Faith, Observations

Transition States: Laboring to Rest


God Gives Rest To The Weary“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  – Jesus – Mathew 11:28 – 30 HCSB

Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell]. – Apostle Paul – Hebrews 4:11 AMP

Sometime around 1989 or 1990, I was walking around in a mall in Fort Worth, Texas.  I ran across a display of art called Stereograms.  These are the computer generated art that look like a bunch of dots or squiggles on a canvas.  In order to see the image hidden in all the dots and squiggles, you had to relax your eyes.  As you relaxed, your focus changed from what you think you see, to what is actually there, hidden in plain sight.

After you learn to do this, repeating it seems simple.  Well…I had to train myself to do it.  Relaxing my eyes was not easy for me.  It meant letting go of my visual boundaries in the middle of a mall full of strangers.  It also meant letting my mind experience something new, visually, so I can see what I normally would not perceive.

Here is an example of a stereogram.  To see the image in the stereogram, look in the center of the picture, and completely relax your eyes, or let them go “unfocused”.  The hidden image will pop out.  At the bottom of this post, I will tell you what is on the image.

Did you see it??  Spectacular, wasn’t it?  If you didn’t see it, please don’t stress out, and don’t stop trying.  Learning to relax and see what is right in front of you isn’t always easy.  Trust me on this, I have a hard time relaxing, and seeing most of the time.

Keep at it.  You WILL see it the second you relax and allow yourself to see.  This is an example of striving to rest, or laboring to rest.  Unless you relax and allow your eyes to rest on the image, you cannot see it.  You have to work at letting go, at seeing things differently than you are used to.  Once you DO see, it becomes easier to see.  Eventually, your eyes will just know how to do it.

On the surface, this picture looks more like chaos than order.    The patters you think you see are mere distractions, leading your perception away from what is hidden right in front of you.  Seeing what is really there is actually a volitional act.  The mind is conditioned to see and perceive what it accepts as real or truth.  To get the eyes to see and perceive what is not easily seen, you have to rest in the ability to see.  You have to let go and trust your eyes to do the seeing, without forcing them to filter based on a fear or an opinion.

Once you see what is on the image, you perceive a reality that underlies all the noise.  And coherence happens, and the message is understood.  But you first have to get beyond the noise to understand the signal.  You have to relax and trust.  You will see when you do this.

YOUR HEART HAS EYES, TOO.

