One Face

wolfinsheepsclothingThen I saw standing in the middle of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the middle of the elders, a Lamb that appeared to have been killed. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.
 
Then another sign appeared in heaven: a huge red dragon that had seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadem crowns.
 
Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, and on its horns were ten diadem crowns, and on its heads a blasphemous name.
 
–Revelation 5:6; 12:3; 13:1
I continue to study through the rather difficult book of Revelation, chasing after that promised blessing (Rev 1:3) and trying to avoid the temptation to figure it all out (Act 1:7). But as I pondered such strange imagery, I found profound truth in the fact the Beast (Rev 13:1) and the Dragon (Rev 12:3) have many heads. Our enemy has many faces to masquerade his true identity (2Co 11:14), and he will deceive us (Rev 12:9) with a myriad of forms (1Co 10:20), distracting us from the one thing on which we are to stay focused (Luk 10:42). For there are many idolatrous spirits to rule our hearts, many temptations to feed our flesh, and many lies to lay claim over our minds and distort our vision.
Yet even though Christ bears many names (ex: Rev 5:5-6), and his appearance can be complex and mysterious at times (ex: like a slain lamb with seven eyes and seven horns), He has only one face to seek (Rev 22:4). We have only one Spirit to fill our hearts (Eph 5:18) and to follow (Rom 8:14). So do not waste a day distracted by the many faces of our enemy, winding up in useless toil (Ecc 1:14)—but seek His glorious face (Psa 105:4) and perform the duty (Ecc 12:13) of your calling (Eph 4:4).
“But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” 
–Matthew 6:33
Billy Neal
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Golden Rule

goldenrule

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. — Matthew 7:11-12. NKJV

Men, Jesus moves into the “Golden Rule” saying “whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them…” But this is coupled into the finish of “ask, seek, and knock”. Jesus tells us, “if we being evil, know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him”. How does this fit together?

Our clue is in the way Jesus closes the golden rule “…for this is the Law and the Prophets”. Weren’t we told to love our neighbor as ourselves? Jesus is telling us to “ask, seek, and knock” on each other’s behalf. Remember back in 7:1 we began unraveling the “do not judge” passage. We are absolutely called to judge. We are called to judge when our brother or neighbor is in need of prayer, a touch of heaven, for doors and understanding to be opened on their behalf, etc. We are to intercede for each other.

The depth I have found in Christ Jesus did NOT come by accident. It didn’t even come through discipline. It came by the love of Jesus to pursue my sick heart, and the prayers of others who recognized my need for Him and His truths. We are necessary to and indebted to each other for prayer. Jesus is telling us to pray for others as we would want others to pray for us.

We who have come alive to the open access of His Spirit within have a deep expectation from Jesus to pray for each other’s needs. In battle terms, we who have “the radio” and can reach “headquarters” should be asking for airstrikes of truth, understanding, healing, brokenness, humility, new life, new focus and more for our neighbors’ sake. We should be able to judge our brothers’ needs, and call in requests for them. Will Jesus not answer us? As His children, will the Father not grant us what we seek?

As we knock on doors to open for our brother, will The Lord refuse to open for us the door? Move forward men. Find someone to pray for. Everyday should bring volumes of mail into the Father’s courts. He gave us the model prayer in ch. 6. Pray!

Vance Durrance

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Servitude

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No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money. — Mt. 6:24 NLT

Men, servitude is not a question. But, to what we bow down to we can choose. No one likes to think of oneself as a slave, but it takes little thought to discover this realization. What can you never get enough of? What discontent stirs in your heart begging for more. Power? Wealth?

For a few, it’s His presence. Jesus says we can’t serve two masters. We will hate or be loyal to only one or the other. Jesus goes on to say we will either serve God or money. Some translations use the word “mammon”, which is the Aramaic term for “wealth and possessions”.

We can see clearly who is a slave to wealth. Politicians literally sell our national resources for personal wealth and cast suspicion on others to disguise their nefarious deeds. Entertainers will march in front of a camera and say whatever they’re told to say for a negotiated fee. The gods of this world, or underworld, have their minions arrayed in fine clothes and cars and so deceive many to believe freedom is found at “the top”. Their relationships are superficial and dependent upon value gained.

Jesus offers a wealth that we may not see for years. Jesus offers us a freedom that seems strange to others. Jesus offers a peace even to the destitute, and comfort to the most heartbreaking circumstances. I am a slave to Christ and elated to confess it before men. As a mere slave to Christ there are inexpressible gifts that are not offered anywhere else, and more precious than anything else.

Move forward, men, beyond the pursuits of wealth and power the world showcases in its temptations. The world tells us to climb higher. Jesus invites us deeper; and real, lasting, eternal treasures are hidden in the deep. Jesus as Master gave all of Himself. Money as a master takes away joy and replaces with greed for more.

Vance Durrance

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Forgiveness

forgivenessMatthew 6:14-15

Men, Jesus has said in vs12, forgive our debts as we forgive others, and now He revisits the matter. It startles the heart as we read, “if we forgive men their sins, your heavenly Father will give you”…but if we don’t, He won’t.

Let’s be clear. This does not teach that we can lose salvation. Remember, Jesus has been revealing conditions of the heart for several chapters now. Later Jesus will tell a parable of one who was forgiven much debt, but then refused to forgive someone who owed a small debt. Jesus paid a great debt on our behalf. Far more than we will ever be asked to forgive.

Unforgiveness reveals that we do not understand what has been done for us. It reveals lack of surrender. The mind is quick to suppress pain. We may forget a wrong that we never forgave. Jesus here is speaking of a hardness of the heart where unforgiveness is a lifestyle choice. We have all struggled to forgive someone of a deep wound or wrong at some point. Jesus understands these things, and grace covers much. Jesus also does not condone being found drunk. He is quick to forgive a random slip, but a pattern of drunkenness may bring chastisement for our own sake.

Habitual unforgiveness is Jesus’s concern, as it presumes, we have ascended beyond God’s throne, where an offense against us is too irreverent to be overlooked or to go unpunished. Such presumptions make false idols of one’s self. Unforgiveness is poison to the heart of man. Jesus tells another to forgive 70 times 7. He expected that we would put no limit on forgiveness. Of all the topics Jesus could have revisited, He chose to emphasize forgiveness. Jesus came to set captives free. Unforgiveness is a prison that goes with you wherever you turn and hurts everyone you touch.

Move forward men, asking Holy Spirit to reveal unforgiveness within your heart. Surrender it to Christ’s will, and set people free. Take in a breath of free air for yourself. Allow your heart to be healed by His stripes.

Vance Durrance

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