A Father's Heart
Pastor Bob Yarbrough
Series:
July 2013
Posted by Justin Esposito on Friday Jul 5, 2013
July 2013

A PERSPECTIVE ON OUR TIMES – JULY, 2013

 

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PRAYER TIME IN THE HOLY TEMPLE OF THE LORD

“One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer…” [Acts 3:1]

 

Almost everyone prays. Whether it is the vulgar, unthinking, taking of the Lord’s Name in vain -‘My God!’ of agnostics and professed atheists, or the “I thank you that I am not as other men” sectarian elite in great religious edifices, what is called ‘prayer’ is an almost universal phenomena. The repressed, instinctive knowing that there is a God, our maker to whom we are responsible, is a stream that flows in the human subconscious from its fountain in the original ‘garden’ of our creation. The desire to know the best way to pray amidst all the cacophony of religious oratory prompted the disciples of Jesus to ask: “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples to pray” [Lk. 11:1]. And the Lord who “…knew that [Father] always heard him…for the benefit of the people standing there [in this case his ‘trainees’] gave them a brief statement to focus their surface minds in what we call The Lord’s Prayer [Compare Lk. 11:1- 4 with Jn. 11:42].

 

Prayer in Jesus’ Name. At the end of the disciples’ ‘formal training’, as preparation to enter another level of Spiritual understanding by His Presence coming to dwell in them in the Holy Spirit, Jesus spoke of a higher dimension of prayer, previously unknown to them: “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full…These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs, but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father. At that day ye shall ask in my name and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you. For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God” [Jn. 16:24-27]. Jesus was anticipating that his disciples would move from praying like Him to praying as Him!

 

A transition is made from ‘hitherto’ to ‘hereafter’ prayer. The ‘proverbial,’ or surface level of prayer, the reciting of learned phrases, was an interim ‘child level’ training that would be “put away” when the disciples grew up into ‘spiritual manhood’ [1 Cor. 13:11], in union with “the Man, Christ Jesus.” Then they would practice a continual “praying in the Holy Spirit.” That would be the meaning of prayer as Jesus knew it – ‘in My Name’ praying. This aligns with the spiritual words of Jesus to Nathanael, “hereafter ye shall see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man” [Jn.1:51]. Such praying would be followed by “the place where they were meeting…shaken,”

[Acts 4:31] a sign of the passing away of temporal things in order for Jesus’ followers to ‘receive an unshakeable kingdom’[Heb. 12:23-28]. They would begin to make “Thy Kingdom come”, ‘not just everything, but the only thing.’[Matt. 6:33].

 

“In Christ…the old has gone, the new has come” [2 Cor. 5:17]. Jesus and his disciples spoke of a different kind of Temple – His Risen Body that “…rises to become a holy temple in the Lord”{Eph. 2:21]. Until “not one stone was left upon another” of the impressive Temple in old Jerusalem {70A.D.} the Apostles and converts continued to gather there for stated times of prayer. In the Providence of God it would take the physical destruction of that ‘former house’ to occur before the full glory of the ‘latter house’ could come into view. That time came in the days of the Apostles, who, as John demonstrated, learned to live “in the Spirit…in the Lord’s Day,” seeing “the Lord High and lifted up and His glory… filling the whole earth” [Is. 6:1,3]. As they “looked for Him…he appeared” [Heb. 9:27]. They became a spiritual fulfillment of the Anna figure, who “never left the Temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying” [Lk. 2:37]. They knew themselves to be “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God” [1 Pet. 2:8,9]. The more glorious ‘latter Temple,’ the Heavenly Sanctuary, had opened to them, and under their ‘ever-living, interceding High Priest,” our Lord Jesus Christ, they, His servants, “served Him day and night” [Rev. 22:3]

 

Now is the time for God’s people to rise to their calling as Priests in this Spiritual Latter Temple, the Body of Christ. As “a house of prayer for all people,” that Church being built and spiritually gathered by Jesus “in Heavenly Places,” let us tear down our former temple of ‘hitherto’ prayer requests focused on obtaining “the desires of the flesh.” Now is the time for “hereafter…in my name” praying that aligns our asking “on earth” with Jesus’ intercession “in heaven.” This is the Holy agreement of ‘two or three” that discovers the “whatever you ask in my name” place prepared for us in our Father’s house. There, “praying in the Holy Spirit,” we find that “anything” we ask from the “all things of God” agenda revealed in us is done for us by Father. [Mtt. 18:19,20; 2 Cor. 5:18] . Let us join that ‘prayer group’ that ‘prays like Paul’ in his apostolic example:  “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God” [Phil. 1:9-11].

 

 

 

 

June Week 1
Posted by Justin Esposito on Friday May 31, 2013
0
Prayers
I
Prayed
AMEN!
June Week 1

CITIPRAYER A Perspective On Our Times

June 2013

 

ON LIVING PRESENTLY IN REFRESHING ‘PRESENCE’ TIMES

 Repent…that times of refreshing may come from the Presence of the Lord…Acts 3:19

 

In this teaching I will be attempting again to ‘verbalize’ the revealed substance of Spiritual Truth in words taught by the Holy Spirit. That is, I will be expressing the Reality I sense in the Spirit in words that may be

misunderstood by the natural, secular mind. But they are filled with Holy Spirit significance for those who hear the Voice of the One who speaks from heaven beyond words and concepts. Paul wrote of this as “speaking spiritual Truth in spiritual words.” May I cease to be so ‘verbose’ that I leave no room for the Spirit to get a Word in edgewise to your heart! May your ears be open to hear the Spirit, listening as the church assembled in the SonPresence. Take some “Selah” pauses to muse in the Spirit. Such a ‘repentance’ [literally, a ‘rethinking’ with a renewed mind] in people being transformed from glory to glory [2 Cor. 3:18] carries the promise of 

experiencing ‘times of refreshing…coming from the Presence of the Lord.’

 

Alive and aware in ‘a time that is coming and now is….’

 

Jesus escaped the mind corruptions of the present darkness, and was consciously alive in the Day which he came to call “my hour” [Jn. 2:4] or “my time” [Jn. 7:6]. Though he was in a mortal form at a place in time, he knew himself in his true identity. Listen to his autobiographical comment: “No man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven” [Jn. 3:13 KJV]. Because of sin, we have a mental block that hinders us from realizing our being both here, suffering in mortal form and yet in heavenly places in Christ

Jesus, ‘in the Spirit, on the Lord’s Day’ [Rev. 1:10]

 

Like the Samaritan woman to whom Jesus revealed his true identity we can only conceive of worship as something that happens in an earthly place at an appointed time. We hear our sectarian selves in her 

argumentative mind question: “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is Jerusalem.” Jesus tells her of a coming change in perception that would make that question obsolete. He said, “…a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is Spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” [Jn. 4:23,24].

 

Jesus consciously lived always in what Scripture refers to as “the Day of the Lord.” The time of true  in Spirit and in Truth was a ‘happening now’ reality in him. As Jesus was ‘in the world but not of the world,’  was also ‘in time but not limited to time.’ When Peter got a momentary glimpse of the true identity of Jesus by a  of the Father, Jesus declared that he was going to build his assembly [church] of such souls there, beyond  dark prevalence and domain of ‘the gates of hell’ [Cf. Matt. 16:16-18].

 

Jesus consciously lived always in what Scripture refers to as “the Day of the Lord.” The time of true worship in Spirit and in Truth was a ‘happening now’ reality in him. As Jesus was ‘in the world but not of the world,’ 

he was also ‘in time but not limited to time.’ When Peter got a momentary glimpse of the true identity of Jesus by a revelation of the Father, Jesus declared that he was going to build his assembly [church] of such souls there, beyond the dark prevalence and domain of ‘the gates of hell’ [Cf. Matt. 16:16-18].

 

In a recent meeting of professing believers in Christ I was led to praise God with this prayerful utterance in the Spirit: “Thank you Lord for the joy and privilege of ‘re-presence-ing’ Your Omnipresence in this present time and in this very place.” I was led to this expression after reading the witness of one that is brought into the reality of living in ‘a time that is coming and now is.’ Ponder her witness now:

 

“The recent dealings of the Lord with me have been to captivate my heart by the Reality of our Salvation:  the now-ness of the Life we now have in Christ. I am experiencing this continually as I seek the Lord in the  

Scriptures, and am experiencing the ‘rapture of my soul’ - into the heavenlies – into greater heights and depths of our glorious Relationship of Being in Christ. My physical body hasn’t left the earth, but my heart, 

my soul, my mind is continually drawn ‘above,’ ‘caught up’ and snatched away out of the earth realm by the Spirit into the Reality of God.” [Barbara Samuel, a teacher living in St. Croix, Virgin Islands] .

 

May the Lord give our spirits understanding beyond my ability to “utter” these indescribable glories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 2013
Posted by Justin Esposito on Friday May 31, 2013
0
Prayers
I
Prayed
AMEN!
June 2013

CITIPRAYER A Perspective On Our Times

June 2013

 

ON LIVING PRESENTLY IN REFRESHING ‘PRESENCE’ TIMES

 Repent…that times of refreshing may come from the Presence of the Lord…Acts 3:19

 

In this teaching I will be attempting again to ‘verbalize’ the revealed substance of Spiritual Truth in words taught by the Holy Spirit. That is, I will be expressing the Reality I sense in the Spirit in words that may be

misunderstood by the natural, secular mind. But they are filled with Holy Spirit significance for those who hear the Voice of the One who speaks from heaven beyond words and concepts. Paul wrote of this as “speaking spiritual Truth in spiritual words.” May I cease to be so ‘verbose’ that I leave no room for the Spirit to get a Word in edgewise to your heart! May your ears be open to hear the Spirit, listening as the church assembled in the SonPresence. Take some “Selah” pauses to muse in the Spirit. Such a ‘repentance’ [literally, a ‘rethinking’ with a renewed mind] in people being transformed from glory to glory [2 Cor. 3:18] carries the promise of 

experiencing ‘times of refreshing…coming from the Presence of the Lord.’

 

Alive and aware in ‘a time that is coming and now is….’

 

Jesus escaped the mind corruptions of the present darkness, and was consciously alive in the Day which he came to call “my hour” [Jn. 2:4] or “my time” [Jn. 7:6]. Though he was in a mortal form at a place in time, he knew himself in his true identity. Listen to his autobiographical comment: “No man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven” [Jn. 3:13 KJV]. Because of sin, we have a mental block that hinders us from realizing our being both here, suffering in mortal form and yet in heavenly places in Christ

Jesus, ‘in the Spirit, on the Lord’s Day’ [Rev. 1:10]

 

Like the Samaritan woman to whom Jesus revealed his true identity we can only conceive of worship as something that happens in an earthly place at an appointed time. We hear our sectarian selves in her 

argumentative mind question: “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is Jerusalem.” Jesus tells her of a coming change in perception that would make that question obsolete. He said, “…a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is Spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” [Jn. 4:23,24].

 

Jesus consciously lived always in what Scripture refers to as “the Day of the Lord.” The time of true  in Spirit and in Truth was a ‘happening now’ reality in him. As Jesus was ‘in the world but not of the world,’  was also ‘in time but not limited to time.’ When Peter got a momentary glimpse of the true identity of Jesus by a  of the Father, Jesus declared that he was going to build his assembly [church] of such souls there, beyond  dark prevalence and domain of ‘the gates of hell’ [Cf. Matt. 16:16-18].

 

Jesus consciously lived always in what Scripture refers to as “the Day of the Lord.” The time of true worship in Spirit and in Truth was a ‘happening now’ reality in him. As Jesus was ‘in the world but not of the world,’ 

he was also ‘in time but not limited to time.’ When Peter got a momentary glimpse of the true identity of Jesus by a revelation of the Father, Jesus declared that he was going to build his assembly [church] of such souls there, beyond the dark prevalence and domain of ‘the gates of hell’ [Cf. Matt. 16:16-18].

 

In a recent meeting of professing believers in Christ I was led to praise God with this prayerful utterance in the Spirit: “Thank you Lord for the joy and privilege of ‘re-presence-ing’ Your Omnipresence in this present time and in this very place.” I was led to this expression after reading the witness of one that is brought into the reality of living in ‘a time that is coming and now is.’ Ponder her witness now:

 

“The recent dealings of the Lord with me have been to captivate my heart by the Reality of our Salvation:  the now-ness of the Life we now have in Christ. I am experiencing this continually as I seek the Lord in the  

Scriptures, and am experiencing the ‘rapture of my soul’ - into the heavenlies – into greater heights and depths of our glorious Relationship of Being in Christ. My physical body hasn’t left the earth, but my heart, 

my soul, my mind is continually drawn ‘above,’ ‘caught up’ and snatched away out of the earth realm by the Spirit into the Reality of God.” [Barbara Samuel, a teacher living in St. Croix, Virgin Islands] .

 

May the Lord give our spirits understanding beyond my ability to “utter” these indescribable glories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

May Week 4
Posted by Justin Esposito on Tuesday May 28, 2013
0
Prayers
I
Prayed
AMEN!
May Week 4

A HOLY HUNGER FOR HEAVEN’S HIGHEST HONOR 

“Blessed are those who hunger… for righteousness, for they shall be filled” [Matt. 5:6]. 

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”  [Phil 3:14 NIV]

 

We have been focusing our attention on the ‘inheritance kept in heaven for us’ [1 Peter 1:4]. It is our earnest conviction that a vast spiritual treasury is accessible by grace to those who, under the ordained testing [discipline] of our Heavenly Father, “press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of us”[Phil. 3:12]. This message is meaningful only to ‘born again’ children of God, who are motivated to “leave the elementary teaching about Christ and go on to maturity’ [Heb. 6:1]. While many will remain ‘infants, tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here 

and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming…” there are those who, “…built up…” in their level of the “…faith and knowledge of the Son of God…” come to a “…mature... view of things..” [Eph. 4:12,13; Phil. 3:15]. These are “being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood…to share in the heavenly calling” of the “first born” Son, who is “…Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession” [1Pet. 2:5; Heb. 3:1,2 and 12:23].

