…from glory to glory

Archive for the month “May, 2015”

Real Power

Here is an entry from my journal dated December 8, 2007. It resonates in my heart during this season of Pentecost…


At this time of year when the seasons of reflection, expectation and dedication meet in one glorious explosion of joy and light, here I am, studying the work of God in the Book of Acts. On this day, what shakes the doorposts of my being are the words from the lips of Messiah Jesus–not at His birth, but prior to His coronation as the King of glory:

“Wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father…You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you…” Luke 24.49.

What is this “power?” The Greek “dunamis.” Like dynamite: its properties when it ignites: highly flammable; reacts to anything which de-stabilizes it (nitro) or draws near to it with heat; earth shaking, transforms whatever is near it when it explodes–explosive; illuminating–blinding light comes out of its explosion…

(Did the disciples know anything of gunpowder and dynamite in their day?)

This is the effect of the working of the Holy Spirit. But the vessel who bears the Holy Spirit is not to be explosive. Instead, that vessel–that “temple” of the Holy Spirit–is called to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before [her] God…” (Micah 6.8). That vessel–that “temple” of the Holy Spirit’s “dunamis”–is instructed to be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10.16) That “temple” of the Holy Spirit’s “dunamis” is to be both bold and gentle. The “dunamis” of which the Lord Jesus speaks to His chosen ones is the effect of submission to the increase of the Lord Jesus’ government in her; for He is the King of glory… How fitting is that perspective for my own transformation during this season of dedication, expectation and celebration of Messiah’s coming–for me!

Now I see the “dunamis” worked in my own being and character. Throughout God’s ordained span of time–God set carefully packed “charges” in people over that period to have that explosive effect of transforming me. Some of those vessels were more highly charged and combustible than others; but still, He has had His way of transformation…

Ed is the most, the dearest, the longest, sustained vessel of “dunamis” in my life. By his love and faithfulness, his patience and quiet wisdom, his enduring care and acceptance of who I have been and am becoming, his prayers for me; and I am sure much more than I can know at this hour…

Next, would be my mother, because her flame, though steady in my younger years, was not so long-lived, and it flickered under the winds of my adult wanderings; still her prayers for me might have endured even to her death; I can only suppose…

And then Paulette, because of her fellowship, her friendship, her acts of love, her prayers, her acceptance, and her quiet counsel in times when I was probably just too “on fire” for my own good, or the good of others…

And then, Scott, all for the same reasons, and then some: the brother I never had, and the brother who taught me about “family”

And there are more…probably prayer warriors along the way who never said a word to me, but knew enough to go to my Lord directly…

How does that “translate” for my personal life and witness?

I pray to be more sensitive to other “vessels” of the Holy Spirit’s “dunamis” whom He has laid, and continues to lay, along the path behind and before me. I pray to have a mind which remembers quickly that He has carefully chosen these vessels for deepening my own capacity for His power to be worked for His glory. I pray for a heart to see and to praise Him heartily for them.

But most of all, the greatest desire of my heart is to increasingly surrender to the goodness and love of Messiah’s government in my life, being transformed more and more, and worshipping Him in my here and now, forever… The “dunamis”, the effect of that surrender, belongs entirely to the King of glory…

Being Human

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my Strength and my Redeemer. –Psalm 19.14

Early May brought the conclusion of nine months of study of the Book of Luke in the Bible. Last September, when my Community Bible Study leaders announced that our Bible study would cover the Book of Luke, my inward parts thought I would not learn much that was new or even challenging to my life. I confess that I even groaned a little, because I was hungry for something that would challenge me and change me. My pride in my decades of Bible study led me to entertain a fantasy that I would probably not be provoked or challenged by the sublime familiarity with the content of Luke’s testimony of Jesus Christ. So, naturally, I was surprised when, along about November, I was awakened to a new and deep challenge to my life: seeing in living color, panoramic vision, and soul-surround what it means to be human…

