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Archive for August, 2011

Becoming Children of God

He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:11-13)

“… it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as descendants. (Rom. 9:8 )

Jesus Welcomes Children

Jesus Welcomes Children

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” (Matt.18-1-5)

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My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,

We have all been taught to respect all of humankind as “children” of God and, in the limited sense that we have all been created by Him, that is certainly true. But the New Testament introduces us to another perspective – and that is, that, we who believe in Christ have become a “new creation” and are literally “in Christ” and “Christ in us”. Because we are created in His image, we are now His brethren and thus “spiritual” Children of the Father and are of the same genre as the Son and destined to be like Him.

Our Current Situation

Our problem today is not so much that we are unaware of this truth but that we have not comprehended that truth in its full spiritual intent so that through faith in this truth we may bring forth its manifestation in our lives. Without this spiritual understanding we end up living our lives as fleshly children ignorant of the spiritual inheritance and the spiritual power and purposes that the Father intended for us in the manifestation of His Kingdom here on earth.

That is why the Lord tells His disciples: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

In saying this, of course, He was comparing the disciple’s obvious spirit of pride and competitiveness to the humility of little children who had not yet been affected by the spirit of the world – whose hearts had not yet been conditioned to thinking and acting like the world but were open and responsive to “true” love.

It is this openness and humility of heart that the Lord is trying to instill in His disciples – a trait, without which, they cannot enter the spiritual realm necessary to undertake a sharing in His ministry – which He termed, “the Kingdom of Heaven”. This doorway into the Kingdom permits us to transition from mere fleshly children to our “New Creation” in Him – spiritual children who have been “born of God” – “children” who KNOW, UNDERSTAND, OBEY and LOVE their Spiritual Father. It is this challenge that the Lord sets before all of us who have been called to be His disciples – the challenge of changing from our fleshly approach to life and truly becoming the Father’s Spiritual Children, Jesus’ Brethren, by yielding to the Spirit of the Son that indwells us.

The Process of Change  Involved

Although the process of becoming or changing into spiritual children is begun in Baptism and conversion, it is a challenge to us because it doesn’t just automatically happen – it requires an action of the will. An action based on our full consent and knowledge of what it means to let Jesus be the Lord of our lives and our yielding to the Holy Spirit to conform us into His image.

It is a challenge because such a commitment goes against our human nature and our fleshly instincts. We must forget our natural responses to life and begin a process of renewing our minds (Rom12:1-2) to what the Spirit of God is leading us to do. We must even change the motives behind our religious activities. For indeed, we find that we are no longer here “to do something for Christ” but to let the Christ that is in us live and work through us to bring forth the Kingdom.

In becoming a child of the King we have to learn to love as He loved, to walk in the Spirit as he Walked, to hear the voice of the Father as He heard the Voice of the Father, and to learn to be an obedient servant as He was a servant.

In becoming a child of the King, we have to move from being self-centered to being God-centered. We have to yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit and be empowered as He was empowered. And, most of all, we have to learn to pray as He prayed – to bring ourselves before the Throne of God by putting on Jesus’ Robe of righteousness and, in His Name, relate to the Father directly as His Children, be enveloped in His Love, and to go forth from His embrace to fulfill His will in this world, knowing that the Spirit of His Son is in each of us and that He will never, never forsake us no matter what.

Is this transformation easy? No, of course not! Not only will you be going against your own fleshly nature but you will be going against the world culture itself. Just as the world did not receive Jesus you will not be received. Just as, His home town, Nazareth, did not receive Jesus so also you will find that not all in your religious community will accept you.

Of course, Jesus is there to help you all you have to do is YOKE yourself to Him!

Encouragement and Good News!

Yet, if you KNOW your calling, like Jesus did, you will persist in doing what the Father has called you to accomplish in His Name, regardless of the obstacles. If you do this in Faith, although you will endure suffering, you will see the mountains removed and the Will of the Father prevail! Praised be His Holy Name!!

Now, in order to encourage you to step out in faith and live out the life of Christ that is in you, I present to you a series of scripture and commentaries that in meditative prayer, will assist you in opening your heart to God’s Spirit so that He may guide you into the process of becoming His Spiritual Children in Christ Jesus.

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Jesus, a Child, and the Holy Spiirt

The Spirit bears witness that we are the Children of God. Has the Spirit witnessed to your Heart that you are His Child?  If so, then you can ask yourself, are you being led by the Spirit of God or by your own fleshly desires? If you are not aware that you are being led by the Spirit of God – then why not?

