Perichoresis

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Image by Jackson David from Pixabay

The calendar is about to switch to a New Year. It’s the time of resolutions and, while I am not someone who has ever made many resolutions, I have been thinking about the direction of my blog. I cannot see that anything will change in 2022. I long to know God better for myself and to share what I learn here. New posts will start again next week but, until then, enjoy this poem.

This poem is intended to give a sense of the relationship at the heart of God and how we Believers partake of that relationship.

Perichoresis

I wake and find

I am in the midst of the dance

Hand in hand

‘Round and ’round

Moving through

Spirit Sound

Thou the lead

Guiding me

Perfect step

Harmony

Don’t belong

In this place

Not dressed for

Spirit Space

In Love’s eyes

Clarity

Reflected

Renewed me

No more rags

But transformed

With bride clothes

Now adorned

Crown of Life

On my head

Symbol of

Thy blood shed

Love’s purpose

Thou in me

Culminates

I in Thee

Spirit Birthed

Unity

We will have this dance forever

Formed a Vessel-Yod

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Stock Photo from Pixabay

Hello, Everyone, and thank you for joining me as I continue to look at Isaiah 45:7 where God says; “I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.”  Last week I wrote about God forming the light and how I could see a picture of Jesus.  This week, I am going to take a look at the word “form”.

The Hebrew word for “form” in this passage is yatsar.  For those of you who don’t know, there are no written vowels in the Ancient Hebrew language so this word is written with three consonants: the Yod, the Tzadi, and the Resh or, practicing using the Hebrew symbols (and reading right to left): יצר

I have a book by Robert M. Haralick called “The Inner Meaning of the Hebrew Letters”.  This book was my introduction to each Hebrew letter having a meaning all its own and that my word studies could be deepened as I consider each letter as well as the word as a whole. This book gives the following meanings of the Hebrew letters for yatsar: the Yod means “spirituality”, the Tzadi means “righteousness & humility” and the Resh means “the cosmic container”.  Reading this absolutely fascinated me: especially the meaning of the Resh and especially after picturing the light that Jesus is being formed into a man.  As I looked deeper into the meaning of yatsar, I saw not only a picture of the life Jesus lived as a man but how our lives are lived in Him.

י Yod = Spirituality:  The Bible records that, at the moment of Jesus’ baptism, the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him as a dove.  When I look at His life as recorded in the gospels, I see the Holy Spirit working in a man as He had never done in anyone in the Old Testament.  Well, Jesus was God some might say.  That is true but let us not forget that He emptied Himself and became like one of us.  Jesus did not have superpowers but He did live in and operate in the Holy Spirit in a way no one else had.  Truly, in seeing Jesus, we see the New Thing God promised through the Old Testament prophets.

I try very hard not to digress in my studies but it’s difficult: I see so many awesome things!  There are many times Jesus alluded to His oneness with the Father.  There are also many times He was clear about it but one of His allusions is found in John 14 and John 15.  Jesus is describing the Holy Spirit and He says, “but the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14: 26).  Then He says, “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me” (John 15:26).  Who is sending the Spirit?  The Father or Jesus?   HE will because they are ONE!  I thought that was cool.  Anyway…that day came!  The Holy Spirit was sent and His sending is recorded in Acts 2.  He was sent then and He has continued to be sent to everyone everywhere.  The life I now live is the life of Jesus lived in me and that is only possible through His Spirit.

I do know there are those believers who insist the Holy Spirit went away with the death of the last Apostle.  There is absolutely no scriptural basis for this without some serious discounting of massive portions of the New Testament nor is it my personal experience.  I am filled with the Holy Spirit right this very minute.  He is my Teacher, my Helper, my Comforter, my Companion, my Best Friend.  He is the Spirit of Jesus imparting the very life of Jesus in me right now.  He is the Spirit proceeding from the Father who assures me I am accepted and reveals to me how I am loved. 

I encourage anyone who does not know they are filled with the Holy Spirit to do four things.  One, read the book of Acts and see how indiscriminately the Holy Spirit filled people.  Then two, go through the entire New Testament with a pen or bible highlighter-whatever you have at hand-and underline or highlight every occurrence of the word Spirit.  I am certain you will begin to see how this New Covenant is one ministered to us by the Holy Spirit.  Three, say “Jesus is Lord” and then call God your Daddy-which while being respectful, is the meaning of Abba (1 Corinthians 12:3, Romans 8:15).  Done?  Then know His Spirit is in you!  After you have done those three things do number four which is to consider the tradition taught to you might be wrong, refuse to be cheated of your inheritance, and ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to the truth.