 

This “view of things” is even less prevalent in today’s church than in Apostolic times, when Paul urged any who ‘think differently at this point” to wait on God, who “will make clear” by the Spirit’s revelation what the mind cannot yet grasp [Phil 3:15]. His counsel for the sake of the unity of the Body of Christ was, “Only let us live up to what we have already attained” [Phil. 3:16]. If we have greater revelation, we have greater responsibility to live on a higher level. Paul, understanding this principle, interpreted the ways of God in his own experience: “To keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh…” [2Cor. 12:7]. This was an application of the words of Jesus to his personal “stewardship of God’s revealed mystery”:

 “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” [Lk. 12:48].

 

Those who by a heavenly vision aspire to “…ascend to [our] Father” and “… stand in His Holy Presence”… [Jn.21:17; Ps. 24:3] have responded to a higher calling: “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.  Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, say the Lord Almighty” [2 Cor. 6:17,18]. This is not an occupation chosen by the will of man, but a calling of God that, when received, places you under the special discipline of a Heavenly Father. His Sovereign foreknowledge chooses those appointed to be ‘joint-heirs’ of His authority in His only begotten Son, Jesus, the “first-born from among the dead.” Because of “the hardships” it takes to “bring you to [that] glory,” you will do well to remember this word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes [applies harsh correction as needed] to everyone he accepts [places in authority representing Him] as a son” [Heb. 12:5,6; 2:10]

 

 

The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is now giving Christ’s Life to your mortal body and has begun the good work of bringing you into full conscious union with Him [Rom 8:11; Phil. 1:6]. Because you are coming  

to know yourself as “risen with Christ” your heart is “set on things above” [Col. 3:1,2] Revelations of “precious promises” and experiences of Christ’s glory are given you so that by these you may consciously “participate in the divine nature” with Jesus [2 Pet. 1:4] , “the author and perfecter of our faith” [Heb. 12:2].

 

Understand, beloved ones, that God will introduce you to “the fellowship” of “the sufferings of Christ” in your mortal body, “conforming you to the likeness of his death’ [Phil. 3:10 Rom 8:18; 2 Cor. 1:6,7]. The Father has begun this good work that will be finalized in the Day of Jesus Christ, when you appear with Him in His Glory. Do not be surprised then, when you encounter ‘painful trials’ designed to teach you the obedience of a true Son [1 Pet. 4:12,13]. When tempted to question Father’s ways with you, “consider him [Jesus] who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” [Heb. 12:3] By our relatively “light afflictions” in comparison to his, we are ‘learning obedience’ in the pattern set by our Lord [Heb. 2:5; 5:8] that we may share in his 

glory. So, affirm your high calling: “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” [1 Pet. 2:21].

 

Because of the higher standard of your Holy calling, the Father must apply the cross to every aspect of the old ego self-life. He will by His faithful, loving discipline bring you apply in increasing measure this rule: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition of vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves…, until in the Holy Spirit “…your attitude [is] the same as that of Christ Jesus” [Phil. 2:2-5]. [More on this theme later].

 

 

 

May Week 3
Posted by Justin Esposito on Friday May 17, 2013
May Week 3

ATTAINING HIGHER LEVELS OF CONSCIOUSNESS IN CHRIST

 

“…That I may gain Christ and be found in him…to attain to the resurrection from the dead…Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on toward the goal… Let us live up to what we have already attained.” Phil. 3:8,9.11,12,14,16

 

This statement of Paul’s ‘Magnificent Obsession’ is given by the Holy Spirit to all who would ‘live by the Spirit’ as the basis for our lives in this present world. ‘Only let us live up to what we have already attained’ is the ‘view of things’ that he urges ‘all of us who are mature’ to ‘take’ as the true and highest perspective on life. And this is not to be a disembodied mystical dream state, but a very visible, down to earth, purposeful lifestyle that expresses ‘the pattern’ that Paul himself demonstrated. It is a way of life that could be ‘noted’ in the daily lives of ‘others’ who were ‘following’ his ‘example’ [Phil 3:15-17]. So, while we are still in our earthly bodies and concentrating on fulfilling our ‘great commission’ to disciple others, we

must do so out of an ‘ascending’ growing, consciousness of our union with the Ascended and Coming Again Jesus! [See Acts 1:11].

 

Paul contrasts this call to a higher level of living to the lifestyle of ‘many,’ who, though professing faith in Jesus Christ, are actually ‘living as enemies of the cross of Christ.’ Paul wrote this with a heavy heart, ‘with tears’ knowing the ‘destruction’ that awaits those who follow the false ‘god’ created by ‘sensual appetites’ [‘Whose god is their stomach’ Phil 3:19]. How sad it is to see those who profess faith in Christ destroyed when the objects of their worldly lusts are withheld! How quickly they give up their confidence in an ‘unseen Hope’ in the face of visible troubles and ‘lose their testimony’! Like the unbelieving Israelites they ‘murmur to high heaven’ and the earth ‘swallows them up.’ Professing a ‘salvation’ for heaven, they are lost to the purpose of God in this life.

 

Troubles do not determine the state of the soul, they only reveal it. Yet, even when we ‘go to pieces’ under testing we still may ‘hope in God,’ as our ‘trial of faith’ reveals our need to rise higher in our knowledge of Christ. If, in our weakness, we cry to the Lord we will be amazed at our Spirit-given capacity to ‘consider it pure joy whenever we face trials of many kinds’. By the gift of an inward, spiritual realization, we come to ‘know that the testing of our faith develops perseverance’ - that the purpose of our testing trials is that we ‘may be mature and complete.’ Then, owning our ‘lack of wisdom,’ we learn to 'ask God, who gives [it] generously to all without finding fault… Faith comes by ‘hearing’ the ‘implanted Word’ and overcomes doubt so that we pass through the troubled waters by the Presence of Christ in our weak vessel [Rom. 10:17; Jms. 1:3-5]. Then, Christ the ‘hope of glory’ within us is manifested as

the ‘glory of hope’ around us. This Hope anchors our souls in the Rest of God, beyond the troubled ‘veil’ of circumstances [Heb. 6:19].

 

In all these meditations on ‘ascension assets’ we need to see that God is at work through the circumstances and pressures of our most difficult experiences in life to teach us to see through the temporal to the eternal. “For what is seen in temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” is not just a nice verse from Paul’s writings, it is an eternal truth meant to be our faith perspective on every ‘happening’ of our lives. Because Paul had a miraculous “fix your eyes” encounter with the Living Christ on his way to

Damascus driven by the blind fury of religious zeal, he learned to see through the “bad things” with true heavenly vision [2 Cor. 4:18]. In His torturous imprisonment, made worse by the betrayal of others who claimed to be servants of Christ, Paul could testify: “Now I want you to know… that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” And further “what has happened to me will turn out for my

deliverance.” Whether that deliverance was a temporary release from his earthly imprisonment or the greater “gain” that death would bring him, his bottom line attitude was: “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” [Phil. 1:12, 19, 21,27 ]. In whatever ‘hellish thing’ that happens to us on earth, God wills to make heaven happen in us through tested faith and obedience!  Passing that test makes the testimony of Jesus real in the witness of our lives here and now!  

[Let the full power of this truth take hold on you as you prayerfully ponder the Spirit’s meaning recorded in Jn. 16:33; 1 Cor. 15:54,57; Rev. 12:11, 17.]

 

This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith

[1 Jn. 5:4;].

 

 

 

 

 

 

May Week 2
Posted by Justin Esposito on Thursday May 9, 2013
May Week 2

Dear Partakers of the Heavenly Calling,

 

Thanks you for receiving my personal witness of our shared Life in Christ.  May these reflections become Life and Spirit in you by the Presence of the Teacher in you.

 Bob

 

ATTAINING ASCENSION ASSETS

 

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

 

The phrase “Let us go on to perfection” in Hebrews 6 and the various phrases in Philippians 3 – “gain Christ,” “Lay hold of that for which Christ laid hold of me,” “press toward the mark” “live up to what you have attained…” - all speak of the ongoing process of being “conformed to the image of God’s Son” [Rom. 8:29] in inward consciousness for “putting on the new self” [Eph. 4:24] in outward conduct. Jesus is the model for us as seen in John 13: His consciousness: “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God” [v.3] ; His conduct: he “… took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist… and began to wash his disciples’ feet”[v.4]. In this process, God works by the Holy Spirit in bringing us through “death and resurrection” from “one degree of glory to another” as we “fix our thoughts on Jesus” [Heb. 3:1] and “contemplate” Him in our hearts – beyond the “veil” of carnal mind [see 2 Cor. 3:12-18].

 

I observe stages of this process in my personal quest for the ‘prize of the upward call’:

 

PERCEIVE

By revelation of the Spirit I perceive Christ as my life to a degree beyond my present experience. This occurs as I continually practice the attitude of “forgetting what is behind and pressing forward to what is ahead.” In Isaiah’s words, I “forget the former things...” and turn heavenward to behold ‘the new thing’ in the Spirit. Then it “springs up” in my inner “perception” like a well of life within [Is. 43:19]. As ‘Abraham saw it and was glad’ [Jn. 8:56], I behold a new day for me in Jesus Christ. Like Mary, who ‘saw’ the heavenly messenger announcing her place in God’s purpose, in my own “lowly estate” I magnify the Holy One who chooses the base things to manifest His Magnificence [Lk. 1:46-55]. Though I am “dead” in my own strength; indeed in a “grave” of crucified flesh, I confidently rest waiting to hear the voice of the Son of God within me that calls me forth to this new life [Jn.5:25].

 

  RECEIVE

Then I hear the “voice” speak within me and I receive with “meekness” – utter abandonment to the will of God – the implanted Word that is able to “save my soul” [James 1:21]. In receiving what God has revealed in me, I am empowered by Jesus Christ to “lay hold” on a greater consciousness of my place in Him as a child of God

 

BELIEVE

As the “voice” speaks, by the Holy Spirit I am enabled to believe the word planted in me, ‘the word that is near me, in my heart and then in my mouth, the word of faith’ expressing itself in God’s ability to do exceedingly, abundantly above what I have previously asked or thought [Rom 10:8] & Eph. 3:20]. Though I know not how this can be, my heart responds, “be it unto me according to your word.” This initial faith ‘knowing’ is a grace “impartation” from God’s Spirit to my spirit. [See Luke 1:38 and Rom.1:11].

 

CONCEIVE

Silently, in the secret hidden place of my being where I abide in the love of God, the Holy Spirit conceives the renewing ‘inner man’ being ‘formed in me’ to be made manifest in my mortal body. The “quickening” of this new life ‘leaps within me’ [ponder Lk. 1:41 with Rom. 8:11 KJV] and I know that in God’s time that Holy Thing conceived in me by the Spirit will come forth. I am possessed by the future and walk in expectation of the ‘fullness of time’ transition of the appearing of the Son of God in me.

 

ACHIEVE

Then a breakthrough occurs. The crisis of birth with its attendant “pain” is followed by the joy of a ‘newborn’ glory in my earthen vessel. I am “born again” – again – to higher awareness of Christ as my Life! With joy I achieve [reap] openly what was planted in secret, and the end of this faith crisis brings me to attain in experience what is already mine in Christ. I have “laid hold on [a greater sense of] eternal life.” I “know Christ” in a greater degree of ‘fellowship in His sufferings’ that releases the “power of His resurrection life” in me. This process is a ‘circle of Life’ that rises higher into the cloud of ascension glory. All this is the work of 

the Lord, and it is glorious in our eyes as we are enabled by His amazing grace to experience it. The potter has crushed and remade us in yet another “trial form” in which to display his greatness. And the process goes on, as we willingly present our bodies as living sacrifices, acceptable to God, for His great purpose of glorifying His Son in us. Let us continually yield ourselves to be the transformed instruments of the display of His glory.

 

 

 

May Week 1
Posted by Justin Esposito on Friday May 3, 2013
May Week 1

PERSPECTIVE ON OUR TIMES – MAY, 2013

It is High Time for a Radical Love Awakening

“’Love your neighbor as yourself.’ And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up…” Romans 13:9,11 [ * If you would receive the full spiritual benefit of this Word ,

meditate on the suggested ‘extra’ scriptures in the parentheses.]

 

In these verses, the Apostle uses two distinct words to convey his perspective on the times in which he lived. The Greek word Paul uses, translated ‘the present time’ [NIV] and ‘the times’ [KJV] is kairos. Generally, this refers to the character of the times as they are discerned in us by the Spirit. In this specific text, and throughout Paul’s writings, he perceives and would have all believers ‘know’ that they were living in ‘perilous’ [KJV], ‘terrible’ [NIV], ‘grievous’ [interlinear], times’ [2 Tim. 3:1]. Paul’s word here, translated ‘the hour’ [NIV], ‘high time’ [KJV], generally refers to ‘an appointed time,’ as in ‘a date certain.’ Paul was referring to a very real time of grief that Jesus predicted his followers would experience in this present world: ‘If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you….I have told you these things, so that you will have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” [John 15:18,19 and 16:33]. Paul was confirming that they were “having the time of their lives” here, simply because their True Spiritual Life was ‘hidden with Christ in God’ [Col. 3:3]

 

In addition, Paul spelled out the response of all of Christ’s faithful disciples to their times of trial. It is not that somehow they would, by their valiant human efforts, mend the ‘broken systems’ of the present world order to ‘just get along.’ They were not to be at ease in a ‘broken system’ of oppression. Rather, his confidence lay in their participation in a Heavenly Kingdom that transcends this world. Thus, Paul would encourage believers suffering for their faith in Philippi with the reminder that while the ‘many live as enemies of the cross of Christ…, their minds on earthly things…, our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”

 

This did not mean that they were to while away their time in a dreamy state that made them ineffectual in this world that sleeps through the transformation that has begun in believing hearts. Rather, their spiritual understanding of God’s transcendent perspective beyond time and space, had given them a ‘rendezvous with destiny.’ As the grace recipients of the Gospel that had ‘destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light’ [2 Tim. 1:`10], the ‘hour’ − the ‘appointed time’ scheduled by God in Eternity past- had come for living out the ‘Life of the Kingdom of the Beloved Son’ that had risen in their hearts! It was “high time” for the turning of the tide of history! [ * I suggest meditation on the Apostle’s prayer for us to live the ‘transformed life of the Son’s Love Kingdom’: Col. 1:9-14].

