Sunday, May 29, 2011

Holiness Restored

The Trinity is not a new concept invented by modern theologians in an attempt to describe the union between Father, Son and Spirit as the Bible translates their fellowship. From before the foundation of the earth there was a Triune relationship which is characterized by love, adoration, joy and acceptance. Into this amazing fellowship we are now adopted so that we can share in the blessings of being part of an eternal outflow of love, benevolence and approval.

Paul very distinctively writes: “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. (Eph 1: 3-5)

Chosen before the foundation of the earth we were predestined to take part in this union which heavenly places pertains to. As members of the Trinity we are considered holy and blameless. Holiness hence refers to our new position in the heavenly realm. Moreover, holiness can be understood as a state of eternal joy, love, acceptance and mutual admiration. This potent word is pregnant with the wonder and the beauty, the passion and the sheer togetherness of the Trinitarian life.

When Christianity arrived in Rome holiness by and by lost its original meaning. Interpreted in the Roman judicial system holiness was transferred into the legal realm. In this world of pure law holiness came to mean legal perfection or moral rectitude. This metamorphosis heavily influenced the church so that holiness became a matter of conduct and behavior and hence made it possible for legalistic conceptions about holiness to prevail in the institution. This influence has gravely distorted the true meaning of holiness, and furthermore turned holiness into something man has to attain in order to prove his devotion to God.

Holiness is the effect of Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. However, the Adamic race wouldn’t have benefitted from Jesus finished work if those defiled by the fall, that is, every man, wasn’t included in everything Jesus accomplished. Therefore, we are crucified with Him, we are resurrected with Him and we have ascended with Him. This mystical transference which took place when Christ became us is our guarantee that we are included in everything He accomplished.

Holiness understood from a legal perspective irretrievably reverse the whole act of reconciliation, to such a degree that this understanding purports that Jesus came to save us from God. Changing God has become the object of Christ's sacrifice. He came to convert God so that God's wrath could be emptied upon Him and not us. However, Paul insists that Jesus came to save us from ourselves and the consequences of the fall. While we were utterly helpless Jesus came to save us from bondage and the spirit of error's evil domain.

To too many Christians the word holy denotes alienation, fear and estrangement, when its proper meaning has all the opposite connotations. Its true and original meaning can only be properly acknowledged in concepts such as inclusion, peace and fellowship. In short, our holiness pertains to the undisputable fact that we are reconciled to God and that our original design, that is, that we are created in His likeness, is restored.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Before You Call He Will Answer

It is written, ”And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer” (Isa 65:24). In our daily struggles and adversities we might find this verse a bit hazy. God claims that before we call He will answer. Try that in a phone call! Anyway, in our daily lives we often wonder where that answer is, notably when the wind blows really hard. Despite everything which seems to contradict this amazing promise I find that there are at least two applications of this verse.

Firstly, as long as we dwell in the temporal realm we are subjected to some severe impediments regarding our general overview. We really have no means to find out if God saved us from a hideous car accident because we were delayed a minute. We don’t know in what ways He has arranged everything so that in most instances we do not have to call, because everything is already taken care of. Faith is the only mean with which we are furnished to acknowledge His activity in our lives when there are no other evidences. Sometimes, however, we can say, "That was God!"

Paul wrote, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Eph 3:20-21) The realization of this verse has nothing to do with your abilities or devotion. It only hinges on which power that works in you. In Christ God has taken possession of you and hence He is that power. He is constantly active in our lives. We are always in His thoughts. Our Father neither sleeps nor slumbers in regard to His precious sons! The promise in this verse is constantly and perpetually a reality in our lives whether we recognize it or not.

Secondly, ”And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer” means that to whatever circumstance we encounter God has an answer. God has called us to be co-workers and co-operators of His universe. To this end He trains us. We hence face a variety of challenges in our walk, and therefore He says, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” (Eph 5:14) By default our attitude is one of submission to appearances – a heritage from the fall when we saw everything in fragments, and separation embossed every thought we had. In order to become proficient co-workers He teaches us to see beyond appearances and hence in increasing measure trust Him and as we become more and more settled in the union reality, ourselves.