“[For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him, by having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones), and [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength, Which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places], far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred], not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and the world which are to come.”  Letter of Paul to the Ephesians – Eph. 1:17-21
When you hear a truth, or a lie, your heart knows.  You can be in a pitch black room, blindfolded, but when someone lies to you, your heart “gets a catch”.  And when someone tells you the truth, your heart resonates to it.  You know deep inside when you have been lied to.  The depths at which you perceive a lie or the truth is based on how much time you have invested in knowing what is true.  When you know what truth sounds like, deep inside, you can spot a lie a mile away.  You never have to study lies to recognize one.  Your heart knows.  That is having eyes in your heart.
The more time you spend learning truth, the better you are at knowing the truth and discerning what a lie is.  Perhaps this is why Politicians are so deluded.  All they do is study how to lie and deceive.  The truth would probably kill them.
The Apostle Paul prayed that the eyes of our heart will be opened so we can see.  Jesus also commented on people who have eyes to see but refuse to perceive, and ears to hear, but refuse to understand what is heard.  Even His disciples had this problem.
In Mark 8:17-18, Jesus admonished His disciples for being somewhat obtuse:
“Jesus said to them, ‘Why are you reasoning and saying it is because you have no bread? Do you not yet discern or understand? Are your hearts in [a settled state of] hardness? [Isa. 6:9, 10; Jer. 5:21.]  Having eyes, do you not see [with them], and having ears, do you not hear and perceive and understand the sense of what is said? And do you not remember?'”  Amplified Bible
What is it that we need our hearts to see and remember?   In the case of the disciples, they had already forgotten that Jesus IS the Bread of Life.  They were looking at what appeared more real to them than the very truth that stood in front of them.  With God, all things are possible.  The leaven of the Pharisees was that the Pharisees had taken the will and word of God and added to it until they had developed a life sucking, religious system that enslaved the Jews.  Jesus repeatedly told the disciples that he had come here to free mankind from the chains and heavy burdens that religion and the world had put on them.
With carnal eyes, the people heard what they wanted to hear, and ignored the real message of Jesus.  The people expected Jesus to overthrow the Romans and restore order to the temple.  But that is not the freedom that Jesus was talking about.
A change happens to us when we first become Christians.  We see, as if for the very first time, things that are in the scriptures, there were there all along, but were hidden from our understanding.  We read the scriptures, and they suddenly made sense.  The words were always there, but our ability to perceive them was not.  When we became Christians, the eyes of our heart were opened.  We SAW the truth in our heart.  We understood.  Even the world we looked at appeared different.  We were seeing and perceiving what God had placed right in front of us.  The cares of this world, the temptations of the flesh, the hardness of our hearts were what was keeping us from understanding.
So what happened? Just like what happened in Ephesus, we fall prey to our own vain imaginations, or to a religious system that leads you, ever so gently, back into that darkness from which Christ delivered you.  We become burdened with falsehoods, and are told that the hell that appears in front of us is the real reality.  That we must work hard, and strive to overcome the world.  That God helps those who help themselves.  We return to a fallen state (Not loss of salvation, but not allowing the Spirit of God to change you).  We then become legalistic and tell people who God is mad at us all, that he is going to get us if we don’t repent from (Fill in the blank, there are millions of single issues religious groups fight over).
The Christ that we first perceived fades into the distant past.  Your joy turns into struggle and anger.  The place in your heart that was full of life returns to the barren desert that you lived in before Jesus.
“The eye (Of the Heart) is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is sound, your entire body will be full of light.