 

The Love Revolution was at work in the last days of their dying culture! The ‘hated by the world’ believers who held ‘unswervingly to the hope they professed,’ knowing that ‘he who promised is faithful,’ refused to ‘give up meeting together…but encouraged one another in the Light of the Coming Day of Christ.’ In Holy conspiracy they thought up creative ways to ‘spur one another on toward love and good deeds” [* Glory in this vision of church life as recorded in Hebrews 10:23-25! This is normal New Covenant church life! ].

 

Dear friends, the ‘times have reached their fullness for this mystery [of the Love Kingdom revolution] to be put into effect” among us. Paul speaks to us when, in the Spirit, he looked down the corridor of time [ * Re: Eph. 1:9,10 - Tarry in the glow of this revelatory Scripture until the Light of Heaven shines on you !]. I sense that now we, who ‘have come to royal position’ are to live for ‘such a time as this’ [ * As with Esther, 4:14]. In Spirit I declare as John in his day: ‘Dear children, it is the last hour’ of a godless culture. Let Eugene H. Peterson’s brilliant paraphrase of Romans 13:1-4 move us to awakened alertness to Christ’s Life beyond this sleeping, unaware, present world:

                “…Make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by- day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing 

touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!”

 

“I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation!” [2 Cor. 6:2] - Bob Yarbrough

 

 

April Week 4
Posted by Justin Esposito on Friday Apr 26, 2013
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April Week 4

THIS MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION

“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus to testify of the gospel of the grace of God” [Acts 20:24].

 

Most of you will recall the 1929 Lloyd C. Douglas novel, later made into two films of the same name: Magnificent Obsession. It is a story based on the real life of a Doctor who sought to live for others by an inner secret code [Matthew 6:1-4], obsessed by a ‘pay it forward’ compulsion.

 

In another, quite different setting, the story told by the brother of a Boston Marathon runner, whose 45 th race was cut short by two exploding terrorist bombs appeared under the caption line: ‘Nothing can shut down my brother’s magnificent marathon obsession.’

 

The opposite malevolent obsession of two “radicalized” murderers in Boston has horrified and terrified the world. In explaining the one thing that unites all such benighted souls in an unholy ‘Jihad,’ one analyst pointed to “their willing commitment to die for their cause.”

 

Saul of Tarsus once was obsessed with a cause based in religious hatred. But he “died” a different kind of death by the grace of an intervening Savior. Thereafter, the reborn, renamed Paul, spoke of his magnificent obsession to fulfill the commission given Him by His Lord: ‘to testify of the gospel of the grace of God.’ This new ‘Man in Christ’ was transformed by the radical Love of a Heavenly Father in the Face of Jesus Christ. Thereafter his life was not his own. His view: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”[Gal. 2:20].

 

Our times call all who live by the faith of the Son of God to share Paul’s Magnificent Obsession:

     It is is an unconditional commitment. No hardship ‘moved’ Paul from the course set for him. He calls resurrection energized believers to live under the same controlling compulsion: ‘Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain’ [1 Cor. 15:58]. The ‘race set before us’ in Christ is not a short sprint but a lifelong marathon. Only the ‘mind fixed’ on Christ gives us the true ‘eyes on the prize’ of a transfixed perspective [Heb. 3:1 ; Phil. 3:14]. While we may start the race with a sense that His presence is ‘with us,’ we cannot finish until we realize His Life working ‘in us.’ Our strength is Christ as one with our deepest true self. Then we know it is ‘God who works in us to will and to act according to his good purpose” [For a more in-depth, inward realization of this truth, listen for His Voice in your spiritual meditation of verses in Heb. 12:1-12; Gal. 5:7; 1 Cor. 9:24-27; Phil. 4:13].

 

     It is an unfinished course. As it was with Jesus, with Paul, and with all who ‘strive for the mastery’ joy comes at the ‘finish line’ [Heb. 12:2; Acts 20:24; 2 Tim. 4:6-8; 2 Cor. 5:10]. God alone knows the ‘course.’ This life is for beginning. To finish well this earthly lap of the race opens up the unimaginable eternal heights yet to come. “Now are we the children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known…” [1 Jn. 3:2]. Paul knew that “if only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men’ [1 Cor. 15:19]. This is said, not to lessen our effort in this earth life experience, but to encourage our confidence that “He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion in the Day of Jesus Christ – the eternal day beyond the time/space categories of our carnal mind [[Phil. 1:6]. So, let us run this ‘endurance race’ to the end! Recall that exhilarating moment in Chariots of Fire when Olympian Eric Liddle, after a disheartening fall, rose to finish the race a victor! It is not in starting but in finishing that the joy of the crown is won. The attainable consummation is set 

before us. So, let us ‘throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us and run with perseverance the race marked out for us!” [Heb. 12:1] On your mark! [A cross marks the spot.] Get set! [Stay on the alert in prayer.] Go! [And keep going.], to win the prize of the upward call!

 

 

 

 

 

April Week 3
Posted by Justin Esposito on Wednesday Apr 17, 2013
April Week 3

OUR HOLY HEAVENWARD OBSESSION IN CHRIST JESUS

 

“…One thing I do…I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” [Phil. 3:13,14]

 

Sadly, the only place our word “obsession” seems to be acceptable in the present culture is in sports. Being myself a “fan” of sports, I am acquainted with the charged atmosphere that surrounds the “big game.” I know what it is to identify with a team so that you feel “we are number one” when a contest is won. In this, I am a real fan, which almost makes me “normal” in a cultural sense. I can even be ‘obsessed’ with sports, a ‘fanatical’ follower and be O.K.

 

It is when I forget these former things [Is. 43:18] and choose to focus on the ‘…only one thing…’ that our Lord Jesus Christ said ‘is needed,’ and ‘better’ [Lk. 10:41 ] from His Holy perspective, that I am regarded as out of touch, different, just a little weird. This seems petty in view of the real sufferings of believers through the centuries who ‘chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time’ [Heb. 11:25]. Yet, in some small way it falls under the comforting promise of the Lord to His misunderstood followers: “Blessed are you when people insult you…and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Greater Kingdom awareness is given to those who ‘suffer reproach for Christ’: “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven!” [Matt. 5:11,12 ; Heb 11:26 ].

 

I trust that, in your maturing faith, you value that ‘rich reward’ [Heb.10:35] above any superficial honor of this world. Paul, our example of spiritual maturity, attained such intimacy with Christ in real, deadly suffering that he could say, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us”[Rom. 8:18]. Our ‘sufferings’ are mostly inconveniences that barely register on the scales of ‘hardships’ Christ’s disciples are called to ‘endure’ [2 Tim. 2:3]; none of us ‘in our struggle against sin, have…yet resisted to the point of shedding our blood’ [Heb. 12:4] as many of our brothers and sisters in other lands now suffer. So let us joyfully welcome our troubles as a Father’s discipline, unless we are ‘illegitimate children - mere professing imposters – and not true sons’ [Heb. 12:8], Our participation in the sufferings of Christ is ‘…for our good, that we may share in his holiness.’ Though such ‘training’ does not ‘seem pleasant at the time, but painful,’ we gain a ‘harvest righteousness and peace’ in God’s ‘later on’ that is ours now in Christ’s faith-realized Presence! [May God speak Heb. 12:7-13 to you in

the Holy Spirit!]

 

The Father’s purpose is to bring ‘many sons into the Glory’ [Heb. 2;10] of His Beloved Son. That requires spiritual ‘training’ that exceeds the discipline required in physical athletics. Paul used the sports metaphors often in his ‘coaching’ of Christ’s followers who aspired with him to attain mastery [1 Cor. 9:25; 2 Tim. 2:5 KJV] – to be ‘champions’ in the Spirit. While all the called are possessed of a hope of glory, few chose to be obsessed with attaining the prize God has for each one who will ‘fight the good fight and finish the course by keeping the faith in their longing for His appearing” [2 Tim. 4:7,8]. We should not think of this process as a selfish competition with others [2 Cor. 10:12; Rom. 14:4]. No, we ‘play the game’ to become all we are intended to be in the Judgment of God in Christ [2 Cor. 5:10]. This is the underlying message of Paul in his statement: ‘…in a race all the runners [all believers] run, but only one gets the prize. So run that you may get the prize [attain the personal destiny God has for each one individually] [1 Cor. 9:24].

 

Are you one of those obsessed with this Heavenly calling? Are you ready to enter ‘training’ and ‘play by the rules’? ‘Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training [1 Cor. 9:25]. ‘If anyone 

competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules’ [2 Tim. 2:5] Finally, let all sports fans, note this comparison:

     

‘They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.’

  [Consider the spiritual ‘coaching instructions’ for the greater contest in the classic article that follows]

 

OTHERS MAY – YOU CANNOT

[A Classic piece by an unknown author]

 

If God has called you to be really like Jesus, he will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility, and put upon you such demands of obedience that you will not be able to follow other people, or measure yourself by other Christians, and in many ways He will seem to let other people do things which He will not let you do.

 

Other Christians and ministers who seem very religious and useful may push themselves, pull wires, and work schemes to carry out their plans, but you cannot do it; and if you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.

 

Others may boast of themselves, of their work, of their success, of their writing, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you begin it, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.

 

Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, or may have a legacy left to them, but it is likely that God will keep you poor, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, namely, a helpless dependence on Him, that he may have the privilege of supplying your needs day by day out of an unseen treasury.

 

The Lord may let others be honored and put forward and keep you hidden in obscurity, because He wants you to produce some choice fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade. He may let others be great and keep you small. He may let others do a work for Him and get the credit for it, but He will make you work and toil on without knowing how much you are doing. And then, to make your work still more precious, he may let others get credit for the work you have done and thus make your reward ten times greater when Jesus comes.

 

The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch over you, with a jealous love, and will rebuke you for little words and feelings, and for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over. So make up your mind that God is an infinite, Sovereign and has the right to do as he pleases with His own. He may not explain to you a thousand things which puzzle your reason in His dealing with you, but if you absolutely sell yourself to be his love slave, he will wrap you up in a jealous love and bestow upon you many blessings which come only to those who are in the inner circle.

 

Settle it forever, then, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, and that he is to have the privilege of tying our tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes in ways that He does not seem to use with others. Now, when you are so possessed with the Living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of Heaven!

 

 

In reading this classic encouragement to enter covenant with the Lord to live before Him only for His glory, I became aware again of the cunning ways of the Evil One to tempt us to fall into his most effective snare – Pride! It appeals to our flesh to consider ourselves so “special” that even

in our meekness and professed humility we are so proud of ourselves that we get our elbow out of joint patting ourselves on the back! “No one is good – except God alone” [Mk. 10:18] shuts that down!

 

So, let us apply this and all other writings designed to help bring us to a more perfect “Abandonment to Divine Providence” in a true spirit of meekness that characterized the One Glorious Savior, the “I AM” of all “meek and lowly of hearts.” He graciously offers to partner with us in a yoke that gives a heavenly rest for your souls beyond the need of man’s approval.

 

 

 

 

April Week 2
Posted by Justin Esposito on Friday Apr 12, 2013
April Week 2

Dear Aspiring Ones:

I have packed much into this travel kit to encourage you. I trust, as you prayerfully unpack it, you will be nourished on your journey home. I urge you to intentionally focus on the highlighted Scripture references in blue and the words of Jesus in red. Take time to “be still.” Enter reverently into a ‘Holy listening’ until you hear the inner “voice that speaks from heaven” by the witness of the Spirit of Truth who lives within us.

Your Companion in the Way,

 

Bob

 

FOLLOWING JESUS ALL THE WAY HOME TO OUR FATHER

Jesus said do not cling to me [my physical form], for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, 

them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’’’ Jn. 20: 17

 

In this “key to the Kingdom of Heaven” Scripture, Jesus begins a 40 day period of transition, a process of weaning his earthly followers from dependence on his appearance in physical form to a “seeing” and knowing of Him in the Spirit. Instead of His obvious being with them in a physical body, He will come to make His home in them by the Presence of the Holy Spirit. He had told them previously that this ‘for your good’ relational change would transpire soon [Jn. 16:6; Acts 1:4,5]. Jesus’ resurrection begins the countdown to his enthronement in the Heavenly realm at His Father’s right hand, and the release of His Presence in His Spiritual Body, the Church.

 

Jesus’ post-resurrection physical appearances and sudden ‘disappearances’ are strategic to the Lord’s purpose of establishing the startled believers in the certain realization that He is definitely alive and present [see Jn. 14:20]. He is preparing them for His ascension and His subsequent return in the Spirit to abide in them beginning at Pentecost [See Jn. 14:1-4; Acts 1:4,5]. Once that transition is accomplished, the disciples can proceed ‘onward and upward,’ no longer seeing Him by natural sight but with the “eyes of their hearts…enlightened by the Holy Spirit” [See Eph. 1: 18]

 

Many have sung of this on an Easter Sunday, but most have not realized the awesome spiritual experience of “the living hope by the resurrection” [1Pet.1:3] to which the great hymn alludes: 

 

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!  Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!

