Wednesday, June 29, 2011

ONE in Christ

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish… For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Eph 5:25-27, 30-32 (NKJV)

I have read this passage many times. I’ve heard it read at weddings and exposited by different preachers. At the end Paul says that he is speaking of Christ and the church, but I still didn’t quite get it. But recently I had a revelation – meaning the Holy Spirit gave me new insight to Scripture that I hadn’t had before. And it was this: I am one body, one flesh, one bone, with Christ.

I have known for some time the fact that I am one with Christ, but God has been increasing my understanding of what it really means. What does it REALLY mean to be ONE with Christ?

It is interesting to note that in this passage Paul quotes from Genesis 2 which refers to the creation of Eve from Adam’s rib and the union that it resulted in. This was a pre-fall event so there was no sin yet in the world. As Adam slept and gave up his rib for the forming of his sinless bride, so Christ slept in death in order to create for Himself a sinless bride, who would be one with Him. Sinless? Yes, sinless! (Keep reading!) Our lot is better than Eve’s though because through Christ’s sacrifice we not only receive right standing before God (which is what Eve enjoyed) but we have the life of God dwelling within us! Through His blood we are cleansed and in Him we have no spot or wrinkle, we are holy and without blemish. It says “that she should be holy” and I somehow thought it was referring to the future in that one day we “would” be holy. But what it says is that Christ cleansed her so that she should be holy – meaning that she IS holy. HE did the work and made her holy! In Christ, it’s not that we “should” be holy from our own efforts or that we have to wait for holiness, we ARE holy! We are, in Christ, sinless! “For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.” How amazing is that? “…the two shall become one flesh.” We are really, truly ONE with Christ! Think, just think of the power of that position! IN Christ. Can anything get through Jesus that He doesn’t allow? Than it can’t touch us! As long as we are IN Him we won’t sin, the problem is, is that we keep listening to our experience or the “old man” that is positionally dead. Praise be that when we sin we have an Advocate who is Christ Himself, but we have been given the Word of God “so that [we] may not sin” (1 John 2:1). O that we would be lost in Christ and stay in Him! Jesus, draw me nearer to your heart that I may rest in You from my dead works; that all I do may be born of the Spirit of God and not of my own talents and abilities. May the Church of God rise up and not grieve the Spirit nor shut out the One who died for us, but may He have ALL of us! May we not be cold or lukewarm and lose the light that has been give us (Revelation 3) - may we burn with passion for Him!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Spiritus Sanctus (A prayer to the Holy Spirit)

O Holy Spirit,
As the sun is full of light, the ocean full of water,
Heaven full of glory, so may my heart be full of thee.
Vain are all divine purposes of love and the redemption wrought in Jesus
except Thou work within, regenerating by Thy power,
giving me eyes to see Jesus, showing me the realities of the unseen world.
Give my Thyself without measure,
as an unimpaired fountain, as inexhaustible riches.
I bewail my coldness, poverty, emptiness, imperfect vision,
languid service, prayerless prayers, praiseless praises.
Suffer me not to grieve or resist Thee.
Come as power, to expel every rebel lust, to reign supreme and keep me Thine;
Come as teacher, leading me into all truth, filling me with all understanding;
Come as love, that I may adore the Father, and love Him as my all;
Come as joy, to dwell in me, move in me, animate me;
Come as light, illuminating Scripture, molding me in it's laws;
Come as sanctifier, body, soul and spirit wholly Thine;
Come as helper, with strength to bless and keep, directing my every step;
Come as beautifier, bringing order out of confusion, loveliness out of chaos.
Magnify to me Thy glory by being magnified in me,
and make me redolent of Thy fragrance.

~From The Valley of Vision 

Monday, June 6, 2011

He Controls the Wind

O Lord my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty, Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain. He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters, Who makes the clouds His chariot, Who walks on the wings of the wind...
-Psalms 104:1-3

June 1, 2011 will be a day that many will remember in the state of Massachusetts. Not one, but TWO tornado’s touched down in the southwestern part of the state, killing 4 people, injuring around 200 and destroyed hundreds of homes.

My mom, sister and I were in Springfield MA that afternoon doing some shopping. Around 3:00 we heard a weather announcement of a tornado watch in the Springfield area, but we’ve had those before and so we didn’t think very much of it. Around 3:45 pm we got in the car and my mom asked my sister if she wanted to go anywhere else, but she really wanted to go home as she and her little one (my nephew) were pretty tired. We drove across the Connecticut River and down routes 91 and 20 to her house (about 5 miles east of the town of Brimfield MA). My mom left us there and I took my car and went to switch cars with my brother-in-law where he worked just the next town north of them. I got back to her house around 5pm only to find no one around. “We’re down here” my sister yelled from the basement. “Why are you in the basement” I inquired. “Because the weatherman said that there’s a tornado coming this way and to get in the basement!” Oh. Well, I had the presence of mind to grab a few things before going downstairs, but then I kept coming back up to keep checking outside. After about a half hour we decided it was safe to come up and we hadn’t seen a trace of a storm let alone a tornado and thanks to the TV we could see that it had gone north of us. But just as we were starting to relax, we were informed by the weather channel that there was another storm coming and it could turn into a tornado. Well, I wanted to be prepared so I got some bottles of water, food and stuff for the baby all ready to take downstairs if we needed to go down again. Around 6:30pm it was announced that there was a second tornado in the Springfield area. It was looking like it would miss us again but it could always change direction so we were waiting and watching. At 6:45pm my brother-in-law got home, and the weatherman announced that the tornado was headed due east (straight towards us)! I remember even then having just a calmness and assurance that everything was going to be fine. Just as we were going to head downstairs, the power went out completely. We went into the basement and stayed there for a half an hour, occasionally going out to check the sky and listen. We heard and saw nothing, and didn’t even get a drop of rain. We knew that it couldn’t have been too far away, but we had no power to find out anything and the cell phone reception wasn’t very reliable either. Later that evening we got a really bad thunderstorm which made us a little nervous – would there be a third tornado? But, there wasn’t, it was just a bad storm and there was no damage from it. It wasn’t until the next day that we found out just how close, and how destructive the tornado had been. It had missed us by about 5 miles! Just the next town over had been directly hit, houses and businesses completely destroyed and acres of woods flattened! Furthermore, we learned that the first tornado traveled from Springfield MA along the Connecticut River and on or near routes 91 and 20 – where we had been only 45 minutes prior! Needless to say, we are praising God for His provision and are extremely thankful for having been spared from being hit by the storms! 

The first tornado going over the Connecticut River. You can barely see the bridge in the picture - 
we crossed at that spot about 45 minutes before it hit!

Tornado damage:
 Location: Monson, MA
Location: Brimfield, MA (next town over from where I was)
Location: Brimfield MA
I love this last picture. I was drawn to this verse in light of it: "When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more, but the righteous has an everlasting foundation" - Proverbs 10:25.  If these people weren't believers - I sure hope and pray they will see God's protection and turn to Him!

The LORD controls the wind, and I for one am glad; even though I don't understand why He lets things like this happen, I'm glad He's in control... otherwise He is no all-powerful God! Even when bad things happen, He is still good, just and holy. May all this destruction call to mind His greatness and may all the world humble themselves before Him!

“There were present at that season some who told [Jesus] about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish’." (Luke 13:1-5, NKJV)