Years ago, our youngest son, Joshua, was in prison. He had associated himself with the wrong crowd as a youngster and found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, accused of the same things his “friends” were accused of. Guilt by association sent him to prison. There’s a lot more to this story that I won’t try to get into today but suffice it to say that Della and I both had separate visions in which we saw Jesus appear to him in his cell. That visitation caused a phenomenal transformation in him and in his character. Both of us expected it to happen while he was in prison, and when it didn’t, we simply gave it back to the Lord.
Fast forward to today. As already noted, Josh & his wife both got themselves in trouble with the law and are currently in jail facing the unknown. Josh called me last week just bawling his eyes out. “Dad, Jesus came and visited me! It wasn’t a dream, and it wasn’t a vision. I was reading my Bible and just meditating when a very bright light filled my cell. I looked up and Jesus was standing there with two Angels on either side. He said to me, ‘You don’t need to be afraid. I am with you, and I will always be with you.’ The two Angels left his side and merged with me. The peace was indescribable! I don’t know how to tell you how I feel at the moment, but something really happened!”
Della and I both wept, hearing his story. The promises of God are “Yea, and Amen in Christ Jesus.” We look forward to seeing the promises and destiny fulfilled in both Josh and Michelle.
One of the biggest issues facing believers, going back to the first century, is knowing who they are in Christ, and who He is in them. The lack of that confidence and trust in God has been the lie of Satan ever since Satan seduced Eve with doubt in God and who she really was. Satan is the author of what we know as an “identity crisis.”
When believers are robbed of their confidence and trust in the Lord and in His Word to them, they are ripe candidates for being plagued with every spirit of fear. David puts his finger on the problem when he writes, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”
In one fell swoop, he identifies both the Fear of Death and the Fear of Evil. We’ve discussed, at length already, that period in our lives when restoration takes place, and the deliverance necessary from the families of fear. Now we get to see just what Holy Spirit has developed in our spirits, our nature and makeup as this adventure in transformation continues.
Consider how the apostle Paul describes our identity in Christ. He begins this description as he opens up his letter to the Ephesians.
Ephesians 1:3-6: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Before we continue, I need to address the true picture of this word used in the KJV — “predestined.” The use of this word has led to a funny doctrine in the body of Christ known as “the doctrine of predestination.” That doctrine essentially removes our choice or involvement in the development of our character and nature in Christ, and who we have been destined to become.
The word in the original Greek text in this instance is the word, proorizo. It comes from a root which literally means: to mark out in advance, to define boundaries, to make an appointment.
Nowhere in the use of this word is our choice or our ability to respond to God’s choices or purposes removed from us. Nothing in what Paul writes suggests that God has taken away our choice — that we are simply compelled to become whatever it is that He has chosen for our lives.
This doctrine of predestination essentially turns people into automatons — people who obey robotically because they have no choice in the matter. It also produces people who subconsciously rebel at the very idea that they have no choice in the way their lives are going to turn out. They develop a “I can do as I want” philosophy because it won’t matter in the end anyway. Thus, the Lord gets cheated out of the overcoming Bride and counterpart that He has been after from the beginning of time.
That said, consider Paul’s prayer as he continues his letter to the Ephesians:
Ephesians 1:15-23: Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.
You see it, don’t you? Paul’s prayer is that we would be able to see, to understand, to have real revelation;: that we would come to know, first of all, who Christ is in us, and secondly who we are in Him; and lastly, the true scope of our destiny, where we are in His economy, and where that puts us in relation to the world, all that is therein, and the Enemy.
If, indeed, we know who we are in Christ, then it follows that we must know who Christ is in us! It’s one thing to know who we are in Christ, and the destiny He has chosen for us, but it is another thing entirely to know who He is in us.
Consider the following:
Philippians 4:12-13: I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Here’s how we read this out of the Greek text:
”I have come to understand and know — at the same time — what it means to be, (and how to be) humiliated, brought low (in the esteem of men) by circumstance or accusation, as well as what it means, and to experience, excelling in life, to increase in substance to the overflow, and to be admired and sought after by society.
In all that takes place in my life, I am constantly being instructed and taught what it means to live in abundance, having every conceivable need met, and how to live when I need to “pinch pennies” while laboring day after day; thus, I know, and have revelation of how to have all or to have unmet need in my life.
The force of Christ’s presence in me can do and accomplish all that
is needed to be accomplished — no matter in what state I find myself — by
reason of the empowering strength and endurance that He has imbued.” (Philippians 4:12-13,
Now, look at the contrast in the statement that Paul writes to Timothy.
"For God has not endowed, or
committed to our being and existence the spirit (the very breath and speaking
forth) of fear, timidity and faithlessness; but of miraculous power, might and
strength, and of agape love, and of a disciplined mind (under control and
not subject to "flights of fancy")." (II Timothy 1:7,
a look at this from a different perspective.
Writing to the Ekklesia in
So then, if any person is grafted into and immersed in the Anointed
One (and His anointing), he is a new fabrication -- a newly formed being; the
previous life [the lifestyle and the old characteristics thereof] has perished;
you can see and perceive for yourself that every part of one's being is an unprecedented
substance -- a new species. (II Corinthians 5:17,
“Every part of one’s being is an unprecedented substance — a new species.”
This “new species” exists, first of all, because the Lord Jesus Christ has been engrafted into our beings. That begins with our having been immersed into Him. (Remember what takes place with water baptism?)
With water baptism, we are immersed. It is tantamount to the old “us” dying and being put into the grave. When we come out of the water, we have been resurrected from the dead. The life that is now in us is the light and life of the Lord Jesus Christ!
transition is underway. Yes, we still
exist in mortal bodies, but that mortality is about to be erased as we come
into an understanding of what it means to have the curse eradicated — both the
curse of death, and the curse of the Law.
The transition takes place in our spirits to begin with, but then
becomes a part of our minds, our thoughts, our reasoning, our emotions — and
then becomes the very substance of our beings.
Hence, we are “a new species.” We
have become something that cannot come out of the
I’ve used this before, and I’ll use it again: we are now “naturally supernatural” and “supernaturally natural.” At least, that’s how the world sees us. Our behavior has undergone radical change. Our lives are no longer subject to the curse of the Law. Let’s see …. how was it that Paul put it when he wrote to the Roman Ekklesia?
Romans 8:2: For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
And then Paul amplifies this so that we can understand why we are not subject to the law of sin and death — and this brings us back to what we are experiencing as we are being led in the Paths of Righteousness into the Valley of the Shadow of Death:
Romans 8:3-16: For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
There’s so much embodied in what Paul is saying here, and I don’t have time to amplify or re-translate everything, but I do want to deal with a few of these verses because they bear directly on our being led into — and through — the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Consider verse 5:
For those whose minds and thoughts are oriented towards, and dwell
on, the desires and cravings of the flesh (along with the lusts that originate
in the mind) are continually in pursuit of that which pleases one’s rational
thinking and satisfies fleshly desires; but those whose thoughts, whose
desires, and whose purposes are to measure up to the mandate of the Spirit,
will be in constant pursuit of that which creates and generates the fulfillment
of the inner man. (Romans 8:5,
Pretty clear isn’t it? But Paul takes it another step. It would make this Coffee Break much too long, were I to continue so let’s pick it up here next week.
I remind those of you in need of ministry that our Healing Prayer
Call normally takes place on the first Monday of each month at Eastern (4:00 PM Pacific). Our call-in number is
the same time, in case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment
of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call –
usually at about
Pacific. That conference number is
Blessings on you!
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