In the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, God declares a day to His people when He will, “sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you: I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them” (Ezekiel 36:25-27).  It is always good to remember that this promise, while to Israel, is not just to Israel.  We who believe on Jesus have been grafted into the family of God and this promise is to all of us. 

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).  The promise of God recorded in Ezekiel is fulfilled in Jesus.  We are in Him and His Spirit is in us.  We are clean.  We are being renewed.  His Spirit within us is not only the wisdom and knowledge to know His ways but the strength to walk in them.  This is not a way of life reserved for some spiritual elite.  God shows no partiality (Acts 10:34).  The Holy Spirit is often symbolized by water in the scriptures and Jesus cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38).  This idea is echoed in the glorious revelation of Jesus Christ: “And the Spirit and the bride say ‘come!’ and let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come.  Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in us.  We can have as much of Him as we desire.  May our eyes be opened to see this, may we drink deeply, and may our hearts overflow with rivers of living water.

Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from:

The New King James Version of The Holy Bible, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee, 1982

References

Haralik, Robert M., The Inner Meaning of the Hebrew Letters, Jason Aronson, Inc., Northvale, New Jersey, 1995

Forming the Light

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Photo by Walter Strong

Last week I wrote about asking questions of the Holy Spirit, especially “why”.  I do ask “why”, even though I know I may not get an answer.  My thought on that is, God already knows the “why’s” rattling around in my head so my wanting to know why isn’t a surprise to Him.  I have found if I just ask Him the why of things then it’s with Him, I can trust He’ll answer me when and if He is ready to do so, and my mind is clear to ask Him other questions.  A question I ask with far greater frequency that “why” is, “what does this mean?”

I have had many scriptures interpreted for me by organizations that do, I am sorry to say, have far more dedication to tradition than a desire to know what the scripture actually says.  Scriptural Interpretation is more in line with who these organizations have decided God is than in line with who He has revealed Himself to be.  It can be a struggle to come to a passage of scripture and look at it with fresh eyes, laying aside all I’ve been taught to believe it says, and to have the Holy Spirit teach me what it means.

One of the scriptures I’ve been meditating on for a few years now is Isaiah 45:7: “I form the light and create darkness.  I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.”  I find this a difficult passage to understand, even after I read it within the context of the surrounding verses.  God is making a point that He alone is God: there is no other.  Yes, I believe that.  This is the same God declared by John to be love (1 John 4:16).  Yes, I believe that too.  What then, does this passage mean?  It doesn’t seem possible that a God who is love would create darkness and calamity but I read these words spoken by God Himself.  I want to know and so I present the passage to the Holy Spirit and ask, “What does this mean?”  Then I begin a word study.

Being a rather linear, methodical sort of person, I begin my study with “I form the light”.  Hebrew is a fascinating language, a language of pictures, and I am not very far into my study before a picture begins to take shape.  The Hebrew word for “form” in this passage is yatsar (H3335)The Strong’s Concordance gives this definition: “probably identical with 3334 through the squeezing into shape, to mould into a form; espec as a potter; fig to determine (i.e. to form a resolution):-earthen, fashion, form, frame, make, potter, purpose”.

Of course I want to press on to the creating darkness and calamity part of this passage but I cannot.  My attention is seized by this picture of light being squeezed into a shape and being molded into a form.  I see Jesus in this brief line of scripture and I am awed by Him.  I remember how often Jesus is compared to light, especially John 1:4, “In Him was life and the life was the light of men”, and the words of Jesus Himself in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world”. 

While remembering these scriptures among others, I was also reminded that Jesus’ name means “salvation.”  His name is Yeshua-Jesus being an anglicized pronunciation-and this is so exciting when I read passages like Isaiah 49:6: “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved ones of Israel: I will also give You as a light (!!!) to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation (yeshua) to the ends of the earth”. 

“I form the light”.  In these four words, I see Jesus, the Word of God, the One we meet in the act of creating in Genesis One, becoming man.  I remember Philippians 2:5-7: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant and coming in the likeness of men”.  Some translations, including the English Standard Version and New American Standard have “emptied Himself” rather than “made Himself of no reputation”.  I find the idea of Jesus emptying Himself to be a stronger word-picture revealing all He sacrificed in order to become man. 