I have been meditating on this for months, prayerfully seeking expression of what God has shown me in the Book of Luke about being a human. If you want me to quote specific passages of the Book of Luke, I cannot oblige you in the space of this entry. Seeing the life and character of the perfect humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ unfold on the pages of the Book of Luke showed me that Jesus is the perfect model of being human—from the hour of His birth, throughout the accounts of his youth and in every action and response and prayer in His earthly ministry unto death. On the pages of the Book of Luke, I found the Living Truth driven deeper into my understanding about my intended place in relationship to God; that is, to be in relationship with God is to be human. To abandon relationship with God and to deny His existence is to become un-human. Thirty-four years ago, I relinquished my “humanism” to bow before the Lord Jesus Christ whose grace and sovereignty I was glad to embrace. But in this study of His life and ministry God impressed on my heart a greater awareness of what He thought about when He formed me in my mother’s womb. I was not formed to perpetuate my SELF.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us…Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day… –2 Corinthians 4.7,16

As I examined Luke’s record of Jesus’ life in His earthen vessel, I saw Him totally co-operative with the Father—the purpose for which Adam and Eve were created from the beginning, as being a real human. Where the first Adam abandoned his cooperation with God, the Second Adam, Jesus Christ awakened us who have been blinded to what being in full cooperation with God is like. Besides His miracles which were the authenticating signs of His Deity and authority to judge, His obedience to the Father in all things is the authenticating sign of His Perfect Humanity and His right to judge all who perpetuate rebellion against God—because He demonstrated obedience without fault in His Humanity. In His human vessel, Jesus lived to co-operate with and to glorify the Father—the same purpose for which Adam was formed. His is the Image imprinted upon us, and legally whose image we bear it is the authority of this One we are to honor and uphold. His is the Spirit Breath which was breathed into Adam’s lifeless clay and made him alive.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. –Genesis 1.26; 2.7

This is what being a real human is; anything less is a perversion of humanity. Adam corrupted humanity and wounded all creation with his rebellion against God. By his rebellion against God, Adam did not exalt his humanity, he lost it; he was blinded to his humanity and has passed on a perverted image of it throughout his generations. But Jesus, the Son of God, was humbled to live in a human vessel for the purpose of turning the hearts of the children to the Father, to fulfill the Law, and to keep the Father’s promise of the redemption of Adam’s progeny. Even the angels of Heaven have not experienced such a work of valiant, sacrificial, glorious love. This is what it means to be human…

As a former “humanist” who worshiped a god of my own making, I might be read here as returning to my humanistic rantings of old, in which I placed humans as the highest form of life in the universe. This was all before God took hold of my blindness and opened my eyes to what it means to live in denial of Him. You might be asking, “Isn’t she just substituting one form of humanism for another?” No. I am not promoting worship of man or his “human spirit.” What I am saying is that if a person refuses to put the Lord Jesus Christ first and supreme in his life, he is abandoning his real humanity; his life is on the road to becoming less and less human. It is only in Christ Jesus that a person will ever begin to become—to grow into the fullness of being—a real human again, the being God intended when He formed him with His own Hands and breathed into his nostrils His own Life-giving Breath.

velveteen rabbit - becoming

To be a real human is to be humbled to the truth of my resident inclination to resist surrendering to God, to be willing to be numbered with the transgressors. To be a real human is to trust in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ to rescue me from the perversion which has corrupted my understanding. To be a real human is to become like Jesus. To be a real human is to choose surrender to and co-operation with the will of the Father in the Lord Jesus Christ by the Spirit of God.

What all this looks like in my here-and-now, I cannot begin to define or describe. I am not drawn to paint a “selfie,” because I can only see what I am becoming through a smoky glass at best.

I do know that I am glad I have been rescued out of my treason against God by His gift of grace and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. By Jesus’ redemptive work I have been restored to becoming a real human. By the record of Jesus’ Life in the Word of God, I have the perfect description of what being a real human looks like—surrendering to the will of my Father without bristling and kicking against it; increasing His Name and His Reign in the earth; seeking the increase of His government in my life… Easy for angels; valiant, passionate, glorious victory in Jesus for those who are real humans.

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