“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you. So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.” (Rom. 8:11-17)

Who, then, is it that dares to detain us “Lay Children” from coming closer to Jesus in the Spirit?  Is it the Legalists who demean us? Is it our religious culture that misinforms us about who we are in Christ? Or is not our own ignorance of the Word that tells us of our inheritance as children?

“Then little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” And he laid his hands on them and went on his way.” (Matthew 19:13-15)

In the past, when we were not yet His spiritual children, religion was a disciplinarian that made us aware of those things in us that limited our access to the Divine. But, now that Christ has died for our sins and has exchanged His Life for ours, what is it that keeps us from coming to the spiritual awareness of the Spirit of Christ that abides in each of us and that we are co-heirs according to the promise? Why do we still act and think like slaves and not as heirs to the Kingdom?

“Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3:24-29)

“My point is this: heirs, as long as they are minors, are no better than slaves, though they are the owners of all the property; but they remain under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father. So with us; while we were minors, we were enslaved to the elemental spirits of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,  in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God. (Gal. 4:1-7)

But now, as co-heirs with Christ, we have been brought near – we have access to the Father, and no one can separate us from His Love. Have you so yielded yourselves to Christ so that you KNOW that He abides in you and you in Him? If not – why not? Is it because you feel unworthy? Is it because you know you are a sinner?

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us, [how] much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. (Rom.5:6-10)

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,  “For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:28-39)

There will be some of you who think to yourselves: “ … well, I’m not such a bad guy – I go to church and do all the things I’m required to do, I guess this doesn’t apply to me.” Well stop justifying yourself, meditate on the Word, let it divide your soul from your spirit (Heb 14:1-2), and the Spirit will show you your failings,  But this is exactly what God wants of you so that you may turn to Him in repentance.

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.Now by this we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments.

Whoever says, “I have come to know him,” but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection. By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says, “I abide in him,” ought to walk just as he walked.” (1Jn. 5-10; 1Jn 2:1-6)

If we repent and confess our sins He is righteous and just to forgive us (1 Jn 1:9). Then, If we receive His Body and His Blood we will abide in Him and He in us (Jn.6:56) – giving us access, through Christ our High Priest, to the Throne of Grace.  When we do this, we put on the robe of His righteousness (Rom.13:14), so that we can then come boldly before the Throne of Grace. Do not let anything or anyone stand in your way, for you are truly a Child of the King and if you open yourself to Him and His Reign, He will live and manifest Himself through you to the Glory of God the Father! Praised be His Holy Name!!

Approach the Throne as a Child

Approach the Throne as a Child

“Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:14-16)

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In Conclusion

So then brethren, this is the message we heard from Him –  the Good News about becoming God’s Children, that we pass onto you, so that your inheritance in Christ may not go unrealized and so that in knowing who you are in Christ you may go boldly before His throne in prayer to bring forth His Kingdom in you and in those around you! This is how our spiritual Childhood is manifested and how, in so doing, we enter into a partnership with the Divine in what He intends to accomplish in this world for His Glory through the Spirit of His Son that is in us, His Children!

Consider the words of Therese of Lisieux, A Carmelite nun who died of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-four, wrote to a friend:

“… Jesus has so incomprehensible a love for us that he wills that we have a share with him in the salvation of souls. He wills to do nothing without us. The Creator of the universe awaits the prayer of a poor little soul to save other souls redeemed like it at the price of all his Blood.” When God’s word is spoken his kingdom is revealed and his power is released. When people respond to God’s word with faith and obedience they are changed and made “a new creation” in Christ” (cf., 2 Corinthians 5:17).

Do not let the message of the Good News and your calling be quenched for it is not from me but from His Holy Spirit! Praise His Holy Name!

There are many modern Pharisees in the world that will tell you… “no, don’t pray like this” or “don’t teach in His name or heal in His Name for it is against our customs”. But do not listen! They are trying to close the door to the Kingdom – a door that they, themselves, will not enter but are quick to prevent others from entering (cf., Matt.23:13-22).

Place all your trust in Jesus and His Word, guided by the Holy Spirit that is in you and enter the Door into the Kingdom – the Door that no man can shut!  Of course, that Door is Jesus Himself. Blessed be the Name!