I think about 2 Corinthians 8:9: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”  I also think about Jesus’ prayer: “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (John 17:5).  I think about these scriptures and wonder if I’ve ever really thought about them and I wonder if I’ve ever understood what they mean.

I don’t know that I, finite and human that I am, can understand what it was like for The Creator to become His creation.  I ponder the words “squeezed into shape” and “moulded into form” and think it must have been agony.  I think about Jesus being “The Lamb slain before the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8) and wonder at the intention of God.  There’s a hymn that goes, “O how He loves you and me…He gave His life, what more could He give?” The thought expressed here is the truth: Jesus did give His life on the cross.  And yet, He gave so much more than that.  He gave His Life, a God-life beyond description, when He became human. He gave His life before He ever got to the cross.

The Creator becoming His creation is an expression of a kind of love which I have not yet begun to understand the breadth and length and height and depth.  I am absolutely certain I do not fully understand what it means to be the object of that love.  Jesus became one of us.  My value then is the life of God Himself.  What an identity that is!  And, it’s not just mine.  His life is the light of humankind and He is salvation to the ends of the earth.  The value of every other human being is the life of God Himself. 

This then is my prayer in this upcoming week.  I pray this love with which I am loved becomes so real to me that it permeates every thought I have and directs every action I take.  I pray the same for each of you.  May we know what it means to live and move and have our being in Jesus Christ whose life is the light. 

Amen.

Unless noted otherwise, scriptures are quoted from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, Thomas Nelson, Inc. 1982

References:

Strong, James, LLD., S.T.D., The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, 1990

The Questions That Arise

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Hello, and welcome to the first post of 2022!

My social media feeds have been flooded with messages of good wishes for a new year, suggestions to make intentions rather than resolutions, and encouragements to be more mindful, to name but a few of the types of posts I’ve seen.  I am not one for resolutions myself.  I was recently at a retreat and heard someone say, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plan.”  I don’t believe God is the type of being seeking to amuse Himself by throwing a wrench into our best laid plans but neither can I deny there is some truth to that statement.  Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart deviseth his way; but the Lord directeth his steps” (KJV).  That’s the scripture that keeps coming to mind during this time of resolutions and seeking change and so I do not seek to deviseth my own path, but to be aware of the Lord’s direction and to walk where He would have me go.

This very decision implies relationship.  I cannot walk by the direction of the Lord without being aware of Him: His presence, His thoughts, and His voice.  And, I am.  He is always with me and I seek to always obey His promptings and corrections.  I have to admit I don’t perfectly obey but it’s more of I didn’t recognize a prompting until afterward rather than deliberate disobedience.  Moving into a new year, I ask The Holy Spirit to continue to guide me into greater understanding and discernment.  May I recognize the sound of His voice every moment.

I ask.

I have been thinking about asking questions of God.  I do it all the time.  If The Holy Spirit is my teacher, as the scriptures say He is, how do I learn except I ask questions?  I do not know any teachers who do not want their students to ask questions.  Why would we expect The Holy Spirit to be different?  I already shared how I wondered about the Elder Brother in the Prodigal Son story in Luke 15 and how within a few weeks I had Malcolm Smith’s sermons on just that subject.  This has happened many times.  There is so much I don’t understand (Ha! Understatement) and there has never been a time where I have posed a question to The Holy Spirit and he has not answered it.  Sometimes it’s through another teacher, sometimes it’s through the scriptures, sometimes it’s a book placed on the right shelf at the right time…there are many and varied ways in which He answers me and, the more He answers me, the bolder my questions get.

I ask The Holy Spirit, “why?”  Two teachers I have learned a great deal from, two men I admire and respect, have both at various times said “don’t ask God why”.  I understand why they say this.  Consider the mind of God.  If you are a believer in God and believed He created everything that is; then you believe the vastness of creation with its infinite variety, its precision, and its intricacy originated in His mind.  He imagined it and spoke it into being.  How can my finite mind begin to comprehend the infiniteness of God?  It cannot and neither can I ask “why?” because as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways higher than my ways and His thoughts than my thoughts (Isaiah 55:9, paraphrased) and I cannot possible comprehend the answer.

And yet-I have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).  The Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead lives in me (Romans 8:11).  This same Spirit is the Spirit Jesus promised would guide me into all truth, show me things to come, and take all the things of the Father that were given to Jesus and give them to me (John 16:13-15).  This is massive.  It’s beyond words.  It’s definitely a time to Selah until the reality of it saturates us to our cores.  This is the life that Jesus has made available for us, I boldly ask Him “why?” and I trust He will answer me.

