For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.1 Corinthians 13:12
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves”- Matthew 10:16
One danger of civilized faith is that we become so domesticated, we begin to live as shrewd as a dove. We are blind to the spiritual nature of life and the unseen reality in which we reside.
Another danger is that we become as innocent as a snake. For far too long, sincere followers of Christ have had to live with the consequences of those who use religion to manipulate others and camouflage hypocrisy.
Jesus made it clear to those who were choosing to be His disciples what kind of leader He was and what kind of followers He required.
It says in John 2:24-25 “But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew all about people. No one needed to tell him about human nature, for he knew what was in each person’s heart.”
Jesus both understood the inner parts of man and the spiritual realities which contributed to man’s bondage. He was not fooled by them. He was as shrewd as a serpent! He knew the hearts of man.
Jesus, knowing this, still went to the cross. He still died a sinners death to purify us from our sinful condition. He was in His actions as innocent as a dove.
The expectation Jesus has for His followers is to model His words, actions and behaviour.
Are you using discernment when dealing with people? Do you acknowledge the depravity of man? Are your eyes open to the spiritual realities that are present in your conversations; to the actions of the people around you? Do you recognize what rests in the heart of man? Do you see how utterly vile human nature is without the nature of Christ coming to rest within?
Seeing all you see, knowing all you know, can you turn around and love your neighbour? Is it within your will to love your enemy and to pray for those who persecute you? Can you give sacrificially to those same people who do only what is right in their own eyes?
Do you believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to transform these broken vessels? Do you trust in the blood shed by Christ to wash away the old nature and leave your brothers and sisters spotless and clean?
Jesus asks us to be like Him. Do not be fooled, be as shrewd as a snake, yet in love, be as innocent as a dove.
“A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.”
The courts of the Lord is where you stand before Jesus. In His presence and in His service.
This is the posture we are told to have in the New Testament.
“Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.”
“And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.”
1 John 2:3-6
This is a picture of what it looks like (while we are in our mortal bodies) to be mindful and aware of always standing in the presence of Jesus Christ.
Do we live with this joy? The joy of being united with Him by His blood and by agency of the Holy Spirit? To be ever present before Him in His courts?
It is a spiritual reality!
Do we live with that feeling, that each day while we live in Christ’s presence is better then a thousand days of our past lives?
The House of God is where you worship Jesus and abandon self.
Have you instituted that in your home? Have you made your house, the house of God?
How have you built your home? Have you based it on your own comforts, security’s and selfish wants? Or have you based it on the comfort given only by the Holy Spirit, the security found in the blood of Christ and the wants and desires of Jesus for your life?
When we fail to build our homes upon the Lord we literally are living a “good life in the homes of the wicked”
That being our OWN HOME!
We have the home which is owned by the wicked, being our selves.
We like to read it, deflecting it on “all the evil people out there.”
It is easy to make it about foreign people with foreign problems. The grass is not all evil on the other side. You have your own weedy lawn!
Your responsible for your own home, no one else’s.
Your good life is the life you made. If your good life is made to please your self and not Christ then your not making Jesus the God of your life.
Your not the hero of the story—— Jesus is!
Let Him into your home by removing all the pleasures of this world, forsaking self and living in worship to King Jesus.
All of Him none of me.
Dead 2 Myself
Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”Luke 1:38
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“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.
May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.John 17:20-23
It is illegal in the Kingdom to be born again and yet carry on with the carnal mind. We will not be able to grow in intimacy with God if we are continually mixing the ‘old man’ with the ‘new man’. The ‘old man’ is suppose to be dead. The ‘old man’ is limited because it is fuelled by human nature. The ‘new man’ has no limitations because he is fuelled by the living Spirit of Jesus Christ.Jasmin Frank
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”Romans 8:14
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Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lordwill bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”Exodus 14:13-14
Historians can trace lent back to the first century church. Lent means spring, and it is one of the root words of the English word “long” -as in, the days get longer in spring.
When lent was first observed it was done by those who were seeking to get baptized, they would spend the 40 days before Easter, preparing spiritually by fasting and praying.
40 days is significant!