Awake you who sleep, and receive the light which empowers you to see God in everything. Awake to the desires in you. Awake to what you want in this situation. Dare to trust your desires in any circumstance, and speak to God the solution you so very much want to see manifested. It is His desires which well up in you and those exact desires are His answer to your situation. Be bold in your requests! Know that the answer is a reality in the spiritual realm, and in His time it will become a reality in the material realm. My friend, you are never abandoned. He is always active in your life so that everything you encounter is in reality an opportunity for your Father to bless you in ways you had never imagined.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rest in Work

We all know that life is work. It is action. We are always on the move, both on the outside and on the inside. When the author of the epistle to the Hebrews says we ought to enter God’s rest he evidently isn’t talking about idleness. This is by the way the only “ought to” left in our lives after we became God’s. So what is this rest we are to enter into?

“God’s rest isn’t rest from work….. it is rest in work”, Norman Grubb so masterly put it. We are resting when we have the sufficiency to do the work. Unrest or strain is to do something from a position of insufficiency. In this not so insignificant difference lies the freedom to be who we are created to be!

Our God is a God of action. Joyfully He runs the universe. He has the sufficiency to do so. In us God also is a God of action. Life is action, movement, change of seasons. We are caught in the middle of this creative life force. When we are caught by God there is no escape. He won’t let us go. He has stuck Himself to us. Isn’t that wonderful!

A state of insufficiency or unrest occurs when we become self-centered in our outlook. My life, my status, my position, my money and so on – we can make the list endlessly long. That really wears us out. However, God won’t let us be there forever. Only until we have learned our lesson. Our greatest problem is perhaps all those expectations laid upon us by others. It is impossible to live out our life from the inside when we are burdened down by faulty expectations on how to run our life and what to do.

To work from sufficiency is to have more than enough to do the job. There is an undertow of joy in everything you undertake. Your special gifts and talents are in action. Your dreams are being realized to such an extent that you have to rub your eyes in utter amazement. That is rest! That is God in action in your life. Take heed of yourself; respect your desires and dreams. Let everything God has put on your inside have leeway. Allow your uniqueness to shine!

Norman Grubb concluded, “So ‘rest’ is adequacy in action….it’s inside action.”

(Both quotes by Norman Grubb are from The Meaning of Life, pages 50-51)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

They Have Been Satisfied By the Truth

One of the most heartrending episodes in Jesus’ life was when He at the cross cried out: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Our Savior came out of the womb of the fallen Israel to join the ranks of a fallen humanity. If He was to be a savior of all mankind His identification with man had to be absolute. He became like one of us in order to live our life in the flesh. We are not exaggerating when we assert that one of the most astounding events in all history took place when one member of the Triune fellowship became flesh.

He came down to share in our fallen condition so that we could share in His fellowship in the Heavenly realms. The Triune fellowship is characterized by an unspeakable joy. The three members’ desires are in total harmony and they are completely devoted to each other. The camaraderie and love which flows unimpeded between the Divine persons is so pure and beautiful and radiates with such a light that the fallen man cannot approach its presence without being devoured by its fire.

Jesus descended so that we could ascend into the Heavenly realms and be partakers of the unspeakable joy and love of the Trinity. He identified Himself with us so that we could identify with the Triune fellowship. Perfected through what He suffered He blazed a trail which we could follow when He after the resurrection ascended to where He now sits by the right hand of the Father.

What seems as the pinnacle of Jesus’ identification with a fallen mankind was when He at the cross cried out those famous words, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” That is our cry. Ever since the fall our insides have cringed under the burden of a penetrating sensation of abandonment. As an attempt to alleviate the pain we have created gods in our image. Remote and aloof those gods have mirrored our perception of the living God.

Psalm 22 answers our cry which Jesus articulated: “He has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.” Paul elaborates in this manner: “He is actually not far from each one of us, for in him we live and move and have our being”. The Temple’s veil which tore apart revealed God’s presence in every man. Concealed behind the veil God, the sustainer of all life, dwelled in the Holiest of Holies. From now on every man could find God. Not lo here or lo there, but inside every man God has erected a temple not made by hands.

