out:  By faith, Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him.  Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.  And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who diligently seek him.”              The choice in walking with God is really very simple, not easy, but simple: please self or please God.  How do we please God?  By believing that He exists and demonstrating that faith by becoming a “diligent seeker.”  What it means to be a ‘diligent seeker’ differs for each individual but is finally reduced to the use of our time, time alone with God in His Word to dialog with Him.  What was Enoch’s reward for seeking God?  He found Him!.

            Finally, “…for God took him.”  Like a refiner of precious metals, the Father is constantly gazing into the crucible of our lives looking for the reflection of His Son.  The irony of the process of death to ourselves is that rather than losing our unique identity we discover it.  When no more dross comes to the surface of the molten metal and the Father can see the perfect image of His Son.  He claims that one as His own.

            Ponder prayerfully these verses:  “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased [Mt. 3:17]. “The eyes of the Lord run to and from throughout the earth to show Himself strong on behalf of the one whose heart is perfect toward Him  [2 Chronicles 16:9]  “Know that the Lord has set apart the godly one for Himself.” [Ps. 4:3].  “When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory.” [Col. 4:3].  “All things work together for good to those who love God, who are the called according to His purpose…. To be conformed to the image of his Son…” {Rom. 8:28,29].

                        When the searching eyes of God find such a soul, He “takes him” to be His special treasure, an object of His special favor, a recipient of his eternal rewards!

 

Father, I thank You for the example and testimony of Enoch, a man who daily walked in the light of Your countenance and was transformed by that blessed communion into the image of your Son.  Father, ‘Draw me and I will run after You.’  Say to my heart, “…seek my face.’  And my heart will joyfully exclaim, “Your face Lord will I seek.”  I gladly lose my life for Your sake and the gospel that I might find it in Christ.  Father, consume upon the altar of Your love, all that is of self.  Let it be Christ Who is seen and known and heard in every aspect of my life.  When you look into my heart may You be able to exclaim, “This is my beloved child in whom I am well pleased.”  In Jesus’ Name!  Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 2011
Posted by Justin Esposito on Tuesday Dec 6, 2011
December 2011

To “Watchers in fields of night,”

          Like Ancient Shepherds, we who “walked in darkness have seen a great Light.”[1] When the Light of the Angelic Word that spoke to our hearts “dawned on us…living in the land of the shadow of death,” by grace we came and found God’s sign – the Beloved Baby Son – God’s un-speakable gift, wrapped in the loving clothes of our poverty, and lying in the Manger where sheep feed!  [Thanks be to God!][2]

 

          Our Heart-hunger for the “Bread of Heaven” finally found the “Holy Light” Outlet and we came and “bought…without money and without cost [to us] …the bread that satisfies our souls”[3]

 

          And now, having returned to our assigned fields that still lie in darkness, we behold things others do not see at this Christmas time.  “The light shines in the darkness, and though it has not understood it, neither can it overcome it!”[4]

 

          Read these Nativity Meditations and revel in the Light.  Let us walk in His light till Mary’s  “Full-grown” Baby Boy, “who now appears for us in God’s presence,”  appears to the  lost and longing world “ a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation…”[5]

Joy to your world,

Bob

THE NATIVITY IN THREE DIMENSIONS

                        I often imagine the season of Christmas as a house.  The House of Christmas is a completely round structure with three rooms, each circling the entire building.

            The outer circle is the room of culture.  In this room are the societal expressions of Christmas – shopping, gift-giving, TV specials, choral ensembles, office parties, the Santa Claus story and its endless variations, family gathering, decorations, evergreen trees, sending out Christmas cards with pictures of children and family updates, etc.

            The middle circle is the room of the church.  In this room are all the church activities from liturgies to lectures to music to plays that are meant to honor the birthday of Jesus and celebrate the Good News.

            The inner circle is the mystical room.  In this room the birth of Christ happens in the soul, and all the religious language of Christmas is used in unconventional ways with very different meanings.

            During the Christmas season, we have to live in the rooms of culture and the church.  There is no escaping them.  Unfortunately, these two rooms often do not get along.  In particular, the church is always accusing the culture of materializing and debasing Christmas.  At best, it reduces Christmas to peace, love, and joy without any mention of the who, what, or how of peace, love, and joy.  At worst, it is a time of year that is only appreciated for its economic power.  The real God of Christmas culture is consumerism.

            As for the inner, mystical room – the culture does not know it exists and the church, to the degree it knows it exists, is suspicious of it.  But actually, the best way to inhabit the room of the church and appropriate its treasures, and the best way to walk through the room of culture and discern the genuine from the fake is to learn to dwell in the mystical room where the birth of Christ happens in the soul.

            This is the room G.K. Chesterton described.  “It [Christmas] is …as if a man had found an inner room in the very heart of his own house, which he had never suspected; and seen a light from within.  It is as if he found something at the back of his own heart that betrayed him into the good.”  [From Following Love Into Mystery,  by John Shea].

 

Though Christ a thousand time in Bethlehem be born,

Until He is born in you, your soul is still forlorn

 

May we find a place of stillness in our busy world, hear the Angels sing, and experience again the birth of God’s Beloved Son in the heart of our very own being is the prayer of my heart for us all.    Bob

THE SHEPHERDS’ GUIDE TO THE BETHLEHEM BIRTHING CENTER

[An Advent Meditation for reflecting hearts]

“… Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart[6].  The spiritual art and practice of contemplation grows out of a persistent meditation on life in the Presence of the Lord.  Developing the capacity to take the mental images passed on by tradition and allowing the Holy Spirit to fill them with the “new wine” of heaven; to offer the “loaves and fishes” of our deficient thought, and have the Lord take them, bless them, and give them back to fill our empty hearts is the highest meaning of prayer.  The rich imagery of Jesus’ birth, preserved by the Holy Spirit in Scripture, is a path for the soul to follow “…back to the heart of worship,” to the Living Christ, the hope of glory, born in you.  Enter the “NOW’ reality by allowing the Shepherds of old to guide us to “the House of Bread” [Bethlehem] where Heaven’s Fullness rests in earth’s empty manger.  There find the “table set before us in the wilderness” of our world.  Let your own heart resonate now with the Shepherds as they invite us:  “Let us go even to Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us!”[7]  Let me suggest seven road signs that light the path to Him:  

            HEAR IT!   Every journey of faith begins when our “ears” are alerted to “…hear what the Spirit says to the church.”  “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”[8]  Spiritual hearing rises above the noise of earth and tunes into the Angel realm of reality.  The “Word” from that realm is only another indistinguishable “thunder” to earth-tuned ears, but a tender whisper from the mouth of God to those whose minds are still enough to hear.  If today you hear His voice and do not harden your heart, you will experience within your own being the Angel’s message.  “Do not be afraid” of hearing the mystical message of “good news of great joy” intended for “all the people” [Even twittering, “facebook” addicted people under the heavy influence of “social media.”],   Oh that your world will become that of the shepherds , who “…in silent stillness lay, to hear the Angels sing!”

