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.