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Posts Tagged ‘Bible Study’

Our church is studying the book of John. Here’s what I believe God gave me while meditating on chapter 1:10-13. It ties in with the stuff on verses 5-9, which was my last post, so if you didn’t see it already, it might be good to read over it real quick before you read this one.

John 1:10-13 He was in the world, and the world was created through Him, yet the world did not recognize Him. He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him. But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.

Here’s what I heard God speaking to me regarding this:

(First, I got a picture or impression in my mind of a huge solidity–like a massive rock being set into place with a great and final sound of permanence. Like something big was happening and could neither be stopped nor undone.)

This is My time; not like the previous time when I came and no one received Me. I was announced, but only My Father’s angels, and a few shepherds they managed to round up, greeted My coming, plus some foreigners (the magi). To My own people I was virtually unheralded. Anna and Simeon alone were looking for Me with understanding. (Luke 2:25-38)

Today, that which is called the church is largely making the opposite of this mistake. When I came as a human child, growing naturally, and implementing the secret kingdom without strength of arms in men’s hearts and souls, they looked for a conqueror in the flesh.

Behold–now I come as the conquering warrior and they are looking for a gradually growing kingdom of peace–a kingdom they must bring in by natural means. No more will I tread only the unseen kingdom of the hearts of men. Yes, the heart is where it begins, but the second stage looms, and that is the birth–the thing out in the open and clear to all. This time there will be no mistake. No one will say, “Was He really the one?,” for all will see–no one can deny–that I AM and that the kingdoms of the earth have now come into My hand.

The church as a whole are so invested in the world today that they don’t want Me to come suddenly. They want Me to come gradually. The Jews wanted Me to come suddenly, but I came with a secret kingdom that has grown gradually. Now the time has matured and The Day is near. Surely I come suddenly, and My hosts with Me. Watch. Be prepared. The time draws near.

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Our church is studying the gospel of John, and we’ve just begun. I figured we’d go on until we finished chapter one, but I was WRONG! 😦 😆 Everyone else said that if we did that, we’d be in John forever. Well, I suppose they’re right. All the same, I’m going to post the rest of the stuff I got on chapter one here. So there! The passage I was meditating on was John 1:5-9. Here it is:

Joh 1:5-9 That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man named John who was sent from God. He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but he came to testify about the light. The true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

And this is what I believe God said to me about this. Obviously, it’s not an exposition of the passage–at least not primarily. It’s like He used it as a conversation starter to say what He wanted to say. God can be like that . . . .

John went to prepare the people’s hearts, to raise anticipation, expectation–to create an air of expectancy. There were already many circumstances arranged for the coming of My Son into the world, but John was key–he was dispatched to walk onto the stage first–to give the introduction. My Son was expected, but He was not as expected. Some saw Him through their own filters and imputed to Him the revolutionary qualities they looked for–revolution, yes–this He brought–but in My way, the revolution begins unseen. A child grows in the womb and is born only after all his systems are completed and functioning. So has My revolution, started in My Son, grown for 2000 years since–the unseen (by those who are dying) revolution of the heart. When it has reached its proper maturity, only then will it come into the world fully formed.

The outward shell that is (the outward appearance of the church) will pass away, and the real child that shall be produced from its death shall be called the bride of Christ. My Son will come then for His spotless, unblemished, yearning, eager, excited, loving, faithful, true bride. This will be My crowning glory–the glory I sought in creating the world. The creation has yet to reach its final stage, which is perfection.

There is yet much to be done, yet the next and final stage draws near–the Sabbath rest, during which the land will produce one last crop on its own–that which springs up of its own accord–some good and some bad. Then shall the heaven and earth you now know pass away and all things be made new.

I think that last crop He mentions must be those who are born during the millennial reign, following the return of Jesus to the earth. I didn’t actually ask Him. The meditation on the next portion of John (1:10-13) is similar to this. I’ll post it soon.

Love, Cindy

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I’ve been thinking about glory recently. We’re commanded to glorify God, but how do we do that? How can mere men and women do such a thing? And what is glory, anyway?

Well, in the first sense, glory is the very nature of God–God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5) He doesn’t even cast a shadow (James 1:17). So glory is brightness–shiningness–radiance. This is not something we can give God. It is something He is. We can’t glorify Him in this way any more than we could make the sun shine brighter.

