Jun 5, '07 8:27 PM
Greetings and Solutions!
OK, that was
supposed to be Salutations, but "Solutions" works, doesn't it?
You're looking for some solutions today, right?
Friday's overly-long Coffee Break. I didn't realize just how long it was
until after it got posted. Guess I made up for the fact that we missed
Wednesday. Friday's post was roughly equivalent to two Coffee Breaks.
If I'm not mistaken, it was the longest Coffee Break I've ever done in the past
2 1/2 years. We'll try to keep today's discussion to a much more
I'm running late
again, too. Got up this morning to find that the back side of our church
building had been sprayed with gang graffiti again. That meant
pressure-washing the building, letting it dry off (not hard to do in 89-degree
temperatures), and then spray-painting it. Probabilities are that this
won't get posted on Monday.
Coffee's on, folks!
The office smells absolutely phenomenal! Love that aroma of freshly ground
coffee beans being brewed. YESSSSSSSS!!!
Well, believe it or
not, here we are at the 52nd chapter/episode/discussion -- whatever you call it
-- in the 15 Steps outlined in Psalm 23. Who'd of thunk
it? Today, we pick up with the final step in this maturing process -- and
maybe it's something of a misnomer to call this a "step."
Nevertheless, "I will dwell
in the House of the Lord forever" -- apart from being
the culmination of all that's been happening in our lives as we grow up in God
-- IS a place of realization in our beings that what the apostle Paul wrote in
his epistle to the Hebrews.
"Let us run
with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and
finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the
cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of
God."Â (See Hebrews 12:1-2)
In his letter to
the Ekklesia in Philippi, Paul wrote, "Being
confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will
perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."Â (Philippians 1:6)
You will remember
the 6th step of the 15: "He leadeth me in the paths
of righteousness for His name's sake."
Folks, that's what
all of this is about! This is what the Lord has been doing, and this is
why! His name is at stake in us. Jesus is both author (-- archegos: the one who begins, the cornerstone, the power or
principality who initiates the first action) and finisher (-- teleiotes --one who
completes to perfection and wholeness: maturity) of our
righteousness, our faith and that authentic and divine nature of Him in us.
He has been leading
us in those paths of righteousness so that we will be able to dwell in His
house as his full-fledged brothers and sisters, functioning in that power and
authority that is His, and manifesting and flowing in that love of which He
consists. Let me take a quick side-trip to show you something here.
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and
without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men." (John 1:1-4)
Now, let's rephrase
this so that it flows with this picture from Psalm 23:6.
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Love, and the Word was Love.
The same was in the beginning with Love. All things were made by Love,
and without Love was not anything made that was made. In Love was Life,
and that Life was the light of men."
let's have a look at what John wrote in his general epistles.
manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the
sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not,
because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth
not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be
like him; for we shall see him as he is." (I John
us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth
is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth
not knoweth not God; for God is love. .....
And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth
in love dwelleth in God, and God in
him." (I John 4:7-8, 16)
We've just finished "Surely
goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,"and we talked about
the fact that "goodness and mercy" are facets of kheseed. Kheseed cannot follow us
without love being the driving force behind it.
Thus, to "dwell in the
House of the Lord forever" signifies the fact
that Jesus has most certainly accomplished his goal and objective in our nature,
our character, our makeup. This is a change of onoma for us.
When John wrote, "Beloved, now
are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be," he could well have expressed that from the perspective of "The
Lord is my Shepherd." When we first make Jesus Christ the Lord and Shepherd
of our lives, we really have no clue where He is taking us, where our lives are
going to be led, and what He is going to make of us.
For those of you
who've walked with the Lord for many years, take a look back to the day and
time you first invited Jesus Christ to become Lord of your life. Did you
have any idea of the change that would unfold in your life? Have you not
prospered in your relationship with Him since? Are you anything today
like you were before you made that decision?
Let me take this
questioning a bit farther.
If you've walked
with the Lord in the paths of righteousness for 30, 40, 50 years or more as I
have, consider where you were in your understanding of the Lord 10 or 20 years
ago. Consider your walk in the Spirit. Do you still think like you
did then? Has your understanding of certain truths of the Gospel
Della and I were
talking the other day about the changes that have taken place in us in just the
past ten years. Things I thought to be truth back ten years or 15 years
ago were still somewhat clouded or shrouded in a mist. Some of what I
believed then -- and I'm choosing my words carefully -- I've since discovered
to have been in error.
That doesn't make
us heretics or "fringe" Christians. It just means that the
longer we have dwelled with and in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, the
more He has revealed of His character, His nature and His makeup.
Likewise, the more our character, our nature and makeup has been changed.
We were laughing
over the changes that have taken place in both of us in the past 20+
years. Wow! I was listening to an old recording of some teaching
that I did on Spiritual Warfare made more than 25 years ago. Has my
understanding ever been enlarged since then! It's
not that there has been an altering of the fundamental truth of our authority
over Satan; it's that revelation has literally exploded in my being of the
degree of that authority; it is that there has been an unveiling of the devices
that Satan uses against God's people, and just how simple it is to defeat him
and those devices.
The apostle Paul,
in his second epistle to the Corinthian Ekklesia,
wrote, "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass
the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory,
even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (II Corinthians 3:18)
into all of the words used in the original Greek text, let me expand this
statement for you.
