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I heard a great phrase last week from one of the speakers at a conference I attended. Mark Chironna said we need to slow down to the speed of revelation.

The simple point was that we get fixated on reading through the scriptures. Maybe we have a goal of reading in large chunks every day. I actually saw a website that suggested that if you weren’t reading six chapters of the Bible every day you should not call yourself a Christian. (Legalist much?)

Mark Chironna’s point was that God wants to speak to us through His Word, and if we are just powering through, we’ll miss it. Sometimes we need to slow down and listen.

We need to slow down. Let God speak.

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” - Matthew 4:4 ESV

It’s important to understand that this verse does not say every word God wrote in His book, but every word that comes out of His mouth. God speaks today. Much of what He wants you to hear is in His word the Bible, and much of it comes through revelation as we meditate on His written word. Still more comes through our conversations with Him. It must all be poured through His written word, and it must all be measured against our plumb line—Jesus—the Word of God in flesh and bone.

Once more, when we read His Word, we need to slow down. Let Him speak directly to your soul as you mull it over, chew it, swallow it. Drink deeply of the living water. Let His word permeate you. Let it fill you. Let is satisfy you.

Mark shared that the ancients would sometimes sit with one verse for weeks and let it speak.

I remember a couple years back doing that with John 14. I spent almost a year just going back to it over and over again. And today, when I go back there, what I learned in that year is still there, but there is always fresh bread on the table as God continues to feed me from these everlasting words.

cropped-BenHeadshot.jpgThanks for stopping by,

Slow down to the speed of Revelation with me,

Ben

9

Ask Anything

Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. - John 16:23 NASB

I have always loved the amazing ‘anything’s and ‘everything’s in Jesus’ language. But this one really struck me last night as we studied John 16, because it seems out of place here.

For one thing – it’s not even a whole verse (not that Jesus spoke in verses and chapters – but someone, somewhere, thought that it should not stand alone. Many translations have it near the end of a paragraph that speaks about the sorrow the boys would be feeling as…

…they stood by and gaped from the side lines as the Jews – the Romans – the Father puts Jesus to death. Their hearts would break as this One who they trusted – they believed – they abandon all to follow – would be torn apart just hours hence. He promised them joy at the end of the ordeal that was just around a Jerusalem corner. He likened it to the way the pain of childbirth fade as you gaze into the eyes of your newborn daughter or son.

In the broader context He had also just be telling them about the ministry of the Holy Spirit. How the Father had given Him everything and it was the Holy Spirit’s ministry to disclose – reveal – all to the disciples (and to us.)

As we surveyed this passage, there was a clunk in my spirit as something locked into place.

Follow this thought with me, will you?

Jesus has everything that belongs to the Father – OK – so everything – right?

How did Jesus deal with all of His needs and wants throughout His ministry?

For instance:

How did Jesus come up with the provision to feed 5,000 men? (Probably a crowd of 10,000 or 15,000 by the time you add in all the women and children.)
How did He heal the sick?
How did He pay the taxes?
How did He raise the dead?
How did He come up with material for His teaching ministry?

Well, according to Him, He did what He saw the Father do, and said what He heard the Father Say. (John 5:19, John 12:50)

His relationship with the Father and His communication with the Father gave Him access to (as Peter put it) everything needed for life and godliness.

So when we read “if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you” in John 16:23, we are learning that revelation is the key to everything in life.

Our connection to the Holy Spirit, who will take of the ‘all’ that Jesus has (yes –everything) and disclose – reveal – it to us, is the most powerful and plentiful source on the planet.

It’s why Paul could say:

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:19 NASB

How will He do it? How will I gain access to these amazing riches? How can I get them into my area of need?

REVELATION

Let me say it again.

REVELATION

It is God’s chosen method of delivery.

That’s why Paul prays like he does in Ephesians 1:

…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, - Ephesians 1:17-18 NASB

That’s why Peter tells us

…seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. - 2 Peter 1:3-4 NASB

Let me break that one down just a bit.

His divine power” – the power of the Holy Spirit in the believer

granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness” – that which belongs to Jesus (that's the everything of John 16)

How?

through the true knowledge of Him” – and what did John tell us the Holy Spirit would do – disclose everything of Jesus to us – this transfer of knowledge is called REVELATION.

There’s even a who – those called “by His own glory and excellence

you may become partakers of the divine nature” – you can walk like Jesus walked.

Tell me how once more please

He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises” – there it is again – REVELATION.

The promises of His word revealed to our hearts gives us access to all that the Father has, and has given to the Son by the indwelling Spirit.