I do believe the way of asking is important.  I do not demand to know “why?” like I am putting God on trial and expect Him to defend Himself to me.  I do not spit my “whys” at Him and use them as an excuse to go my own way.  I ask as His child and I ask within the parameters of that relationship. 

I’m sure all of you who are parents have experienced your child asking “why?”  You do not shut down that precious curiosity nor do you ignore a question that has been asked in pain.  I do not believe our Heavenly Father does so either.  But then, neither does a loving and concerned parent force information on a child who is too young and inexperienced to understand.  Sometimes answers to a child’s “why’s” are only partial answers and sometimes they can only be answered with, “I cannot tell you that yet: you are not yet old enough to understand.”

There have been many times where that is the answer I have received and it is an answer I am okay with.  When I receive that particular answer, I expect something to happen.  I don’t expect anything specific but I know that an opportunity will come where I can learn something.  Sometimes I recognize the opportunity as part of the answer to the question I have asked.  Other times, it’s an answer to something I didn’t think to ask.  Whatever happens, I know that I can trust my Father is not mad at me for asking and will, in His perfect wisdom and timing, give me the answer I desire.

To those of you who have stuck with me over the last year, thank you for reading!  I don’t expect the content of the posts to change much in the upcoming year.  I do hope each post will reflect growth in understanding, discernment, obedience, and delight in this life I live in Jesus Christ.  My prayer for myself and each one of you in this new year is that Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation will expand our knowledge of Jesus Christ, that the eyes of our hearts will be shed with light that we may come to fully know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in us, and that we would know the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!  Amen.

Heart of The Father

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I think I can say with certainty that every Christian is aware of the story of the Prodigal Son recounted in Luke Chapter 15.  I have heard numerous sermons on this chapter and numerous songs sung but each one have been about the Younger Son or, sometimes, about The Father.  I have never heard a sermon on the Elder Brother.  That is, until I heard Malcolm Smith preach one: five of them, actually.  The timing of these sermons is one of those little coincidences that come only from God.

I had been reading this story and found myself thinking the Elder Brother had a point.  Have you ever thought this way?  If so, I bet you never told anyone.  Everyone knows the Elder Brother was wrong in his attitude.  Even so, I couldn’t help thinking the Elder brother was making some valid points.  I knew I had to be wrong, but I had no answer as to why.  As I said, I had not-up to this point-heard a sermon on the Elder Brother.  Even Malcolm Smith, who preaches regularly on Luke 15 and especially the Prodigal Son, had never done a sermon on the Elder Brother that I knew of.  I did not know where to find an answer, so I made a journal entry.  I prayed about an answer and left the giving of that answer to The Lord and His timing.

First, why did I think the Elder Brother made some valid points?  I have been the one not invited to parties.  I imagine how the Elder Brother felt coming in from the fields and hearing the music.  I imagine how it felt to hear that the Younger Brother had come home and The Father had thrown a party and no one had come out to the field to get him and tell him.  I know what it feels like to be overlooked.  I can imagine the Elder Brother’s feelings at the fatted calf being slaughtered in celebration of the Younger Brother’s return.  The Father had never celebrated the Elder Brother.  Perhaps in his grief he never noticed the Elder Brother always there taking care of everything and never thought to throw a party for him.  If the Elder Brother was hurt and angry, wasn’t it possible he had good reason?  No.  Of course not.  Everyone knows the Elder Brother was mad that The Father didn’t treat the Younger Brother how he no doubt deserved to be treated.  Right?  Maybe.  All I could say for certain was I had an uncomfortable feeling that I was reading this all wrong, I did not understand what Jesus was saying in this story, and had no idea how to gain understanding.   

Within a short time of recording my thoughts in my journal, I reached Malcolm Smith’s Webinar 189 and heard him begin to speak on the Elder Brother.  It was liberating to hear him say almost word for word what I’d been thinking: that he’d sometimes thought the Elder Brother had some valid points and knew that he was wrong in thinking so.  Mr. Smith then proceeded to preach the first ever sermons I’d heard on the Elder Brother.  They are numbers 189-193 on Mr. Smith’s YouTube Channel and I’ll include a link to his channel at the end of his post.  I cannot recommend these sermons enough.  I found them to be of immense value.  Through them I learned that yes, I was mistaken to think the Elder Brother was making valid points.  In his own different way, he was as far from The Father as his Younger Brother.