But if your eye is unsound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the very light in you [your conscience] is darkened, how dense is that darkness!” Matthew 6:22-23 Amplified
What makes our eye darkened?  Remember what Jesus asked the disciples?  “And do you not remember?”
We are in control of what our heart looks at.  We are in charge of what we choose to remember, to believe, to hold as being truth.  God did not create us to be robots or automatons.  We are free to chose our lives, our destinies, our way of being.  What we believe is true in our hearts manifests itself  in the material world.
When we first believed, our eyes were opened to a beauty, to a love, to a joy we never knew was possible.  All that disappeared when we took our “eyes” off Jesus.  We can choose to forget whet Christ has accomplished for us, and in us.  We can do this simply by choosing to forget how to see what He has accomplished.  We return to the way the world tells us to believe.  We buy in to a religion that teaches us that WE must work in order to prove ourselves righteous before God.  That our efforts, the sweat of our brow is where God will judge us.
WE FORGET WHAT CHRIST ACCOMPLISHED
Jesus Christ did not come here to start a religion.  Jesus came here to fulfill all the requirements of the Law and the Prophets.  Because all the law did was show mankind that we are not able, on our own ability, to please God, and the Prophets foretold of the Messiah who will come and be slain, Jesus mission on earth was to satisfy the requirement of the law, and manifest what the prophets spoke of.  Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
Jesus did not come here to judge you.  Because He fulfilled the law, you are free from all condemnation.  You were set free.
Remember that freedom you felt when you were first saved?  You felt it because your heart saw that you were genuinely free, and that all the ability of God was given to you.
Religion is a man-made structure that uses guilt, fear, and condemnation to drive you to do what it wants done.  Religion, just as in Jesus’ day, robs us of our joy, our hope and our freedom in Christ.  Religion exists only to serve itself, but blames its falsehoods on Jesus and the Bible.
Jesus came to restore a loving relationship between God and Man.  When Jesus was nailed to the cross, he didn’t just die FOR our sins, although that is what happened, Jesus BECAME all sin, for all time.  He WAS sin.  And God, in fulfilment of the requirements of the Law, poured all His wrath on Jesus.   Jesus fulfilled the law.  Jesus alone did this.  God abandoned Jesus on the cross for this to happen.  Fellowship between God and Christ was broken.  This is why we hear Jesus shout, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”  This was prophesied by Isaiah, and is the fulfillment of the prophesy that the lamb of God will be slain for the redemption of mankind.  When Jesus became sin, he and he alone took on, absorbed, and suffered the entire and full wrath of God.  When that was accomplished, Jesus said, “It is finished”.
WHAT WAS FINISHED?
Your death was finished.  When you accepted this free gift of Jesus’s death on the cross, you accepted life, forgiveness, and eternity.  You accepted that Jesus, and He alone took on your judgement so you can receive His blessing, eternal life.  When Jesus rose from the dead, He proved he and he alone has power over death, too.  When you believed that Jesus was your sacrifice, in your place, and you believed he rose again, you rose with him.  You rose in new life with him because you were dead and buried with him on the cross.  All sin leads to death.  Jesus died.  All sin is dead now.
Jesus did what no other human could do.  Because he was without sin, and the law required a sacrifice of a completely sinless being for the remission of death, he became all of humanities sin for all time.
LABORING TO REST
In order for me to be free from my hyper-Calvinistic mind-set, and be free from religion, and have a real relationship with the Living God because of Jesus, I had to completely understand what happened on the cross and at the resurrection.
The picture was right in front of me the whole time.  I just had forgotten to see it.  I became first religious, then returned to a fallen state, as if I were never a Christian.  When I tried to return to that Joy, I did it my own way based on the religious constructs I learned at the teachings of the denomination I was raised in.  It was all works
Praying was an effort, a labor not built on love.  It was, frankly, a drudgery.
The Bible had become foreign to me, but I read it anyway.  It was a lot like eating dust.
Forget witnessing.  I was all fire and damnation and fear and manipulation.   You cannot give a love that is not in your heart to give.
