Intimate One Part 4

The verses below have much to teach us and I will not try to capture all of it in this post. There is however a key aspect that I will highlight – partaking.

3  as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4  by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Peter 1:3-4 (NKJV)

Given the word knowledge refers to an experiential rather than theoretical knowledge, let’s look at how it connects to the rest of the passage. We know from verse 3 that everything we need to live a godly life is rooted in knowing Jesus and the Father. So, read it this way. ‘The Father’s divine power has imparted to us all we need to live a godly life. It comes from knowing Him.’  We are called to share in or partake of the divine nature.

So consider the ‘partaking’ process. When I get up in the morning I partake of breakfast. I ingest physical food for my physical body. When I simply sit with and experience Jesus I partake of His divine nature. Think of what Jesus said regarding the experience with the woman from Samaria.

31  In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32  But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” John 4:31-32 (NKJV)  

In context, Jesus had just told the Samaritan woman who came to the well to draw water that He could give her ‘living ‘water.’ He was referring to drinking of the Holy Spirit. In verses 31-32 Jesus was obliquely telling His disciples that His encounter with the woman at the well and her response to Him had fed His spirit.

In the church context we can feed our spirit on His word and worship but we can also feed it via direct experience with the Holy Spirit.

48  “I am the bread of life. 49  Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50  This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51  I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” 52  The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” 53  Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54  Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55  For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56  He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57  As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.” John 6:48-57 (NKJV)

63  It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63 (NKJV)

67  Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” 68  But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69  Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” John 6:67-69 (NKJV)

Those in the church who believe that the communion elements magically become the body and blood of Jesus are missing the point of what Jesus taught. The early Quakers were a true spiritual movement and they didn’t practice communion using physical elements, not that we can’t. They believed the elements represented a spiritual reality and so practiced receiving in their spirits from the Holy Spirit by sitting with Him and seeking to receive.

Perhaps you have tried sitting before Him and encountering Him in your spirit and it seemed like nothing happened. Fine, try again. Embrace this saying, ‘The race is not always to the swift but to those who keep on running.’ As I write this I have just returned from a long walk with my wife. For me those are times of conversation and also reflective times and times of encounter with Jesus.

At times during the walk I found myself thinking about the Trinity, at other times quietly singing a worship song under my breath and at other times quietly worshipping in tongues or interceding for people. In the process I was both feeding my spirit and releasing what has been sown into it. This is a regular experience for me. This particular one took place on the beach but it regularly happens hiking in the mountains or walking the dog. My heart is drawn to worship and interact with Jesus. Prior to my retirement from fulltime work I also had these experiences at times while working. We can interact on two levels.     

This fruit I currently experience has long been a regular experience and is paired with long seasons of sowing. At the same time, in the beach walk I referenced above there were other factors that could distract. I have very painful plantar fasciitis in one heel and torn cartilage in my other knee (I often feel two pieces of cartilage moving around and at times they jam between the bones, it isn’t enjoyable). Yet, for the most part during this walk and regularly, I am only tangentially aware of these things because my heart is drawn into communion with Him and that is my focus.

So, pursue communion with the one who is spirit and life and enjoy the journey of obeying Peter’s injunction, “be partakers of the divine nature.”

Intimate One Part 3

If you have been a Christian for any length of time you have likely heard this verse quoted.

9  “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV)

Tragically, this verse is rather popular in evangelical circles. I say tragically because we misapply it. Recently a Christian leader used this verse in a blog post to talk about how we could not trust our hearts. I commented on his post, thanked him for the other aspects, and suggested he rethink his understanding of heart based on what the New Testament (NT) teaches. I also provided support from scripture.

I say that because Jeremiah was writing and speaking to unregenerate individuals. To understand our hearts let’s look at the NT perspective instead.