In another sense, glory can be seen as wealth and importance. Certainly, God has those things, and we cannot increase them. Yes, we “give to God,” but He doesn’t need our gifts any more than you need the dandelion your toddler gives you. It’s dear and precious that he wants to give you something, but it hardly adds to your wealth.

Yet again, glory signifies reputation. It means telling or showing the true story about someone. So if you cooked dinner and your friend took credit for it, he would be stealing your glory. Can we give God glory by telling the truth about Him? Yes, we can–and since He is the author of all good things, for us to take credit for any of them is, again, pretty silly. Yes, you maybe opened your wallet and gave to the rescue mission, but why did you do that? If you’re a follower of Jesus, lets hope you did it because you felt Him telling you to do it, and not so that people would give you glory, or to make you feel good about yourself. So just tell the truth: “I felt God was telling me to do this” and let it go at that. Everything we have is from Him. He simply directed you to disperse some of His funds to the rescue mission. End of story.

But of course, giving God glory doesn’t end there. The chief way the believer is to bring glory to God is to allow Christ to be formed in him. While salvation occurs instantly upon believing and confessing (truthfully) Jesus as Lord, the formation of Christ within us is an ongoing process.

2Co 3:18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.

As we are changed into His glorious image–Wow! Are you being changed into His glorious image? That, my beloved family, is the way to glorify God among the nations. As the world beholds us being changed into His glorious image, many who have not yet believed, will be forced to choose–either to shut their eyes and ears and hum loudly to keep out the evidence of their senses, or to admit that God is at work in our (formerly) sorry lives.

So how do we get ourselves changed into His glorious image? How do we persuade the Spirit to do this within us? How badly do you want it? Beg Him. Pursue Him. If you don’t know that God is working in you, get down on your knees; fast and pray. Get all the godly people you know to pray with and for you. Because if the Holy Spirit isn’t working within you, you are not saved, even if you have “prayed the prayer” as prescribed, and been assured that “If you meant that, you’re a part of the family now–and on your way to Heaven.” Um . . . no.

Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Joh 6:63 The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

The words that Jesus speaks to us are spirit and life. These are words He speaks into your heart, not dead, dry words on a page. If you want Him, truly desire him, God will illumine those words to you and bring them to life. Those are the words that are spirit and life, not the symbol words on the page, but the real, live words that burn into your heart. Those are the words that change men’s souls and remake us into the image of Jesus Christ. That is how to bring glory to God.

“The glory of God is man fully alive.” ~~ Iranaeus

Grace and Peace, Cindy

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Debs has gotten quite a lot of response to her simple question (below).

Simple question….

Posted by: Debs on: July 22, 2009

Do you believe the church is intended for the believer or non-believer…and why? Think about it, it’s not as simple as you may think…. 😉

I had already responded once, giving an answer that wasn’t precisely what she was asking. The church is for Jesus. But as to my thoughts on the question she was really addressing, they’re too long for a polite response on anyone else’s blog, so I’m posting them here.

Hi, Debs

I’ve been reading through the dialogue on your post, and I think I know what you’re saying, but maybe not. What is a church “service?” What does that mean? For me, a year ago, that meant sitting through some horrible music and listing to a good sermon, smiling at a few people, shaking hands, then heading out for breakfast.

We no longer do “services.” Soon I’ll get the house tidied up. The church will meet here this afternoon. We’ll play with the kids, have a meal, spend some time worshiping, discussing, praying, prophesying, etc.–whatever the Holy Spirit leads us to do. Counting everything, it will go on for five hours or so.

Tomorrow morning, two of us will visit a lady who can’t join us on Sundays, do a bible study with her, then another two will visit a lady whose husband is antagonistic to the gospel, provide some moral support, pray, do some more bible study, have a snack. In the evening, some more ladies will be getting together for a study on Esther. That’s church, too.

To the traditional church environment, no matter how good the show, I would not bring an unbeliever even if I could find one willing to go (which is not easy). No one would notice she was there; if I introduced her, people would politely welcome her, nothing like true friendship; she would not understand the language nor the concepts taught in that strange language, and would feel uncomfortable (as indeed I do, too).

To the simple church environment, I would willingly bring an unbeliever, and I would not worry about the music or the pastor’s sermon or about whether she would feel intimately welcomed. No problem. The music is just us singing together; there is no sermon; and no person of reasonable good will could ever feel unwelcome.

To the visiting environment, I would be even more comfortable bringing an unbeliever. It seems that the smaller the group, the less threatening and the more appropriate it can be for friendship and eventual discipleship. In that way, I would say that yes, the church is an appropriate place to bring unbelievers. It all depends on what “church” means and is.