Death in vain forbids Him rise, Alleluia! Christ has opened Paradise, Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia! Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!

Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia! Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia! Amen!

 

 

Instead of this being a “living hope” in the contemporary church, it is a vague “death wish” of an event that may take place someday if indeed there is such a thing as resurrection. This is not the perspective of the first believers. Since they knew themselves to be already risen with Christ [Col. 3:1], they sought to know experientially the heavenly realm where their Hope was anchored [See Heb. 6:19]. The heavenly inheritance which John saw “in the Spirit” [Rev. 1:9] was their own spiritual portion. They identified vicariously with what John saw and entered spiritually into that reality!

 

John saw those who “follow the Lamb wherever He goes.” They were already “standing on Mt. Zion… with him.” [Rev. 14: 1]. This representative company was already reigning with Christ. They had “overcome and been given the right to sit with the Son in his Father’s throne” [Rev. 3:21]. “Following their exalted Head,” they had “gained Christ and were found in him… through the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” They had “pressed on to know Christ and the power of his resurrection 

and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings.” “Becoming like him in his death, they had attained to the resurrection of the dead” [See Phil. 3:12-14]. They had come to “know the hope to which He called us by the same mighty power that God exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms. [Eph. 1:18-20]. They had gone on to perfection [Heb. 6:1 KJV], and ascended to their Father by following the Lamb! They had realized the blessed hope of all who are born again in Christ Jesus [See Titus 2:13]! Let this Word dwell in you richly [Col. 3:16] as it did in them. These saints knew an inner fulfillment of the words of John’s prophecy by the blessedness of their hearing! [Compare and ponder Rev. 1:3 “take to heart” and Lk. 4:21 “fulfilled in your hearing.”] Holy Scripture was not irrelevant or meaningless to their existential experience of the Kingdom of God! The Holy Spirit’s ‘prophecy’ was simply “telling it like it is”! They believed it and that settled it! By faith they entered in! For them, “all the promises of God in Christ were ‘yes’ and ‘amen’ [2 Cor. 1:20]. To them, “the very great and precious promises were given not to be merely read or even memorized, but that through them they might participate in the divine nature….” [2 Pet. 1:4].

 

If their “Life was hidden in Christ,” it was so only to the unbelievers who “belong to the night or to the darkness”, but not to them, for they “belonged to the Day” [See 1 Thess. 5:4-8]. As “sons of the light and sons of the day” God had “qualified them to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For He had rescued them from the dominion of darkness and brought them into the kingdom of the Son he loves…”[Col. 1:12,12]. “...God made his Light shine in their hearts, to give them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” [2 Cor. 4:6].

 

The Apostolic Church lived in this revealed truth. But it has been largely lost in the experience of professing Christians who make up the church of our time. We, “Blind leaders” have “ignored this great Salvation… first announced by the Lord…and confirmed to us by those who heard him” [Heb. 2:3,4]. Thus, we all have fallen into the ditch of unbelief while heaven weeps and waits. But the Risen Christ by the Holy Spirit is restoring the Ascension message. The word to awakening ministers is now, “Go tell my brothers that I am ascending to my Father and your Father… You know where I am going, and in union with me in the Holy Spirit, you know the Way. You are now to come to the Father by me” [ Jn. 20:17; Jn. 14:4- 6]. It is time to rest from our ego-centric zeal to ‘work for God,’ and “wait for the promise of the Father until we receive power from on High” [Lk. 24:49]. The spiritual path of the children of the Resurrection ascends the Hill of the Lord and stands in His Holy Presence. From there, and only from there, can we descend, sent into the valleys of contemporary need to cast out the demons that afflict a suffering world [Ponder Matt. 17:1-20].

 

It is only in learning to “wait upon the Lord, that we mount up with wings like eagles, to run and not be weary… the race set before us,” so that we “finish our course and not faint” on the “narrow path” of our “heavenward calling” [Is. 40:31; Gal. 6:9; Heb. 12:1; 2 Tim. 4:7; Matt. 7:14; Phil. 3:14]. And only as we go into all the world” in faith’s realization of Christ’s, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” Presence, that we enter His victory that “overcomes the world” [Matt. 28:19,20; 1 Jn. 5:4].

 

What is the “living hope” into which we are “born again… by the resurrection of Jesus Christ?” [1 Pet. 1:3] Is it not to overcome the world by faith and ascend step by step into the place Christ has prepared for us in His Father’s House? Child of God, you are not meant to muddle through the mundane mess of the low valley of this fallen world. You are created in Christ Jesus to ascend to your Father and Your God. You are called “to walk in the Light as He is in the Light” [1 Jn. 1:7] and to reflect that Light on this dark valley “like stars in the universe” [Phil. 2:15].

 

So, “Since [and I earnestly pray that you know that] you are risen with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God [Col. 3:1]. This is our goal…for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus [Phil. 3:14]. This is the glory of all his saints! [Ps.149:9].

 

Awake! Arise! Aspire! Ascend! Attain!

 

“I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation”  

[2 Cor. 6:2]

 

 

 

 

April Week 1
Posted by Justin Esposito on Thursday Apr 4, 2013
April Week 1

BORN AGAIN TO THE ASCENDING LIFE OF RESURRECTION HOPE

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance… kept in heaven for you… ready to be revealed in the last time.

1 Peter 1: 3-5 [NIV]

“But now is Christ risen from the dead… the first fruits… every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward, they that are Christ’s at his coming. 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23 [KJV] “Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also… “…Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father…” John 14:19, 20:17

 

Having, over these past few years, received grace and revelation in knowing the glorious ‘Christ in me hope’ [Col. 1:27], and having ‘given myself to prayer and the ministry of the word’ entrusted to me for the Body of Christ [Acts 6:4], I share my message of “Practicing Resurrection Living” with any who will hear.

 

Observing the traditions of Easter in the visible church as we know it today, I continually pray that we ‘may have power, together with all the saints to grasp’ the spiritual reality ‘that surpasses knowledge’ [Eph. 3:17-19]. In celebrating the empty tomb, may we not be as those of the world in their “see me no more” spiritual blindness. The Risen Lord has ‘disappeared from…sight’ of the natural eye, to appear to his “ye see me” disciples, whose ‘…eyes were opened and they recognized him’ with now resurrection faith [Lk. 24:31]. This is our heavenly inheritance ready to be revealed to all who press on to take hold of it [Phil. 3:12-14].

 

‘Since…you have been raised with Christ, [now] set your hearts on things above’. Your real life is now hidden from the eyes of the world [Col. 3:1-3]. May this become real in you by the Counselor Jesus promised to send: “The Spirit of truth – The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him for he lives with you and will be in you” [Jn. 14:16,17]. By faith, you have been ‘born of the Spirit into the living hope dimension of Christ’s resurrection Life, and are now raised to walk in the newness of Life of the Spirit realm [Rom. 6:1-3]. That means that you are not just stumbling through life on the horizontal plane, but you are ascending to ‘take hold’ of ever higher levels of glory in the knowledge of Christ [Phil. 3:12-17; 2 Cor. 3:16]. We were born in the Spirit for this! “If [or since] we live by the Spirit, let us also [consciously] walk by the Spirit” [Gal. 5:25 ESV]. Let the comments of my spiritual teacher T. Austin-Sparks speak to your heart:

 

You have perhaps talked for years about things in the Word of God, and you believed them and gave them out as truth, and after doing that for years suddenly you saw what they meant, and the whole thing came in another way… If we become spiritual in this sense, if the Holy Spirit is the commanding reality in our life, and we are walking by the Spirit, we are bound inevitably to come into all God’s thought. The Lord wants a people to come into His full thought. That is only possible as they cease to be governed by some outward order of things, and learn what it is to move with God in the Holy Spirit.

 

Our spiritual birth is into a “new creation” order. We all come into this Living Hope dimension as “newborn babes” with an innate, sincere desire for the milk of God’s Word [1 Pet. 2:2]. God has provided a nourishing “mother,” [the ‘Jerusalem above’ assembly] to give sustenance and protect babes from predators of Satanic origin that, like Herod of old, would massacre “the innocents” and destroy God’s heavenly “Man-child” before He grows up into the full stature of Christ [Recall and ponder Gal. 4:26; Matt. 2:16-18; Eph. 4:12; and Rev. 12:4,5].

 

Then, a “weaning” must come in the spiritual growing process - from mere ‘talk about’ Life to the ‘walk’ of practical service to others [Heb. 5:12-14]. There are ‘works ordained for us to walk in' once we have found our spiritual bearings in the resurrection realm [See Eph. 2:10]. As in the physical cycle of development, the time comes for the child to take his own “first step” spiritually and, falling and rising, activates his own innate sense of balance and goes forth to fulfill the purpose for which he was born from above.

 

The time has come for Resurrection Children to rise and walk in the Spirit, ascending the Hill of the Lord in joyful strides of overcoming power. Your loving spiritual parents have watched over and guided you till now. Your time of dependence on them to carry you must come to an end. If you still feel like a lame beggar outside the temple living on spiritual ‘hand-outs,’ I offer this ‘hand up’ and say to you ‘what I have I give you – in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!’ Come and go with us ‘walking and leaping and praising God’ into the Holy Presence of God’s Now Temple, the Heavenly Body of Christ gathering in Jesus’ Name [Ponder Acts 3: 1-10 and Matt. 18:20]. Join me now, children of the resurrection, in ‘giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light’ [Col. 1:12].

 

 

March Week 5
Posted by Justin Esposito on Friday Mar 29, 2013
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March Week 5

STANDING STEADFAST IN UNSEASONABLE TIMES

Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season – [2 Tim. 4:2, KJV]]

…Be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord… [1 Cor. 15:58, KJV]

 

Recall last month’s explanation of the Greek word ‘kairos,’ translated ‘time’ in English.  It speaks of the characteristics of a period of time, not restricted to a certain calendar time .  In this text from 2 Timothy, Paul employs two other related words from the same root.  The first is positive with respect to preaching the Word:  ‘eukairos’ is literally ‘good time’ and is translated ‘in season.’  It refers to an opportune time when circumstances seem favorable.  The other word is negative: ‘akairos,’ which literally means ‘not time’ or an inhospitable moment.  In either of these prevailing conditions, Paul insists that Timothy ‘be instant.’  That old English expression translates the Greek word that literally means ‘to be present,’ or as we might say, ‘to show up.’  Thus, one who proclaims of the Word of God is to be ‘a man [or woman] for all seasons.’  Their presence represents a revealed message that does not change with the changing times. 

 

In our time, the battle for the hearts of men and women is being fought in a decadent culture.  But the stability and unchangeable message of the faith once delivered to the saints is anchored in the revelation given to Christ’s servants through the Holy Spirit by the Father from heaven.   Our time is descending rapidly into a season of secular insanity like that referenced by Paul:  For the time will come when they will not endure sound [sane] teaching… They will turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned to fables [2 Tim. 3:3,4].   The attitude of many intolerant secularists of our time to the message of Christ aligns with the pagan Festus’ verdict on Paul’s teaching:  ‘You are out of your mind, Paul!’  Our simple but steadfast reply must correspond to Paul’s: “I am not insane most excellent Festus… what I am saying is true and reasonable.”  Paul stood firm on Eternal Truth in that “out of season” moment of a dying culture. 

 

Such a time will see even professing believers upset with the spiritual message of Christ’s Apostle.  Paul experienced this as is intimated in his reference, “if we are out of our mind it is for the sake of God”[2 Cor. 5:13] He likely was referring to the reaction of some in the Church at Corinth to his preaching.  Peter also alludes to a popular opinion of inspired Apostolic writings when he commented: “Our dear brother Paul…writes the same way in all his letters….  His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction”[2 Peter 3:15,16].

 

Jesus confronted religious hypocrites of his day over their effort to make the Truth “relevant” to a fallen mind.  He charged them with laying aside the commandments of God and making the Word of God of none effect.  If we follow that same course we will stand under the judgment that Jesus applied to their delusion:  This people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me [Mk. 7:6,8,13].   Such a time of soft hostility to the Truth demands that we who would hold the Testimony of Jesus [Rev. 1:9; 6:9; 19:10] not hide our light,  but boldly stand with those who shine as lights in the world – holding forth the word of Life [Phil. 2:15,16].   

 

In yet another “out of season” time when the people of God had departed from the Word of God, one brave, searching soul, named Habakkuk, set himself in a solitary place to watch for the God who speaks form heaven.  God met him with the clear perspective of heaven. The time of its full manifestation, however, had to “tarry” until the God of history maneuvered the circumstances of earth to fall in line with His purposes. So this “Seer” who foresaw and this “Hearer” who heard what was foretold was instructed to “...write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that whoever reads it may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false.  Though it linger, wait for it, it will certainly come and will not delay” [Hab. 2:2,3]. Time changes, but not Truth!  Believe and just wait!

 

The revealed mystery for the Lord’s people today also awaits an appointed time to be put into effect [see Eph. 1:10].  I earnestly pray that this may be our ‘in season’ time to hear the Voice that speaks an ‘out of season’ message from heaven, giving us grace to wait in faith for God’s fullness of time.  I believe God is calling a Holy People who are willing to come out from among those who are adversaries of the cross of Christ, to be separate…to touch not unclean things.  These God will receive as His sons, led by the Spirit of God.  May we be those standing steadfastly… in season or out of season.   [1 Peter 1:17; 2 Cor. 6:17; Rom. 8:14].