8  So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, 9  and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Acts 15:8-9 (NKJV)

5  For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. 6  For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:5-6 (NKJV)

33  “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34  Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.” Matthew 12:33-35 (NKJV)

So, we can see in the NT that when we come to Jesus our hearts are purified. We also see that the place we are called to encounter Jesus is in our hearts. That is where we experience, “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Lastly we are to fellowship with Jesus in our hearts and bring forth from our heart good things, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things.” That seems to be what Jesus modeled. He fellowshipped with His Father in His heart then released what came out of those encounters. You know, simple things like the Sermon on the Mount.  

The important part in this is understanding how to encounter Jesus in our hearts. I am a big fan of reading the scriptures. It has been my daily practice for decades. However, that will not in and of itself lead me to encounter Jesus in an intimate way. In fact what if I don’t have or know the scriptures and am seeking intimacy with Jesus.

Imagine I am a Gentile living in AD 40. I don’t know the Hebrew Scriptures and I was converted under the preaching of Phillip while getting something for my master in the market, I am a slave after all. Now I need to develop an intimate relationship with Jesus. I can’t read my bible because I don’t have one, secondly, like most of the population I am illiterate. Oops, I can’t apply the 20th or 21st Century models of ‘pray and read your bible’ to get to know Jesus. I think that is why Paul told Timothy to pay attention to the public reading of scripture, it was the only way most Christians were going to hear any (1 Tim. 4:13).

There must be another way and there is. Jesus is dwelling in my heart and I can access His voice and presence there. I heard Phillip talk about Proverbs 14:33 (wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding). Not that Phillip provided chapter and verse, after all the scriptures didn’t have chapters and verses then. I also heard one of my fellow believers mention that Jesus had been made unto us wisdom (1 Cor. 1:30).

At my conversion I learned that He now lives in me so knowing that and these two ideas from scripture I begin to thank Jesus that He lives in my heart. When I awake I seek to get still and quiet and ask Him to speak to my heart. While working in the garden I seek to pay attention to His presence. I can’t weigh everything I sense on my own but I can practice corporate discernment with my fellow believers when I meet them in the market ((1 Cor. 14:26-33, 1 Thess. 5:19-21). Given I am a slave I don’t get a day off to attend a home fellowship so I have to embrace it where I find it. Over time I find myself becoming more conscious of Jesus in me and find myself exercising greater wisdom throughout the day (Rom. 8:14).  

While the scenario I have painted is strange if we look at it from the perspective of our modern culture, I believe it was common in the first century AD. So here is my encouragement, reflect on this scenario, imagine yourself in it and practice encountering Jesus in your heart. Get quiet, focus on Him and see what happens to your intimacy with Him.

Next week back to 2 Peter 1 and looking at how we partake of Jesus.

NOTE – My point is not to minimize the importance of scripture. Down through the centuries many believers laid down their lives to preserve them. Rather I want to highlight that the scriptures are a means to intimacy with Jesus, not a substitute, and that down through the centuries many had to find a way to encounter Jesus without access to the scriptures in any meaningful way.

Intimate One Part 2

         I sometimes reflect on the eternal realm, the place of His dwelling. In seeking to understand the concept of spiritual intimacy I think there is an important aspect to reflect on – the most important part of us is not from here! Think about it. When we surrendered our hearts and lives to Jesus He recreated our spirit in His image with His nature.

3  Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4  Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5  Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” John 3:3-5 (NKJV)

17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:1

23  having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 1 Peter 1:23 (NKJV)

         The moment we surrendered our hearts to Jesus a transaction took place in the spiritual realm and Jesus life was released in our spirits. At the moment we received the capacity to interact with the eternal spiritual realm in a way we could not before being born again. Spiritual intimacy with the Father, Son and Spirit requires the development of this capacity. We can see or be aware of the kingdom of God, we then need to learn to enter and live in it (Jn. 3:3, 5).

         In the context of dealing with suffering and persecution Peter, who knew Jesus well, exhorted us to encounter this eternal realm, to know Jesus.

18  but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18 (NKJV)

A further context is that Peter opened this letter with a call to know Jesus in a deeper way and 3:18 is simply reinforcing that message.

