Total Pageviews

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Union With Christ # 40

5. Functional Union (continued)

Unconscious Functioning A Sign of Health (continued)

And when there is this unconscious registration, if anything does go wrong, what has been registered in the spirit within begins to make itself felt outwardly, and we become aware of the symptoms. We know there is something wrong. It has come up somewhere from the depths; something is not right. What I am saying is that there is a fact of things before there is an understanding of things. Before there is a mental apprehension, there is a fact, the fact of function before we understand. We said in an earlier chapter in this series that sometimes there can be a true living, beautiful expression of the real meaning of the Body of Christ without any of the teaching or the technique. That does not mean that teaching becomes unnecessary; but the right order is that the thing should be there first, and that you should come to something more by understanding what is there: whereas if you put it the other way and get all the teaching and technique and then try to get reality, it does not work - it is the wrong way around.

Christ's Headship

I am going to close with this, the key to all - and there is a great deal more than I have said: you know how much we could say about the Body of Christ and its function, it is just full of wonderful Divine meaning - but the key to all is Christ's Headship expressed in every member, in every part. There is a sense in which our heads, physically, naturally can be said to be present in every part of the body to the farthest extremity - and how do you sense it? You know it in your head, you register it there. In a healthy body, the head, if it is free to function and is really functioning, is in touch with, and as it were represented in, every part. In the same way the Headship of Christ - His absolute Headship, Lordship, sovereignty, call it what you will - being expressed in any and every pat of the Body and in every function, is the key to everything.

This means, of course, simply that every one of us, howsoever many we be, must be immediately and utterly under the absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ if the foregoing is to be true. The expression of Christ demands the Lordship of Christ, the manifestation of Christ demands that He have His place as Head in every part.

Now do take that as the sum of everything; but do remember, do believe it - for you are going to prove it - you are going out or you are going on, you are going down or you are going up; we are all either going to make spiritual progress or we are going to retrogress. There is no standing still in this. We are on a slippery slope, and the only way is to keep going up or else we shall go down, and it is going to be like that all the way. Have no mistake about it. We are not just going to be stationary. If we do not go on we are going to lose ground. It is a fact which is born out by the experience of every one of us, that we just cannot cease to be positive. It is a most perilous thing to cease to be positive in the Christian life. Lack of fervency of spirit uncovers us, it takes our defences away, and we shall be steadily undone, steadily disintegrated, steadily made to lose out. This matter of the Body of Christ as a living organism, with relatedness and interrelatedness and interdependence, is no theory or technique. These are vital relationships connected with the increase of spiritual life, the enlargement of the expression of Christ, the justification of our very existence. But they are necessary things. You let your fellowship with the Lord's people suffer and you let your own spiritual life suffer. If you in any way become detached and isolated in spirit, in mind, in action, you cut the very vitals of your own spiritual life. It is like that. This functional union with Christ in His Body is essential. It is essential to Him, for the fulfillment of His purpose. It is essential to u in the fulfillment of our very life as Christians.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 41 - (6. Vital and Organic Union)

The Right Perspective

In today's devotional, I want to take you back to the Scripture we looked at yesterday, Hebrews 11:13-16,

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.  And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.  But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

Yesterday we talked about how it is so easy to remember "the good old days," but with selective memory, not really remembering the pain and struggle.

Today, I want you to see an important perspective the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11 provide for us.  What did they do? They looked to the future. These men and women of God walked as strangers and pilgrims on this earth because they looked for a better homeland, a better place, which God would prepare for them.

I'm telling you, there is a better homeland than our world today. There is a city called the New Jerusalem.  There is a place that does not need the light of the sun nor the light of the moon because the Lamb—Jesus Christ—is its light. 
In that city, every tear is wiped away. There is no more sin, no more sickness, no more pain, and no more suffering. 

Like the heroes of old, I have my eye on that heavenly city. It is better than anything we have here!  I pray that this will be your perspective today…and every day…as well.

~Bayless Conley~

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Victory Over Guilt

At times, people are bound by guilt long after the feeling should have been resolved. Some rightly live with it because they refuse to give up the sin that brought it on. Meanwhile, others suffer the weight of false guilt because they harbor shame that doesn't belong to them. Whatever the root cause of your condemnation, the battle plan remains the same.

Victory over guilt begins with understanding that Jesus took our shame to the cross and paid our penalty. There is no way that we can pay for our own sin. But we do need to honestly identify the source of our guilt and confess before God. That means we agree with His perspective on what we've done. In other words, we admit when we're wrong. Repentance goes a step further: we turn away from the wrong and choose to do right.

Confronting guilt in this way replaces the weight of shame in our heart with peace and joy, which are far lighter and more freeing. And an amazing side effect is that we have wisdom to share. Openness about our past mistakes, resulting consequences, guilt burdens, and forgiveness can reveal the Lord to those in our sphere of influence. Through our witness, God may reach others who need their guilt chains broken.