 

 

March Week 4
Posted by Justin Esposito on Thursday Mar 21, 2013
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March Week 4

ASCENSION ASPIRATIONS

“…Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father…” John 20:17 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but one thing I do…I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” [Philippians 3:13 ].

 

I write this for those who realize themselves to be risen with Christ, their hearts now inclined to ascend the Hill of the Lord and so to live in His Holy Presence. I offer my personal experience on the upward path our Shepherd is leading us. I do this only as one pilgrim encouraging another to obey Christ’s call: follow me! Jesus Christ stands interceding for us, praying, “Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me…”[Jn. 17:24]. We cry Amen!

Brother, let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you. Pray that I might have the grace to let you be my servant, too. We are pilgrims on a journey, we are brothers on the road. We are here to help each other, walk the mile and bear the load.

 

Let us continue to renew our minds as we reflect on basic questions related to our high calling to … gain Christ and be found in him [Phil. 3:8 NIV[. In this meditation, consider prayerfully with a listening heart:

 

 

THE “WHO” QUESTION OF SPIRITUAL ASCENDANCY

"Who shall ascend unto the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in his holy place?” [Ps. 24:3]

 

ABSOLUTELY - Only One has attained ascendancy, Jesus Christ the Righteous One. In John’s vision of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the weeping and longing of all creation to know the meaning of its existence finds only One who is worthy to open that secret scroll: Behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah …hath prevailed to open the book… And I beheld…a Lamb as it had been slain…[ see Rev. 5:1-8]. Jesus has prevailed and is now exalted to the Majesty on High! For over two millennia, believers have confessed the faith of the Apostles: “He sits at the right hand of God!” Whatever else may appear as unreal to us, this Truth resounds in our hearts: “ ,,,we see not all things put under him, but we see Jesus…crowned with glory and honor!” [Heb. 2:8,9] Scripture records that there were some historical witnesses who actually saw “…the Son of man ascend up where he was before” [Jn. 6:62]. As they beheld the Risen Lord, “…he was taken up and a cloud received him out of their sight” [Acts 1:9]. He disappeared from earthly sight, to be seen by the eyes of the heart in believing souls in his heavenly glory “…above…seated at the right hand of God” [Col. 3: 1]. The ‘Man of God’s own choosing’ with whom we are joined in heart by faith, is now ascended to the seat of all authority at the Right Hand of God! We are seated there in union with Him!

 

ULTIMATELY - In God’s foreknowledge above time, there is a representative group of Overcomers to whom Christ says “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]. The power that raised Jesus from the dead and now works in us [Eph. 1:19] prevails in that group designated by the fullness of the governing number [12]. They are seen in Vision as 144,000 [12 X 12 thousand]. They are ‘standing on Mt. Zion’ [The seat of God’s governing Authority]. These are said to ‘follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as first fruits to God and the Lamb” [Ponder prayerfully Rev. 14:1-5]. Let us reverently aspire with the same intensity of the Apostle Paul, to “take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” We must confess now, as he: “I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.” But let us not allow our “not yet” status to discourage us from “straining toward what is ahead!” [Phil. 3:12,13] “There remains a rest for the people of God!”[Heb. 4:1-11]. Arise!

 

ACTUALLY - Throughout history some respond to the call of their heart to fulfill this intention of the Father for the Son of Man that is planted in our very being. Two aspects of their fasted, prayerful Life experience emerge: “He that has clean hands and a pure heart” [Ps. 24:4]. To have clean hands speaks of identity with the cross of Christ, by which the world is crucified to us and I [personal ego] to the world [Gal. 6:14]. Repentance is the mindset that “washes its hands” of the former defilement of slavery to sin. Crucified with Christ, we are dead to the world, the flesh and the Devil. A pure heart speaks of the single focus of our new heart’s longing to ascend in Christ to the highest level of resurrection Life and to walk in newness of Life [Rom. 6:3,4].. Compelled by the Love of Christ, we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And [since that is true], all those who live [in Christ] should no longer live for 

themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” [2 Cor. 5:14,15]. If you can receive this witness, and “if you are one who cleanses himself…along with those who call upon the Lord with a pure heart,” the Seal of God that Angels see is set on your forehead: “The Lord knows those who are his…” And now from your heart you will live the Truth: “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness” [2 Timothy 2:19-21. Rise and walk!] [May the Spirit of Truth give life to these words as you wait prayerfully before the Lord. More thoughts on Ascension questions will follow.]

 

 

 

 

March Week 3
Posted by Justin Esposito on Friday Mar 15, 2013
March Week 3

ASCENSION ASPIRATIONS

Welcome the Holy Spirit given you by our Lord Jesus to reveal himself in you as you prayerfully ponder these verses:

 

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. … if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come. All this is from God..” [2 Cor. 5:12-20].

 

“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead… I am pressing on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

 

All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained…. Join with others in following my example…those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For…many live as enemies of the cross of Christ… Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who… will transform our lowly [terrestrial] bodies so that they will be like his glorious [celestial] body [Phil. 3:15-21]. “

…Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.” Jn. 20:17

 

[ Now, deliberately read again and ponder these spiritual words; tarry prayerfully over them, listening for the Spirit to give meaningful understanding.]

 

In the first series of ten meditations on A SPIRITUAL VIEW we sought to prepare your minds to see with the eyes of your heart the things freely given to us in Christ. Life in the Spirit begins in us once we consciously know ourselves to be crucified with Christ. Then, as we learn to wait in the quietness of our spiritual graves, we begin to hear the Voice of the Son of God. Hearing His call to the hidden Christ Life, we no longer live for the things of this world. Instead, we set our hearts on attaining one thing: the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Jesus Christ, our inheritance of being conformed to the likeness of His Son.

 

This journey toward the Father’s house begins with the consciousness of being risen with Christ. Our former life left behind, we now set our hearts on the spiritual ascent to heavenly places in Christ Jesus. We renounce the empty religious efforts that the natural mind vainly imagines will advance the ego-centered carnal self and its agenda of self glory apart from God. Delivered by repentance from such idolatrous dead works, we live to serve the Living God, as many sons destined to share the Life of the One, Beloved Son.

 

We join a great cloud of witnesses, called saints, in a fellowship of Holy Light. The word, saint signifies one set apart from those who live only for this world and are therefore enemies of the cross of Christ. They are Holy, meaning they are wholly given to God, not considering their lives as their own, but belonging to Christ. Their spiritual view no longer is on the horizontal plane of secularism. They have set their affections on things above. The new song resounding in their hearts now is: “I’m pressing on the upward way…new heights I’m gaining every day… still praying as I onward bound, ‘Lord plant my feet on higher ground.’”

 

Are you, or would you, be maturing in your spiritual consciousness so as to share such a view of things? Have you by grace really ‘turned your eyes upon Jesus, looked full in His wonderful face’ so that ‘the things of earth have grown strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace’? If so, let us, with the excitement of first love, arise in glad pursuit of the Heavenly Lover of our souls who calls us to come away with Him, to ascend with Him to the place He has prepared for us in His Father’s house.

 

This is The Romance of the Ages, [to use the title of a commentary on the Love Song of Solomon]. One who is greater than Solomon has chosen us to be His Bride and now comes to us who look for Him. In the coming meditations I seek to serve my Lord by identifying and calling out a bride for His Beloved Son. [You men will need the transforming grace of Christ to transcend the prideful gender distinctions of our physical frame!].

 

If you sense Father drawing you to be One with His Son, say yes, say I do, say I will. I pray that you who read these words begin at once to rise in the Spirit, to ascend with Jesus to the special place He has prepared for each one in those many rooms in His, and our, Father’s House. Will you ponder all these things and the Scriptures above till they are Life in you? If you will apply your heart to this wisdom, God will Himself work in you both to will and to do His good pleasure. Behold! The Bridegroom comes! Go out to meet Him! Your place is prepared! The banquet table is set! Receive the Kingdom prepared by the Father!

 

 

 

March Week 2
Posted by Justin Esposito on Thursday Mar 7, 2013
March Week 2

HEALED HEARTS HEAR THE VOICE OF HIM WHO SPEAKS FROM HEAVEN

Scripture for reflection and Spiritual meditation

 

Jesus, the Gate for God’s Sheep to find Spiritual pasture and the Good Shepherd who leads them said: He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice….And other sheep I have that are not of this fold, them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice and there shall be one fold, one Shepherd. [Jn. 10:3, 4, 16] …. They that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers…knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath day [Acts 13:27]. The Holy Spirit says: ‘Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion [Heb. 3:7,8]. For this people’s heart has become calloused, they hardly hear with their ears…[yet, if at any time] …they…understand with their hearts and turn…I would heal them {Mt. 13:15]. See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks…from heaven [Heb. 12:25]. The Voice of the Ascended, Glorified Lord Jesus Christ still speaks: I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me [Rev. 3:20].

 

Spiritual sensitivity -the capacity to sense Spiritual reality- is a matter related to the inner Celestial Being [referred to as ‘the heart’] of those who have been made aware by a Spiritual birth of the unseen realm of the Kingdom of heaven. The analogy to our physical senses -seeing and hearing- though helpful, may become a stumbling block instead of a stepping stone to a mind enslaved to materialism. To speak of hearing the Voice of heaven, or the voices of the prophets does not mean one “hears voices” as do mentally unbalanced individuals in their psychoses. Rather, it speaks of a deep inner sense, a hearing of faith that is more certain than if one had heard a physically audible voice [Ponder Gal. 3:2 and Rm. 10:17]. It is an inner enablement to know God’s Thoughts by the Spirit of God [1 Cor. 2:11]. His ‘Voice’ ‘echoes’ in our own thought realm like ‘thunder’, so that one hears the wonders of God in our own tongue

[Acts 2:16].

 

In some circles of our contemporary Christian culture it is not uncommon to hear people speak loosely of “hearing God say” this or that. Sometimes in meetings someone may be bold to exclaim, “Thus saith the Lord…” What usually follows is the impression that person has in his heart of a message the Spirit would have us hear. Those who listen must spiritually discern whether what is spoken is validated in their own heart as “the voice of the Lord” by the Spirit’s witness speaking in them. If one’s spiritual hearing is undeveloped or dull by disuse, he may be manipulated by the cunning of carnal pretenders. [My own experience teaches me to be slow to speak, lest I presume in the flesh, and if I speak, to speak plainly with humility my inner sense of what I ‘hear’ from heaven. It is the Spirit then who gives it life, the flesh profits nothing! I also am convinced that ‘hearing’ God’s voice within is intended first for one’s personal response in obedience to what is given him to know]. The oft repeated exhortation of John makes it clear that what he believed God spoke through him to the churches was not to be obeyed simply because he said it. Rather, Let him that has ears to hear, hear what the Spirit says to the churches [ 7 times in Rev. 2 and 3 ].

 

Our concern is not to try to coerce God to speak by a false mysticism. Rather the pattern is for us to develop the listening ear, as Samuel, who learned to say… your servant is listening [1 Sam. 3:10]. Most important is our intention to be formed by what we ‘hear.’ This requires the humility of faith. Obeying the Virgin Mary’s instruction to the servants can also be the beginning of miracles [Jn. 2:11.KJV] in our lives: ‘Whatever he tells you, do it’. When Paul took charge of a sinking ship in a storm, he insisted that their survival depended on obedience to what God said. He prevailed in that circumstance, saying, ‘I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me’ [Acts 27:25]. To do what is said, validates the Word in experience and delivers us from deception [Js. 1:22]. A gifted spiritual teacher the 20th Century, T. Austin-Sparks, said: ‘There is a principle which governs so much of the Bible. It is that, deeper than the words of Scriptures, there is a voice; that is possible to hear the words and miss the voice. The words are the statements, the voice is the meaning…. It is significant that both the Remnant [in the O.T.] and the Over-comers [in the N.T.] are marked by this hearing the voice. Jesus placed the ultimate issue of Life or death upon this hearing the voice [not just the words] of the Son of Man.’ [Access the wealth of his written messages at T. Austin-Sparks.net]

 

The Bible is a ‘love letter’ to those who know and love the Author! There is a Living Lord who speaks beyond our reading of the sacred pages of Scripture. There is a Holy Place of hearing in our hearts that connects to his Holy Place in Heaven. The Holy Spirit is that ‘power from on High’ current that enlightens the heart with heavenly meaning. May this Holy, Heavenly Guide lead us to understand what we read!

 

‘Beyond the sacred page, I seek Thee, Lord. My Spirit pants for Thee, O Living Word’

 

 

 

March Week 1
Posted by Justin Esposito on Friday Mar 1, 2013
March Week 1

Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Heavenly Man,

 

Each week we are attempting to share “A Spiritual View” of the Life to which we have been raised to walk in newness of life. This Life is “not of this world” as Jesus so plainly declared. Yet, it is the will of our Father that we remain in this world for the purpose God ordains in His Son to be fulfilled in us. This letter is an attempt to relate our “heavenly mind” to the “earthly good” that is to manifest from heaven through us. I purpose to return to sharing “A Spiritual View,” the vision of heaven, next week. This letter is a kind of “meanwhile, back on the earth” glance that I trust will help us keep our bearings!

For the Love of Heaven, Bob

 

To Awakened Watchmen on our Nation’s Walls

 

The Greek language has two words that are translated “time” in our English Bibles. One, Chronos, refers to the measurement of “calendar time,” days, months and years. The other, Kairos, speaks of the ‘tenor of the times,’ the distinctive character of a period in the history of a people. Jesus means for his people in this world to be able to read the signs of our times, to understand our ‘kairos’ moment from a spiritual perspective. Paul urged believers to practice such spiritual discernment when he wrote of “understanding the present time [Greek: “Kairon”].” This awareness is found in watchful prayer and a fasted life.