3  as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4  by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Peter 1:3-4 (NKJV)

So, the way to be intimate with Jesus, is to experience Him, that is the meaning of the Greek word translated as ‘knowledge’ in verse 3. Knowledge not about Jesus but of Jesus, experiencing His presence. In my next post I will delve further into how we walk this path of knowing, experiencing Jesus, the Intimate One.  

Intimate One Part 1

My motivation for writing this is a song. It won’t be one you know, it isn’t sung at large worship gatherings or played on the radio. A number of years ago a few of us were worshipping (we met weekly for prayer and worship). As the worship leader shifted to beautiful and spontaneous instrumental playing on the piano words came to me that I sang along with the playing and a song emerged. Some of the words were,

I am here to worship, Intimate One

You are all I worship, Intimate One

In my life this release of words and worship has happened a few times over the decades. Some I wrote down, some I never did. My point is that something happens inside of us when we engage with Jesus at a deeper place. In recent months He gave me the beginning of another song, which emerged as I was just sitting and worshipping Him in the morning. I think it portends what is coming in reality to His body. These are the words,

It’s the beauty of the King

It’s the glory of the lamb

The King of all creation

Has visited us again

As we bow before Him now

We know Him deep within

The glory of the Lamb

Cleansing all our sin

I believe that Jesus is calling us as His body to a deeper place, a place of deeper intimacy with Him. I know many of us agree with this and pray for a fresh move of the Holy Spirit among us. What I don’t know is how much we prepare for a move of the Holy Spirit. After all the scriptures say,

1  “Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” Says the LORD of hosts. 2  “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire And like launderer’s soap. 3  He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, And purge them as gold and silver, That they may offer to the LORD An offering in righteousness. Malachi 3:1-3 (NKJV)

Malachi’s message is clear, the One, even the One in whom we delight, when He manifests His presence will release a purifying and purging. Think of the early church and the combination of joy, passion and fear that fell upon the body. Let us pray for His coming, a greater manifestation of Jesus among us, but let us prepare our hearts, for He is coming not to bless our plans and agendas but to more fully unveil His!

Are we ready?   

Version of Worthy of It All by the Burning Ones

Walk Humbly With Your God Part 3

A key aspect to walking in humility is agreeing with His word. An area that is easy to miss is agreeing with what His word says about us once we are converted. As believers we are called to function with renewed minds, a new way of thinking and seeing.

1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV)

Our transformation comes from seeing God and ourselves through the lens of His word, from thinking differently about both. So let me share a brief story. I do a few mediations per month for matters in small claims court. Recently walking into the downtown office building where they take place I was conscious of the security guards at the front and aware that when I arrived I would be given an access card to go places where the general public could not. There is a sense of authority and privilege that comes with ‘access.’

Reflecting on this I wondered how many of us as believers place the correct importance on the authority and privilege we have in our access to the Throne of Grace (Heb. 4:16). No matter what takes place in the halls of power anywhere in or on the earth, we have access to an audience with the creator and ruler of the universe and the opportunity to partner with Him in His strategic purposes in the earth.

Are we humbly submitting to what He says and using our access card?

Walk Humbly With Your God


         If we are to walk humbly with God we need a clear understanding of humility. As always, context is important and in the case of Micah humility is presented in the context of first demonstrating justice and loving mercy.

8  He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 (NKJV)

         Practically, humility means that we submit our ideas of justice and mercy, and everything else to God’s ideas. We recognize that we are not in charge, He is. This is humility. I think in general your average Christian believes in submitting to God in theory, just not so much in practice. I made a real commitment to Jesus when I was 25 (a long time ago now). At the time I struggled to accept Christianity, though I had been raised with it, because I didn’t like some of what the Bible said, and honestly I still don’t. However, what I have learned is that I need to bow my knee to His wisdom and sovereignty.