Father, today I ask you to open my eyes, reveal to me what I need to walk in everything you have for me today. Keep me attuned to Your voice this day.

BN Writers Page 150Have a great day.

Come back again soon.

Ben

 

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Many Waters - SoS header

I was asleep but my heart was awake.

Song of Songs 5:2 NASB

Our maiden is now in a confident and wonderful relationship with her Lord. She has given herself to Him without reserve.

She sleeps – she is at rest – the rest of one whose sins He washed away.

Hebrews 4 tells us that there is a rest yet to come, but for the believer, the striving to achieve our own salvation is over.

When we see that the work was done for us on the cross, we can rest.

But even as we rest from our self-sanctifying labors, our heart – our spirit – is awakened, perhaps for the first time.

My heart is awake.

There are times when I am dog tired, and I lie down in my bed to sleep, but I am mulling some scripture – His voice – His Words floating in my – rest – and my spirit begins to hear from His Spirit. The Spirit of God begins to call to memory the thing He said (just as He promised.) Then I am up – trying to capture it – trying to process it – trying to keep up with where the Spirit will lead.

Do you know this rest? Do you know this waking?

My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.
When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches,
For You have been my help,
And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.

Psalms 63:5-7 NASB

Ben NelsonRest in Him.

Attend to His call.

Ben

6

Arm of the Lord

Who has believed our message?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed
?

Isaiah 53:1 NASB

Here we sit at the top of one of the most impressive bits of revelation in the Book.

I love where the Lord starts here.

Who will believe what I say, and who will see My strength?

Do you see that those who believe will see.

This flies in the face of rationalism. You may say seeing is believing.

The Lord says if you hope to see, you must first believe.

To those who believe, it is given to see the strong arm of the Lord revealed on their behalf.

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. - John 14:16-17 NASB

The world does not see the Spirit of Truth and so cannot receive Him.

Lord, give me a heart to believe so that I can see and be saved by your strong arm. [Tweet this]

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

Ben

5

Living Water
Living Water

A garden enclosed
Is my sister, my spouse,
A spring shut up,
A fountain sealed.
...
A fountain of gardens,
A well of living waters,
And streams from Lebanon.

Song of Songs 4:12, 15 NKJV

Living Waters

If you are like me, when you think of living waters, you think of what Jesus said in John 7.

He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.' - John 7:38

However the phrase “living water” did not originate in the gospels.

The first time these words are paired in the Hebrew Scriptures is in a fairly familiar story in the life of Isaac. If you remember Isaac was becoming a very wealthy man and he had large flocks and herds.

Then Isaac dug again the wells of water which had been dug in the days of his father Abraham, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham; and he gave them the same names which his father had given them. But when Isaac's servants dug in the valley and found there a well of flowing  (living) water, - Genesis 26:18-19

I know it does not say living water here, but it is the same two Hebrew words, and when I drop the phrase living water into this sentence, knowing full well that Jesus was going to equate living water to the work of the Holy Spirit…

But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. - John 7:39 NASB

… it makes me ponder this story anew.

I long for a day – and I pray it is today – when we can raise up a generation behind us who does not have to re-dig our wells, but can start in the Spirit where we have left off.

Two things are desperately needed in the Church for this to happen.

First, we must realize and recognize that the Spirit of the Living God who has given us everything we have, is the same Spirit who dwells in the next generation of believers. These young believers, no matter how young, have the same Holy Spirit dwelling in them as we do in us. We MUST pass on what we have (at least the good stuff) to those who follow us.

Next we must realize and recognize that the Spirit of the Living God that dwells in the generation that has come before us is the same Spirit who dwells in us, and be willing to receive from those who have been in the faith longer that we have. We do not have to reinvent the faith anew for each generation.

Revelation comes line upon line and precept upon precept, and if we can start where our forefathers left off, imagine how much further we could travel. If our ceiling becomes our children’s floor (to borrow a metaphor from Paul Simon) imagine how they could flourish in the faith.

This goes for our denominational differences too. I am thinking now of the strife that exists between the Charismatic folks and the non-Charismatics, or between the Calvinists and Aminians, or between seven-day creation Christians and old Earth creation Christians.

I see Christians actually trying to fill in the wells of living water from those of other backgrounds. When did you become a Philistine?  [ok – I am starting to rant – but I hope you see the picture I am painting.]

Let me be clear, I want us to share only the Living Water – that which flows from the throne of the One True God. I am not suggesting we adopt an ‘any doctrine will do’ stance, but I long for the day when leaders from these various camps can stand together and find the common ground, then share the sweet living water that comes from the deep wells they have dug.