Whereas large numbers of new creations are still groping in darkness and perpetuate the cry of abandonment there are those whose hunger and thirst for righteousness has driven them into the mystery where they have been satisfied by the truth, that is, they have found that Christ is their life. They have discovered that they are irrefutably intertwined with the Trinity and joined as one with the Godhead.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Let There Be Light

Paul discloses a profound secret to the saints in Rome when he asserts, “we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Rom 5:4-5)

There have been times when I have read this and thought; really? I am the first to admit that I am like an averse little kid when these seasons of suffering occur. I don’t like it the least. An inevitable question is why do I react in this fashion? I believe it is because those sufferings reveal something about my faith, notably the fact that sometimes I resemble that wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. In other words I am not completely convinced that God is in full control and that He is love and love only. Moreover, I am not totally persuaded that everything that befalls me is His perfect plan for me in any circumstance.

I assume this was what Peter had to learn when he was sifted and as a consequence denied Jesus three times. After the revelation where he saw that Jesus was the Messiah he must have thought that now he was the initiated one and hence knew everything. His testimony from that moment onwards must have been that God is love. Peter was convinced that he loved Him back and on account of that not so small fact would never ever deny Him. However, there must have been a slight doubt in his mind regarding those things he took for granted. The only way Peter could become aware of his delusion was through testing.

Now we have come to the core of the matter. Our reason to rejoice is that God’s prime concern is to make us safe in His love. A most fascinating evolvement or perhaps it is more correct to say fascinating unveiling of our new heart takes place when we become settled in His love. Unimpeded by doubts regarding our Father’s character our new heart begins to produce what Paul calls character. This is a recognition of who we really are, that His love is poured into our hearts and that that is the eternal source from which our life flows.

Even though we have received a new heart it seems like it needs reassurance and love in order to blossom and mature. In a matter of speaking it is softened when we understand that God is love and that He is for us. I find that this law is operative in me: The more I recognize God’s love towards me the more loving and understanding I am towards others. This is definitely a fascinating aspect of the new life. It displays my humanity and that I am created for meaningful relations shrouded in love.

Most importantly, though, is the fact that love is the most significant characteristic of the Triune relationship of which we now are invited to be partakers. Hence, we are trained in love. We are not responsible to become more loving. God is the one who through our different experiences in this life see to that our new life is manifested in love. Norman Grubb said, “I am not a maintaining self. I am a maintained self.” God is my keeper and maintainer!

From this perspective we realize that those periods of testing also involve a subversion or erosion of our self-sufficient-self. A process which is absolutely necessary if we are to grasp the enormity of God’s grace and how comprehensive Jesus’ finished work is. After the incident outside the high priest’s courtyard Peter’s self confidence was in disarray. He must have doubted God’s love since He allowed this calamity to come his way. Perhaps worst of all, Peter must have felt his nothingness as a devouring darkness.

Into this vacuum God’s light and love flows unobstructed and fills Peter with a new understanding of who he is in an eternal perspective. It is the kind of emptiness the Genesis account alludes to into which God commanded: Let there be light!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Which is Born of the Spirit is Spirit

One of the most fascinating conversations ever recorded is found in John 3. Jesus is giving Nicodemus a lecture in the principles of the Kingdom. As the rest of the Jews Nicodemus believed that Messiah would establish Israel again as a prominent nation. They thought that God would install Israel at the helm of world affairs. That His Kingdom would be a literal kingdom. To Nicodemus Jesus established that the Kingdom would be an invisible Kingdom inhabited by those who were born again by the Spirit.

Ezekiel prophesized, “I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land.“ The Kingdom of heaven is our own land. We are merely sojourners in this temporal realm. We belong to another dimension – unseen by the natural eye. There we live, move and have our being.

