This month's teaching : Repentance

Triumphant Over Death

Few seem to understand the value and virtue of the deeper life, though some may vaguely question why there are no deeper life-changing effects pouring out of their own lives. Along the path of professed Christianity there needs to be realistic questioning about one’s state of profession. One seemingly seldom visited question is—am I persecuted for God’s righteousness within me? If persecution is something we know little about, then righteousness is also perhaps something found absent within. This should not be puzzling. This absence is seldom understood as the true spiritual poverty that it is. I am at times astounded at how well-meaning Christians are blinded by their good intentions as they try to affect things they have no spiritual insight into. Peter was sure that the cross was the wrong feat for Jesus. He thought it completely destructive to the kingdom of God. What was to be the beginning of God’s kingdom, he understood as the end of it. While God was setting in place the deepest processes and foundations indestructible on earth, Peter and the disciples went fishing. It was all over according to their perception; they were entirely wrong. Great hope and the full promise of power were about to be demonstrated as death was finally defeated since its introduction in Eden.

Triumphant resurrection is only for those who have no other options. The remaking of a tendered soul is not small defeat-like bumps in the road or a glitch in a dream. There are few who understand—by experience—what it’s like to be left with no answers when devastation takes full control of one’s spiritual future. The only ones who need such resurrection power are the ones who cannot come forth from spiritual despair. God can only allow this experience to overshadow the ones who have given their life to this degree and experience this depth of divine surrender. This alone is how God brings us to the mirror of accurate truth rather than mere perception of who we think we are. He brings us face to face with ourselves, then transforms the image we once beheld and clung to and wished others to perceive. Sometimes this is necessary to change someone else’s perception of who I really am. God wants our face to be open and honest about who we really are. He removes pretense far from us to change the glory we thought was present.Corinthians 3:18 But we all with an honest face behold, as in a mirror the glory of the Lord; Our same image is changed from one glory to another glory, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In the middle of this transformation, all understanding is taken away from us. This is well exemplified in the alteration of a caterpillar, cocoon, and butterfly. In the middle of this precious process, God supplies a major component of grace in the wilderness that sustains us another day. It is not earth-shaking nor conspicuous strength. He gives us just enough to embrace in solitude our sorrow, or we might faint and literally die from sadness and despair. These transforming wildernesses are not several months of difficulty. They are valleys of shadows of every form of death, lasting until God sees Himself in us the way He desires to.

God’s purpose of grace here is to bring us into a place of patience where only His exceptional transforming power can recreate His desire within us. Out of this humbling framework of spiritual persistence comes forth a weakened soul, so strong that gates and walls are rendered powerless against it. Gated strategies and deceptions of hell will not prevail nor hold any power over such resurrection. It is within these saints that God works marvels lasting through eternity to prove His faithfulness. It is in these places that God will use your presence to change the atmosphere and surroundings with His presence. The revelation of deeper truth confounds the natural ideas in the mind of the carnal Christian. This intensified work of deeper sanctification is not for the called ones—only for the chosen ones. To the ones who give little thought to themselves. These are the ones who are led by the Holy Spirit like Jesus was led into the wilderness and back out of it. They have learned to follow as sons. Becoming triumphant over death is surviving the shadows of death. These are they who have washed their robes in the blood of Jesus and are His power on earth.

Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
V.5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

Tried and Transformed

Was the test for me or for God? Did I fail or was there really a divine purpose? How do I know or understand what God is really seeking within me? Was the entire mess I went through of the enemy? Am I hurting from my own mistakes? All of these questions have answers. In the quietness of our heart, there seems an evident hint that has overtures of deep spiritual significance. The answers are simple yet faint to the hearer. The answer becomes clearer and clearer once we emerge from the shadowing veil.

Inside this secret song of inspiration, you will begin to uncover the richness of a lasting transformation which has sprung a new beginning of redemptive power only God can work. This is a deeply surrendered access point, wherein you have given the Holy Spirit the liberty to search all things, yea the deep things of God within you. Such a deep surrender to the will of God gives Him ownership and the authority to transform His sacrifice. He will discover and bring to your attention that which is an isolated place, still untouched by the master’s surgical hand. Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: V.24 and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. The search turns into a test that lingers around one’s sensitive, yet toughened places. Towards the conclusion of the trial, He tenderly whelms one’s heart with deep spiritual gentleness, so lovingly that the soul weeps its way to surrender. He is transformed!