Jesus is the Open Door

Jesus is the Open Door

Your Brother In Christ …  Bartimaeus

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2011]

Recommended Links
<> Hearing God’s Voice, and Obeying It
<> Pentecost and the Promise of the Father
<> The Empowerment Gifts (Part 1)
<> The Empowerment Gifts (Part 2)
<> The Kingdom of God: Our Spiritual Inheritance
<> Reclaiming Our Legacy In Christ

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“Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come closer to me”; and all the people came closer to him. First he repaired the altar of the LORD that had been thrown down;  Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD came, saying, “Israel shall be your name”; with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD. Then he made a trench around the altar, large enough to contain two measures of seed. Next he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood. He said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.” Then he said, “Do it a second time”; and they did it a second time. Again he said, “Do it a third time”; and they did it a third time, so that the water ran all around the altar, and filled the trench also with water.

 

At the time of the offering of the oblation, the prophet Elijah came near and said, “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your bidding. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so that this people may know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.”

 

Elijah Contends Against ThePriests Of Baal

Elijah Contends Against ThePriests Of Baal

Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and even licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The LORD indeed is God; the LORD indeed is God.” (1 Kings 18: 30-39)

After his confrontation with the priests of Baal (1 kings 18: 17-40), Elijah, the prophet, fled into the wilderness to avoid the wrath of Queen Jezebel who was in the process of executing all the prophets of Israel she could find  (cf., Kings 19). It is interesting to note Elijah’s very human response to the queen’s threats after he had experienced the power and Glory of God overcome the priests of Baal and thus overwhelmingly show the people that there is only one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

His reaction shows that Elijah did not let the anointing the Lord had placed on him go to his head. He knew that he was only a channel and instrument through which the Lord was working and that all of the power manifested during his ministry originated with the Divine and he had nothing to do with it other than being His willing servant. He knew that he was a weak human being in need of God’s protection and blessing. So he cried to the Lord for help.

Elijah in despair

Elijah in despair

“Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” Then he was afraid; he got up and fled for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongs to Judah; he left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, “Get up and eat.” “(1 Kings 19: 1-5)

As the Lord led him to refuge at various locations Elijah kept complaining to the Lord saying, that he was the last of the prophets who was faithful to the God of Israel, until finally the lord rebuked him telling him that He had seven thousand more who “had not bowed the knee to Baal” (1Kings19:14-18), “Seven Thousand”, hidden ones, who, by implication were His reserve force against the forces of darkness. These, then, were the “hidden ones” of that epoch. They were hidden because they were under the protective cover of the Lord to be used by Him for His purposes in dealing with Israel.

Thy Hidden Ones

Thy Hidden Ones

These former “hidden ones” were “hidden” not only in the sense that they were under the covering of His wings (cf., Ps.91: 4) but also in the sense that they had no rank or status within Israel or the world of that day and thus were indistinguishable from the common people, the poor, the despised, the lay people of that time, sometimes referred to as the “Anawim”.

Yet, it is these simple ones that the Lord holds up to Elijah as his reserve force against the power of evil in the pagan culture into which Israel was being drawn; the term “Seven Thousand” being merely a cultural metaphor for a significant number.

The implication is that these “hidden ones” were the righteous praying ones whose prayers for the restoration of Israel was the reason the Lord was acting through Elijah to bring about the changes needed in the heart of the people so that Israel could once again be considered as “the people of God”.

Today's Golden Calf

Today's Golden Calf

Today, it appears, is no different from the times of Elijah. For we indeed live in a world that worships other “gods” – gods of their own making: money , sexual immorality, lust, power, ambition, greed, narcissism and so on – gods which pervade even our Christian communities and thus prevent the faithful from achieving the personal holiness and service to which they were called.

Today, we also have our “Elijahs”, God’s ministers and prophets who are being persecuted for their stand against the evil world culture through the proclamation of Word of God and His Kingdom! These Elijahs are also being sustained in prayer by God’s elect intercessors, today’s “Seven Thousand”.

These intercessors are also “hidden” in the sense that they attempt, as they ought, to keep in the background of our religious culture. Their relative anonymity provides them the degree of freedom needed to focus and practice the “charism of intercession” under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and apart from any influence that would quench the fire of the Holy Spirit that is working through them.

Because they operate “under the radar”, so to speak, these servants of the Lamb may not have come to your attention. You will find them in almost every Christian denomination eschewing any publicity, because their calling, their Charism, depends on their separation from the world and from the religious politics and worldly influences that surround them. Their great desire is to yield themselves totally to the Spirit of God so that He and He alone rules in their hearts, so that their prayers become the supplications of the Spirit of God for His people.