            SEE IT!  If you listen with your heart and prayerfully “watch,” soon you will “see” the Holy Nativity from God’s perspective.  Beyond the surface appearances, Eternal Reality will dawn in the darkness.  You will rise from the “valley of the shadow of death” to the “Mount of Transfiguration” and Christ will shine through on you.  You will join the multitude of Isaiah’s “…people walking in darkness [who] have seen a great light… those living in the land of the shadow of death [on whom] a light has dawned.[9]  While many are saying “I can’t see it” you will behold His glory and begin to perceive the “new thing” that God is doing in our world by the Holy Spirit.

            BUY IT!  Having heard, and then having your eyes opened, then press on “with haste” to see the implications of “this thing  which the Lord has made known to us.”  Having received “insider information” you “buy in” to the message!  You surrender your outward life to the control of the inner Light.  Your thirsty soul has found what money cannot buy and now you “delight in the richest of fare.”[10] You “trust and verify” the truth you have heard by obedience to the heavenly vision.  With Job you come to confess “My ears have heard of  you but now my eyes have seen you.”  Now you have left the ranks of many who say “I don’t buy it.”  You belong to the Word; Christ is become your Life!

            GET IT!  Now, having “….found the One your heart loves…”[11]  you really “get it.”  What had been intellectual property has become personal reality in you.  The world did not give it nor can it take it away.  You now know the Truth found in this infant Son, and it has set you free from the hold of sin and death. Waiting before the Lord, you rise up on wings like eagles to walk in the Light as He is in the Light. You “come down to earth” to run your appointed course given you on earth to show forth the praises of the One who has called you out of darkness to His Light!

            TELL IT!  Now you understand the “witness dynamic” the shepherds felt as they “…spread the word concerning….this child.”  Now, you will need, seek and find wisdom to know how to confront those who would forbid you to speak “in Jesus’ name,”  “…for we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”[12]

            KEEP IT!  Because “the world is too much with us,” we will need to “practice the Presence” we find in contemplation continuously.  Too precious to lose, we choose to join Mary in her “keeping and pondering” habit that “keeps Hope alive” in us.  In reflecting upon the “precious promises” given us in Holy Scripture, we  indeed “…participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world…”[13]

 

Dear readers,

I have sought in this writing to share some of the fruit from communion in the Holy Spirit that has been developed in my devotion to Christ over a lifetime.  It has been my calling and passion to be one of the “shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their sheep” in the present darkness of the world’s night.  The responsibility of my loving relationship with Jesus Christ, given to me as a gracious gift, is His command: “Feed my sheep.”  Also as I have studied the life of Paul and drank of his spirit, I have heard his admonition:  “keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.  Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” [14]

 

I ask you to receive this word in the spirit of the Scriptural encouragement to “remember your leaders who spoke the Word of God to you.  Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith…. For they watch for your souls.[15]  If in reading my letters, you should come away without seeming to be able to relate to my words or to find food for your soul, please be patient with my inadequacy, and continue to seek the Lord. What is given me to write is to be discerned, not just read.  This requires one to listen to the “Spirit of Truth” sent by the Lord to each believer that gives us His understanding.  The promise to all who seek is that they will find, if they search with all their hearts!

 

It is more than a coincidence that the ancient church leaders sought to impart the deep, spiritual reality of the incarnation of Christ celebrated at Christmas by gathering believers together in three distinct liturgies of worship at Christmas time.   They met in the Darkness of midnight, gathered at the Dawn of the new day, and celebrated in the full light of Christmas day.  Though we may not follow that schedule of public services today, the implications of this early tradition are instructive for those who would enter the eternal reality of Christ’s coming into our world.  The explanation of one spiritual writer of how we progressively assimilate and realize the truth of the Incarnation  may help  “the darkness to turn to dawning and the dawning to noonday bright”:

 

            Midnight, dawn, and day are probably not advocating a liturgical all-nighter.  They are best understood as symbolic references, honored metaphors that represent points on a continuum of revelation.  The movement is from hidden [midnight] to partially seen [dawn] to fully revealed [day].  These three chronological/cosmic images suggest a journey of consciousness, progress in both understanding what “his appearance among us” means and greater integration of that meaning into our lives.  [They] acknowledge the gradual advances our consciousness makes when it contemplates and integrates spiritual realities….

                Pondering [the practice of Mary] is the path from midnight through dawn to day.  Although the portrait of Mary may show the way, we are not Mary.  We do not ponder directly the historical events of Jesus’ birth.  We ponder the written texts that mediate the meaning of these historical events.  These texts are the inspired witness to the revelation of God and humankind that has happened in the life of Jesus Christ.  It is in and through these texts… we encounter the revelation of God and humankind.  Therefore it is in the acts of welcoming and hosting these texts that we journey through the world of midnight, dawn and day.[16]

 

My prayer is that these letters may aid you in your journey into the full day of Christ’s Light.  May the Proverb [4:18] of the Wise be fulfilled in your life: “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter the full light of day.”

 

Sharon joins me in gratitude for each of you and in wishing you the “great joy” promised to “people on whom His favor rests.”