These are all thoughts that surface as we emerge out of the furnace of testings. One of the primary divine achievements that God wishes us to understand is the results of what just happened. The testings and trials I am referencing are not momentary tests of shallow experiences. These are grave valleys of sorrow and deep humiliation of soul that encompass the ways of the elect of God; those with depth of aspiration and anointing that God refines into unlimited depths of His desire. These are not reckless sinners and wanderers in soul-boasting appeals of personal ineptitude. These are the ones that hold tirelessly onto the lifeline of God’s mercy. These saints treasure the grandeur of God’s presence in holiness, but are often trounced with ultimate feelings of anguish. These are the ones who seek transformation in secret closets of despair. The ones who deeply seek immortality by dwelling in the light of God. They are a book laid open that hold nothing in the dark. These closet saints weep for a redemptive solution against their own will and wrong apprehensions.

These are they who hang onto eternal life! They know of the walk through valleys of deep spiritual refinement while being laden with feelings of severe bewilderment and loneliness. These are the withdrawal symptoms that are being purged out of one’s self-filled with selfish ambitions, so now to walk in the transformed image of Christ. This depth of Godliness does not come from mere obedience, as some would like to self-induce through stubbornness of mind. Jesus did not become obedient through intelligence; He became obedient through things He suffered and endured. The sanctified believers become partakers of Christ’s sufferings as well. We seldom realize this in the middle of suffering, because it appears too evil. 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: V.13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

Now let’s look at the picture of the failed test. Some things are designed to be destructive against the purpose that God has placed upon us. If God is our refuge, then He will deny us the ability to run from His sovereign love and become encased in bitter harshness. If we caused the error and refuse to acknowledge our iniquity, we will prosper further into callused animosity and find cover in hardness of heart. The sorrow-laden soul of such a condition will never find deeper revelation in Christ but remain shallow, though super-spiritual in appearance. This soul is not noticed as genuine and cannot be held in God’s trust as faithful to His will. This soul demonstrates itself with strength but is laid bare in the small matters it stumbles over. This pitiful undone slave lurches with the pretense of being super-spiritual, but boils in his frustration with explosive quietness. Jeremiah 6:30 Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them. This silver has kept its impurity and would not refine even in the fire.

We must allow God to test us where He desires us to go. We cannot be the commander to His will. He will not harm us nor ever leave us. He will transform us into His image just as we have asked Him to do. He leads us by our own unseen hand that we didn’t know we had. It is the hand of difficult circumstances. Our hand is a very vulnerable and tender place. Here He gets all our attentive focus. Hallelujah!

Passing the Test

As a child, I attended school to learn things useful for my future. At the end of a specific amount of learning on a subject, there was given a test to see how successful my learning really was. Throughout the year, there were numerous tests on the things I learned within the same subject. If my test score failed, I had to go back and relearn the subject till I passed the test. Only after reaching the needed scores was I allowed advancement in my lessons and entrance to a different grade level for the next year. Is the Christian life this way as well? Are trials tests?

“The trial of your faith” is a phrase found in 1 Peter, chapter one, which simply means just that. The Greek meaning for the word trial here means testing. The original meaning gives this phrase, “testing of trustworthiness”. Tests are important and even more so in the spiritual life. My experience in walking with God for close to 50 years is that testings are for a purpose. There are a lot of people who have not experienced such testings, and the results are obvious; their lives are shallow and not very effective for the kingdom. But the greater and deeper the spiritual tests one endures, the greater the divine relevance. Christians who have not endured many testings are shallow and filled with noticeable bareness. 1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

There are three great and noble virtues that form within a much-tested vessel for God. One is patience and the second is spiritual refinement known as gold tried in the fire. The third one is divine enablement by purity and holiness before God. God will not advance someone into deeper effectiveness without testing their trustworthiness by His fire. I have observed the triviality of many well-meaning Christians, having never accomplished much for God, and there is a notable difference in the solemn spiritual categories of testing in their own lives. These tests are entirely spiritual and do not come as correction to weak attributes. Spiritual testings are not corrections to mistakes; they are refinements in areas of spiritual credibility.

Why do some escape God’s complex virtue of testing? It is mostly lack of surrender of certain principles, these being held against the request of God to place upon His altar. When we are surrendered entirely, we are tested entirely. I find that if all is surrendered, then all is tested and all becomes useful. I understand that many say they have surrendered all, but that which is still esteemed important by them speaks of the lack of spiritual depth under which they have restrained themselves. These are they which are always in need but not aware of their own plight. These well-meaning people are not poor in spirit as might be portrayed in innocence. They understand very little about true heavenly kingdom living but never lack easy answers. Their resources, lying close at the fingertips, are of better ideas and predigested information, but lack deeper flowing rivers from one’s own belly.