 

In these days of listening in Holy Silence at my post before the Lord, I feel myself moved by the Holy Spirit to share with those who listen for His Voice, a message left for our admonition from the time [kairos] of Isaiah. Our Lord Jesus also applied it to the time of his earthly ministry in Israel [See Jn. 12:39-41]. In faith, I submit this for your discernment in the Spirit and as an encouragement in the watch you faithfully keep before the Lord. May the Voice of the Lord be revealed in your hearing of my witness to what I sense in the Spirit.

 

This is a time when the disease at our nation’s heart is manifesting in its head.

2 Chronicles 26:4-19

 

2 Chronicles 26:4-19 King Uzziah followed the tradition of the “good Kings” who ruled Judah under God’s mercy. “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. He

sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.” His economic and military accomplishments were impressive and ‘his fame spread far and wide, for he was greatly helped until he became powerful.” But then, “his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God.” The nature of his sin was to

reject God’s order and blur the line God set between his lawful secular governance and the sacred signs of the Holy Presence of the God of heaven among His people. “He entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense,” overstepping a boundary.

 

So flagrant was the King’s transgression, that even the nominal priesthood withstood him. The King became angry and “while he was raging at the priests in their presence before the altar in the Lord’s temple, leprosy broke out on his forehead.” This dramatic incident surely became the talk of all Judah. No doubt harsh words were spoken against their leader by the priests and the people. Isaiah perhaps joined in the “blame game,” for he had a ministry full of speaking “woe” on various political and social aspects of national life. [See Isaiah, chapters 1-5]. It seems almost no one connected the behavior of the king that they had chosen and their own pride! [See 2 Chronicles 26:1] But then something happened that radically changed Isaiah’s perspective and left him broken before the Lord. Only those whose natural pride is broken can be healed by heaven.

 

This is a time when the High King of Heaven appears to expose the hearts of all.

Isaiah 6:1-7

 

Perhaps it was the shock of the death of the king with whom Isaiah had walked so closely, that prepared him for his eye-opening experience in the Temple. Whatever the precedent, the effect was devastating! In that moment Isaiah saw that what was so visible in the head of the king was also hidden deep within himself and the hearts of his people: “woe to me! …I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips…” We recall the requirement of lepers to cover their mouths in public and cry out ‘unclean!’ Thus did Isaiah identify with the sin of his nation. Only the touch of fire from heaven’s altar could remove his guilt and atone for his sin. Now again as then, “it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God” [1 Pet. 4:17]. If we would be used of God, there must be a new heavenly vision that “ruins” us for this world. Only Holy Fire from God’s altar can cleanse our lips for God’s use in these days of corruption.

 

This is a time of God manifesting the hidden thoughts of the hearts of His people 

Isaiah 6:8-12.

 

The casual reading of these verses by one unacquainted with the ways of a Holy God might lead to the mistaken belief that God causes his people not to understand and perceive, that He intends their hearts to be calloused, their ears dull and their eyes closed. This is not true! In foreknowing all things God sends his servant to “go tell this people” the Truth that will uncover and reveal the actual spiritual condition of the people’s heart, their seeing and hearing. Nothing has grieved my heart so much as knowing God’s heart desire to “heal” the hearts of his people if they would only “turn” [change the basic disposition of their hearts]. But the realization that many, if not most will not or cannot respond because of their preoccupation and involvement with the things of this present life weighs on my spirit. The specter of ruined cities and houses deserted, fields ravaged and people scattered like sheep with no shepherd, haunts my thoughts. Yet there is hope, for…

 

In this time a Remnant will remain and sit as overcomers in their Father’s Throne.

Isaiah. 6:13

God’s purposes will prevail and He will always have a people! The “trees” are cut down, but the Seed sprouts again in the “stumps.” Paul said, “God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this

inscription: ‘’The Lord knows those who are his, ‘[The Remnant] and ‘everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness’” [The Overcomers] - 2 Tim. 2:19. The principle of

the Remnant – the True Israel within the Israel ‘after the flesh’ is seen throughout the Old Testament. It is illustrated in the experience of Gideon choosing his devout three hundred from among the general army of nominal soldiers.

 

“Those who overcome” is the New Testament designation of the “few chosen” from among the “many called.” There is an urgency in our day that those who profess faith in Christ heed the apostolic admonition: “…my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure”

[2 Peter 1:10], Recall reverently Jesus’ parable, warning all:  

“For many are invited, but few are chosen” {Matt. 22: 1-14].

 

“God is after a company, even out from the whole general company of the people, who will satisfy His heart, and to serve that remnant He lays hold on Isaiah and deals with him in this way, and gives him this vision. Beloved, in order that God should get His end, we have to be thoroughly disillusioned and have our eyes opened to see very clearly what we are in ourselves in the sight of God. Terrible revelation! Anything which is a suspicion or a suggestion of self-satisfaction, self complacency, or having attained, of being satisfied with our present condition, will disqualify from being in the remnant or in any way instrumental toward God’s purpose.”

 

T. Austin-Sparks.

 

Today may we hear God’s Voice and harden not our hearts, but let us receive with meekness the implanted Word which is able to save us completely and present us faultless before Him!

 

 

February Week 4
Posted by Justin Esposito on Friday Feb 22, 2013
February Week 4

READING SCRIPTURE BY THE GUIDING LIGHT OF THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH

 

Scriptures for prayerful reflection and Spiritual meditation:

I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now.  Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth. [Jn. 16:12,13].      You need to realize that no one alone can understand any prophecies of the Scriptures.  The prophets did not think these things up on their own, but they were guided by the Spirit of God [2 Pet. 1:20,21 – CEV]. ’Do you understand what you are reading?’ Phillip asked. ‘How can I,’ he said, ‘unless someone guide me?’ [Acts 8:30,31]…then your light will rise in the darkness…. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land. [Is. 58: 10,11].           You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory [Ps. 73:24].

 

Continuing the previous meditation on the spiritual value of studying Holy Scripture using the ‘Jesus method’ of reading, the great distance between the mind that was in Christ Jesus and our natural minds must be noted.  Jesus, you see, because He is the sinless, virgin-born, only begotten Son, escaped the corruption that is in the world through sin [2 Pet. 2:20] .His pure mind, unclouded by the veil of evil, perceived clearly the spiritual reality beyond the symbols and concepts of the written word of Scripture.  In him, the Word became flesh and lived for a while among us [jJn. 1:14].  Jesus Christ is the Truth to which the Scriptures bear witness.  His uniqueness is set forth by John’s witness:  No one has ever seen God, but God, the only Son, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known [Jn.1:18].  Jesus ‘fleshed out’  the Eternal Word!

 

We, however belong to the other all that have sinned and fall short of the glory of God which only Jesus manifested [Rom. 3:23].  So it pleased the Father that our Lord offer up His sinless life-made sin for us- so that we could be made the Righteousness of God in our faith-union with him [2 Cor. 5:21].  It is Jesus’ legacy that there will be a Body of Christ in the world in perpetuity.  The mind of Christ will abide in those who abide in his Name so that as he is, so are we in this world [1 Cor. 2:16; 1 Jn. 4:17].  Therefore, even though no mere, sinful man has ever seen God…, if we love each other [by abiding in His Love], God lives in us and his love is made complete in us” [1 Jn. 4:12].    All who live by His Life know the liberating Truth of God’s Son in them.

 

Let us observe the process by which the mind that was in Christ Jesus is transmitted to his disciples. The close, chosen disciples, who related to Jesus in the days of his flesh occupy a unique position.  By his presence, Jesus was able to impart directly to them his insight into Scripture, the secrets of the Kingdom of heaven [Mt. 13:11. What a great privilege was theirs!  Yet, Jesus declared that a better arrangement was coming once his ‘baptism’ into death on the cross availed to atone for sin.  Then, by his resurrection and ascension authority over heaven and earth was given him [Mt. 28:18] to disarm the powers and authorities [Col. 2:15] and their hypnotic hold over the minds of mankind.  Instead, he gave gifts to men [Eph. 4:8] so they could directly personally relate to the Father the way he had modeled for them.  Further, he spelled out a particular blessedness for those who did not see him in his flesh form and yet would believe [Jn. 20:29].  Ponder his promised Holy Gift he now freely offers to all whom the Lord our God will call [Acts 2:38,39]:

            ‘I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of Truth…  On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” [Jn. 14:16-18]  ‘When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.. [Jn. 15:26]  ‘But I tell you the truth: it is for your good that I am going away.  Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you….  I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.  But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth” [Jn. 16:6,7; 12,13].  Wait for the Gift my Father promised…power from on high [Acts 2:4].

 

John 17 records Jesus’ Covenantal prayer assuring our access to a continual, conscious communion with our Father as Jesus experienced it [See Jn. 11:41,42].  Now the Holy Guide is given to us opening a new and living way, a heart-heaven connection with Christ as Head over his Body [See Heb.10:19-22;4:16].  We rise from Old Covenant knowing about God to the New, better Covenant of actually knowing God [Heb. 8:11].   This inward spiritual realization is wrought in us by the Spirit of Truth, the gift of the ascended Lord Jesus.

 

John’s Gospel sets forth in the most intimate terms possible how the Gift is imparted: Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.  And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’ [vv.21,,22].  Jesus’ gift is his mind, his very Life filling us by the Holy Spirit.  Breathing his heavenly life-breath and practicing the conscious filling of the Holy Spirit [Eph. 5:18] allows the Light of revelation to shine in our hearts [2 Cor. 4:6]. By that Guiding Spirit Light we read Scripture and understand what is freely given to us - for everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope [Rom. 15:4].

 

February Week 3
Posted by Justin Esposito on Friday Feb 15, 2013
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February Week 3

SEEING AND KNOWING THE RISEN CHRIST THROUGH HOLY SCRIPTURE

 

Scriptures for prayerful meditation: “Search the Scriptures,,.. for they…testify of me”- Jesus. [Jn. 5:39].

“Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself” [Lk. 24:27]. “Everything, must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms” – Jesus. “Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures [Lk. 24:48,49]. “…The holy Scriptures…are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” [2 Tim. 3:15]. “Till I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture…” 1 Tim. 4:13.

In the previous teaching, the inability of the natural mind to receive the realities of the Spirit of God was strongly emphasized. Now, let us see how the Spirit of God has provided in the loving providence of our Heavenly Father a special historical witness to prepare our natural minds to know by revelation the mystery of the kingdom of Heaven. God has endowed the words of Spirit-inspired writers in Holy Scripture, passed on through the community of faith, with power to prepare those who believe to experience the Presence of Christ. This is a miracle of God’s loving grace. Let us consider in these next meditations the elements involved in this miracle of spiritual encounter by means of Holy Scripture.

 

Reading the Scriptures

It is not incidental that the first recorded act of Jesus’ ministry was his public reading of Scripture in the synagogue of his youth. In that day the synagogue was the repository of the sacred writings. Under the leadership of community teachers {Rabbis], the people came to know the Scriptures through public reading [See Luke 4:16-21]. This tradition continued in the Christian communities, as Paul’s instructions to Timothy indicate: “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture…[1 Tim. 4:13]. John on the Lord’s day… in the Spirit… was commanded to write on a scroll the inspired “revelation” of the reign of Christ in the heavenly realm. The Ascended Lord speaks a special state of blessedness over the public reading and hearing of the words of this prophecy [Rev. 1:3]. Recall also Peter’s word that such inspired prophetic scriptures did not originate in the imagination of human minds, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit [2 Peter 1:21]. In time, believing leaders of the Body of Christ, who had lived with the founding Apostles, were guided by the Holy Spirit to add the authentic writings of the Apostolic experience to the scriptures that Jesus knew in the Jewish community. These came to be regarded as God breathed Holy Scripture useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness that the man [or woman] of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work [2 Tim. 3:16].

 

Over the years, copies of this inspired record of God’s dealings with His people have proliferated, first through printing and now by electronically produced media, so that the texts of sacred scripture are almost universally accessible. Literacy has increased along with ever expanding translation work so that now Holy Scripture is available today to billions of living souls. It is not surprising that the God of this world who blinds the minds of those who do not believe [2 Cor. 4:4] would devise new schemes [Eph. 6:11] to keep his captives from devoting time to the reading of Scriptures. For such reading, rightly practiced, is able to prepare the human heart to perceive and receive the Life of God. It is not a coincidence that in a day when technology has lightened the time consuming burden of making a living, people cannot seem to find time to be still and know…God [Ps. 46:10] due to compulsively “busy” lifestyles. An Enemy has done this!

 

Jesus once asked an expert in the law regarding Scripture, “How do you read it?” [Lk. 10:25,26].” Apparently, Jesus understood there were many ways to read scripture. Jesus demonstrated his way in his reading in the synagogue. Upon finishing the public reading and closing the scroll he said “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing”[Lk. 4:21[. With Jesus, reading was a way to enter the reality of what is written! Who taught Jesus to read in this way? Perhaps his mother, who before his birth interacted with the Holy Spirit with a heart that said “Be it to me according to your Word”[Lk. 1:38, KJV] modeled that to her son. The only record of a youthful Jesus pictures him “lost” in his Father’s house [beyond just the visible temple], amazing the scholars with a spiritual wisdom that astonished even his bewildered, godly parents [ Lk. 241-50].

 

Jesus’ reading technique is surely one of his “things” the Holy Spirit comes to “make known” to us [Jn. 16;15]. Our Master calls us today to enroll in his “remedial reading” course so we may know as he knew. Will you seriously consider his invitation: “Come to me…take my yoke upon you and learn from me… My yoke is easy…” Jesus’ teaching method is relaxed but life changing. Learning “sacred reading” skills in his school brings rest to our souls and 

Light for our path through the darkness of this world [Mt. 11:28-30]. Begin now to ask the Holy Spirit to lead us in establishing the practice of “sacred reading” in the conscious presence of the One Teacher, who promised a fulfillment of Isaiah’s longing: “They will all be taught by God” [Jn. 6:45; Is. 54:13].