I had forgotten Christ’s complete work.  I was trying to recreate the love of God by my own efforts.  I was trying by the will of my flesh to be pleasing to God.  It was as if I were telling God that the sacrifice and Resurrection of Christ was not good enough, or complete enough, that I had to do something myself, on my own volition, by my power, to assure my salvation.  It was all work, and no play.
Laboring in to the rest of Christ sounds like a contradiction.  It isn’t.  If you want to walk in Christ, like Christ, after Christ, you first have to learn to rest in His completed work.  There is no other way to do it.  None.  Believe me, I tried.
What does this mean,  “Labor to rest”?  Remember the stereogram above?  The first time you try to see the hidden images, you have to work at relaxing your eyes so you can see.  You have to rest your eyes.  You have to relax.  You have to allow the image to form without your physically forcing your eyes to work.  This is the opposite of observing.  We observe for information, but we see in order to know.  In order to see the image, we first have to rest.
When I put forth my very best effort at Christ likeness, the effort at maintaining it is exhausting. When I try to be “sinless” I sin.  When I try to love on my own power, I either pervert it, or turn it into hate.  There really is a very fine line between Human love and Human hate.  When I give to others by my own will, I always, eventually, want recognition for it, or expect something in return.  In other words, my efforts lead only to my own glorification and limited ability.
THE LABOR IS TO REMEMBER, AND REMEMBERING LEADS TO COMMUNION AND HARMONY WITH GOD.
My labor to rest is to get my ego out of the way.  My labor is to allow the complete work of Jesus to exist in my heart.  My labor is to recall constantly what Jesus accomplished for me, and to rest in it, so that the Spirit of God will make Christ manifest in my life.  This resting is so others will be led to life, salvation, back to God, through Jesus Christ.
Not My Will, But Thine
Getting my ego, my self, my flesh, my will, my desires out of my way is my labor.  This is a volitional act.  My ego does not want to die, either.  It has been running my life for over 50 years.  Death to self is the last thing my mind and ego want.  But I have to die to self in order to rest in the completed work of Christ.  This means, as a volitional act, I choose to die.  I do this when I accept the truth of what Christ did at His death Burial and resurrection.
It is His will that I accept this free gift, unadulterated by the cares of this world, or by a religious system made by mankind.  There is nothing I can do to add to or take away from His gift.  I can alter how I see and rest in it, but I cannot change it, or how it applies to my life.  In order for me to do this accepting, I have to struggle with my ego and lead it to its death.  Fortunately, the Holy Spirit works in me to do this, too.  All I have to do is surrender to it.
Death to self is frightening at first, but painless, and brings such joy as I have never believed was possible.
In dying to self, and relaxing, or resting in the complete work of Christ, I am able to see clearly what is in front of me.  I see with new eyes.  God was hidden in plain sight the whole time.  As my old self dies, more of God is revealed in my heart.  That is when I know that:
I am saved
I am a Son of God
I am full of the Holy Spirit
I am free from sin (The deisres of sin have become meaningless compared to the love and joy of Christ)
I am not a slave to sin, but to righteousness.
I am a new creation
I am more than a conqueror
I am the righteousness of God in Christ
I am crucified with Christ
I am justified before God by faith in Christ
I am God’s workmanship
I am hid in Christ
I am saved by Grace
I am an Heir of God
I am a joint Heir with Jesus
I am accepted in the Beloved
I am at peace with God.
The world teaches fear, slavery, and doubt.  You are in the chains of the world if you chose.  Religion only wants what it wants, and will use any means necessary to accomplish its means, even use the name of Jesus to justify its’ selfish lusts.
The freedom you have is standing right in front of you if you will simply labor to rest in the completed work of Christ Jesus.   All the promises of God are already yours.   You cannot earn them, you cannot make yourself righteous, you cannot be a slave to the world or a religion and still be free to rest in the Lord.
All you have to do is understand what transpired on the Cross and at the resurrection, and rest in that. Then the hidden things of God will appear to you as bright as the sun on a spring morning.  You will have new eyes to see and new ears to hear the mysteries of the Living God, who is heaping His love and goods on you.  All you have to do is relax in the finished work of Christ.
The image above has Christ on the cross, the two who were hanging on the crosses next to Him, and a Roman soldier getting ready to pierce Jesus’ side.
Let’s be about it.
I love you
David G. Perkins
sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

