The One Within

Paul wrote a little verse in a little letter that highlights a major aspect of how to effectively live the Christian life. Note, I wrote effective, not ‘successful’ because Jesus view of success is generally very different than ours. Paul said he was praying for Philemon;

6  that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. Philemon 1:6 (NKJV)

Like most passages, putting our verse in context helps.

4  I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, 5  hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, 6  that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. 7  For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother. Philemon 1:4-7 (NKJV)

If we read the whole of this short letter we know that Paul was Philemon’s spiritual father, Philemon had been converted through Paul sharing. We know that Philemon was a slave owner (not the issue I am addressing here), loved other believers and was hospitable. We also know that his slave Onesimus had run away, found Paul in prison, and had been converted under his ministry. Now Paul was sending him back to Philemon and asking that Philemon receive him not as a slave but as a brother in Christ.

There is more in this small letter but this is sufficient for our purpose. Paul noted that while Philemon was well known for his love for others Paul thought the key to the effective sharing of his faith was not more love, more friendship or other things. He thought it was Philemon’s recognition of something – who Christ was in him! Seems odd, yet think about it. How many times have you seen someone become passionate and excited so that what they share is contagious? That is what Paul had and wanted Philemon to have, a recognition of the One in him that would energize and enliven him with wonder!

So breaking it down further what was Paul saying to Philemon. There are a couple of key words, one of them is ‘effective.’

  1. ἐνεργής energēs adj

Effective, something that is working, active.

Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary, Delta-Epsilon.

The other is acknowledgement.

  1. ἐπίγνωσις epignōsis noun

Knowledge, recognition, consciousness.

Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary, Delta-Epsilon.

So let’s look at verse 6 again with some adding understanding.

6  that the sharing of your faith may become effective (be active and working) by the acknowledgment (recognition, consciousness) of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. Philemon 1:6 (NKJV) emphasis added

Paul was telling Philemon, and by extension us, that the way to effectively share our faith was through the recognition or consciousness of the good things that are in us in Jesus. This isn’t a matter of making a list, though reading through all the ‘in Christ’ references in Ephesians is a good idea, it is something more. Imagine you wanted to learn how to swim so decided to sign up for lessons. What would you think if you showed up for swimming lessons and the instructor talked to you about breathing techniques, showed you strokes, and explained everything in great detail but you never actually got in the pool?

I think that is what some of our theology is like. We live in a culture that prizes information, yet generally I don’t think we need more information. I have said many times over the years that we live in a culture gorged on knowledge and starving for wisdom! We need to know the reality of what Paul wrote to Philemon about; yet that reality will not come through more information. We need experience with something, and in the case of our faith, Someone. We need to experience what Paul wrote and prayed about in Ephesians 1:17, we need ‘the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.’

Though our text does not tell us I think this ‘spirit of wisdom and revelation’ had opened up to Onesimus in his encounter with Paul. The name Onesimus means ‘profitable.’ Paul used a play on words to get Philemon’s attention.

10  I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains, 11  who once was unprofitable to you, but now is profitable to you and to me. Philemon 1:10-11 (NKJV)

What would be more profitable to us as a believer than being with a fellow believer who knew and understood the reality and life of the one within them! I have prayed and will continue to pray that each of us know the reality of ‘the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.’ Will you join me?

Hanging On

Hanging on – it evokes images of just staying above water, just making it through or clinging to the end of something. It is like the story of the young man hiking alone in the mountains who tripped and stumbled over a cliff but managed to grab a large root and hang on. He lacked the strength to pull himself up but knew he could last for a while if he wrapped his arms around the root. He did so. He had never been very interested in spiritual things but knowing he was going to fall and die he cried out for God to save him. He then heard a voice that sounded like God. “Young man, let go of the root and as you fall I will catch you.” He immediately responded, “Is there anyone else up there?”

This may seem funny but it illustrates a spiritual truth. We tend to want to trust Jesus when it is safe and He wants us to trust Him when it requires faith. Most of us will never have our physical life depend on what we believe but there is the issue of our ability and willingness to trust Him on an ongoing basis. I think there are two aspects to this, the idea of stepping out and taking risks, like Peter getting out of the boat and walking on the water, and our image of Jesus. We trust Him based on our view of Him.