"But all of us,
with the mystery and shroud stripped away, seeing mirrored the outward
manifestation of the Glory of the Lord, are [being] changed, transformed and
metamorphosed into that same representation of His Glory by the Holy Spirit,
systematically and progressively, from the first Glory to the next, until we
reach the final manifestation of His Glory in us."
THAT, my friends --
that "final manifestation" -- is what brings us to the place of
dwelling "in the House of the Lord forever."
The Glory of the
Lord is literally the manifestation of who and what He is. We'll try to
take a better or more in-depth look at the whole concept of the Glory in our
next Coffee Break. That's a remarkable study in itself, and I'd rather,
if possible, keep that discussion separate from today's overview of the House
of the Lord. The Glory of the Lord is directly connected to the House of
the Lord, and the two are inseparable, but today we're talking about the aspect
of God's Love and how Jesus' objective is to transform us into His Love.
Even saying it like
that makes it seem almost mystical or ethereal, and yet there is nothing
mystical or ethereal about agape. Agape, of course, is the only word ever used in Greek to describe the
Love of God. This is an unconditional love. This is love in its
highest form. What we know as human love (or phileo) -- the love that normally exists
between family members, the love that normally brings a man and a woman
together in marriage -- pales next to the Love of God.
Let's go back to
Creation for a second.
Genesis 1:3: "And Love
(God) said, Let there be light [or more accurately, "Light be!"], and
Genesis 1:26: "And Love (God) said, Let us
make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion....[or,
more accurately, "Man, be in our image, after our likeness, with our
capacity for dominion."]"
See it? All
of creation began in Love -- the love that was/is God! Mankind began its
existence in Love -- that same love that was/is God! That Love that was
and is (and ever shall be) God brought with it the totality of Adam and Eve's
existence. Their existence began in Love. For the length of time
they occupied the Garden of Eden, they existed in, through, by and with Love.
The Garden of Eden was created in Love.
by the way, translates from the Hebrew , as:voluptuous,
living, pleasure, delight. No word better describes the environment of God's Love.
It is an environment that brings with it revelation -- a constant flow of
divine knowledge and understanding that links one with the Lord in, by, and
through the Holy Spirit.
The fact that the love-relationship
between Adam and Eve and God was lost because of their having chosen to violate
God's command and eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil also
signified the loss of agape (the Hebrew equivalent is --hesed) being manifested
through human flesh. That loss necessitated a plan (not "Plan
B", since the Lord was not taken off-guard when this happened) being
implemented so that agape could be returned and manifested
through a people who purposely chose to make the Lord their Shepherd, and were
willing for the Lord to work whatever was necessary in them to restore the flow
of agape between God and
Adam and Eve were,
for all intents and purposes, kicked out of "the House of the Lord"
when they chose academic and experientially-gained knowledge over the revelation
that comes through agape. Now, perhaps, you understand why the objective
of the Lordship and Shepherding of Jesus Christ in our lives is "the House
of the Lord forever." This isn't just for our sake: this is for His
sake -- His name's sake!
Sin is so degrading
to the human frame and so destructive to our existence that overnight change
and transformation -- restoration, if you will -- back to that place of the
Glory of the Lord must be step-by-step, stage-by-stage, Glory-to-Glory until
the work is completed. Sinful flesh simply cannot handle the Glory of the
Lord. Flesh, though our mind, our will, our purpose is to walk with God,
has within its genetic DNA the residual demands and commands of a way of life
totally contrary to agape.
at the Cross -- that is to say, our acceptance and acknowledgement of what
Jesus Christ has accomplished on our behalf -- is a legal change. The
paths of righteousness have been established for our daily walk so that what is
at first legal now becomes experiential.
I've been teaching
here at River Worship Center for many weeks this same study of the 15 Steps
revealed in the 23rd Psalm, and -- of course -- taking a lot more time to
explore each of these steps than I've been able to do in these Coffee Breaks.
Over the past few weeks, we've been stuck on "He leadeth
me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake," and I've been
sharing the whole concept of righteousness as it is revealed in the Word.
Simply put, the
word "righteousness" comes from a uniquely Hebrew word: -- tsedeq, which translates
to (in an ethical sense): being right or even with; on the same level [that is, thinking the same, speaking the same, doing the same thing]. It has other
connotations, too, but these are the ones we will restrict ourselves to for the
sake of today's discussion.
of the "House of the Lord" is that place where we are functionally on
the same level with the Lord Jesus Christ. Please note that I've said
"functionally" -- NOT positionally.
Do go off half-cocked and start suggesting that Regner
Capener is preaching the errant Mormon doctrine that
"as Christ once was, we now are; as He now is, we shall become."
That's not what this is about. We are heirs and joint-heirs with Jesus
Christ we cannot be seated together with Him in Heavenly Places. We will
never replace Him at the right hand of the Father. He will always have
that preeminent position.
That said, it is
His will, His desire, His ultimate plan and purpose for us to function exactly
like He does with that same divine power and authority that He has been
building in us. And that power and authority can only function through
agape -- God's Love. Thus, agape has to become part and parcel of our
nature, our character, the very essence of our existence so that we can dwell
together with Him in His house -- FOREVER!
The Bible is
neither a collection of laws and commandments nor a book of rules. It
contains 66 bags of seed that we can plant in our lives. As long as we
actually plant that seed, and then water it appropriately with our daily
confession of faith, we will receive the expected and very tangible harvest.
Blessings on you!