Standard
Faith

Transition States: Serving Man Is To Serve Christ


"I AM the bread of life" - Jesus

“I AM the bread of life” – Jesus

For I have come down from heaven,not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me. – John 6:38 HCSB

Do I understand that, for Jesus to make that statement, He had to be completely emptied of His Heavenly place of honor, leave His throne, and become one of us?  He humbled Himself and served God’s will by serving man.  Jesus left His own personal will behind, was filled with the Spirit of God at His baptism, and served God’s Will.  Not out of law, compulsion, or as a slave, but out of Love for His Father.  Jesus served God by serving man.  And He did it by the power of the Holy Spirit that had filled Him.

I grew up believing that if I sang in the church choir, went to all the youth rallies, worked in the annual church “revival”, attended the Summer Camps, and basically behaved myself, I would be a good christian.

When I became an adult (Not to be confused with growing up), I attended church because I wanted to please God.  I confused the scripture that says, “Hebrews 10:25 – KJV – Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”  Again, I saw a lot of “activity” and heard a great deal about God and Jesus, but it came across as a knowledge gained through consensus, a creating God out of parts of scripture that appealed to the idea of what I want God to be, rather than learn what the Bible actually says about God, His will, and Jesus, the Lord.

Let me be clear, and I will probably be pilloried over this, but you can research this yourselves.  The “Church” is the ekklesia…the body that consists of those who genuinely believe.  The “Church” is NOT the building you go to and socialize in.  These edifices are full of people who have no real belief or understanding of the scriptures.  They gather to serve themselves.  The “Church” was never called to serve itself, glorify itself, or do its own will, expecting God to approve its’ own agenda.  When we are filled with our own purposes, we have immediately forsaken the will of God.    Today’s churches have become irrelevant for this very reason.  It is a fortress that expects the sinner to come to it for help, and offering only trite messages, based on the popular psychology of the day, and “supported” by whatever scripture they can find to support that view-point.  They are the “Hucksters of the Gospel” you read about in the New Testament.   Having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof.

Christ’s church, His ekklesia, consists of those who have believed in  their hearts that Jesus died for and became their sin.  That Jesus became every sin that ever was and ever will be, and died and went to hell, a sinner, for our sake.  Christs church understands that, while Jesus was dead in Hell, cut off from God, but receiving the complete and full wrath of God, God reached into Hell and brought Jesus back to life.  Jesus, having been restored, preached freedom to the captives in Hell and took the captives and freed them.  Then Jesus rose from the dead to prove that He has the right to be called “Christ the Lord”.  Jesus did for us what we cannot do for ourselves.  He put all sin and death away for our sakes.  If you accept this simple truth in your heart, and declare with your mouth that Jesus did all this and rose from the dead, YOU HAVE SALVATION.  THAT is all there is to it.

Those are the people who are the ekklesia, the church.  And believing these things, are sold out, in faith, and grace, and have determined to follow their Lord.  These are the people who need to stick together.  These are the people who need to support each other.  Wherever two believers are gathered, Jesus is in their midst.  It is there they can support, exhort, teach and worship together.  You will not find that in the established church.  If this were not true, the established church would have no idea what religious dogma is, nor would they be trying to force their own agenda down the throat of the Living God.

Results matter, and what has become the modern church is proof that they have abandoned their first love, and taken upon themselves the idea that they know God’s will better than God does.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 ESV

I cannot do what Christ wants me to do.  Not if I intend to do it on my own power.  The only way I can “walk after the lord” is to rest in what HE accomplished on my behalf.  The minute I abandon the power and will and faith of Christ, and attempt to do His will on my own, I have abandoned the very thing Christ has asked us to do…ABIDE IN HIM.  Abiding means to rest, pitch your tent, make Him your home.  Know Him through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  It is what every New Believer experiences.  Unfortunately, because discipleship is a lost art, that new Christian becomes a blown out candle.  Then when he asks his pastor, or some other respected elder why has the joy left, that respected adviser usually tells them, “Well, this is all part of maturing . ”  God worked in you because you were a baby christian, but we all have to grow up, and do for ourselves.  We have to obey God through our effort”.  I actually was told that at Seminary.  We were taught that we must abide, but we were taught that it is an effort to do so, and we just have to work hard to get ourselves to abide.  I actually believed that, and the result was, I became as bad a sinner as I was before I was saved.  I didn’t understand what abide really meant.

Abide is a very intimate term.  Get to know Him through spending time with Him.  This starts with reading the word and prayer.  The Spirit of God that raised Jesus from the dead is the same spirit that now lives in you.  As long as you abide, you grow, and produce fruit.  But is done by resting in Him.  Believe as simply as you did when you were first saved.  Trust that He will guide you, teach you, uphold you, love you, and instruct you.  Give up your ideas of God’s will, and learn what His will actually is.  Rest in Him.  You cannot do this by your own strength.  You are already forgiven.  You are already His child.  You are already adopted into the Kingdom of God.  When you learn to relax and trust this truth, you will abide in Him.  When you do this, you will be shown how things look from God’s point of view.  You will, out of love for Christ, WANT to please him.  This is not something you can ever do on the power of your flesh.  It is only when you abide in the rest of the Lord that HE will guide you and teach you.  Your desire will be to do as Christ leads you.  He will make sure you have all you need to do His will.