Remember how Mary Magdalene encountered Jesus just after His resurrection.

11  But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12  And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13  Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” 14  Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15  Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” 16  Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher). 17  Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’” John 20:11-17 (NKJV)

I don’t know how often we think of this but Jesus delayed His ascension into heaven to respond to Mary Magdalene’s heart! That is a key aspect, yet there is something else, Jesus instructed Mary not to cling to Him. While part of that is that He needed to complete His ascension and offer His blood upon the altar in heaven, He also knew Mary could not now know Him as He was if she continued to cling to the way He had been, the way she had known Him! Mary wanted to hang on to her friend, the Jesus she had known who walked the earth and healed hearts, especially hers. Yet He had changed and could now provide so much more.

In a similar manner I know that none of us have perfect theology and we tend to view Jesus in certain ways, yet to truly know Him we cannot cling to wrong concepts. We need to let the scriptures, rather than traditional views and concepts, define who He is and get to know Him as He is presented by the Holy Spirit and His Father. For example I have known of people who viewed Jesus as always very kind and respectful, generally this is true, but clinging to that view does not allow us to see the Jesus who publicly rebuked and chastised people, even calling some of them some not very nice names! Others say He always heals, the sometimes implied and sometimes explicit implication being that if we need healing and pray and are not healed we are deficient in our faith in some area. Yet while Jesus did heal multitudes there are times He did not heal everyone, like the group of sick at the pool of Bethesda that Jesus left (Jn. 5:1-13). We also have the man healed through Peter and John who was daily laid at the gate of the temple (Acts 3:1-10). His healing that day accomplished something significant in many other lives. Yet we know prior to being healed he was there every day and we know from the gospels that Jesus had taught in the temple regularly and would have had a number of opportunities to heal Him.

I don’t write this to discourage prayer for healing. I have prayed for others who have been healed and I have been the recipient of healing prayer. I use these two examples to encourage us to re-examine Jesus through the lens of scripture and see if we are clinging to anything that has us interacting with Jesus as we desire Him to be rather than as He really is.

Another thing that often gets in the way of us knowing Jesus as the scriptures present Him is hanging onto baggage. We use the term to refer to our human propensity to hold onto old hurts, offenses and similar things. A number of years ago someone I knew shared his story of waiting for an overseas flight. He had been bumped from his flight and someone from the airline then came and said, “We can get you on the Concord but you can’t take your baggage with you.” He received this as a prophetic word from the Lord. The Concord flew higher and faster than other planes and he understood the Holy Spirit was telling him he could go higher and faster in the Spirit but it meant leaving his baggage behind.

Most of us have emotional or intellectual baggage we carry around with us. Scripture speaks quite powerfully to this.

1  Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2  looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV)

This passage encourages us to look at the sacrifices of those who have gone before us and are watching us run our race as a motivator to embrace the same sacrifice for the great reward set before us. One of the images here is one of foolishly trying to run a race while carrying extra baggage. I recently heard some of the story of one of the ships connected to the Franklin Expedition that disappeared in the Artic. Much has been learned since one of the ships was discovered last year. In this story they talked of the survivors from one ship dragging a desk and other items across the frozen ice and ultimately perishing with them. These items were valuable in a city or other place but not only of no value on frozen ice, they hindered travel and likely contributed to their death.

So, in conclusion, how do we see Jesus? Are we clinging to the right concept of Him? Are we carrying or taking with us ‘baggage’ that is hindering us going higher and faster in the Spirit? May we ever more fully see Him through the unfiltered lens of scripture and learn to draw closer and closer to Him as He is so that those around us are changed by His glory!

The Future Feast

It is spring time and stores are starting to put out plants and soon multitudes will be planting gardens and farmers sowing fields. Many are planning them now and looking forward in anticipation to a harvest. They plant because expect a harvest at the end of the growing season. We live in a season referred to in the NT as an ‘age.’ Jesus planted first Himself (see Jn. 12:23-24) a church almost 2,000 years ago. Do we think He is expecting a harvest? Obviously. His kingdom has been reaping fruit from the seed He has sown, the first seed being His own life. However, I think there is a major harvest coming that will close out the season, this present age. That is what I want to write about.