Testing is important even if it seems to lack noticeable objective. Our thoughts are not His thoughts, and our ways are not His ways by common nature. This is how He changes us into His own image. The spiritual sequence is seemingly like this: He manifests His will, then requires obedience and tests the relevance. If the tested has passed through the refiner’s purging table of fire, then the gold becomes purer, the intrinsic value is significantly increased, and God will be greatly glorified in due time on the earth. What seemed to us as unfair victimization, now becomes enablement to exercise the Holy Spirit’s power and spiritual authority in ways that most do not comprehend. Passing God’s tests can be very hard and extremely perplexing. I find that His potter’s work is in seasons. I have clearly perceived by experience that He brings me through these seasons about every ten years. Sometimes these seasons last for several years. It has been God’s way of dealing deeper within my life. It might not be this way for others but I do clearly acknowledge that God works in seasons of testings, all for His glory, to refine the power that works within us. Endure, yield, and wait it out. Once you come out of it changed and transformed, you have passed this noble test. Hallelujah!

1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: V.13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. V.14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

Chaff Within the Sanctuary (4)

When the Holy Spirit baptizes someone, He immediately brings changes to the soul of that person. The heart now becomes enlightened with vision and understanding on a different level. The natural eyes and ears become dull to likely judgment, perception now takes place within their heart in reverence and the fear of God. There is still the human tendency to see, hear, and judge with natural understanding, but as the Holy Spirit processes the natural formations of a man, he becomes completely transformed. His meditations change and his ambitions become spiritual. This change comes on the threshing floor of the wind of the Spirit. Matthew 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

What is chaff? Chaff is not called chaff until it needs to be separated from the grain it protects. Chaff is called lemma. It is an important silk-like membrane that forms around the life of a grain that is in the tender stage of maturity. It brings protection from harmful insects and diseases that are prone to destroy the grain. It protects from blight or damage incurred by the surrounding elements. Lemma also protects the grains from drying out in exposure to drought and even natural sunlight. Lemma is of extreme purpose, so long as there is growth in the plant. Once the grain has matured, the lemmas must be separated or it will choke the life from the very thing it was so useful to protect. Now we understand that when the lemma is finished protecting, it becomes chaff. Chaff is good for nothing, humans cannot even digest it. It will spoil the life in the grain if it is not separated.

When the Holy Spirit baptizes the heart of man, there is no longer need for the protectionisms that were depended upon for so long. These personal comfort zones that we were so in need have become a danger to the life now within. The lemmas were so secure, we thought no one could take them away. Now they are in vain and will become damaging to the heart that has turned into a fountain and a running river filled with life. Oh yes! The lemma has now become chaff and has to be separated and driven away by the wind and burned with fire. V.12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into His barn; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

When the heart becomes baptized in the Holy Spirit, there is an accessory element of unquenchable fire that stays constantly with the Holy Spirit upon that man. This fire is not quenchable no matter how hard one tries. This fire is anti-chaff. It is designed to burn anything that seeks to stem the flow of the river. This fire is as active as the Holy Spirit because it is an integral part of the Holy Spirit. You have been baptized with the Holy Spirit and you have been baptized with this fire. As long as you walk baptized you will be under the power of His fire. This fire cleanses and makes dangerous things disappear and appear. Anything you tend to trust by common nature of the self-life, whether friends, occupation, agenda, hang-ups, biases, lifestyle, will become burnished amber tested by the fire of the Spirit. The temple of the Holy Spirit experiences a heavenly overhaul at His appearance and now it remains completely His to rest in through powerful demonstrations.

This bough of the Holy Spirit is called fire. It protects us at all times and keeps us separated unto the heavenly Father lest we lose the treasure that has been bestowed upon us. It causes our natural man to have many questions at times. As this holy fire does its purifying all around us, we can easily become discouraged until we see what it has fire-proved within us. Now we see these virtues of weakness that have become strengths through the proving of the fire; they are tempered, tested, purified, and cannot be burned up. It is almost a sure thing that our peers will condemn and misunderstand this process. You see, the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God. He says it is foolish and godless to him.

To be separated from the thing that was so needed to bring us to a certain place in our Christian walk, feels like losing all we have. Why? Because it was about all we had; brownie points and personal achievements with God that we deem as medals of our own goodness. We think we have done pretty well and perhaps we have in the eyes and ears of natural understanding. So long as we are satisfied with such self-approval, we will not seek the deeper life that is effectual through the power of the Holy Spirit. Chaff cannot remain in the sanctuary where the powerful Holy Spirit thrives. Hallelujah!