What I’m looking for right now, however, is the man/woman/family of peace. Someone receptive to Jesus, someone who knows people and has a circle of influence, and is open to bringing those friends/family together to explore spiritual things. That may happen at table 10 in a cafe, or in a crowded apartment, or even under a bridge at the city park. This is what I see Jesus doing in the gospels–bringing the good news to the world, rather than the world to the sanctuary of the four walls.

I don’t know about GB, but in the US, bringing people to the church in the four walls is not an attractive option to said people. They feel they’re “in the cross-hairs,” rather than being sought out for friendship. Our traditional churches try all sorts of things to get people to come. The youth pastor of our old church gave out prizes–expensive prizes–to the lucky winners of the evening’s drawing. He got a lot of kids, but only as long as he continued offering the prizes, etc. The thought of Jesus saying to the crowd after the feeding of the 5,000, “You seek me because you ate of the loaves and were filled” comes to mind.

Other churches try to invoke a pub/coffee shop/entertainment type of environment, tasteful decor, spectacular music, stellar sermons complete with special effects. They train greeters, offer targeted ministries for every conceivable special needs group, and even have great coffee. Yes, they’re trying very, very hard to appeal to unbelievers, and yet the church as a whole is shrinking in the US almost as fast as it is growing in China, where becoming a believer can get you beaten, thrown in jail, and even executed (unofficially–but still . . . ).

People in the US are leaving the traditional church in record numbers. Many are leaving because they’ve never been a part of us, and many more are leaving because they’ve lost their faith. But there’s a third group–people who are leaving because they wish to preserve their faith. Some of these people end up “doing church” at home, with their own families, and some of them band together in groups like the one coming to our house this afternoon. God is doing a new thing (well, maybe not so new–maybe God is bringing back a very old thing–a foundational thing). We need more of the next stage, where the church spills completely out of the building and into the world, and I believe that is coming, too.

The church is for Jesus. The church is for a display of God’s Son to the spiritual forces of wickedness at work in the world. The church is for the training up of the saints to the work of service to Jesus, to one another and (this is where unbelievers come in) to the world. The church is to be the city set on a hill; not the lamp hidden under a basket (or inside a special building). In order to give light to the world, we need to go out into the world. Inviting the world to come in and enjoy our light is fine, but isn’t it even better to go out into the highways and gathering places of the world and shine there?

Grace and Peace, Cindy

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It’s been a while–sorry. Well, not really. Not that I don’t want to share, but I’m grateful to God that my life has gotten so busy. Good busy. Our little fellowship has been getting to know one another and how to function together as the body of Christ.  It’s wonderful–something I’ve been wanting for so many years–and time consuming. But again, that’s exactly what I wanted. Sharing life together.

Well, on to my meditation on this particular verse, which is actually dated 02/01/09, though God’s word is always fresh. I may skip some of this study from time to time, as quite a lot of the things God has said to me recently were specific to me or to our group, besides, if I don’t do that, I’ll never get caught up. 😉

“For we never used flattering speech, as you know, or had greedy motives–God is our witness–and we didn’t seek glory from people, either from you or from others.” 1 Thessalonians 2:5-6

Before I get into the important part (what God said to me about this passage), I want to mention how different Paul’s ministry seems from some so-called ministries we see today, in which the “ministers” are indeed using flattering speech, seeking financial gain, and seeking the praise and adulation of men. Never think that, just because you see miracles–even if you’re certain these miracles are genuine–that this is an endorsement by God of a minister who does not display the true fruits of the Spirit, which are not miraculous signs, but rather the living of a self-denying and Godly life. There is such a thing as lying wonders. Don’t be deceived.

So, on to the important bit–the things God shared with me about this passage (and beyond).

You are My reward, My daughters and sons, and I am yours. You are the reward of the suffering I endured. You are the family I seek and have sought and for whom I created the worlds. Together we’ll travel through endless delights and I’ll show you the things I have made. The thing you truly seek, though you may not realize it, is to know Me for who I am. I wish to be known in the world I have made. This is your task to fulfill: that you know Me and show Me to all who are willing to see, that all who are willing may come to Me.