A few sentences later Jesus says a most stunning thing to Nicodemus: “…that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”. When Jesus meets the Samaritan woman He informs her that God is spirit. A spirit is invisible if it hasn’t any means of manifesting itself. The universe is thus a manifestation of God. He who is all in all can be found in everything for those who have eyes to see. In the same manner we express our true self – our spirit - through our body and soul. Those who have eyes to see can the glory we have from our Father. We manifest our spirits in a lesser scale than God, hence He calls us gods.

The Kingdom of God isn’t referring to a future bliss. It is here and now populated by those who are born again by the Spirit. About those who haven’t accepted Christ John writes: “Whoever does not love abides in death” and “…whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” We pray and hope to see them join our ranks of born again spirits. Paul states clearly that every man is reconciled to God, but evidently not everyone has the life. Man is reconciled to God, but only those who are spirits and born again have life.

Do you believe that you are a lover? John says you are if you have the Son of God. You can’t help yourself; you love people and you love everything God loves. Remember you are a spirit. You are a partaker of God’s life. You are an other-lover no matter how you feel or how you perceive yourself. As spirits we function on a quite different level. We do not live by sight, but by faith. And by faith we call into existence the things that do not exist. Be patient with yourself and do not judge according to appearances. As spiritual persons we make spiritual judgments.

When the full extent of the fact that we are spirits sinks in a most glorious thing happens in our consciousnesses. A wave of relief and freedom wash in over us. We recognize that the abundant life isn’t something into a dim future. It is here and now. We clearly understand that as spirits born by God we are not limited by any law. We are driven by His love which far supersedes any law.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Who are You, O Great Mountain

I ask you my friend to never think disparaging thoughts about yourself and what you consider as failings or warts in your personality while in this temporal realm. I have been in that place where I always fought what I perceived as flaws in my personhood. I have begged God to improve me - to make me more loving, more caring, a better listener, more energetic etc. I have tried with all my might to become a better person. The measuring stick was the law and manmade codes of ethics.

My seemingly flaws seemed as mountains to me which I had to conquer and flatten. Listen what God said to Zerubbabel: “Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain.” How is that possible? There is only one answer: “He shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of 'Grace, grace to it!” The shout of grace is reverberating through the universe and when your ears hear its call you know the answer. From the top of your consciousness the truth about who you are will reach every corner of your being. Can you hear the shout?

When the truth settles you will see that what you perceived as flaws and shortcomings are plains from God’s point of view. In His time He will make them your biggest assets. Yes, we are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are His works, and we are a work of His hand. When that spirit of error was kicked out of the temple and God’s Spirit filled it God declared over us: You are perfect! Do you believe it?

In Noah’s days it continued to rain until all the mountains were covered by water. God’s work will always cover our mountains of self effort and our erroneous notions about who we are. The water from above will make everything level. Can you see it?

Well, who are you, O great mountain? You are the lie from the Garden of Eden. You said we had to become like God. We have disclosed your lie. We are like God. How can it be any different when we are created in His likeness? It is a magnificent work of His righteous right hand. My work is to believe that He has done what is impossible for man. So, let’s go to work with a light heart.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Refreshing Taste of Freedom

The following constitutes a part of Paul’s greeting to the Galatians: “For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” Paul is referring to the Gospel when he utters those indeed bold words. The gospel he was sharing was not given him by any man; it came as a revelation of Jesus Christ. It should then be clear that the good news that Paul preached was something quite different from what he previously had been taught by the men of the law.

In verse 16 Paul makes a most astounding observation: “God revealed His Son in me”. Some translations have made this into; “….revealed His Son to me”, which is something quite different. The Greek preposition used in this context is “in”. What we can infer from this and what also align with our own experiences as Christ is formed in us is that Paul and we go from outer reality to inner reality and we realize that we are inner people.

The inner life is governed by utterly different principles than the outer life. Contrary to attempting to follow outer ordinances and regulations the inner life endows us with the opportunity to be whole persons and not least true to ourselves and those around us. Following outer principles is a sure path to dishonesty and hypocrisy. We are a sick and tired of being pretenders, and as the outer pressures mount the cry in our hearts is: “I want to be real! There must be someone out there who loves me and accepts me as I am!”