There is a reason I am not in charge of the universe and part of humility is choosing to obey and submit my will to the scriptures because they are an expression of Yahweh’s views.

The Bible communicates His will to us. Where we have significant issues now in evangelical Christianity in the US and Canada is that we have in many ways abandoned a humble submission to His word. It is one thing to debate over the main theological positons of Calvinism or Arminianism because both positons can be defended from scripture. What cannot be defended is the shifting positon of many on social issues. The scriptures are not ambiguous here, and while we may not recognize it, when we seek to reinterpret them in our image we are playing God and refusing to humble ourselves.

If we want true justice and mercy then we need to humbly hold our ideas up to the lens of scripture and change our views where we see conflict. Let’s take a look!.

Walk Humbly With Your God Part 1

As we enter a new year we often reflect on what it holds or what we should do, which is a good thing. Yet we have our way of doing things and God has His way, often contrary to our way. My sense as we enter this season is that there is a real need to embrace humility.  

         We do not know what awaits us. 2018 was tumultuous in many ways; politics, natural weather calamities and the like. We have come through the year and as we enter this one we need to prepare. Yet what preparation can we make for the unknown? When I go backpacking I take extra supplies and plan and prepare for the unexpected, yet that is within generally known parameters. In the current natural, political and economic climate the parameters are unknown. There are some practical things we can do. Economically we can get rid of debt, live within or below our means. Politically we can become informed on the issues, support godly candidates in the coming elections and become involved. In terms of the natural climate we can have some emergency supplies on hand.

         The most important preparation however is spiritual. The safest place to be, no matter what is happening, is being found walking with Jesus and drawing near to His heart. Hence my plea for humility. To know Jesus heart and His way requires acknowledging our need. Moses prayed one of the great prayers in scripture and encountered Yahweh’s glory.  

13  “Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.” Exodus 33:13 (NKJV emphasis mine)

         David informed us of the value of humility, Jesus becomes our teacher and guide.

9  The humble He guides in justice, And the humble He teaches His way. 10  All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth, To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies. 11  For Your name’s sake, O LORD, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great. 12  Who is the man that fears the LORD? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses. Psalm 25:9-12 (NKJV emphasis mine)

         Micah gave us a summary of it all.

8  He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 (NKJV)

So this year, above all, let’s heed the scriptures and embrace living out of a humble dependence on the Godhead.

14  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. 2 Corinthians 13:14 (NKJV)

Walk with Me

As we have just come through again celebrating Christmas I want to reflect on the significance of walking with Jesus as we enter into a new year. Just prior to Christmas I heard someone commenting on the radio that Jesus birth was the most important event in history. I respectfully disagree. Jesus incarnation, God taking on flesh, was the means to an end. The end was Jesus death and resurrection. Without His sacrifice and resurrection on our behalf all of humanity would still be eternally lost (Rom. 4:25). This dual transaction was the most important thing in human history.

We see this connection more clearly in how one pastor habitually displayed the Nativity scene. He had a light shining from behind a cross and the shadow of the cross fell on the baby in the manger. There is a lot of truth and power in that image. Jesus was born and raised under the shadow of the cross.

We now live beyond Jesus birth, death and resurrection. As we head into this year in a season of change and uncertainty we need to apply that truth to our circumstances. There are interwoven political and economic challenges facing our nation and our province. In the midst of this it is easy to become anxious – yet we don’t need to be. I don’t want to offer well-worn clichés as a response. I do want to recommend that in this year ahead, and beyond that, we make walking with Jesus our focus. He says clearly in His word that if we draw near to Him He will draw near to us (2 Chron. 15:2, Jas. 4:8).

Further, Jesus desire is that our focus be on His heart and our relationship with Him. In fact He was clear that He wants to reveal His Father’s heart to us.

24  Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25  O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26  And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:24-26 (NKJV)

Earlier in John He told us how this would happen.