I am painting a picture in you of My Son. I have been painting in each of you separately, and I have been painting in your relationships and in your love for one another. I will be painting always, and every day that you walk with Me, you will look more like Him. Always, there will be new things, new colors to add, yet there will be a time when a recognizable image has begun to emerge from your midst. (That is, from the gathering of believers.) In that hour, My masterpiece, though ever unfinished, will shine out to the world.  (At this point, the words I received became a poem.)

Like a beacon of warning and hope in despair
My daughter, My Son’s bride shall be.
Like the dawning of light in an inky black night
when a candle is lit in a room.
Shen enlightens the path so that others may find
how to come to the light of My Son.
So together she’ll walk to the oncoming light
to welcome Him home when He comes.
In that day, I’ll greet her with a Father’s glad smile
and I’ll gather her up in My arms

Oh what times we shall have now that you’re safely home
and I have you all here by My side.
No more pain, no more sorrow,
though the trials made you Mine
in a way nothing else could have done.
You’ve been made and re-made in the image of Him
Who did love you: My glorious Son.
And henceforth you’ll be here forever with us.
My family at last shall be one.

In the New Testament, the church–that is those who have given themselves to Christ and to one another–is pictured as the bride of Christ and as the family/children of God. That’s what the poem is referring to, in case you found it a bit confusing. If you’re scratching your head over any of this, feel free to say so and I’ll do my best to clarify. 🙂

Grace and Peace, Cindy

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“Instead, just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please men, but rather God, Who examines our hearts.”

This is the message of God to my heart that I wrote down as I meditated on the above passage:

“You will run into opposition when you speak the true word–the word that I have spoken, both in the recorded scriptures and here in our time of peace together. Many will soften My word to please men. Paul did not, and he paid for his determination. He was especially hand crafted for his role, as you are for yours. Don’t be afraid. You will encounter nothing for which I have not specifically designed and prepared you.

“Do not be afraid, when you speak, to speak exactly that which I have spoken to you. I know the words I wish to say, and I know the recipients. I know all the places My words will go, and what, in detail, they will accomplish. Stop being worried that you will offend someone. If there is any offending to do, I will do it. You say what I say. It is a lot easier to repair the damage of a mistaken revelation than to fix the unknown problems you will cause by softening My words. I will protect you from speaking a false word if you keep yourself in Me. Timid sons do not befit Me. Nor timid daughters. Be bold. Be wise. Is it not I who empower and commission you? Am I not the God of David and of Solomon? And can I not impart My wisdom and My words to whom I will?

“Little child, I choose you. I chose you from eternity, and you have been custom made to do the tasks I will give you. There is nothing I will ask of you that I will not do through you, so go. Be the sons and daughters of the King of Kings. You are Mine and I will sustain you.”

Grace and Peace,

Cindy

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“For our exhortion didn’t come from error or impurity or an attempt to decieve. Instead, just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please men, but rather God, Who examines our hearts.”

Paul had been having some trouble with Jews and also with some Pharisaical Jewish believers. At this point, it was they, rather than the Pagans who were the primary source of persecution. As I meditated on this passage, this is what I heard God speaking to my heart:

“My enemy will stop at nothing in his attempts to deceive the elect, and if he cannot deceive you, he persecutes you. Among his most favored methods is to use religion. He is a liar and a counterfeiter, and he uses his false piety to accuse My true messengers of wrong motives, wrong spirit, and wrong information.

“He does not accuse My beloved (the true church) of “nice” crimes such as purity, godliness and love. He accuses her of all manner of filth, blasphemy and error. He besmirches her character and smears her reputation with filth.  He bloodies her body and hurts and torments her in any way he can find. His attempts to divide My true bride into factions will ultimately fail, for I am as far above him in might as your sins are put away from you in space and time.

“You must remain in Me, for he cannot touch you so long as you are in My care. Though my people have suffered in the flesh, I have always been and will always be with them, comforting and strengthening them with joy and hope.

“So when persecutions arise, as they did for Paul, keep your face turned toward Me. The enemy is filling to the brim his infinite cup of wrath. Though he will be drinking it for eternity, it will never be emptied. Just as the cup of joy that I and My bride share will never be reduced forever, but rather increased the more we drink of it.”

Grace and Peace,

Cindy

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Here is what I believe God brought to my heart as I meditated on 1 Thessalonians 2:1. It’s a word particularly for the fellowship of believers I belong to, but that doesn’t mean you can’t walk in it, too.

1 Thessalonians 2:1 “For you yourselves know, brothers, that our visit with you was not without result.”

“When a chemist puts in the right catalyst at the right moment, into the right mixture, things happen. I have chosen My catalyst and My moment. You (plural) are the substrate. The reaction will spread as far, precisely, as I have ordained.