It all boils down to relationship and how neither son had one with The Father.  The Younger Son was much more vocal about things by demanding his inheritance but he couldn’t get his without the Elder Brother getting his double portion (see Luke 15:12).  The story doesn’t have the Elder Brother offering up a word of protest as the Younger Brother made his demands.  And, the Elder Brother’s complaint is not that The Father never celebrated him but that The Father never threw a party for him and his friends.  He had no desire to celebrate anything with his father.  The Elder Brother had no understanding of The Father’s heart and the story doesn’t say he had any interest in doing so.

The heart of The Father.  I have been thinking about this for a while now and thinking about the attitudes of both sons in Jesus’ story.  The Younger Son at least came to a place where he could begin to understand the heart of his father and understand that heart was full of love.  Jesus leaves the story unfinished.  What about the Elder Brother?  Does he realize his father loved him so much he left the party to ask him to join?  Does he see that his father always loved him?  Does he respond to that love and join the celebration or does he remain in his anger?  Does he see that he never knew his father or understood The Father’s love?  Does he stay outside in the darkness where all he can do is hear the celebration and rage at it?

What will I do?  A few weeks ago I wrote that God had invited me to see people as He sees them.  This is true but not the entire truth.  I and every believer in Jesus, have relationship to the Father because we are in Jesus Christ and His Spirit lives in us (See Ephesians 2:18, John 14:6).  John 14:23 says, “…if a man love me, he will keep my words and my Father will love him and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (KJV).  Jesus is my Lord and Saviour, His is the name above all other names, and He had the preeminence in all things; yet I cannot have a relationship with Him without also having one with The Father.  God cannot be separated and wherever and however I meet Jesus, so also do I meet The Father. 

I find I don’t have to be afraid of Him.  I find He is not wrothing and frothing (to borrow from Joyce Meyer!) and is only restrained from tossing me into hell by the bloody horrific death of His son.  No, I find I can trust Jesus words when He says He and The Father are one (John 10:30).  I believe that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (2 Corinthians 5:19).  I find The Father is safe.  I believe that He so loved the world that He gave.

What is harder to believe is that all of that love, all that He is, is for me.  I still feel as if I have to be doing something.  I can’t exist just to be the beloved of God, I have to do something.  I have to bear fruit, I have to go into all the world, I have to-I have to….I hear His voice saying, “My dear child, you are always with me, all that I have is yours.”  I realize then I’ve been working for Him and not having a relationship with Him.  I remember I cannot bear fruit on my own but only as I abide in Jesus and His life flows through me.  Relationship.  I remember my works are worth nothing unless they are the works prepared for me before the world began.  I only know what that is within relationship.  I remember that I can do good works, give all my money, even offer up my body and none of means a thing if I don’t have love: the agape love that God is.  I only know that love and have it for myself if I have relationship with The Father.

Just this Sunday, the speaker during Service said, “God doesn’t heal in order to use.”  I had to write that down and it’s something I’ll be thinking about for a while.  How often I have begged to be used by God!  The Younger Son had his speech ready and was willing to work as a hired servant.  The place he’d known as son was surely no longer for him.  The Father didn’t listen.  He loved the son, dressed him, restored him, and threw a massive party.  I want to know the heart of that Father.  I set myself to seek the very heart of God.  I seek to cease from my labors and know I am beloved of God.  I boldly enter His presence, knowing a new and living way has been given to me by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:19-20, 22).  I find it’s not at all what I expected because The Father is having a party and all I have to do is join in.

Malcolm Smith’s YouTube Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/user/MalcolmSmithWebinars/videos

Perambulation

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Perambulation

I wonder as I wander
Seeking no specific place
There are many things to ponder
I want the sun upon my face
As I head hither and yonder
I find I'm still in Spirit Space
And I wonder as I wander
How You'll help me run this race

I wander as I wonder
Why I didn't have a clue
This duress I have been under
Had nothing at all to do with You
With my misperceptions rent asunder
I can clearly see what's true
Those things that we call wonders
Are things only You can do

Be still and know that I Am God
The words have come through loud and clear
I find the commandment rather odd
Because I know You're more than near
You are with me in this body
Which is Holy Spirit dwelling sphere
But I'll be still and know my God
And wonder where we'll go from here

No longer do I wander
I guided by each word You say
Stillness is not time I squander
Because You teach me how to pray
My desire's not to maunder
From this path I will not stray
No longer do I wander
When I'm walking in The Way