It’s never been about heaven and hell, but about life and death.
• In the garden, God said if you eat of the wrong tree that you’ll die; not get burned alive forever.
• In Romans 6, Paul said the wages of sin is death; not never-ending fiery torture.
• When Jesus came to pay the penalty for sin, He died on the cross; and didn’t burn alive for times without end.
• It’s always been about life and death, not heaven and hell.
• In 1 Cor 15:22 Paul taught us that everyone who was affected by Adam’s sin/death will be affected by Christ’s life. All means all.
• [1Co 15:22 NKJV] 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
• So if death is the real enemy, then it’s awesome news, also in 1 Cor 15, that the last enemy (death) is destroyed. Death can only be destroyed by one thing; resurrection life.
• [1Co 15:25-26 NKJV] 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy [that] will be destroyed [is] death.
• So if it’s really about life and death, and death is eventually destroyed, then considering all the passages about judgement and wrath, our quest is to understand the nature, purpose, and duration of the judgments.
Satan’s progressive, long-term strategy to destroy that family unit, and confuse humanity regarding sexuality. (Because family is God’s #1 strategy for passing His grace from generation to generation)
His main strategy is to push normalization, acceptance, then legalization. This is what sows evil/corruption into the very fabric of society, and removes any sense of conscience in favor of what makes each person feel good. He starts with tempting individuals into evil, then when he has enough, he moves to normalization.
Industrial revolution – Got men to leave the family & homestead to make easier money but left enormous burdens on the wife/mother to run the household all day, every day.
Legalize divorce – People used to have to go before a judge (wisdom) for him to decide whether a divorce is warranted or not. It became much easier to simply file.
Free-love movement – created a generation of people who trashed the sacredness of sex between a husband and wife, for simple pleasure.
Legalize abortion – Wipes out the consequences for free-loving.
Homosexualism – Pushed to make socially acceptable, then legal, then praiseworthy. Can’t procreate, and twists psyche.
Transgenderism – Deepens confusion about simple biology and God as creator and drives narcissistic mental illness deep. Current stage is that Satan is aggressively pushing the normalization & legalization to get this sown into the fabric of society.
Pedophilia – This is already vastly more widespread than most realize, but there is also covert and very strong movement towards normalization and legalization occurring.
Bestiality – Still very taboo to the vast majority but occurring at higher rates than most would believe. Satan is mostly working on the individual level still, leading people into this evil 1 by 1. Normalization and legalization will be pushed next.
AI – Artificial intelligence is his end-game. God-created humans no longer exist as we are now part human and part machine, but the machine is in total control and is programmed by the now astronomically twisted view of right and wrong. This is Satan’s twisted version of God’s “new creation”.
For so many years, I’ve heard it taught over and over about women/wives submitting to men/husbands, and of course there is definite wisdom here because there are obvious passages in the bible that speak to it. But I think this is [what I call] a “default setting”, meaning that it’s the basic playbook, when we’re not discerning the Spirit’s voice; like running plays on the practice field without deviation from form or position. But I believe that we’re called to move on from this basic playbook into the spiritual game of life, whereby we all (male AND female) are operating by the Holy Spirit and there is mutual submission. This is the call or standard. In the absence of a clear hearing-of-His-voice, then we operate according to the default setting. But if/when a woman becomes spiritually mature (which is hopefully, largely in part to a husband’s ministry to her), then in the kingdom we are to transcend these basic gender boundaries, and follow the Shepherd regardless of who He speaks through. And husbands need to learn to be humble and follow their wives when they are the ones who have the word of the Lord.
I have also noticed that many of the men who strongly teach/preach/demand this submission from women/wives seem to be passive and/or are lacking the character and fruit that naturally grows respect and submission from women, and then react to a woman’s lack of submission by hammering the submission passages and calling them to “walk by faith” in submitting to their foolishness. They want to hold to the old/basic form of the default setting but are denying the power of God to raise up women who walk by the Spirit and can rule and reign equal to men. (1 Tim 3:5)Repent whoever you are and acknowledge God’s power to manifest the Spirit of your Christ through all flesh.
But thanks much in part to my godly wife’s example, and other spiritually mature female friends and female bible teachers, I’ve seen that there’s higher angle from which to view this gender friction.
The world’s answer has been the perversion of feminism. But as all of the devil’s moves in the world are, this is simply the counterfeit of something true and powerful in the kingdom. And in the church many women who have felt the call to rule like when Moses heard God stirring his heart to lead Israel. And some women have tried to manifest this call by the flesh and ended up becoming Jezebel’s, like when Moses fleshed out his call by killing the Egyptian. But these negative examples shouldn’t negate the reality that God is transcending gender and raising up spiritually mature and powerful “sons of God”, who are male and/or female. His Spirit flows through male and female alike, and His sheep follow His voice regardless of the vessel through which it flows.