In my last post I briefly focused on the significance of Passover and noted that Passover and Pentecost, two of Israel’s feasts, were key in the birthing of the church. Now I want to briefly look at the fall feast. Passover and Pentecost have been fulfilled, the fall feast, Tabernacles or Harvest, has not. There have been numerous prophetic words given in recent decades of a great end time harvest coming. While things may look dark in our land I believe the words of Isaiah will ring true across our nation and many others.

1  Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. 2  For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. Isaiah 60:1-2 (NKJV)

While this was something Isaiah spoke to the nation of Israel I believe it also speaks to our day and what we will see the Holy Spirit accomplish. It aligns with what Jesus said. He never spoke idly and He made a very interesting statement in the passage below, “the harvest is the end of the age,”

37  He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38  The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39  The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40  Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41  The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42  and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43  Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Matthew 13:37-43 (NKJV) emphasis mine

In line with this Jesus also said,

14  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:14 (NKJV)

Do we generally preach the ‘gospel of the kingdom’ in the west. As I mentioned in the Passover post, we are called to embrace ‘all’ that Jesus taught, not just the parts we like. The gospel of the kingdom teaches us to bow our hearts to the King of kings and Lord of lords and become truly disciples. The gospel of the kingdom when truly preached will radically reshape the church.

So we can see that the gospel of the kingdom needs to be preached and the harvest is the end of the age. When Jesus said “the harvest is the end of the age” was He connecting this to the harvest feast? While the answer is not explicit, in terms of the gospel what else do we know about the end of the age? Paul had something to say. When he referred to Israel rejecting the gospel and in turn being rejected he looked forward to a future time when they would return and as a people embrace the gospel.

15  For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? Romans 11:15 (NKJV)

Sadly, there are many in the church today who see no place for ethnic Israel in Yahweh’s plan. The only way to come to that conclusion is to be wilfully ignorant of the scriptures. Not only did Paul speak of a future reconciliation of Israel he further described it by quoting the OT and said there was a time coming when their sins would be removed.

25  For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26  And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; 27  For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.” Romans 11:25-27 (NKJV)

This is consistent with what Zechariah saw and prophesied when he spoke of a future national repentance for Israel.

 10  “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.” Zechariah 12:10 (NKJV) 1  “In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.” Zechariah 13:1 (NKJV)

How does all of this relate to the Feast of Tabernacles, the Harvest Feast? Just as at one time Passover and Pentecost prophesied of future events and were fulfilled in the life of the church so too Tabernacles prophesies of a future event that will be fulfilled in the life of the church, a great and joyous harvest. Unlike Passover and Pentecost, feasts that were each on a specific day, Tabernacles takes place of a period of time. The prophetic nature of the feasts is hinted at in Isaiah.

9  Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, 10  Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’ Isaiah 46:9-10 (NKJV)

Yahweh tells us clearly that He declares the end from the beginning, He plants the seeds of the future in the past. We need to pray for a ‘spirit of wisdom and revelation’ to see and hear. The harvest in the fall is a feast of culmination and I believe a great end time harvest will take place as we transition from this age to the next. In the midst of great chaos and turmoil in the world a great harvest will simultaneously take place, light in some areas, darkness in others. When those who are willing have come in the door will close and the age will end. It is interesting that in Exodus 23:16 it was referred to as the feast of ‘ingathering’ and was a time of great joy and celebration.

16  and the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors which you have sown in the field; and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labors from the field. Exodus 23:16 (NKJV)

There were in fact two harvests, the firstfruits which was tied into Passover and the feast of Unleavened Bread leading into Pentecost. In like manner there have been many harvests during the life of the church but the great fall harvest or ‘ingathering’ now needs to take place. If what I am writing in true then it behooves us to be like Daniel and begin to pray. When Daniel saw from the prophesies of Jeremiah that the first return of Israel to their land from Babylon was to take place he didn’t have a charismatic worship service, he got on his face and embraced repentance and intercession because he recognized the prophesy would be fulfilled through Yahweh’s people coming into agreement with Him! So, search the scriptures to see if you see then make a decision about intercession. However, I invite you to first listen to this song by David Brymer and reflect on whether the answer is yes?