In scripture, in the story of Noah’s ark the waters and the rain lasted for 40 days and nights. The Israelites wandered the desert for 40 years.
Jesus fasted for 40 days and was tempted by the devil.
All of these times in scripture were a preparation time for something significant.
The earth rested and was renewed in those forty days while the rain covered the earth. This was in preparation for new life upon the world.
The Israelites heart and minds were transformed in the 40 years of wandering so they would be prepared to take the land that the Lord had promised for them.
Jesus spend 40 days in the wilderness fasting and praying to prepare for His earthly ministry.
When you prepare for a test do you study? Or do you just place your math book beside you and hope the information seeps into your brain?
When a solider goes to war, he must first spend months and months preparing himself both mentally and physically.
These are mere physical preparations.
Lent definitely involves the physical. Yet it is significantly more. It is a spiritual preparation!
We enter into lent as our time in the wilderness, seeking what God has promised. Lent is a building of anticipation for the most glorious event that ever took place in human history.
There never was and never will be anything as significant as what Jesus did on the cross.
He took mans guilt and shame and put it to death, He broke the power of sin and death.
He restored mankind’s created value so we could have intimate relationship with God the Father.
Lent is a time when we dedicate 40 days to prepare our hearts for that deep reality.
Where we prepare our heart for deeper relationship with Jesus.
This is what is so beautiful about the Christian calendar. Much like the Lord’s supper, it reminds us to make room in our busy lives to physically take part in the wonderful story of our Lord and King Jesus!
It’s not something we have to do, It’s something we want to do.
I love lent because it is a time when my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ come together to seek the King! Any time in the year is a great time to fast but Lent is unique as you do your wilderness wondering in a community seeking the same goal—closeness with the Father!
We put aside certain foods, like sugar or meat as a way to say, “Jesus you are my richness, you are my meat, you are the true lasting sweetness of my life. The joy of knowing You is much more than my enjoyment of ham, or bacon or a triple pounder burger.
Fill me with the enjoyment of knowing you and you alone!”
And then when we feast on Easter Sunday, it will transform the eating again of rich foods into a bountiful celebration of Christ’s resurrection.
What you give up at Lent could be anything that takes your time and energy away from spending time with Christ. Something, that if you give it up for a season will leave you with more time and energy to seek Jesus.
What has stolen your focus from Christ?
You give that up to spend time with Jesus in prayer, journaling and reading scripture.
The most important thing about Lent is getting to know Jesus, not about the discipline of prayer and fasting though they truly are a discipline.
It cannot be about biting your lip and fighting to go without.
But about your desire to truly spend more quality time with Jesus.
Have you ever had a friend or family member you truly adore come for a visit?
You are so excited to spend time with them you put aside a book you’re reading or a project you’re working on. You don’t pick up your phone or go on social media at all because all you want to do is sit and talk with that person.
Or do you remember when your parents would take you out school to go to a family celebration like a wedding. It’s so important to celebrate your friend or family member’s happiness that you put aside school to go celebrate with them.
That is what lent is: putting aside things so you can spend time with Jesus.
Lent is the physical action of adoration for the King of Kings.
May it be filled with worship, prayer and deeper revelation of His face!
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“ Place me like a seal over your heart,Song of Songs 8:6-7
like a seal on your arm.
For love is as strong as death,
its jealousy as enduring as the grave.
Love flashes like fire,
the brightest kind of flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
nor can rivers drown it.
If a man tried to buy love
with all his wealth,
his offer would be utterly scorned.”
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Face to Face Series: August 2021
Byron and Jasmin spoke a series of messages at Deeper Life @ SBC which centered on coming into a deep, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
There is no hope with shallow faith to know the true depth of Jesus or the power of the Holy Spirit.
We really felt to release these videos all at once rather then individually so each session would build upon the next.
These 8 in-depth messages will lead you to come to know Jesus is a fresh and tangible way!
Session 1: Put Your Trust In Jesus
Session 2: Relationship With Jesus
Session 3: Jesus The Living Water
Session 4: Ministry Of The Holy Spirit
Session 5: A Baptism Of Fire
Session 6: Growing As A Disciple
Session 7: Living Sacrifice
Session 8: Finishing Well
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