One scripture that I’ve been meditating on this week has been 2 Corinthians 5:16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. To call a woman to submission solely based on her gender, is to regard her after the flesh. Without those differentiating body parts, the only way to regard her would be according to her spirit; or her spiritual maturity. And I think in the kingdom, this is how we are called to be regarding each other; based on the spirit and not the flesh.
Who am I not to submit to the Spirit of the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and High Priest simply because He is coming through a female body? Christ is the ruler of His kingdom, and we are all called to follow our Shepherd regardless of who He speaks through; and so we had better learn put aside our fleshly egos and to hear his voice regardless of whether He speaks through women, children, or donkeys. When He speaks, we obey…period.
In chewing on the simplest, most basic explanation for “how to” live the Christian life, I believe the juiced-down answer is to die. Christ’s life, resurrection life, only flows from one place: a tomb…death.
A Christian man is a 3-part being: body, soul (mind/will/emotions) and spirit. Before we’re born again, all that we have to live by is body and soul. But once we’re born again, Christ literally comes to live inside our spirit providing a new life form to choose to live by. That’s why we’re a “new creation”. We’re no longer simply human, but we’re human mixed with divinity. But Christ’s life flowing through us is far from automatic. We must choose which life we’re going to express on a moment-by-moment basis, and 100% of our quick reactions to life and situations flow from body and soul. So when we are tempted to react, we must stop, die, turn to Jesus and ascertain His response to the situation, and then choose to express His flowing life instead of ours.
A lot of people get born again, but never learn how to live by Christ from the inside-out. So what they end up with is a religiously trained body and soul, nice-guy, do-gooder, church-going kind of person, but bears little to no fruit, doesn’t advance the kingdom or defeat the enemy, and just sit back and wait for the rapture. Or they just keep living a fleshly life and doubt their conversion experience because “nothing changed”.
So “how” do we do this dying?
Body – When our body is lusting for something that it shouldn’t, then we deny it (die to it), turn inwardly to Jesus in our spirit until we are “hearing” what He’s saying about the thing we’re lusting after, and then give expression (walk out) His response; which includes the grace/power to do it.
Mind – When our mind is reasoning in such a way (normally to justify something that shouldn’t be justified), then we take those thoughts captive (die to them), turn to Jesus on the inside of us, hear His thoughts about the topic, then move forward choosing His thoughts that are literally flow from our spirit.
Will – When we are determined to have our way in a situation or being tempted to impose our will on someone else unrighteously, then we die to our willfulness and turn to Jesus deep inside to tune-into His will, and then express that instead.
Emotions – When our emotions are stirred up and pressing us to give vent to them, then we KEEP OUR MOUTH SHUT and turn to Jesus deep inside of us until we sense His feelings on the matter, and then let those flow out through us.
I believe our mouth is a master key to this death-to-Life transaction. Since the flesh has an instant reaction to everything, almost always flowing from selfishness, then when we are tempted to react, if we’ll keep our mouth shut and turn to Jesus on the inside, continuing to silently press into Him until like an oil-well His life rises up, and we give expression of His life through our soul and body, then we are living the Christian life that will actually bear fruit and overcome.
Ministry is wonderful, signs and wonders are incredible, and planting churches is super important. However, TONS of ministry has always been and continues to be a significant mixture of spirit & self. In other words, even though we’re ministering to others, much of our motivations from deep inside are really all about ourselves. And for many, “doing ministry” allows us to only get involved in other people’s messes to the point that are comfortable with, and then we can walk away and go back home and turn it all off. Not so in family life.
Paul taught us in 1 Corinthians 4:15 that though we have 10,000 teachers in Christ, we do not have many fathers. I believe this reveals a powerful insight from Paul’s troubled heart about a crucial element that the church was and continues to be in dire need of.
Ministers, counselors, teachers, therapists, and the like are helpful; but are mostly props and Band-Aids needed due to a lack of high-quality parenting that was not done.
In the coming season where believers get more and more disillusioned with the world system and the institutional churches, and folks continue to try and live out true kingdom community, house churches, organic churches, whatever you’d like to call it; I believe the closest perspective to our heavenly Father’s heart is that these communities are designed to be family. And families are only functional, growing, and healthy if there are mature, wise, loving, patient, firm spiritual fathers and mothers. Who like in healthy natural families, view their role not as a “ministry”; but as sacrificing their lives, time, money, wisdom, & all resources to patiently raise a family to grow strong & productive in every way. Some to stay and continue long-term family life in their local community, and others to be scattered and take with them what was imported during their growing season.
The spirit of Elijah will go before Jesus to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready people prepared for the Lord Luke 1:17.
May the Lord raise up an army of spiritual fathers & mothers.