The Power of Passover

This year Passover begins today, on the evening of Friday April 3 (Good Friday to us as Christians). You may notice that I have referenced Passover rather than Easter. While Easter is what we traditionally celebrate, I personally, along with quite a few others by the way, prefer Passover. Why is that you wonder, it is because the feasts of Israel were prophetic events pointing to the future and the church was birthed in and through these feasts and they still have much to teach us. Passover was the key feast connected to our salvation. If you had asked a first century believer what they were doing for Easter they would have had no response as they had never heard of Easter. Easter came in during the first centuries of the church when a political decision was made to disconnect the church from its Jewish roots.

Our salvation is rooted in the Feast of Passover, in fact what we refer to as the Last Supper was Jesus celebrating the Passover meal with His apostles. Our origin as the church and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is traced to Pentecost (Passover flowed into First Fruits which flowed into the Feast of Weeks that culminated in Pentecost). This is why the language of Acts 2:1 was recorded as ‘when the Day of Pentecost had fully come.’ The church will come to a glorious fulfillment on another feast of Israel, the fall Feast of Tabernacles, also known as the harvest feast or ingathering. Yes, not all the feasts have been fulfilled. In the future I plan to provide further information on the feasts and there spiritual significance but here are a couple of many from Passover.

Prior to His arrest and crucifixion Jesus spent time staying in Bethany and travelling in and out of Jerusalem teaching and being inspected by the religious elite. They could find not a spot or blemish in Him (He was arrested and crucified on false charges). At the same time a natural lamb was tied up outside the temple each day. It was the Passover lamb selected to be sacrificed for the nation and the practice was for it to be tied up outside so the whole nation could inspect it. So here we have the true Passover Lamb and the natural one pointing to one another at Passover.

Another aspect of Passover was that when it was instituted in Egypt Moses was instructed to tell the people of Israel to eat the whole lamb. In the same way Jesus told His followers to make disciples of all nations and to teach them to ALL He had commanded. If are to truly obey the gospel we must embrace the Passover injunction and eat the whole thing!

10  You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire. Exodus 12:10 (NKJV) 20  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:20 (NKJV)

So Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us. Passover was a one day event and on the first day of the week the High Priest gathered the first fruits of the spring harvest and waved them in the field as an offering to Yahweh. While he was performing this act Jesus was being raised from the dead. Paul referred to this as follows.

20  But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21  For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:20-22 (NKJV)

Understanding the roots of our faith helps to bring clarity to the New Testament record.

In closing, let me take us back to Passover and the power of Jesus death and resurrection on our behalf. Matthew 1:21 says Jesus will save us from our sins, I have always understood this as both the penalty and power. What Jesus accomplished has been powerfully captured in the words of a friend. I invite you to reflect deeply on what he has written. He has chosen to remain anonymous.

We three had been planning this for what seemed to be an eternity.

The time had finally come.

An event beyond human comprehension.

A solution and a gift for all mankind.

It’s really a love story so intricate, it is almost beyond belief.

Although some would not, or will not accept or believe the gift I have bought and paid for.


It did come at a cost.

It wasn’t the physical pain that I was dreading, no, that would pass quickly enough compared to what the final outcome would be.

The gift.


Scorned, and despised.

Abandoned, rejected by my closest friend three times.

Actually, rejected by millions over time really.

Back scourged, flesh ripped and torn, hanging in shreds.

Crushed bearing the weight of a crude timber.

Broken, pierced and spit upon.

Ridiculed by the very ones I came to bring the gift to.


I was deeply distressed, yet, I would not turn away from doing my Father’s will.

That’s what it would take, so, that’s what I would do.

Still, the Father’s plan was perfect.