If we can begin to share the Living Water we are getting from the deep and plentiful wells God has provided, rather than defending our wells and despising others, we could grow in unity and love, and the One True Church of Jesus Christ, that church that He is building would truly flourish.

Ok – I honestly did not expect this post to go in this direction today.

Lord, I ask you for opportunities for me to share from my well, and to taste the sweet revelation from the wells of others. I pray my pride and partisan spirit would not hinder the life of Your Body today.

Thanks for coming by.

I am afraid we will have to come back to the living water again next week. I didn’t even get to the place I was expecting to start today.

Ben NelsonDon’t miss next week’s installment.

Walk in blessing today.

Ben

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photo credit: AlbinoFlea via photopin cc
photo credit: AlbinoFlea via photopin cc

Sunday afternoon musing

While listening to a podcast yesterday at Fire on your head

David Edwards the co-host said something about God always sending thoughts and ideas our way, and it got me thinking about one of the most precious passages in the Bible, Psalm 139:

Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Thy book they were all written, The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.

How precious also are Thy thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with Thee. ~ Psalm 139:16-18

I got thinking that rather than things about us occurring to God as we run into circumstances, what if God in His vast foreknowledge has, before He knit us, before He molded us in our mother’s wombs, thought His thoughts and wrote His book. What if those thoughts are available to us by plugging into the Spirit any time we need them.

Any time we need direction, God’s thought toward us don’t just happen, but are already being broadcast, or sitting ready to be tapped.

Think of it like this. One of my favorite Bible Commentators is Matthew Henry. He wrote in the early 18th century. I sit pondering a passage of scripture, and then go digging in his commentary for some further light.

As I read his work, the light turns on and I get a totally new revelation (to me) about the Bible. It happens to be something Matthew Henry wrote in 1709, but I just tuned in 300 years after the fact.

It was there for the taking. My dad had a set of these commentaries that he bought before I was born, so any day in my life I could have gotten this “new” idea from the good old MHC.

So it is with God’s knowledge of us and what we will be needing.

The One Who formed us, Who knows our end from our beginning, Who knows every possible consequence of every possible choice we could make, has thought about these things and written them in His book about us.

And He has not locked that book away so we can not get to it. It is available to be checked out of His library any time.

We simply need to plug in.

I am convinced this is how Jesus lived. Daily communing with the Father, senses tuned to hear His voice and His council as He walked the paths of Galilee.

God is not perplexed by your circumstances. He knows you and would be glad to share some great ideas with you.

So turn down the noise in your life that drowns out His voice, grab that volume from His library shelf, and settle in for a good read.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

See you again soon.

Ben

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For the last week or so, we have been plowing through the parable of the soils. We spent most of our time looking that the descriptions of the soils and their comparisons to our ability to receive and process the Word of God.

The purpose behind many of the parables was to teach those who were able to hear, principles and characteristics of the kingdom of God.

And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” And He answered and said to them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted." (Matthew 13:10 NASB)

Depending on your definition of parable, Jesus used about 60 in His teaching ministry. There are about 40 of them that Matthew retells. After the story we have been considering, Jesus, in the book of Matthew alone starts 13 more parables with a phrase like “The kingdom of heaven can be compared to…”

Over the next few weeks we will dig into these other 13 and see what we can learn of the kingdom of God.

A quick definition first – so you understand – the kingdom of God or the kingdom of Heaven is not a synonym or euphemism for heaven or the after-life. The kingdom of God refers rather to His reign in men and women. We, you and I, those who have given our lives to the Lord of Glory, are His kingdom.

This takes me back to Isaiah’s prophesy of Messiah:

There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:7 NASB)

And these from the Revelation of Jesus Christ given to John:

And the seventh angel sounded; and there arose loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15 NASB)

And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:16 NASB)

Why, you may ask is it important for us to understand this kingdom? There is a clue in the verse above from Revelation 19 – He is the King of Kings – and you, beloved, are a Royal Priest – a King or Queen in training.

Check out one final verse from the Revelation:

And there shall no longer be any night; and they shall not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall illumine them; and they shall reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:5 NASB)

You see, our work is not over here. God has created you for an eternal purpose, and this is the training ground, or at least the first training ground. Remember that God will be demonstrating His grace and kindness in the AGES TO COME by what He has done in us. (from Ephesians 2:7)

So lets get to work, learning of this kingdom in which we will one day reign.

BenThanks for stopping by today.

See you tomorrow

Ben

photo credit: antonychammond via photopin cc

 

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