“The heavens declare the glory of God.” (Psalm 19)
The solar system is a great testimony to Jesus’ preeminence. As long as the sun is at the center and everything else is orbiting around it, then life is balanced and goes on. There’s still suffering, trials, life, and death. But these are all just part of the life-cycle. But if the earth somehow deviated 1 inch from it’s position, much less actually took the sun’s place the center, then all life would cease to exist. Ultimate & final death.
Jesus is to have the center, central, & preeminence (Col 1).
In the areas of our lives where there’s suffering & pain, a great question is to ask if it’s just normal trials that the Lord is using to refine grow us (transformation)? (Like storms & seasons on the earth) Or are there an areas where Jesus isn’t central? It’s a great gut-check to be brutally honest with ourselves, and prayerfully look at our deepest motives and see if Jesus really is our core motivation. Or is it pride, fear, ego, people-pleasing, etc…..selfishness/self-centeredness?
Lord Jesus, you are worthy of our orbiting around you. Teach us how to give you the preeminence in our heart, marriage, parenting, work-life, church-life, friend-life, and family-life. Your are the Life!
I believe this song, with one tweak, is the song of the season. The tweak was to change the individual references of “me” (for example) to community references of “us”; to expand the psalm-like prayer into a more transcendent cry from the body of Christ. Of course our individual worship in the Lord is wonderful, but our corporate worship is exponentially multiplied in beauty and power.
LORD JESUS, POUR OUT THE NEW WINE!
In the crushing In the pressing You are making New wine In the soil, we Now surrender You are breaking New ground
So we yield to You and to Your careful hand When we trust You we don’t need to understand
Make us Your vessel Make us an offering Make us whatever You want us to be We came here with nothing But all You have given us Jesus, bring new wine out of us
In the crushing In the pressing You are making New wine In the soil, we Now surrender You are breaking New ground (hey) You are breaking New ground
So make us Your vessel Make us an offering Make us whatever You want us to be We came here with nothing But all You have given us Jesus, bring new wine out of us Jesus, bring new wine out of us Jesus, bring new wine out of us
‘Cause where there is new wine There is new power There is new freedom And the kingdom is here We lay down our old flames To carry Your new fire today (oh today)
‘Cause where there is new wine There is new power There is new freedom And the kingdom is here We lay down our old flames To carry Your new fire today
So make us Your vessel Make us an offering Make us whatever You want us to be God, We came here with nothing But all You have given us Jesus, bring new wine out of us Jesus, bring new wine out of us Jesus, bring new wine out of us
Make us Your vessel Make us an offering Make us whatever You want us to be We came here with nothing But all You have given us Jesus, bring new wine out of us Sing that again, make us
Make us Your vessel Make us an offering Make us whatever You want us to be God, we came here with nothing But all You have given us Jesus, bring new wine out of us Oh, Jesus, bring new wine out of us Jesus, bring new wine out of us (oh, Jesus) Jesus, bring new wine out of us
It means we’re getting back on the altar Let’s sing this to render everything, Lord New wine out of us Jesus, Jesus, bring new wine out of us (keep going) Jesus, Jesus, bring new wine out of us Oh, Jesus, bring new wine out of us
‘Cause where there is new wine There is new power There is new freedom And the kingdom is here We lay down our old flames To carry Your new fire today Where there is new wine
‘Cause where there is new wine There is new power There is new freedom And the kingdom is here We lay down our old flames To carry Your new fire today
So make us Your vessel Make us an offering Make us whatever You want us to be We came here with nothing But all You have given us Jesus, bring new wine out of us, Jesus Jesus, bring new wine out of us Jesus, bring new wine out of us
I’m writing this commentary because so many Christian men that I have chatted with over the years seem to aggressively elevate the importance of “right doctrine” and “correct theology” to an idolatrous level, in my opinion.
In John 5:39, Jesus said that we search the scriptures seeking eternal life, but they testify of Him. I think He’s obviously elevating Himself over the written word. Not degrading the word, but simply stating that He is the word incarnate, and intimacy with Him is to be sought-after more so than simply amassing knowledge of the written word.
Also, the mind can be lustful just like the eyes, belly, or flesh. What does the mind lust after? Knowledge. It loves to fill itself up with knowledge, knowledge, and more knowledge; to the point that it gets filled with argumentative pride. But in 1 Corinthians 8 we learn that “knowledge puffs up, but love builds up”. Once again, like Jesus elevating Himself above the written word, Paul is elevating the Spirit (love is a fruit of the Spirit) above simply amassing knowledge that may or may not bear any fruit. He even goes so far as to call the amassing of knowledge idolatry.
Brothers and sisters, the written word is great, especially when used as a tool to grow in intimacy with Jesus and for the Spirit to renew our minds and transform us. But Jesus Himself is: Life, Truth, Beginning, End, Door, Alpha, Omega, Resurrection, Bread, Living Water, Way, Advocate, Bridegroom, Shepherd, Creator, Dayspring, and so much more…everything. All things are summed up in Him.