That was Paul’s prime discovery! This was the foundation for his gospel. God is love and He loves you beyond your wildest imaginations. In fact you cannot imagine His love. You can, however, under those limitations we now are subject to to a certain degree experience His love, but more importantly you can by faith be fixed in your consciousness that He is love, and hence in everything you can count on this fact. In weakness, in darkness, in misery, in confusion, in affliction you can count on one thing: God is for you!

As this amazing fact begins to settle in our minds outer circumstances begin to lose their power in how we perceive ourselves and life in general. No matter what happens we are safe in Him. Of course, this unfetters those inner potentials we a period believed were against His will and good pleasure. For some it means that they can play card with their friends, for others they are now free to exercise the music someone told them was from the devil.

You have your history, and I have mine. What we have in common is this: We suddenly blossom in the light and love of our Father and can finally be who we were created to be without any inhibiting outer fences. Our motivation comes from within, from Christ in us and He was as you perhaps remember accused of being a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Serving God

The cry in most churches and denominations is that we must serve God. Well, then, how do we serve God? When Jesus came into the world he said: “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body has you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, 'Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.”

This is plain and straight forward. God is not interested in man’s attempt at pleasing Him by making sacrifices and offerings which often is at the core of the message in regards to serving God. “You have to offer more of your money, time etc.” “You have to make some sacrifices for God, you know.” To be honest with you: God is not interested!

Asking for forgiveness and punishing ourselves mentally when we have failed is nothing else than burnt offerings and sin offerings. God takes no pleasure in our attempts to atone for our misdeeds. Jesus’ sacrifice was once and for all. There is nothing we can add to His finished work. Forget it!

However, what we know is this: God has prepared a body for us through which He who is Spirit manifests Himself. Secondly, we have come to do His will. How? We are conduits through which His life flows. That is serving God. We serve Him with our bodies so He can make Himself known to the world. This is the reason why Jesus said: Those who have seen me have seen the Father. Remember, we have the same oneness with God as Jesus had.

Those who attempt to serve God by their good works are nothing more than servants and their self-perception will be accordingly. However, those who by faith have entered a more elevated level in their consciousnesses do not regard themselves as servants. Jesus calls His brothers and sisters friends, and that is what we are -friends with the creator of the universe. To see this truth and hence enter into it is indeed a wonderful thing.

Those who know who they are have given up any effort towards serving God with their own means. They just are. Through those God’s life and light flow unimpeded. Since they know this precious fact they are unperturbed by appearances. They live by faith. They have moved into the New Jerusalem where everything is clean and covered with gold. To the pure everything is pure, Paul wrote.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Lord of Heaven and Earth

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. (Acts 17:24-25)

Those are words Paul said to the men in Athens. Our God doesn’t live in temples made by man. Neither Churches, Cathedrals, monasteries nor convents are His dwelling place. He lives in temples made of flesh, that is, the pinnacle of His creation – men. Only God can make man. That is His sole privilege. It is pure vanity to imagine that man can create a house from brick and wood that contains the Creator of the Universe. He has found a dwelling place in what only He can create.

In the same manner it is pure vanity to imagine that we can serve God. He is the one who has made Himself servant to all mankind and gives us everything. I assume when Paul uses the word “everything” he means what he says – everything, that is, nothing exempted. “God only requires Himself”, Jessie Penn Lewis once wrote. The gifts of the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit, our worship, our self-for-others-love are all Him manifesting Himself in our form.

In the new dispensation as new creations in Christ He has made us participants in His life. We live His quality of life, we breathe and exhale His life and we are made everything in Him. To live by laws and ordinances are an artificial kind of life. The cry that we must serve God is void and without substance. He, the sustainer of life, doesn’t need anything. Penn Lewis further wrote: “What God wants out of us He will first put in.” What He puts in naturally flows out again – rivers of living waters. This is the higher law of love which comes to expression without boundaries as we cease from our own works and realize that without Christ we can do nothing.