 

 

 

 

February Week 2
Posted by Justin Esposito on Friday Feb 8, 2013
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February Week 2

COMMUNICATING IN-THE-SPIRIT REALITIES TO IN-THE-SPIRIT BEINGS

[A translation based on interpretation of the Greek text of 1 Corinthians 2: 7, 12, 13. by B.R.Y].

“We speak a message of wisdom among the mature…God’s secret wisdom…destined for our glory…. so that we may have spiritual understanding of what God has freely given us. We speak not with words of human wisdom, but with Spirit-taught words, words that convey spiritual realties to spiritual beings.”

 

Here Paul writes of the supernatural nature of his administration of the spiritual mystery not apprehended by the natural mind. We who believe the gospel of a Heavenly Kingdom given us in Jesus Christ escape the inhibiting darkness of sin so that the eyes of our deepest being are opened to see Christ. And only by that seeing do we each find our place in the Body of those who are sanctified in faith-union with the Living Lord Jesus. Paul lived to impart an understanding of this mystery by communicating spirit to spirit [cf. Rom 1: ll].

 

The common usage of the words of human wisdom could not covey the spiritual reality Paul experienced by revelation. He had to rely on the Spirit to anoint all those who shared in the communion of saints in Light with a spiritual sense by which God’s secret wisdom is imparted beyond the words and concepts of the natural mind. As in faith anointed messengers uttered words prompted by the Holy Spirit, those listening in that same faith, were given grace to hear with understanding the Spirit’s intention – “what the Spirit says….” Paul was acutely aware that in preaching the message of the cross, two responses followed. To those still dead to the Spirit through unbelief it was heard as foolishness. Those, however, who were being saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, experienced the glorious power of God working mightily in their hearts!

 

Oh, how deeply Paul felt the awesome responsibility of this! One senses it in reading his appeal for prayer: “Pray for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel…as I should” [Eph. 6:19]. He knew that it was a matter of spiritual life and death for his hearers. The intangible spiritual essence of the message he delivered in the “triumphal procession” of his journeys he likened to an “aroma of Christ.” He observed that the effect on hearts depended upon the perspective of his hearers. “To some we are the smell of death, to the other the fragrance of life.” Hear the anguish in his cry: “And who is equal to such a task?” He was possessed, however, by a divine confidence, saying: “Not that we are competent to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” [See in 2 Cor. 2:14-3:6]. May God raise up this spiritually competent ministry today!

 

The solemnity of the effective communication of spiritual reality through ministry has largely been lost in the preference for “clever” entertainment in our contemporary culture. Thus God’s secret wisdom meant for Christ’s glory in the Church, which is His Body, is again a hidden mystery. Sadly, God’s people do not ‘understand what God has freely given us.’ Indeed, the glib noise of human wisdom has replaced the spiritual words that minister spirit and life to our deepest being. And many “houses [of worship] are left to us desolate, no discerning hearts there to say “Blessed is one who comes in the name of the Lord!” [Matt. 23:38]

 

Let us pray for Blessed ones to come in the name of the Lord - true servants raised up by Christ to feed His sheep that bear the same aroma of Christ about them as did the Apostles. May the Church again catch the “scent” of such truly “Sent Ones.” They know humility and declare with apostolic authority: “I do not come with eloquence or superior [human] wisdom, proclaiming the testimony about God. I resolve to know nothing while I am with you except Jesus Christ and him, crucified. I come to you in weakness and [holy] fear, trembling as I bring a message…[depending upon] a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom but on God’s power”[1 Cor. 2:1-5].

 

Such prepared messengers will come to a prepared people that are “quick to listen” and to “receive with meekness the implanted word which saves…”[Js. 1:21]. John the forerunner of Jesus Christ ministered to open the eyes of the heart of those who gathered in the wilderness. His call was to “prepare the way of the Lord.” May Christ sends forth new ambassadors of his heavenly kingdom there with a message for a people prepared to see and receive the inheritance prepared for us… since the creation of the world [Mt. 25:.34].

 

For this we live and labor! As the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus speaks and raises us from the grave of secular culture, let us solemnly covenant to seek the things which are above [Col. 3:1,2]. God grant we may be among those who overcome and sit down with Christ in His Throne at our Father’s side [Rev. 3:21]. As the rain and snow from heaven fall generously on our fields to achieve God’s purpose [Is. 55:10,11], receive now these spiritual words sent to nourish our spiritual being. Let him who has ears hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

 

 

February Week 1
Posted by Justin Esposito on Friday Feb 1, 2013
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February Week 1

 

SEEING HEAVEN CHANGES EARTH  

“…I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven…’ Acts 26:19

 

[Previously, I wrote of the principle of standing in the Heavenly Father’s

Presence in our Lord Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit.  The model “Lord’s Prayer” presumes that we pray “with Him where He is.” To illustrate the transforming power of that prayer perspective, I chose Stephen, known for the first recorded instance of one who held “the Testimony of Jesus” to his death as a martyr-witness.  From that willing “sowing” of His Life, a harvest has come. The one we call the Apostle Paul [formerly known as Saul of Tarsus, the religious “terrorist” who persecuted the Church] is the most obvious direct sequential offspring of his “seed.”  Indulge your imagination with me as we summon Paul to give testimony of the change that seeing heaven open wrought in his life.  Permit me to interpret his extensive writings by using his words and thoughts in the first person.]

 

 Paul Testifies   

                                                                               

“I was a man who was blinded by the god of this world.  I could see nothing of spiritual reality as I perceive it now, but only the shadow images of my religious carnal mind which I thought were real.  It was as if a veil were over my eyes.  And in that darkness I thought myself to be doing God a service in terrorizing, tormenting and agreeing to the killing the followers of the teacher from Nazareth, named Jesus.   In the Light of the reality I now know, I was dead to God’s life because of my sins and trespasses.  But God, rich in mercy, looked past my ignorance and graciously appeared to me for His purposes to prevail.

 

It was at the stoning of a lesser known follower of the controversial Jesus, one by the name of Stephen, that I saw a Light that cut deep into my soul - just a sudden shining that pierced my darkness.  It reflected from his serene face as he looked heavenward and spoke of seeing Jesus standing at the right hand of God, [whom He intimately referred to as his Father].  That began a journey of such indescribable pain in my deepest being.  As I continued on my mission, going to Damascus to further my intent to harass, arrest, imprison and kill if necessary more of those I saw as deluded followers “the way” of the non-credentialed leader from Nazareth, I was in the throes of an intense internal turmoil.

 

Suddenly, about noon…, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me…[the thought passed my mind of the burning bush of Moses’ experience, for I thought I would be consumed].  Instead I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?  Isn’t it hard for you to keep on kicking against the goads of your own conscience?’

 

Completely disoriented, I weakly muttered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’  And as if the voice came from above, around and even in me, I heard:  ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.’  Now get up and stand on your feet.  I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you….I am sending you to open people’s eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they can receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.  For now, go into Damascus and you will be told what you must do.’

 

The next thing I recall is that I was physically blind to all that was around me and cut off in my mind from everything that I had previously thought and imagined.  As I waited in that intense darkness – not unlike a tomb in which all my former life lay buried- a man entered the room I had taken at the house of Judas on Straight Street.  At first I drew back in fear, but then he placed his gentle hands on me [something that would have repulsed my former separatist religious ‘flesh’ feelings] and in a tone not unlike the One I had heard at the stoning and on the road, he said ‘Brother, Saul….’  He explained that the same Jesus, who appeared to me had sent him so that I might see again and receive the Holy Spirit.

 

Suddenly, something like scales just fell from my eyes, and I saw with new, blessed eyes, the heart eyes of my deepest being, as if seeing for the first time.  Everything looked new, as if I sensed the spiritual significance of every visible thing.  In that Light the things of my former life grew strangely dim – distant and removed. 

 

As I began to regain physical strength, I felt a total inadequacy to explain what I had seen, even though previously I had prided myself on my ability to debate and to skillfully argue points of religious dispute.    The process of my reorientation to my new world was not easy.  I am sure I hurt more people than I helped in my zeal to persuade my Jewish brothers to change their minds and believe in the Jesus who had appeared to me.  I only succeeded in infuriating my former friends.  Finally, in the most embarrassing way one could imagine, I escaped a sinister plot against my life by these former “friends” by the help of my new brothers. They hid me and slipped me over the city wall in a garbage basket.  That lowest moment of weakness, I would later see as a breakthrough in my pursuit of gaining Christ through suffering the loss of all things I had previously valued on the scale of worldly religious prestige.  Little by little I could discard all that as “rubbish.”

 

In that mortifying moment, as my foolish pride was revealed to me, I chose to retreat to the desert to sort out the deeper meaning of my new experience in the Spirit realm.  I knew that God had by grace revealed His Son in me, and as I waited before the Lord, I died to my old identity, as if I were literally crucified with Jesus on His cross.  From this silent place, as if in a sort of spiritual grave, I heard Christ’s voice speaking in my deepest being.  I began to live again; yet it was not the old Saul, but Christ, God’s Son, living in me, as Paul.

 

 Now I am able to “boast” in the spectacle of that once proud Saul, running for his life and ending up as a “basket case” of common garbage.  This new life, in contrast to my former path, is full of hope as Christ  has become my life.  Willing to be “a fool” in some people’s eyes is a small price to gain Christ!

 

I began to know my true spiritual identity was found in this new “man in Christ” living in me.  I began to experience in the Holy Spirit dimension the realities of the spiritual kingdom that are beyond human words to describe.  But since I know it was not the old me, let me try to speak the unspeakable realities I began to know, at the risk, in doing so, of sounding like a boastful fool for those who do not see in my Light:

 

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven [whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not really know].  What I do know is that this man – again whether it was a physical thing in the body, or a spiritual experience out of the body more real than the other, only God knows.  Any way, this man, this new me, was caught up to Paradise [perhaps I use that term because of Jesus’ word to a thief in his dying moments on the cross, “today you shall be with me in Paradise”].  Oh that I had the tongue of great men or angels to tell you of it!  Just let me say, that eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor our minds conceived the things God has prepared for those who love Him, but he does reveal them to us by His Spirit beyond words and concepts of our limited natural capacity as we enter the mind of Christ.

 

I can tell you, that because of this access as a joint-heir with Christ to the heavenly kingdom, many times in my distressing circumstances – ship wrecked, imprisoned, beaten, abandoned and mistreated in many ways – I have found a way of escape.  I rise into this Spiritual Glory Zone and find strength there to return and face whatever cross I am called to bear.  And strangely enough, if you can believe it, I have even learned to accept joyfully and even glory in these tribulations.  It brings a deep awareness that my light, momentary afflictions are bringing me to know Christ in the fellowship of his sufferings.  By this I am attaining new heights of resurrection life working in me.  I constantly pray, “Lord, let me decrease so that Christ may increase in this earthen vessel!”  The Lord revealed that I would have no suffering exemption, but was enrolled in His special sufficient grace for spiritual glorying program!  So may you understand my joy in trials!

 

Yes, I have lost my once proud life. But now I find myself being newly created day by day, and vitally alive “in Christ,” who has now, in the truest sense, become my life.  I live by faith in Him with the one desire that, whether by my living or my dying, Christ may be glorified in my body and in my spirit which are all His.  In my “flesh,” my old frame of reference, I put no confidence, , but I do boast in the cross of Jesus Christ.  Because of it, the world sees me as good as dead – useless for its goals and purposes.  Thankfully, I also see that world as passing away and meaningless.  I live with one desire, to lay hold, by increasing devotion, to that vision Christ Jesus revealed to me when He laid hold on me on that life changing journey to Damascus.  

 

Though many have forsaken me in this season of my departure, I am finishing my course in the confidence that what I have committed to the Lord and to His chosen ones, such as my spiritual son, Timothy, will be preserved by the Lord and passed on to other faithful ones down through the ages until the fullness of Christ will appear when the times will have reached their fulfillment.  Then all the fullness of Christ in His Body will rejoice in the glory of this mystery I have received from the Lord and administered to you by His grace.

To God be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus now and through the ages to come, world without end!

                                                                                              

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ for your sake”

January Week 4
Posted by Justin Esposito on Friday Jan 25, 2013
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January Week 4

SEEING HEAVEN CHANGES EARTH


…Pray…Our Father… in heaven...Hallowed be your Name…Your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

           

“The Lord’s Prayer” unveils the viewpoint from which Jesus prayed.  In passing it to us, Jesus reveals the secret of how His Kingdom comes in and through us.  For more than two millennia Jesus’ “friends” have had these “keys to the kingdom”[Matt. 15:19],  but most Christians  have not seen the door that the keys are meant to unlock.  For most who confess the Name, heaven is not open.  How can one unlock a door he does not see?  Jesus prayed in the conscious presence of the Father in Heaven as in Himself He Hallowed the Name.  Because He always saw the way it is in heaven, His holy presence changed earth.  This prayer then, is for those who see as Jesus  sees, those who are consciously “with Him where He is” [See Jn. 17:20-22].

           

In order for us to participate in this “new and living way” [Heb. 10:20] that joins heaven to earth, Jesus had to endure a “baptism” of suffering as He fully identified with us in our sin on the cross [See Lk. 12:50].  It was the “zeal for His Father’s House” [Jn. 2:17], the true Spiritual  worship center [Jn. 4:23,24] for those “who worship in Spirit and in Truth” that consumed Him and compelled Him on until He had opened the way for those who believe in Him to be with Him there.  By His obedient death and resurrection the battle was won, victory assured.  Now His Spiritual Body on earth, joined with their Living Head in heaven can actually know in the Spirit that “we have come to Mt. Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem...the church of the firstborn…to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant…!” [Heb. 12:22-24].  That is the Church Jesus gathers together in His Name.  That is the “World Prayer Center,” on High!  There the Spirit “reveals the things God has prepared” for His own.