 

Peace, Love and Joy in the Holy Spirit,

 

Bob

 

 

[1]  Isaiah 9:2;  Luke 2:8

 

[2]  Luke 2:10-12;  2 Cor.8:9 & 9:15

 

[3]  Isaiah 55:1,2

 

[4]  John 1:5 [Amplified & interpreted]

 

[5]  Hebrews 10:24, 28

 

[6] Luke 2:19

 

[7] Luke 2: 15 [KJV]

 

[8] Romans 10:17

 

[9] Isaiah 9:2

 

[10] Isaiah 55:1,2

 

[11] Song of Songs 3:4

 

[12] Acts 4:18-20

 

[13] 2 Peter 1:4

 

[14] Acts 20:28

 

[15] Hebrews 13:7,17 [KJV]

 

[16] Following Love into Mystery. By John Shea, pp. 10,11

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 2011
Posted by Justin Esposito on Tuesday Nov 15, 2011
November 2011

Dear Richly Blessed Children of our Gracious Heavenly Father,   

           

In today’s world, millions of souls are living in fear of the collapse of the “economic system” – the conceptual source “…from which all blessings flow” in the spirit-deficient minds of unbelievers.

 

At the center of the near panic and fear being stirred by the chattering class of pundits is a debate over the idea of “redistribution of wealth.” 

 

To those who “live by sight” alone in the prison of materialism, the store of “things” appears limited.  The tide of pagan covetousness that Jesus rejected is rising, affecting professing Christians as well as the culture at large.  The Lord warned us not to be caught up in such thinking.  He said, “…O you of little faith…do not worry [about material supply]… for the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” [Matthew 6: 30-33].

 

Can you see with me that “…it is time for [spiritual] judgment [discernment] to begin with the family of God”[1 Peter 4:17]?  Peter wrote this to believers facing the eminent “…end of all things…” as they had known them.  Worldly systems were dissolving right before their eyes.  The Spirit moved Peter to call for believers to be “…clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.”  In contrast to the panic of pagans around them, they were admonished “…not to live the rest of your earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God…for [he writes]  you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do…” [1 Peter 4: 2,3] .  Let listening ears hear!

 

I pray you have exercised your spiritual senses enough to discern these matters [as Hebrews 5:12-14 teaches].  If you still struggle with this, let me remind you of the Truth as it is in Jesus:

            

1.  We are not “orphans” left to fend for ourselves in a hostile environment! [Jn. 14: 15-21] The “Spirit of Truth” that was in Jesus now resides in our hearts by faith so that “we have the mind of Christ”[1 Cor. 2:13].  All the Father has is ours, and He is committed to supplying all our needs out of the riches that Christ Jesus commanded in his earthly life.  The One who could multiply loaves and fishes when needed, heal fevered brows, and calm raging storms is with us and comes to show himself mighty in those who love and trust Him.

  

2.  We are to concentrate on seeking “true riches” in the kingdom of heaven.  Living as “children of the resurrection” we “…set our hearts on things above [the things under God’s authority in Christ] ...  We focus our “…minds on things above, not on earthly things” [Col. 3:1,2].    Disciples who gain mastery in this realm discover with gratitude the liberating secret: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him…[2 Peter 1:3]”  In prayer, access is ours!  As you meditate on my teaching on “Inspired Living” I pray the Lord may give you spiritual insight to behold, believe and belong to the Son!  

                      Your Father’s Son and your spiritual Brother,    Bob  

 

INSPIRED LIVING:  LIVING IN THE SPIRIT

 God… breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being  [Gen. 2:7]

[Jesus] breathed on them and said “receive the Holy Spirit” [John 20:22]

The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam, a life-giving Spirit [1 Cor. 15:35]

 

  

 

October 2011
Posted by Justin Esposito on Thursday Oct 20, 2011
October 2011

 

Dear Heavenly Members of the Church in my heart,

 

I thank the Lord for this occasion each month when “I remember you,” and “pray with joy for you,” with my mind as well as my spirit [Phil. 1:3]!  In a sense, in the Spirit I “come together” with you “in Jesus’ name” [Matt. 18:20] as Paul did with the Corinthians, even though physically separated by great distances. [See his perspective in 1 Cor. 5:3,4].   Thank you for attending!

 

Because of our love in Christ, with you I am bold to appear as “a fool” as I choose words of our earth language to speak of “inexpressible things” that I have heard in the Presence of the Lord.  [See 2 Cor. 12:4].  I am confident in the Lord that the “Spirit of truth” in our hearts faithfully reveals “God’s secret wisdom” beyond what natural ears hear. [See 1 Cor. 2:6-10].

 

My desire is to be a faithful witness used of the Lord to help you, as “children of the resurrection” to “know the Scriptures [in] the power of God.” [See Luke 20:36 and Mark 12:24].  The Sadducees of Jesus’ day were diligent and serious students of the Scriptures, yet misunderstood the very nature of God because they did not live as Jesus did in the Presence [power] of God. 

 

Many believers today are like Paul’s Timothy, a man of “sincere faith” who had “from infancy…known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise…”  And though Paul was “persuaded” that faith was in him, he needed to “fan into flame the gift of God” that was in him.  [Compare and contemplate 2 Tim. 1:3-6 and 3:12-17].  The “burning heart” caused by hearing the words of the risen Christ in us is needful preparation for his Presence “being made known to us.” [Recall the Emmaus Road experience in Luke 24:13-32].

 

I am keenly aware that these writings of mine are for those whom the Lord prepares to receive them.  For many, they do not “light their fire.”  One honest soul recently asked to be dropped from the e-mail list, I think, for this reason.  I understand, and am content to minister to those to whom I am sent.  If you are struggling with my “foolishness” in sharing my heart, please receive my blessing to set them aside and continue to seek the “voice that speaks from heaven” through those God sends to you.

 

In the second article that follows I share my heart concerning the matter of “healing” that is so earnestly desired by many.  It is my earnest prayer that as God’s child you “…may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you.”  But my deeper longing is that “…your soul is getting along well.” As a spiritual father “…I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in truth” [3 John 2-4].

I have you in my heart,

Pastor Bob Yarbrough

 

----

CHRIST IS OUR HEALING – “…By His stripes we are healed…”

It never ceases to amaze me how prolific is the fruit of the “Tree of the knowledge of good and evil”!  Once people decide that they can figure out with their natural minds what "eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and what neither has entered into the mind of man" and leave the realm where "God reveals it unto us by His Spirit" we can erect elaborate schemes [based on Scripture of course] that we cling to in place of the Living God!  The logical mind of natural man continually misuses the Spiritual wisdom of our ‘anointing.’ 