20  At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21  He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” John 14:20-21 (NKJV)

26  “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. John 15:26 (NKJV)

So, no matter what is happening around us Jesus is an anchor in the storm, a place of rest in quiet times, and a beacon of light when we need to determine where to go. So let’s lean into His heart in this coming year and walk with Him.

To help with this look at the words to this song by Kim Walker-Smith (the link to the song is at the bottom). If you have not heard this song, find a quiet spot, sit back in reflection and let it minister to your heart.

Walk With Me

Author of the world walk with me
Ruler of the earth walk with me
Calmer of the storm walk with me
Healer of my heart walk with me

How I need You, how I need You
Oh Jesus, walk with me

Light for every step walk with me
Giver of each breath walk with me

How I need You, how I need You
Oh Jesus, walk with me

How I love You, how I love You
Oh Jesus, walk with me

In Your presence Lord, there is peace, there is rest
In Your presence Lord, there is light that never ends

In Your presence Lord, there is joy, there is joy
In Your presence Lord, there is light that never ends

Kim Walker-Smith/Jesus Culture – Walk With Me

NOTE – I recommend reading Rick Joyner’s recent Word for the Week. He focuses on the coming year and following. In the third paragraph he references Proverbs referring to unity and a threefold cord. The actual reference is Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

This Christmas

As we come to Christmas we have the now familiar slogans on seeking to retain the roots of the holiday. We are told to ‘Keep Christ in Christmas’ and ‘Jesus is the Reason for the Season.’ I agree with these things. Jesus is the reason for the season and even more importantly He was and is the true gift.

I do have a however. I think as the church we would be more effective if we put more effort into unwrapping this gift. When we receive a gift that we really appreciate we want to take some time and study it and acknowledge the giver. The more we pull back the layers of wrapping in our lives that obscure Jesus, the more this gift will begin to affect our lives and we will reflect more of Jesus. The more we look in appreciation to the one who gave the gift the more our lives and the lives of those around us will be affected.

So this Christmas, while it is good to reflect on the journey to Bethlehem, the Nativity scene and the other trappings of Christmas I have another suggestion. Let’s take some time to meditate on and live out the reality of a verse usually not associated with Christmas. Let’s unwrap this gift!

27  To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27 (NKJV)

Walking Uprightly

I think I am like many in the church in that I would like to have it ‘together’ and walk competently and confidently in my gifts as I walk with Jesus. I recognize and appreciate the gifts and skills He has built into me. Yet putting my trust in them is not what makes for a good leader in His kingdom. My trust needs to be in Him moving through me, not equipping me to work in my own strength.

The kingdom of God has been described as an ‘upside down kingdom’ based on the latter part of this verse in Acts. 6   “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.” Acts 17:6 (NKJV)

Part of the upside down nature of His kingdom is that we rejoice in our weaknesses rather than our strengths.

7  And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8  Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9  And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NKJV)

A key factor in what Paul outlined in 2 Corinthians is that he was not seeking to be weak, he was recognizing his need for God’s grace to walk out his calling in spite of his weakness. We are no different. When we learn from our failures and mistakes and learn to lean into His grace and the lessons received we are more useful in His kingdom. Jacob wrestled with God and limped the rest of his life, Moses sought to deliver Israel in his own strength and failed before he became the leader and deliverer of a nation. David and Peter failed greatly. Paul was the persecutor who became the champion of grace and faith.

There is a pattern. Those who are greatly used in His kingdom are those who have learned that self-confidence is a stumbling block, not a virtue. Their trust lies not in their skills and abilities but in His ability to take burnt stones and make a new temple.

9  “The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the LORD of hosts.” Haggai 2:9 (NKJV)

The new temple was built from the debris of the old one. In the same way when we see our weaknesses and failures as places as debris He uses to build His strength into us we learn to lean into Him to draw on His grace. Then we walk uprightly before Him because we are walking with Him.

So, while we may fail and fall at times in our walk with Him, let’s do it while seeking to walk out on the water with Jesus.

Oceans – Hillsong United