John … said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us.”  But Jesus said to him, “Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you.” – Luke 9:49-50 NASB

You do not need “The Church’s” permission to serve Christ.  You already are a co-heir to the throne of Christ.  You have within you all the same power that God used, through Jesus, to create the heavens and earth.  The kingdom of God dwells in you.  You are now His child.  God is not sitting “way up there, in the distant by and by, sitting on a throne, unapproachable”.  He dwells in you.  His kingdom is in you.  You have all the power and authority and grace and love of God.  You are Saved and belong to Him as if you were Jesus Himself.  When He sees you, He sees his beloved child.

That “someone” who was casting out demons in Jesus’ name, was obeying the will of God because it became his heart to do so.  He did not need the permission of the disciples because he already had the kingdom of God in his heart.  He had a change of heart.  He learned a new thought.  Repent simply means to think again.  The disciples were already jockeying for position of authority, and desired to rule over others since they were the “First Disciples”.  This may be why Jesus chose Paul to do what others refused to do.

It is as simple as understanding that the price Jesus paid on the cross, in hell, and through His resurrection, Jesus gave you, the believer this free gift, that you are also the adopted son of God.  You have God’s permission to rest in Him and watch him use you as he moves you in your heart.  No church, ever, was able to do this for you.  It is simply and ONLY the completed work of Jesus Christ.  It is a free gift.  It goes beyond eternal life.  It goes beyond your resources, your thinking, your will, and your ability.

Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.  And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;  Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.  And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.   And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.  Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.  And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. – Acts 3:1-7 KJV

All of what I have written is because I am going through a transition state of understanding what Jesus actually gave himself for.  It was not a religion.  It is so that we can be restored to the place we were before the fall of man.

Peter and John were on their way to the church (Synagogue) to pray.  They were obeying the edict of the assembly.  But on their way, Christ showed them an opportunity to do the will of God.  This is because the Holy Spirit had taught them the Mind of Christ (Read the first few chapters of Acts).

Interestingly enough, it was the established church of their day that had a huge problem with this behavior.  They, however, had the joy of the Lord in them, even under persecution, because they had obeyed their Lord.

They didn’t have permission from the local church to obey Christ.  They simply were moved in their hearts and minds because it is what moves Christ.  Serving man is more important than serving your church.  Giving freely of all you were given by Christ is true obedience.

SILVER AND GOLD HAVE I NONE

The transition state I am going through is a real object lesson.  All I ever had, believed or possessed has been taken away from me.  I own nothing, I have nothing but my clothes, a wife who loves me unconditionally, and a wonderful family.  We live in a basement.  But we are discovering a joy that we would never have understood had this not happened.  We are learning that, out of our need, we give, we serve, and we obey.  We do this, not because we are trying to please God.  We please God because, when He moves us to be like His son, and we follow that lead, we get to see Christ at work.  We are finding that you do not have to have a lot of resources to give.  You do not need things to serve.  You start with what you do have, and let God guide you.  You do this because you are abiding in Christ.  You learn to hear his voice.  Our joy has multiplied because of this transition.  We are being remade into the image of Christ through resting in Him and knowing His word.

Where others have disassociated from us, where finances have fled from us, where all we ever thought important has been lost, we find that we have been given a new heart, a new mind, and a living Holy Spirit.

I do not need things to serve man.  I just need the same Love in my heart that drove Jesus to do for me.  I did not have to follow any rituals, or attend a church to get this knowledge or understanding.  My heart didn’t change from some church activity or program.  My thinking was renewed into the will of God by trusting that what Christ said he did, He did.  And trusting that what Christ said he will do through His Spirit in me, HE will do.  I can do nothing of my self.  I can only be useful to God if I let Christ make me into something completely new and different from all that I was.

I have learned that it is better to abandon my religion and pursue Christ.  I am inviting you to do the same thing.

Let’s be about it.

I Love You

David G. Perkins

Standard