 

Instead of "arguments" on that level, "I have determined to know nothing....save Jesus Christ and Him crucified."  I bring all "lofty arguments" to submission to Him and live only by His Word that is Spirit and Life in me.  It is true that in the Spirit realm, where we "abide in Christ" and where "Christ is our Life" there is no sickness, sin, or anything "named" that is able to "separate us from the Love of God."  We have been "raised with Christ and made to sit in that heavenly place  of perfect victory by faith." 

 

Still, on the human, "worldly," "visible" plane, "we do not see all things put under His feet."  So I do not look for "healing" on the "cure" level of appearance.  By the Spirit, I "see Jesus" and I know that "in Him" is "all the fullness of God.... and I am complete [perfectly healed] in Him."  I am "now" part of that host called the "sons of God."  But "it does not yet appear what we shall be."   "When he appears, we shall be like him [in his perfect resurrection Body]- no sickness, sorrow, death or any "former" thing."  Until we see those "former" things [things that have a visible form] put under His feet and disappear, we must look through them as temporary "things that are seen"  that will be left behind when "that which is perfect is come."   For now our vision and our knowledge is "partial," like looking through a clouded glass, but then we shall "see" face to face and "know" all things with the same kind of knowledge with which Christ knows us!

 

I am able by faith to know I am now perfectly healed in Christ!  I choose to look on this "unseen" reality and not on "what is seen," for what is seen is "temporal," appearing for a short time and vanishing away.  "My [real] Life is now hid with God in Christ."   I seek to manifest that Life through Love. Those who "have eyes to see" know me according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh.  To the natural eye, my "outer man" [what can be seen with the natural eye] is "wasting away" [or so the mirror and my real friends tell me].  But if you have faith "eyes of the heart" and know me in the Spirit, you know that my true Self [inner man] is "being renewed, day after day"!  So, I am getting younger on the inside while my visible form is growing older [meaning one day closer to finishing its course].   Apart from the ultimate "appearing" when all this will be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" I will "run the race, keep the faith," and by His marvelous grace finish my course with joy! 

 

In short, I have been granted grace to "practice resurrection living" while still in this earthly form!  It is for this "breakthrough" in the lives of believers that I live and witness.  Oh, that all might understand and live in the reality Jesus lived in.   Beyond the Mary and Martha belief in "at the last day" living again, we may enter the Presence that says "I am the resurrection and the life..., he that lives and believes in me shall never die."  Once you "know" that "he hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to life through the gospel" [2 Tim. 1:10] why should you live in fear under death's shadow any longer? 

 

By His gracious deliverance, "I know Him whom I have believed [many believe, but few know] and am persuaded [not by argument but by present experience of reality] that He is able to keep what I have committed unto Him against that day!"  In my Spirit, I already live "in that Day."  My earthly existence, including my bodily form, I have committed to Him and to His cross.  In that sense I have died and my life is now hid with God in Christ.  Where "I am" sickness and anything that has served to "separate me from the love of God in Christ" has "passed away" and I live in the "new creation." 

 

Living the reality of Paul's experience of a hidden, new life recorded in Gal 2:20, puts an end to debates about 'visible, observable with the natural eye, cures.'   I pray that the Lord will bring us all by the Spirit of revelation "to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings [as we willingly are made] like him in his death and so [by this process] attain [reach the realm] of the resurrection from among the dead." [Phil. 3:10].

 

As with material riches, Paul’s admonition can be applied to the physical richness of health:  “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is uncertain, but put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment…”[1 Tim. 6:17] 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 2011
Posted by Justin Esposito on Thursday Sep 22, 2011
September 2011

[The following "musings" are passed on for your meditation.  My humble suggestion is that you print this out and take time to let the Holy Spirit "quicken" truth in your heart.]

 

Dear People of Prayer,

 

            My constant desire and hope is that the fruit of this ministry will be “disciples …that… always pray (live constantly in the atmosphere of prayer)…and do not faint (lose consciousness from lack of spiritual breathing).”  In that statement I have defined the person I believe Jesus wanted his followers to become when he told them the story [parable] found in Luke 18. 

 

            Let me explain further.  I do not mean a people who attend lots of religious gatherings called “prayer meetings.”  I have spent a lifetime in such assemblies – from “two or three” who desire to be gathered “in Jesus name,” to huge “rallies” in stadiums and outdoor settings.  While these public displays may have their place in the surface culture of our day, they will never fulfill the intention of Jesus to have a people of prayer.

 

            Neither do I refer to people who develop an ability to spend long hours in “personal prayer,” the few, who with noble intentions, believe that if we can “say” enough prayers of the  acceptable form God prefers, they will change the course of our lives and history in general.  There may be those whom God calls to such a life in the context of their walk with Him.  Still, I am convinced that Jesus had something far more basic and revolutionary in mind when he told the story of “the relentless widow” confronting “the heartless judge.”

 

            The high place to which Jesus was calling his disciples by his parable was to move past the “widow” mentality of abandoned, destitute souls, into the “brides” who enter into union with “the Son of Man” who comes wherever he finds “faith in the earth.”  [As you meditate on Luke 18:8, ask the Spirit to reveal this truth in you.]

 

            Recall, that scripture describes our natural state in “the first Adam” as being a “living being” – that is, we are created with the capacity to “house” the Living God within us.  Those “created in Christ Jesus” [cf. Eph. 2:10], however, share the nature of “the last Adam” which is “life giving spirit.”  [May the Lord give you understanding of 1 Cor. 15:45-49.  The preferred  rendering of  v. 49 is “so let us bear the likeness of the man from heaven.”].

 

            “Widow praying” is “first Adam” religious longing of a heart alienated from the Spirit of God by sin.  Jesus calls us through union with Himself to be “Mrs. Last Adam,” married to him as One Person before the Father.  “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself?  … He who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in Spirit” 1 Cor. 6:15,17.

 

            How does one live “always praying”?  It is the difference between voicing “intercessory prayers” and BEING an  Intercessor.  We are told that the risen Christ “…always lives to intercede.” [Heb. 7:25].  We are also told that we “…are risen with Christ” [Col. 3:1].  As we learn to consciously “abide” in Christ, then his intercessory Life is established in us “on earth as it is in heaven.”  This state of consciousness is the “resurrection level” of living to which Paul aspired, and called all “the mature” in Christ to join him  [Phil. 3:7-17.  Note v. 14,15 especially].