I love the bible, but if you never owned one you could have an intimate, powerful, and trans-formative relationship with Jesus by the Spirit. Knowing Him (deep intimacy with Him) IS eternal life (John 17:3). Not knowing ABOUT Him (like when we study a historical famous person’s life via biography) with head knowledge, but truly knowing Him like you know your wife, children, or best friend.
In other words, He’s a person to be known way more than a subject to be studied.
Unless there’s a severe mental or personality disorder involved, there’s one thing that is the source of all dysfunction. These 2 scriptures give us clues:
1) [Psa 19:1 NKJV] 1 …The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.
2) [Col 1:17-18 NKJV] 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
From #1, when considering our universe, if the earth were 1 inch closer or farther from the sun, then our planet could not sustain life. The critical importance of the sun being at the center cannot be overstated. It keeps the universe in balance.
From #2, we see the God’s design for the individual, marriage, family, and church is that Jesus is to be like the sun in-and-to us. Head (means supply), center, first, and preeminent. And when He’s not these things, we have chaos, disorder, death, breakdown….dysfunction.
So what dislodges Jesus from being central? Juiced down to the core element, it’s self. Selfishness. Think about everything that you’ve experienced when dysfunction was present, and you’ll find someone putting their needs/wants/desires into the space of centrality. Nobody is perfect and we all do this from time-to-time, but if it’s a pattern then the “system” in which someone’s self is being consistently inserted will eventually decay and die; whether it be a marriage, friendship, church community, etc.
Also from #1, in Him all things consist. Jesus holds all things together. Our universe, our marriages, our relationships, our church communities, etc. So, when they don’t consist and they fall apart, we know He wasn’t center and preeminent.
If you’re experiencing dysfunction and breakdown, then you’ll be tempted to blame, make excuses, self-protect, and more; but all these are from the self, and contribute to the decay and dysfunction.
The key to turning dysfunction around into a growing and fruitful situation, is to consistently, day-in and day-out, month-after-month, year-after-year, decade-after-decade, put Jesus into His rightful place as head, center, and preeminence. And then you’ll see a proper orbit, balance, consistence, sustaining, and healthy growth.
I know there’s a lot of people who are struggling in their marriages, and that’s so important because marriage and family are the front-line battleground. The enemy brings it to us here, because marriage and family is THE God-designed vehicle for passing down faith and grace from one generation to the next. (Side-note-News-flash for some: this transference is OUR job, not the pastor or Sunday school teacher’s).
So why are there so many gaps in our wall that the enemy can march right in and bring the battle smack into our living room and bedroom? I believe the answer is found in James 4; [Jas 4:1 NKJV] 1 Where do wars and fights [come] from among you? Do [they] not [come] from your [desires for] pleasure that war in your members? In other words, ** selfishness **. Far too many people get married because they’re looking to fill a God-sized love-hole with another human being, and no human is that vast. Then disappointment, disillusionment, blaming, cheating, and all kinds of selfishness sets in; and that’s really hard to recover from once it’s begun to grow.
So what’s the solution if we want FRUIT (love, etc) in our marriages instead of disappointment, strife, and cheating? Fruit only comes from one place, and it’s not the self. Jesus is the Tree of Life, and His fruit satisfies to the moon and back. His life and fruit makes things better and better over time, like aging good wine. Well, if I’m a believer and this fruitfulness isn’t happening, then what’s the problem. I may be a believer, but still living from my flesh and self instead of the Spirit; which produces death and rot. Fruit doesn’t lie. *** Look at your fruit and be honest with yourself. ***
[Mat 16:25 NKJV] 25 “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
This scripture shows the disease and the cure. Trying to “save my life”, “fight for my rights”, “get her to love or respect me”, etc are all examples of the death-filled process of “trying to save my life”. It’s all from the self, fear, pride, etc.
Learning to truly give my life away FOR HIS SAKE, is what brings Jesus’ transformational and fruit-growing life & kingdom into our marriages and families.
Make your #1 priority to seek a deeper, more real, more sincere, more personal, more intimate, more frequent, more consistent, more flowing, relationship with Jesus; and you will see an increase of fruit over time. But the mindset has to be like farming. We don’t plant good seeds, and expect a harvest the next morning. It can take YEARS of sacrificial laboring, sowing, tending, watering, and weeding before the first fruitful plant grows. But if we’re doing it for HIS sake, then the eventual harvest is absolutely sure.
Some huge distractions from making a deeper relationship with Jesus your #1 priority are: Looking to your pastor to tell you what to think, thinking bible study and getting your theology/doctrines right are the same as intimacy with Jesus, believing that church attendance and tithing are what make you a good Christian, thinking that being a member of the right denomination matters, etc.