I came and healed their infirmities.

The blind received sight, lepers cleansed, the poor received the good news.

And yet, this is how they treated me.

So I would remain silent to the end.

A lamb born, led to be sacrificially slaughtered.


But, there was an affliction I was dreading.

The dark night of the soul.

All sin since the beginning of man, and those who would come after, laid on me.

I would be covered, drenched with the wickedness of the world.

A putrid stench so evil, so abhorrent, my Father would have to turn away from me.

My Father’s love and Presence would be stripped away from me.

The anguish of my soul as the Father forsakes me. That is the dread I faced.

Like the curtain ripped from top to bottom, torn in two, separated.

His love and presence ripped and torn away from me. That’s what I was looking towards.

Forsaken and despised by my own Father, the anticipation of losing the one you love.

Yet that was my Fathers will, to crush me, to make me suffer…… for you!


As the Word says,

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,

that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”



This is the gift.

Now you know the truth.

That’s what I did for you.

Will you believe?

What are you going to do with this knowledge?

Do you have the courage to come to me? To know me?

Will you accept the Father’s gift to you, or will you turn away and reject us?

The choice is yours.

A Body Prepared Part 2

In continuing to talk about the need to walk as one I am going to weave together some seemingly disparate scriptures into one. In doing this I recognize that if the church is to ever function in the unity Jesus prayed for then we all need to understand what and how to walk in the things He has prepared for us to do.

10  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)

While I wrote ‘if the church is to ever function in the unity Jesus prayed for’ in the comment above, the real question is ‘when?’ Given Jesus prayed for unity we can be assured that no matter how things look now, or how settled we are in unbelief, before the end Jesus will ultimately have what He requested from the Father. We also need to understand the role our persevering faithful prayer plays in the fulfillment of Jesus prayer. However, back to Ephesians 2:10. Have you ever had guests for a meal? Generally we try to prepare the food before they arrive, to have things ready in advance. Our Father looked down through time and eternity and ‘pre’-pared things for us to walk in, our individual calling and purpose. This is part of being assembled as a body.

So let’s start with what Jesus prayed.

20  “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21  that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22  And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23  I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” John 17:20-23 (NKJV)

Jesus said we will come into unity, become one, through an understanding and experience of His glory. So we would do well to pray for an unveiling of His glory. I think some of that will come through us as His body each understanding our calling and purpose.

16  from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:16 (NKJV)

Another key piece is the need to be righty related to one another. Paul told us that the body is ‘joined and knit together’ through what the joints supply. A joint is not a part, it is a relationship between parts. So let’s add this to the reference below.

24  And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25  not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25 (NKJV)

There are two parts here. Joints and assembly. In applying Hebrews 10:24-25 I know the literal meaning is getting together but in the early church that meant 1 Corinthians 14:26, not showing up and sitting and standing on cue and then leaving in pretty much the same condition we came in as seems to be the case in so many present day churches.

26  How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 1 Corinthians 14:26 (NKJV)

So we need to be joined in right relationships to grow as a body, we need to exercise our gifts and callings and we need to be assembled. Assembled in the sense of the right parts fitting together. If we as the church are the body of Christ then the toe needs to be joined to the foot, the ear to the head and the nose to the face. Each part needs to know its function and then be in the right place on the body. This will require a shift in the function of much of the current church leadership, a revelation of His glory throughout His body, and a general releasing of the body into their calling and purpose.

The way I best understand this coming about is an image the Holy Spirit showed me about 20 years ago. I saw an image of a puzzle, like a jigsaw puzzle. As the parts shifted and came closer the picture was clearer but when they all came into the right place it was as if light were turned in inside the puzzle and it was filled with life. This is what I believe will happen when we as His body come into our gifts and callings and are properly assembled. We will see clearly what was previously confusing and will corporately powerfully flooded with the light of His presence (we have something to pray for).

In closing here is what I heard Bobby Connor say while recently watching John Paul Jackson’s memorial service.

“God chose us in the past, to live in the present, to forge the future.” Bobby Connor

Let us forge the future Jesus envisions for His body!