 

            This is a continuous process of becoming what God says we are.  If God has awakened you to see this life as “…the prize for which God has called [you] heavenward in Christ Jesus” [Phil. 3:14], I welcome you to the marathon race set before us!  Let us go on to perfection! [Heb. 6:1]  I hope to say more about this in future letters.   May we ponder these things in our hearts. 

                                                                                                               

   Bob Yarbrough

 

Keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come!  Come quickly, Lord!

TRANSCENDENT LIFE

 

            Scripture urges us to "seek those things that are above" - realities that transcend the dimensions of time and space - for there, we are told our "…[true] life is hidden with Christ in God" [Col. 3:1-3].   We spend most of our time and effort dealing with things below, as if they were the more important.  This is because of the delusion of the false self that has been created by conformity to the cultural thought control of our sensual environment. 

I was taught that conformity to the "world" was to its evil, immoral propensities.  It didn't become clear to me until much later in life that both the "good" of the world as we experience it in our natural state as well as the “evil” both had their roots in the same soil.  In short, the biblical perspective would be that it is the fruit of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil."  All our learned concepts fall into that category.  Only when we encounter the Eternal Word that is "near us, even in our hearts and in our mouths" [Rom. 10:8] by an awakening of the spirit may we begin to transcend the bonds of this false-self, ego knowledge.

 

The Need for Spiritual Discernment

It has not been widely taught in our day that the God who in Christ is reconciling the world to Himself- the one God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ- can only be known by our spirit-self (our true self).  The message of the cross of Christ set forth by the apostle Paul has not been clearly applied to popular Christian understanding.  It has been relegated in large to "the mystical" realm to be received by those who for the most part are considered at best abnormal, and at worst slightly insane.  Paul understood that his natural knowledge acquired by cultural means was crucified with Christ.  By the cross, he taught, "I am crucified to the world, and the world to me."  In other words, he had entered a transcendent realm of knowing that surpassed the understanding one may receive by the normal means of education based on false self-knowledge.  The only way one can receive such knowledge is "by the spirit." 

This knowledge which we would refer to as "intuitive" is given to us by God and struggles to find expression in the metaphors of language and culture.  Communication that does not recognize that one must "see through" the symbols and metaphors of this world's means of expression cannot bring one into the "hidden wisdom" which Paul said he spoke among the "mature."

The fact that we have abandoned the "unseen" realm (the dimension beyond popular cultural understanding) to demons and evil men is an indictment of the church which was ordained by the Lord to abolish the "gates of hell", to "destroy the works of the evil one," and to witness to the Christ who "brings [transcendent] life and immortality [beyond mortal thought forms] to light through the gospel” [2 Tim. 1;10].

 

Seeing Heaven’s Perspective

Let us rediscover our heritage.  Ours is a transcendent gospel given to set at liberty those who are captive to world rulers of this present darkness.  Our real enemies are not "flesh and blood" but unseen rulers that are to be overcome by the many "sons" that Jesus died to bring into this glorious transcendent realm.  He prayed that we "might be with him where he is."  Paul declared that place to be at the right hand of God, far above all principalities and powers and every name that is named in this earth.  If we learn to "abide in Him" in that spiritual realm, we will begin to "ask what we will" and it will be done for us by the Father in heaven to glorify Himself in the son on earth [John 15:7].

            Sadly, we continue to war against each other from the prison of our senses, conditioned by the culture around us which lies in the wicked one.  The call today must be for us to "grow up into Christ in all things"[Eph. 4:15].  We must find the "glorious liberty of the sons of God" [Rom. 8:21] and stand above the divisive battles of this present age and bear our witness to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, beyond cultures and temporal patterns.

When we gather at the Lord's Table we are told that as we commune with Christ we "show the Lord's death, till he comes."  This demonstration to the unseen powers in the transcendent realm is rarely known by those who profess Jesus as Lord.  O that God will open our eyes that we may see as did Elijah's young disciple, the heavenly forces that wait our call!

 

Finding the Kingdom Pearl

Where do we begin to look for the way into this transcendent realm?  Many are looking for God in all the wrong places.  Jesus said we were not to say "lo, here, or lo, there" (expecting to perceive the kingdom of God in some outward form), but rather he said "the kingdom of God is within you."  So the "pearl of great price" is not "out there in space somewhere" but is to be found through a narrow gate God has placed in our hearts.

Anthony de Mello points to this truth in the following story:

            An oyster saw a loose pearl that had fallen into the crevice of a rock on the ocean bed.  After great effort she managed to retrieve the pearl and place it just beside her on a leaf.  She knew that humans searched for pearls and thought, 'This pearl will tempt them, so they will take it and let me be.'  When a pearl diver showed up, however, his eyes were conditioned to look for oysters and not for pearls resting on leaves.  So he grabbed the oyster, which did not happen to have a pearl, and allowed the real pearl to roll back into the crevice in the rock.

 

 If we think to find God in old, familiar “religious” places, we may miss the priceless pearl of Christ!

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 2011
Posted by Justin Esposito on Friday Sep 2, 2011
August 2011

Dear “Early-Risers” in Christ,

            Like Mary, after an unusual visit from a heavenly messenger, you may “…wonder what kind of greeting this might be” [Luke 1:29].   As then, I say in faith, “… do not be afraid, you [who] have found favor with God”[v.30].  To you who believe I am “…expressing spiritual truth in spiritual words”[1Cor. 2:13].

 

I remind you that as those who “… have been raised with Christ… [Col. 3:1] you are blessed to be living in the early morning of the first day of forever!  You once “…were dead in your trespasses and sins…” [Eph. 2:1].  Though you once “slept” in the darkness of the world’s night, now “you are all sons of the light and sons of the day” [1 Thess. 5:4,5].

 

It is my great joy to have lived past the sluggishness of youth when early morning was spent, when possible, in blissful sleeping!  One of the wonderful benefits of maturity is that you tend to wake up “…very early in the morning” {Lk. 24:1].  This serves as a parable of spiritual things.  As we grow toward maturity in the Lord, we awaken more to being “… in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day”{Rev. 1:10].  As “…outwardly we are wasting away…” our deeper spiritual experience is that “… inwardly we are being renewed day by day” [2 Corl. 5:1].   Though we are still in the world physically, we are more and more in the Spirit consciously, more aware of the reality of our being “… in Christ…,[where] the old has gone, the new has come!   All this [new way of perceiving life] is from God… [2 Cor. 5:17].  