Monday, January 10, 2011

God Judges Upwards

I am afraid I am challenged to give some depth to James 2:19 which says: “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” I am not in a position to provide my readers with a comprehensive exposition, just some preliminary thoughts. The verse has always confounded scholars and many consider it as an obscure verse, and so it has been for me for many years.

The only beacon around which I can navigate in this context is some thoughts which manifested in my tired mind a late evening. I am treating the subject at hand with the uttermost caution and humbleness. I perfectly know that I only see in parts, and that there are others out there who see other parts which might shed more light on this.

First of all we have to acknowledge that many Christians fear God even though John says there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). I find it difficult to say that there are similarities between human faith and how demons believe. However, there is a huge difference between believing that God is one and that we are one with God. The first can instill fear, the latter casts out fear.

The key word I am given in this context is separation. Those who believe in separation, that is, the illusion that God is out there somewhere are those who might shudder. When the devil thought he could become like God, his mindset obviously must have been separation, that he had some sort of life in himself - that God wasn’t all in all – that he could sustain life by his own powers. That God is all in all can’t be grasped intellectually. It is a subject to faith only.

Perfect love is consummated in those who have entered a consciousness of union. Knowing that you are one with God provides the peace that transcends understanding. We do well believing that God is one, James says. If his statement is to make any sense in the greater context of our discussion he must be alluding to our oneness with God. The demons can’t possibly have a consciousness of union. Their only reality is separation by virtue of that this was the mindset that sparkled Satan’s rebellion.

It is the mindset of separation which motivates a Christian lifestyle where the main focus is how to please God. Paul Anderson-Walsh puts it like this: “Have you ever found yourself wondering, “Who is the real me?” Most of us have. Moreover, many Christians have to live with the added guilt which comes from a numbing sense that who we are is not who we should be. Consequently, we live our lives trapped in a cycle of performance, rotating between commitment, failure, condemnation, confession and re-dedication.” A consciousness of union is the only remedy against this cycle of performance.

A last reflection on why both demons and too many Christians shudder. When a person thinks that God judge downwards he will perceive himself to be in a precarious position. One wrong step and judgment is effected from above, that is, punishment. The demons rightly believe that God judges downwards. Their destiny is sealed. However, the gospel judges upwards. Jesus didn’t come to judge the world or to condemn the world, but to save. There exists no reason whatsoever to shudder in unconditional love. The issue is, however, that too many do not hear unconditional love. They hear conditional love which is something different all together, that is, the system of the world.

God judges upwards to bring life. We judge upwards to bring life to those God has given us.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Five Loaves and Two Fish

There is a deeper and more profound context to the bread and fish miracle than what meets the eye. We all know the story – how Jesus multiplied five loaves and two fish and hence fed a gathering of five thousand men. In addition there obviously must have been both women and children present. The intriguing thing is that the five loaves and two fish represent our humanity. That is how far our powers stretch – five loaves and two fish are all we have to offer a hungry world. However, in our rebirth we were joined one Spirit with God and in that instant we no longer are five loaves and two fish. We often erroneously think that that is all we have to offer until the revelation comes which opens our minds to a far greater reality. In this union with God it is impossible to discern or make a distinction between man and God. We are so completely meshed together with God that to tell where I begin and God ends is an utter impossibility. From here it becomes very interesting, because in this union we are no longer merely five loaves and two fish. We are multiplied so that our influence is far beyond our human limits – those we operated within before we came to Christ. In this new setting where God has taken us over we are just as astonished as the disciples when we behold what happens around us when we serve what we think is a rather meager portion to the world. It multiplies! The Spirit is all over the place! Almost incredulous we watch how God feeds a huge gathering of people through us. And miracle over miracle; after the feast there are twelve baskets with leftovers which we bring with us home. After we have given out our portion we are better off than what we were before. We have more to give at the next occasion, and we have plenty to satisfy our own needs so that we are always refreshed, quickened and energized in the aftermath of our ministering to the world. It is the oneness with God that Jesus prayed for that makes all this possible! The prayer is answered! We are multiplied! God has made the impossible possible.