“When Paul, following My direction, preached to the Thessalonians, power was released. Also, faith rose in their hearts to believe, and they became new creatures in Christ.

“These new creatures of Mine went on to initiate their own chemical reactions–or rather, spiritual cataclysms, for whenever a soul is moved from darkness to light through death and resurrection, monumental power is released in spiritual realms. Everything I do follows the laws I have established–both natural and spiritual. Because you cannot sense it (except that which I reveal to you), the spiritual seems nebulous and unreal, but it is the more real and concrete of the realms, the physical having its existence merely as a product of My continual sustenance of it. If, for a moment, I withdrew my hand, the whole thing would fly apart into nothing.

“The spirit is real, and I have placed My Spirit in you (plural). It is My design and desire that your spirit feed on My Spirit–drink Me into your spirit, so that we become one. When you bask in My presence, this is what is happening.”

Just to clarify–I’m not pushing Christian Science. Our physical world is a wonderful gift from God, and very real–just not quite as real as the spiritual world we can’t see with our physical senses. Let’s not forget about the spiritual world just because we don’t have all our receptors in operation . . . yet.

Grace and Peace,

Cindy

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1 Thessalonians 1:9 “For they themselves report about us what kind of reception we had from you: How you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, . . .”

You really need to read the rest of the thought to get this verse, so if you’re not familiar with what’s going on, pick up your bible and invest in a few minutes to read the whole section–or read my earlier blog posts on 1 Thessalonians as I’m meditating on it one or two verses at a time. On the day I concentrated on this verse, I was particularly asking God for something to share in our simple church gathering. Here’s what He gave me:

“Say to them (our fellowship–and yours) that I have ordained them that they should be My message to the poor, the down-trodden, the broken hearted–those for whom I have prepared My table and My wedding feast, those whom I shall delight to honor when I have infused their spirits with My Spirit and made of them a new people and remade My image within them. This is My glory, to take a broken and destitute people and create within them joy and peace, and make of them a fitting vessel for My treasure–My Son. I will implant My glory in whom I will.

I have made of you fitting vessels, though you were not fitting when I called you out from among the lost. Now it is my pleasure to use the light of My glory contained in you to light the path for many, both of daughters and of sons. Sons to bring Me delight; daughters to dance before Me; heirs to become co-laborers with My only begotten Son in the harvest of souls. I have a chosen people, exceedingly precious, inexpressibly dear to My soul. To these I send you. Be lights among those to whom I have sent you. Darkness will not stay in your presence, but those to whom I have sent you will stay, and become affected by the divine dis-ease until they willingly surrender their lives (which are death) to My death (which leads to light and life). This is My commission to you, and I will bring it to pass.”

Wow! Isn’t God amazing? He never ceases to blow me away with His beauty and His love. So what are you waiting for? Go love on Him.

Grace and Peace, Cindy

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I’ve been meditating on 1 Thessalonians one or two verses at a time. If you’re interested, you can scroll back to see the earlier ones, as well as the occasional explanation of what I’m doing, in case this looks wierd to you.

1 Thessalonians 1:8  “For the Lord’s message rang out from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place that your faith in God has gone out, so we don’t need to say anything.”

Wherever Paul goes, he has no need to tell what God’s doing in Thessalonica because everyone has already heard about it. The Thessalonian believers were the talk of the region. So, here’s what God said to me as I meditated on this verse:

“I infiltrated them so thoroughly that everyone noticed. Nothing was the same in them after I came to them. People did notice. Their lives had changed. No more were they fearful, but full of joy. No longer were they a shame and a reproach–they became a godly and a glorious people. My transformation, which I worked in them, was manifestly the difference between death and life.

“I still transform lives and people. I still work in and through My people. I want to work through you as you seek after My will for your lives. I will direct you as you listen and wait before Me. Soak in My Spirit and you will become more and more perfumed by My continual presence. The world will smell My fragrance and they will hate it, or they will love it, but they will react. No one remains neutral in My presence. You are My presence if you will seek Me and walk with Me night and day.”

My brothers and sisters, We are the only manifestation of Jesus most of the world will ever see. What an awesome responsibility, but if we abide in Him, God will do this through us. It is absolutely crucial that we do abide in Him. So go seek Him now. He’s waiting and longing for your company.

Grace and Peace,

Cindy

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