 

Now, the deep desire of my heart for God’s people is that they would begin to know themselves in Christ and to know Christ in themselves; that we come to identify with Him in His sufferings and  begin to know “… the power of His resurrection…”{Phil. 3:10]. The power that raised Jesus works in us to lift us consciously to “…abide in Him”[Jn. 15:7], …to be where He is [Jn.. 17:24] …, seated with Him in the heavenly realms…” [Eph. 2:6].   This is my prayer for you that I make before the Father, day and night.

 

For those who have awakened to this resurrection morning, it is “… still dark… [Jn. 20:1}.  “Now we see but a poor reflection…” [1 Cor. 13:12]  of the coming glory of the Lord.  But, be assured, dear ones, “the path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of the day” [Prov. 4:18].  Let us take courage in the intent of Jesus’ heart in words from an old gospel song: “Be faithful, weary pilgrim, the morning I can see, just lift your cross and follow close to me!”

 

These thoughts may not speak to many of you who read them at this time in your journey. Set them aside for now and be blessed.  For those ready for it, I commend the discipline of developing your spiritual consciousness through the exercise of some “be” attitudes listed below:

            1. Believe the One who speaks from heaven in your heart.  Jesus said to one struggling against surface appearances, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”[Jn. 11:40].   Spiritual realities must be spiritually discerned.  Faith opens eyes to “unseen things.”

                        2.  Behold the Vision Christ shares with us.  If you “hear His voice, do not harden your heart,” but press on the “see” the glory.  “See [behold], I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” [Is. 43:19].  Let us encourage one another to fix our eyes on Jesus! [ponder 2 Cor. 3:18].

            3. Belong wholly to the Lord and His Vision.  As Mary, awed by her call to become the Christ-bearer, declare your personal fiat: “Be it unto me according to your word!” [Lk. 1:38 KJV].  Know in faith “… that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit…. You are not your own… therefore honor God with your body” [1 Cor. 6:19]. Remember: “We do not belong to the night… but to the day.” 1 Th. 5:5,8]

            4.  Become One in the Spirit with the Lord and His Vision.  “He who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in the Spirit” [1 Cor. 6:17].   The glory of living in the Day of resurrection Light is this:  “On that day you will realize that I am in the Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” Be Real!

“Wake up, O Sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you!” [Eph. 5:14]

Good Morning!  And have a great Day!

Bob Yarbrough

 

 

 

July 2011
Posted by Justin Esposito on Friday Sep 2, 2011
July 2011

Dear “Early-Risers” in Christ,

            Like Mary, after an unusual visit from a heavenly messenger, you may “…wonder what kind of greeting this might be” [Luke 1:29].   As then, I say in faith, “… do not be afraid, you [who] have found favor with God”[v.30].  To you who believe I am “…expressing spiritual truth in spiritual words”[1Cor. 2:13].

 

I remind you that as those who “… have been raised with Christ… [Col. 3:1] you are blessed to be living in the early morning of the first day of forever!  You once “…were dead in your trespasses and sins…” [Eph. 2:1].  Though you once “slept” in the darkness of the world’s night, now “you are all sons of the light and sons of the day” [1 Thess. 5:4,5].

 

It is my great joy to have lived past the sluggishness of youth when early morning was spent, when possible, in blissful sleeping!  One of the wonderful benefits of maturity is that you tend to wake up “…very early in the morning” {Lk. 24:1].  This serves as a parable of spiritual things.  As we grow toward maturity in the Lord, we awaken more to being “… in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day”{Rev. 1:10].  As “…outwardly we are wasting away…” our deeper spiritual experience is that “… inwardly we are being renewed day by day” [2 Corl. 5:1].   Though we are still in the world physically, we are more and more in the Spirit consciously, more aware of the reality of our being “… in Christ…,[where] the old has gone, the new has come!   All this [new way of perceiving life] is from God… [2 Cor. 5:17].  

 

Now, the deep desire of my heart for God’s people is that they would begin to know themselves in Christ and to know Christ in themselves; that we come to identify with Him in His sufferings and  begin to know “… the power of His resurrection…”{Phil. 3:10]. The power that raised Jesus works in us to lift us consciously to “…abide in Him”[Jn. 15:7], …to be where He is [Jn.. 17:24] …, seated with Him in the heavenly realms…” [Eph. 2:6].   This is my prayer for you that I make before the Father, day and night.

 

For those who have awakened to this resurrection morning, it is “… still dark… [Jn. 20:1}.  “Now we see but a poor reflection…” [1 Cor. 13:12]  of the coming glory of the Lord.  But, be assured, dear ones, “the path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of the day” [Prov. 4:18].  Let us take courage in the intent of Jesus’ heart in words from an old gospel song: “Be faithful, weary pilgrim, the morning I can see, just lift your cross and follow close to me!”

 

These thoughts may not speak to many of you who read them at this time in your journey. Set them aside for now and be blessed.  For those ready for it, I commend the discipline of developing your spiritual consciousness through the exercise of some “be” attitudes listed below:

            1. Believe the One who speaks from heaven in your heart.  Jesus said to one struggling against surface appearances, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”[Jn. 11:40].   Spiritual realities must be spiritually discerned.  Faith opens eyes to “unseen things.”

                        2.  Behold the Vision Christ shares with us.  If you “hear His voice, do not harden your heart,” but press on the “see” the glory.  “See [behold], I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” [Is. 43:19].  Let us encourage one another to fix our eyes on Jesus! [ponder 2 Cor. 3:18].

            3. Belong wholly to the Lord and His Vision.  As Mary, awed by her call to become the Christ-bearer, declare your personal fiat: “Be it unto me according to your word!” [Lk. 1:38 KJV].  Know in faith “… that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit…. You are not your own… therefore honor God with your body” [1 Cor. 6:19]. Remember: “We do not belong to the night… but to the day.” 1 Th. 5:5,8]

            4.  Become One in the Spirit with the Lord and His Vision.  “He who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in the Spirit” [1 Cor. 6:17].   The glory of living in the Day of resurrection Light is this:  “On that day you will realize that I am in the Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” Be Real!

“Wake up, O Sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you!” [Eph. 5:14]

Good Morning!  And have a great Day!