           

The Apostles –the “sent ones” from His Heavenly Presence tell us what they have seen and prepare all to enter where they have been In the Holy Spirit.  Such “turn the world upside down” by putting the Church Heaven-side up!  As “ambassadors” of the Heavenly Kingdom, they come not with some splendid new social plan, or human works program, but as those who simply “speak what they have seen and heard.”  They know “The Way” to “go in and out and find (Spiritual) Pasture” [Jn. 10:9].  They feed Christ’s sheep!

           

Apostolic people participate in the experience of what the startled Nathaniel was told to expect when he encountered in Jesus the long awaited Messiah of Israel:  “…you will all see heaven open and the Angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” [Jn. 1:50].  By their faith-union with Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, they inwardly “know the Way” to be where the ascended Lord Jesus is.   In the Holy Spirit that possesses them as at Pentecost they understand the significance of what Jesus said to Thomas:  “I am the way…no one comes to the Father except by me”[Jn. 14:6].  Where they could not go apart from Jesus, what could not even “enter the mind of man,” is now made real in them by the revelation of the Holy Spirit.   By His resurrection and ascension to heaven, Jesus has sent His Holy Spirit to be “in them” not merely “with them” [Jn. 14:17].   To them “I AM” is not a dusty roadmap, but a Living Guide at their Spiritual Center.

           

The glorified Jesus has opened heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to indwell us with His Life.  In union with Jesus Christ as the Son of Man we now “know the Way” to abide in the “ascending and descending angelic currents of Heaven, as one with the Son of Man.”  Enter this “mystery… of Christ in you – the hope of glory!”  Father, reveal Your Son in us!  The Son of Man looks to find this faith in the earth! [See Lk. 18:8].

           

Ponder a most dramatic example of one who saw an open heaven that changed earth.  Stephen, was stoned to death for his faith, “but Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.  ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing, at the right hand of God” [Acts 7:55].  Had his eyes been only on “this present darkness,” perhaps he could have saved himself.  Instead he followed the Light of his Heavenly Teacher, who had said: “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.  But if it dies, it produces many seeds…Whoever serves me, must follow me, and where I am, my servant also will be” [Jn. 12:24,26].   In suffering and in glory this servant was consciously ‘where I AM’ is in the Spirit.  What a harvest of “many seeds” has followed!  At the Judgment Seat of Christ the long procession of saved souls will testify!

 

First, there was the religious terrorist, “Saul, [who] was there giving approval to his death”[Acts 8:1].   But as Saul sought to exterminate those “who belonged to the way”[Acts 9:1],  Jesus, in sovereignty, appeared from heaven,  captured, changed, and commissioned him to administer the mystery that had been hidden to him until Stephen compelled him to face the risen Lord Jesus Christ [See Acts26:12-18].  Ultimately, we are the beneficiaries through Paul’s Gospel of Stephen’s open heaven vision!   How amazing are God’s ways! 

 

January Week 3
Posted by Justin Esposito on Thursday Jan 17, 2013
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January Week 3

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen....to share your food with the hungry?"  Isaiah 58:6.7

 

I share what has nourished me spiritually with any who are hungry for "bread" the world knows not of. 

This will not take the place of the portion of the "children's bread" set for you at our Father's Table, but may it remind you to "come and dine" with Jesus for yourself!                                                                                                                                                        A servant in your Father's house with "food to spare" [Lk. 15:17],

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Bob

 

IN OPENED HEARTS, ATTENTIVE EARS HEAR AND ENLIGHTENED EYES SEE AN OPEN HEAVEN

 

There are a chosen few who by grace have consecrated their whole being to God [Rom 12:1,2]. These are blessed to concentrate their earthly minds fully on Jesus Christ [Heb. 3:1]. They press toward the upward call to glory as they contemplate the face of Jesus Christ [2 Cor. 3:18]. Among such maturing spiritual beings, one may speak “a message of wisdom” not understood by the highest “rulers of this age.” It is “God’s secret wisdom…that has been hidden and…destined for our glory before time began” [1 Cor. 2:6-8]. Jesus taught that there would be those who would “…change and become as little children”[Matt. 18:3] to enter the kingdom of heaven, where the wisdom He spoke from heaven would be “…proved right by all her children” [Lk. 7:35].

 

So, come “children of the Light” [1 Thess. 4:4-10], awaken from sleep, for your Light is come! The Son-light of Heaven has dawned! Jesus Christ has opened heaven for us. The promise to His own, remains for us: “I tell you the truth, all of you {Plural in Greek] shall see heaven open…” [Jn. 1:51].

 

Before we can see this open heaven, Scripture speaks of the necessity of an inward, spiritual re- birthing of capacities lost to us in the fall into sin. The heart of mankind has become hardened. After Jesus had revealed the resources of heaven by feeding the multitudes, he was amazed at the inability of his closest disciples to “get it.” “Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? [Mk. 8:17,18]. Sadly, we confess that many of Jesus’ followers today suffer from this spiritual “arterial-sclerosis.” The Spirit has come, however, to touch our hearts and give us ears to hear and eyes to see! Let us receive the Spirit’s ministry to our hearts to restore spiritual faculties of:

 

1. Attentive ears. You will remember John, who on the Isle of Patmos saw heaven opened. As he writes for us his description of what he saw, he says often, “He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says…” He is calling for the exercise of the heart’s capacity to receive the Word of God. A beautiful example of one whose “heart hearing” was restored is “Lydia, whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul” [Acts 16:14,KJV]. Something wonderful happened to her heart! Her capacity for spiritual attention was restored so that she heard, not just the words of Paul, but the voice of the Son of God!

 

If we would see heaven opened before us, we must enter this grace of spiritual hearing, for “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” [Rom 10:17}. Please note, it is not just hearing a human voice, but Christ himself speaking to the heart. He still speaks to us today and the admonition of Scripture is clear: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” {Heb. 4:7]. Keep saying an ever deeper “yes” to Him!

 

May we understand the importance of becoming spiritual listeners. Can we “turn off” the “ambient noise” of this loud world in order to hear the still, small, voice of Him who speaks from heaven? [Heb. 12:25]. If we will obediently meditate on the command of James 1:19-22, our heart ears will be opened to attend to God’s voice; then our heart eyes will see spiritual reality.

 

2. Enlightened eyes. As one cultivates attentive hearing in the Presence of Christ, many testify that “Light comes” to their hearts, so that they “know” by revelation what natural ears do no hear, nor eyes see. The “eyes of the heart are enlightened”[Eph. 1:18]. Only with these eyes do we see “the heavenly vision”[Acts 2619] and “understand what God has freely given us” [1 Cor. 2:12] as co-heirs with Jesus Christ of “every Spiritual Blessing in heavenly places”[Eph. 1:3]. It is then that are we able to enter our rich inheritance from which “all our needs are supplied” [Phil. 4:19].

 

“And Elisha prayed, “O lord, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hill full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6:17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January Week 1
Posted by Justin Esposito on Thursday Jan 10, 2013
 January Week 1

Dear Ones,   Be encouraged to "fix your eyes on what is unseen" beyond what appears to blinded eyes!  

Your Servant for Christ's sake,  

Bob

 

 

 

OPENING EYES TO LOOK UPON “UNSEEN” REALITIES

 

“I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you…. I am sending you to open their eyes…so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” [Acts 26:16-18]

 

This transcendent commission given by the risen, exalted Christ to Paul, applies to some degree to all called to participate in what he called his “administration of the mystery” of Christ dwelling in our hearts through faith in Jesus.  It is, of course, the ministry of the Holy Spirit though witnesses used to serve God’s sovereign purpose of revealing Spiritual reality to the heart. 

 

First, such a witness must be one who has himself seen what is shown to him by the risen Christ. The capacity to “fix our eyes…on what is unseen”[2 Cor. 4:18] comes only to those who experience a birthing of spirit within [Jn. 3:3,5].   While all who experience this new birth are given the capacity of spiritual vision, for various reasons it remains undeveloped in many for lack of its exercise [See Hebrews 5:12].  Some, through their life experiences, usually associated with personal inadequacies and deep need, mature in the development of their spiritual sense.  These are under obligation to serve their brothers and sisters in the family of God as they “grow up into him who is the Head, that is   Christ” [Eph. 4:15].

 

In the present state of “darkness” in this world, those who have seen the Light of the unseen realm are usually considered to be living in the “twilight zone.”  In truth, they are living in the first light of the dawning of the Day of Jesus Christ.  The responsibility of bearing witness to what they see puts them into conflict with the powers of darkness.  The first witnesses were arrested, mistreated, and sternly warned to cease their activities.  They could only answer:

“We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” [Acts 4:20]

 

And so, I am bold to write to you of unseen realities that seem to be thought impractical and out of step with the modern mindset.  In that sense, in my small way, I seek to be part of the “administration of the mystery” [See Eph. 3:2,3] that began with the first witnesses sent by the risen Christ.  Many in church organizations deal largely with life in this present world – religious, social, psychological, and political matters.  I am called to help develop a “heavenly people” who belong to the Kingdom of heaven and therefore “mind spiritual things.”   My message is for those of you who desire to “set your hearts on things above.”   I want to serve those who make the deliberate choice to “set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” [Coll. 3:1,2].

 

How I feel my inadequacy to communicate in such a manner that “we may understand what God has freely given us!”   Since “no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God,” I entreat you to receive my witness “not as words taught by human wisdom but words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truth in spiritual words.”  Only as we become one in the Spirit before the Father will what is in my heart resonates with your heart.  If you think of what is written “without the Spirit” it will be “foolishness” indeed!   I am repeating the arguments of the Apostle Paul as he wrote to the carnally minded Corinthian Church.  I am persuaded better things of you, my readers, and so I will address you more as Paul spoke to the Ephesians, whom he saw “seated in heavenly place in Christ,” and trust that God will give you understanding.

 

My earnest desire in prayer is that you may indeed take your appointed “place among those who are sanctified by faith” in our Lord Jesus Christ.   May we all come to “know our place” that Christ promised to prepare for us in His Father’s House.   Come, Lord Jesus!  Receive us to yourself! Let us be with you where you are, now, in the Spirit, in Your Eternal Resurrection Day!

 

January Week 2
Posted by Justin Esposito on Thursday Jan 10, 2013
January Week 2

Be encouraged to "walk in the Light as He [Jesus Christ] is in the Light" in fellowship with all who are One in Him.  The present darkness in our world will not overcome His Light!

 

Bob

 

  HOLY LIGHT SHINES IN HEARTS THAT SEE BY HEAVENLY VISION

 

“About noon…I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun… the heavenly vision.” Acts 26:13,19

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

 

The Apostle’s witness to his own personal experience of the Spiritual Light that transcended the brightness of the Middle-Eastern sun at high-noon, and his subsequent commentary about the deep spiritual meaning of that experience are written for our instruction in the mystery of Christ [Eph. 3:4]. It is “to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment.”[Eph. 1:10].   This is our time in God’s ongoing revelation of His Son in the Church.

 

Though not everyone’s personal experience of this mystery may come in the dramatic fashion of Saul’s “Damascus Road” encounter, the substance of his enlightenment is the common denominator of every soul that knows Christ as his Life.  As in the material creation, God spoke the energy that registers on our natural human frame as visible light, so in the spiritual, “New Creation” in Christ, God’s Word brings light to know His glory in relationship with Jesus Christ.  Jesus declared Himself to be “the Light of the world” and promised, “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” [Jn. 8:12]. 

 

The poetic definition of salvation given by Paul speaks of the basis of Spiritual understanding: “…for it is the light that makes everything visible.  This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you’” [Eph. 5:14].   And so, I seek to serve you in helping all to understand our Spiritual inheritance kept for us in heaven. With Paul, “I pray…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 incomparably great power for us who believe, …[the very power] which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead” [Eph. 1:18,19].    Apart from this enlightenment by the Holy Spirit - this “anointing from the Holy One” -  ministers labor in vain.  But because God has spoken and you have received it, my ministry is to affirm the deep knowing given you in the Spirit of the reality of which I speak.  Trust the Light of the witness of the Holy Spirit in your heart.

 

Perhaps it will help if we clarify to some extent the nature of “heavenly [spiritual] vision” that “looks on the unseen” and “sees the invisible.”  You will recognize those very terms to be paradoxical and perhaps a bit confusing.  It may help for you to think of Spiritual “seeing” or “heavenly vision” in the following terms:

            1.  It is “insight” that arises from within and transcends the mere appearance of things.  The “eyes of the heart” see through and beyond the way things look to the natural mind.  Thus Jesus told his disciples to “stop judging by mere appearances and make a right judgment” [Jn. 7:24].   “Discernment” is another word used to describe spiritual seeing [1 Cor. 2:15].

                2.  It is “significance” seeing.  The natural eye observes things, but does not know their true significance.  The natural mind interprets reality from a perverted perspective because of sin.  The “eyes of the heart” of the Spiritual man rightly reads “the signs of the times.”  Everything in the physical order is a “sign.”  The Light in the heart rightly interprets the signs.

            3.  It is “source consciousness” seeing.  Spiritual vision sees through facades to know the substance of people and events.  Christ is the “key” to understanding.  Of Jesus it is said, “He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man” [Jn. 2:25].  And, in Christ, “we regard no one from a worldly point of view” [2 Cor. 5:16].    We know in the Spirit.

 

Meditate on these things.  As we “fix our thoughts” on Jesus [Heb. 3:1], God will faithfully “fix our eyes” to see His Glory in the face of Jesus Christ with increasing clarity [See 2 Cor. 3:18].

[To be continued]

 

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