Each intercessor must be free to express what the Spirit places in his or her heart and thus the modes of prayer will vary form intercessor to intercessor. There will be some who pray and sing in tongues, some who fast and pray continually, some who praise and worship in Song, some who use the prayer of authority to bind the demonic spirits that they are challenging, some who specialize in silent contemplative prayer reaching deep into the Heart of the Divine. Most mainstream Christians would probably not understand the various and distinct modes of prayer and spiritual gifts which come into play when the Spirit of God is given full liberty to express Himself through these intercessors.

Such servants of God would not normally fit in to our over-structured and regimented religious culture where human tradition and formality rule the with regard to the accepted modes of prayer, where there is no liberty to express the true gifts of the Spirit, or to speak the oracles of the Lord as He gives them to us. So it is natural that they would want to congregate in their own small groups, while yet being dedicated to praying for the whole body of Christ.

Today, brothers and sisters, the Lord is calling out for us to pray and support these “hidden ones”, these intercessors of the Lamb. For because they are in fact our front-line prayer warriors against whom the Evil one is waging war against to “take them out”, so to speak, so that he and his evil spiritual companions may continue to disable the church from performing its commission. These “hidden ones” are sent to war against the Satanic powers and thus bring about the Victory of Kingdom of God into manifestation through the power of the charism of the deep prayer of intercession.

The reason the charism of intercession is such a threat to Satan is because it is not merely a human form of supplication but it is, in fact, Christ’s prayer of intercession through His elect servants who yield themselves to His Spirit. For you see, the charism of intercession is the Lord’s charism, for He and He alone, is the one mediator between God and Man (1Tim.2:5). Those who yield themselves to this charism are yielding themselves totally to the Intercessory Spirit of Christ in them so that through that spiritual union they may become His instruments of intercession for His people.

In the Catholic tradition, this type of prayer is not usually well understood because it does not usually follow the traditional forms of prayer but rather depends heavily on the unfettered work of the Holy Spirit through spiritual gifts and contemplative levels of prayer required to enter into spiritual union with the heart of Christ. It is for this reason that most of these type of intercessors usually do their praying inside of convent or monastery walls.

Recently, however, some intercessor communities are coming “out of the closet”, so to speak, but, in certain occasions, are not being welcomed into the mainstream Christian community as they ought. That is why I am asking you, my fellow pilgrims to enter into intercession for them.

In order to focus your prayers for the moment, I am asking that you lift up a specific group of brothers and sisters who have been “crucified with Christ”. Namely, the community of intercessors once called the “Intercessors of the Lamb”, but now, due to suppression by their Diocese [1], humbly call themselves the “Bellwether Lambs” or the “Companions of the Lamb”.  I have placed the links to this organization in my sidebar under the Label: “NEED PRAYER?”, so that you may frequent their prayer site when you also are I need.

Please ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance as you enter into prayer for them. Ask to be joined in the spirit with them in unity with the Divine so that you may fully comprehend in the Spirit, the Father’s Love and desire for this group and their leader and foundress, M. Nadine Brown.

May the Lord empower you prayers and may He bring them to the place where He wants them for His Glory! Amen and Amen!

Your Brother In Christ Jesus  … Bartimaeus.

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2011])

Recommended Links:

Thy Hidden Ones at Bellwether

The Prayer of Intercession

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[1] Note: keep in mind the suppression of Padre Pio as reported below:

The Suppression of Padre Pio

(Excerpted from the  National Catholic register

http://www.ncregister.com/info/email-a-friend/his_friends_remember_padre_pio )

…  

It was on Sept. 20, 1918, that Padre Pio received the stigmata — the wounds of Christ’s crucifixion — while praying in the choir loft of the 16th-century church attached to the friary. After this event, his fame grew, and by 1922 he had attracted the attention of many people — including the Vatican’s Holy Office, which began an investigation. As a result of this investigation, which concluded that Padre Pio was not experiencing anything supernatural, the Holy Office attempted to transfer him to another monastery in 1923. An uprising of the people in San Giovanni prevented the move. Nevertheless, the friar was not allowed to say Mass publicly, or even to correspond with those who wrote him. In Terlizzi, a small town near Bari, about two hours from San Giovanni, another Capuchin who knew Padre Pio said of him, “Knowing Padre Pio was like knowing Jesus Christ,” he said. The key examples from Padre Pio’s life he says, are “silence and obedience.” Referring to the years when Padre Pio was suppressed, Padre Pancracio noted: “With one word he could have changed things, but he kept silent.”

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