Bob Yarbrough

 

 

June 2011
Posted by Justin Esposito on Saturday Jul 2, 2011
June 2011

Dear Partners in mission,

 

“I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy

because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this,

that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart….

All of you share in God’s grace with me.” [Philippians 1:3-7]

 

 

This scripture speaks of the confidence of a seasoned ‘athlete for Christ.”   As he looks back over “precious memories” of past spiritual victories, he realizes that soon he will depart the scene and others will carry forward to ultimate completion the mission entrusted to him by Christ Jesus.

 

Personal accountability for faithfulness is central to our commitment.  But beyond our individual contributions to “the good work” in which we participate, is the settled assurance that it is the Spirit of Christ that will “carry it on to completion.” 

 

Our mission was literally inspired by the risen Lord himself: “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you! And he breathed on them. . .”[Jn. 20:21.22].  Jesus not only “passed the peace” to his followers, he entrusted His mission to us!  After a period of transition in understanding from the Old Covenant sense of Jesus merely being “with them”, the New Covenant reality of “Christ in you” took hold of hearts in Antioch.  Under Paul’s teaching believers began to be called “Christians” for the first time [Acts 10:25,26].  The mission had been passed; Christ was continuing His work in new hearts that were now one with His heart by the Holy Spirit.

 

And now Paul, remembering the time when “…the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them“ [Acts 13:2],  looks beyond his time to see the work going on through those to whom he is passing the mission.  In another letter he will give specifics of the process to Timothy:  “The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” [2 Tim. 2:2]..  The work goes on!

 

What confidence there is in knowing that having “run the race” set before us and “finishing our course,” others will take the “baton” and run with patience the race set before them!  Jesus sees the whole course, from beginning to end. He is the Author [first runner] and Finisher [last runner] of our faith race.   Fixing our eyes on Him, we receive and pass on the mission in joyful confidence.

 

I share the sentiments of a spiritual writer, who, nearing the end of his race, wrote to his friends:

“Within a few years… I will no longer be on earth.  The thought of this does not frighten me, but fills me with a quiet peace.  I am a small part of [the mission], a human being in the midst of thousands of other human being.  It is good to be young, to grow old, and to die.  It is good to live with others, and to die with others.  God became flesh to share with us this simple living and dying and thus made it good.  I can feel today that it is good to be- and especially to be- one of many.  What counts is not the special and unique accomplishments in life that make me different from others, but the basic experiences of sadness and joy, pain and healing, which make me part of humanity.” [Henri Nouwen]

 

The Psalmist sang about this ongoing process:  “One generation will commend your works to another” [Ps. 145:4].   This is the song of victorious “partners” across the centuries as they march in the great procession toward God’s promised new heaven and new earth.  Thank you every one who has sung the Lord’s song with me in my generation.  Rejoice with me now that whole new choirs are forming to swell the chorus to its final crescendo of praise!  We will dance together at the great wedding feast of the Lamb!                                                         Your partner in the victorious race,   

Bob Yarbrough

May 2011
Posted by Justin Esposito on Wednesday Jun 1, 2011
May 2011

Dear Children who have Our Father’s eyes,

           

     There was a certain sadness about Jesus as he walked among people who did not- because they could not- see as He saw.  The prophet called Him “a man of sorrows,”  for though  “in God’s eyes He was like a tender green shoot, sprouting from a root in dry and sterile ground… in our eyes there was no attractiveness at all, nothing to make us want him” [Is. 53:2 TLB].. The sad longing of His heart is expressed in His tearful words over Jerusalem:  “If you…had only known on this day what would bring you peace, but now it is hidden from your eyes”[Lk. 19:41].

 

            But there was one recorded moment when it is said that Jesus was “full of joy through the Holy Spirit.”  It was at the time when He knew that there would be those whose communion with Him would allow them to “see” as He and His Father saw:  “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children”[Lk.10:21].   The occasion for this joy was the return of disciples He had sent “in His Name.”

 

                Jesus perceived a heavenly reality beyond what had occurred in the disciples’ excited report.  He knew that only what originates in heaven can ultimately change earth.  While His disciples were still focused on “results” observed [ie. “spirits submitting”], He would lead them to find their source of joy in their shared ability with Him to “see Heaven.”  Hear his explanation:

            “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.  I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.  However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” [Lk. 20:18-20].

 

            Jesus’ joy was in the evidence that His authority based in seeing what His Father was doing could be passed on to those He had chosen “out of the world” to be with Him.  He knew that His followers could become “so heavenly minded that they would be of real earthly good!”  He was confident in the ability of the Holy Spirit to lead them to discover within themselves that “real you” that could not be touched or ‘harmed’ by Satan’s usurping, threatening minions.  Indeed, they would “not be overcome by evil, but would overcome evil with [heaven’s] good” [Rom. 12:21].

 

                With Christ, I rejoice today that I am writing to those who are seriously praying “…Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”   With Jesus, my joy is full that you are beginning to see with our Father’s eyes what already is prepared for us in heaven.  In prayer you are aligning your hearts with Father’s heart.  You are beginning to realize that it is not by our religious “dead works” that God’s kingdom will come.  Rather you are “sent” as Jesus was sent to “do God’s works.”  You are starting to see that the “true you,” your created anew “spirit man,” is “…God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” [Eph. 2:10].

 

                We, who are now blessed to live as “children of the resurrection,” already risen with Christ and seated with Him in heavenly places, are called to a new arrangement [a new covenant] in the work of God.  Before Jesus’ redeeming death and resurrection the order was for Jesus to send his witnesses “…ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go” [Lk. 10:1].  The “plen-tiful” harvest languished for want of “laborers” whose eyes had been lifted up to see as He and His Father saw [See Lk. 10:2].

 

                After Jesus arose, He “breathed” on his disciples, communicating His Spirit, and gave them authority to release the captives of sin by His forgiveness.  A new reality came into focus.  An angel tells astonished women to “…go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going before you into Galilee.  There you will see him.’  Now I have told you.” [Matt. 28:7].  The risen Christ’s now-released Omnipresence precedes “sent witnesses” to prepare the way in the hearts of those He is touching with His power!  We no longer only “wait for Him” to come. He is “with us always” as we go to the ends of the earth!

 

            May the Lord continually “open our eyes” to see heaven and thus to change earth!

 

Looking unto Jesus,

Bob Yarbrough

April 2011
Posted by Justin Esposito on Tuesday May 3, 2011
April 2011

Dear Travelers on the ‘narrow way to life,’

 

            For those of us who have sought to follow the call of our Master in the way of the Cross, we can sing joyfully, “the longer I serve Him the sweeter He grows…”  The lonely path of self-denial becomes the ‘Emmaus Road’ of resurrection fellowship with One who causes our hearts to become “strangely warmed” as the journey unfolds.

 

       In our personal “march to Zion,” we are enriched by the company of “so great a cloud of witnesses” that has walked with us for so many years.  Some of them have now finished their course and crossed over into glories promised them.  These “great souls” have left behind them “footprints in the sands of time” as they have faithfully followed Christ.

 

            This past week, I was blessed by the testimony of two families who gathered to say “thank you” for the lives of faithful parents and grandparents.  In these “celebration of life” services for lives invested in kingdom values, I was most encouraged by an aspect common to them both.

  

             As a special tribute of honor, all the grandchildren and great grandchildren stood as one to praise the grace of God they had seen manifested in their departed loved ones.  In one service they sang together “It is Well with My Soul.”  In the other, each “heir to God’s grace’ told how they had been blessed by the example of their Grandfather.

 

            This example of “passing the torch” from one generation to another, inspired me to trust more fully and see more clearly that “our labor is not in vain in the Lord!”  As we finish with joy “the race set before us,” others are just beginning.  Together, with our eyes “fixed upon Jesus” we “press toward the mark to win the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” 

 

            We remember that we are only a part of the noble line that stretches across the years.  Jesus began the race and will also run the last lap in victory, for He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. 

 

            As joy welled up within me over these two saints who had ‘finished well,’ I caught a glimpse of that day when the Lord Himself will give the ‘victors crown’ to all who have run their race with perseverance.  The “well done” of the Master to the “well run” races of life will more than repay the seemingly high price of our “utmost for His highest.”

 

            Elijah cast his “mantle” over Elisha.  This was the symbolic “call” given by one man of God to one who aspired to follow that path.  After years of faithful service to the aging “man of God,” the time drew near for Elijah’s  glorious departure from the earthly scene. 

 

            With a father’s heart, Elijah asked his spiritual son, “What can I do for you before I am taken from you?”  Elisha proved himself a true son by answering, “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit.”  The wise and instructive word of the prophet-father was, “You have asked a difficult thing, yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours…”

 

            Have you seen an inspiring quality in some spiritual ‘father figure’ in your life?  Is there a Holy, godly desire to realize that anointing in your life?  The “mantle” falls freely from the departing father, but it can only be ‘picked up’ by the son who ‘has eyes to see.’  Elijah’s God becomes Elisha’s God, when the son sees and serves the vision of the father.  The ‘double portion’ is the spiritual joining of father and son in one Holy vision.

 

            May all true ‘sons and daughters’ take on their God-given roles as the new ‘fathers and mothers’ until this generation says “The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.”[ 2 Kings 2:1-15]

 

 

Finishing my course with joy,

 

Pastor Bob Yarbrough

 

 

 

 

 

March 2011
Posted by Justin Esposito on Friday Apr 1, 2011
March 2011


Dear “Citizens of heaven,”
 
What joy to continue the journey to our Father’s House, surrounded by pilgrims on the journey to our heavenly home!
 
Already, I catch the sound of festivities being prepared for our arrival.  I look ahead and I see some already entering the “… Beautiful gate… walking, jumping and praising God…” Like the once “…crippled from birth man…” who could only watch and beg from those going by, they have come under the power of “…the name of Jesus Christ of Nazarethand have “…jumped to their feet and begun to walk….”[Acts 3: 1-10]. I follow them with joyful heart!
 
I look behind me on the road home, and I see children, born of God and growing up into Christ.  They have left all to follow Him.  They are alive unto God, filled with songs and excitement.  Their zeal to entice others to go with them grows more intense as the darkness of this present world increases.  They remind me of my forebears who sang their song:
I am bound for the promised land…
O, who will come and go with me..
 
My frame cannot always catch the beat and cadence of their version of the old song, but I’m cheered by the sound of their enthusiasm to join the journey!
 
This leg of the journey for me is sweet.  It was so long ago in earth years that I “…came to myself…” by the Holy Spirit and began my journey back to Father’s house.  Thinking only of serving Him, being so unworthy of ever being His “Son,” I have labored and carried heavy burdens in my desire to please Him. 
 
But now, while “…still a long way off…,” Our Father has looked on me with compassion. In His loving embrace, His kisses cascading over my being like cooling water on a thirsty soul, He has become my Home while still away from home!
 
His grace has bestowed a robe that covers the signs of my past shame.  Instead of just a servant’s ring in my ear, He has put the Son’s ring on my hand.  Now, I am finding the final lap of the journey, hand in hand with Father, is full of comfort and peace because of the sandals He commanded for my feet! 
 
Please indulge my exuberance as these truths recorded in Jesus’ best known story of our redemption has been quickened to my soul! [Read it again for yourself in the Spirit, for it is the Life Story of all God’s Resurrection Children.  [Luke 15:11-31].
 
Neither the darkness of this present age which grips our world, nor the fading “shadow of the valley of our death” should overcome the “sons of Light,” who live in God’s Now-Day. Instead:
“Since we belong to the day let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” [1 Thess. 5:8; Prayerfully read vv.1-11].
 
The wrath that is now coming on those in the sleep of spiritual darkness worldwide is real.  And though we may “…now for a little while…have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials, … these… come so that your faith…may be found genuine and result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”  [1 Peter 1:6,7].
 
Although this “…wrath of God [that is] being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness…[Rom. 1:18], those who put their trust in Christ are being “…shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”[1 Pet. 1:5] How comforting to know in our souls that wrath is not aimed at us, rather salvation is our portion now and forever! “Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as in fact you are doing”[1Th.5:10]
 
When we’ve gone the last mile of the way
We shall rest at the end of the day
And the trials of the road will seem nothing
When we’ve gone the last mile of the way.
 
It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus
It will be worth it all when we see Christ
One look at His dear face all sorrow will erase
So bravely run the race, till we see Christ.
 
Your fellow pilgrim on the way,
Bob Yarbrough

 

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