The battle to overcome guilt is one that should not be delayed. The feeling won't just go away. Whether your condemnation is true or false, it needs to be dealt with quickly. Stop running, and face the source of your guilt. It's time to end your captivity and start walking in the joy of God's blessing.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Monday, December 29, 2014

Union With Christ # 39

5. Functional Union (continued)

Functional Constitution and Appointment (continued)

That means, of course, more than the acceptance of the fact of our position in the Body and of our having a function in the Body. It means the acceptance of our "responsibility," that we regard ourselves as responsible people in the Body of Christ, that we take responsibility for the expression of Christ - not personal importance, assertiveness, self-realization, but the expression of Christ. I am here as a member of a Body, the function of which is to express the indwelling personality, which is Christ. That is a serious responsibility, a solemn charge and obligation, as well as a privilege. We must take this up. Why am I joined to Christ? Why am I a member of Christ's Body? For such I am if I am in Christ. Why am I in the position? For no other and no lesser purpose than to be the vehicle of the expression of Christ, and if I am not doing that I am contradicting the very meaning of my union with Christ. We have to take responsibility over it. Every day we have to feel responsible about this matter of the expression of Christ. Of course, that will come down to many things.  We slip up, we make mistakes; we speak a wrong thing, or a right thing in a wrong way; somehow or other we default; and at once we say, "That is not Christ, I must put that right; that has made a false impression, that has dishonored my Lord, let me clear that up." That is taking responsibility. There will be many small things like that - though nothing is truly small in the Body of Christ; and we could speak of many other things.

Unconscious Functioning a Sign of Health

Now in a healthy body all this exists very largely unconsciously. Coming back to what I said, asking, What is my function? - your trouble will be that you will not know. In a healthy body, everything happens without your being conscious of it. You do not mentally reason out, work out and think and decide when you are going to take the next breath. You just do it. You never thought anything about it. That is going on in your body if you are healthy. It is all functioning so largely unconsciously. There is an unconscious sense in our physical system. It registers before we register. When we are pulled up by some symptom, some feeling, we begin to realize that something has gone wrong physically. But the system registered that before we were conscious of it. It is only bringing us to recognize what it has already recognized. That is going on all the time. In a healthy body there is no self-occupation with - What am I, who am I, where am I, what is my function? And when the Body of Christ is healthy, there is a spontaneous expression of Christ. It just happens, and it is most healthy when it is like that - indeed it is only healthy when it is like that. When people are self-conscious, when people are letting you know that they are trying to do something for the Lord - there is something wrong there. That is the Body occupied with itself instead of with the Lord. If we are really occupied with the Lord, a very great deal of this self-occupation disappears. Do not worry as to what your function is. You live in union with the Lord and you will function. You may not be able to see what it is that represents your value, but it will be there; you may not be able to see how it is that you are serving the purpose of the Body, but it will be served. Is it not true that we have known those who have felt themselves the poorest, the weakest, the most foolish, and we have found a fragrance of Christ, a beautiful fragrance of Christ, in that life, and they were all the time so troubled because they did not feel they were any good at all? We have met Christ. It is quite a healthy state to be in - far better than the opposite. There is an unconscious registration going on.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 40)

Understanding Guilt

Guilt over doing something that violates the conscience is a normal emotion. However, living under a cloud of remorse for no discernible reason is not. The Lord designed feelings of culpability and regret to serve as a reminder that a person has done wrong and needs to repent. But Satan twists those emotions to imprison men and women: those living in shame are uncertain of God's love and often lack self-confidence.

Good guilt--the Lord's effective tool for prompting repentance--is a gift that helps us find the right path. However, the Devil encourages false guilt, which involves taking responsibility for things outside our control and then suffering self-condemnation for not changing the outcome. This unhealthy type of guilt is also a widespread problem for those in legalistic churches or lifestyles--certain behaviors or thoughts are labeled as wrong, and then people feel ashamed for doing or thinking those things.

Self-condemnation stunts a relationship with Jesus. Instead of enjoying the peace of God, people who are trapped by shame fear His rejection and feel driven to prove their worth. Trust is nearly impossible because they are waiting for God's judgment to rain down. Their guilt even colors how they see themselves: rather than saying, "My action is wrong," they say, "I am bad."

Jesus did not come to accuse or condemn us. Christ restored our souls and made us righteous before God so that our guilt is removed. If our Savior forgave the woman caught in an adulterous relationship, just imagine how ready He is to take your shame away too (John 8:11).

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Union With Christ # 38

5. Functional Union (continued)

Functional Constitution and Appointment

Then we must accept, definitely accept, the fact of the constitutional function of each member: that is, that each member, if really a member of Christ - and so possessing the indwelling Holy Spirit - each member, by the Holy Spirit, is in some way constituted with a function. Now, we must take that to ourselves. You may feel that you have not any place or function; you have always been trying to find out what it is, but you have never discovered it. How many people have come to me and said something like this - "Do you really believe that I represent some function of the Body of Christ? I wish you would tell me what it is!" I will answer that in another way. I am saying that we must accept the fact as stated in the Word of God, that, if this is not just some picture, some illustration, this figure of the body; if it is a reality, if the body is more than a metaphor, if it is a living reality and the Church is constituted on the very principles of the physical body of a man, as undoubtedly it is, if that is true, then these facts hold good, they are facts and we have got to accept the facts.

Now you can theorize about the functions of your body, if you like, but you will sooner or later have to accept the facts of it: they are facts. And so are these things that I am mentioning. We have to accept the fact that as members of Christ, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we are constituted with a function in the Body of Christ and we have got to function. We have to recognize that we are there to function, not to be parasites or passengers, but to fulfill vital functions in the Body of Christ. If we accept the fact, and adjust ourselves to the fact, the Holy Spirit can do things; but if we become passive, if we sit down and decide that we do not count for anything and therefore what is the good of it - today we are eggs, tomorrow we are feather dusters! - if we adopt that kind of attitude, the Holy Spirit will not do anything. The Holy Spirit says, Now then, on your feet and give Me an opportunity; take a positive attitude toward this reality, this truth, that you are a member of Christ's Body and that He has no paralyzed members.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 39)

A Good Sharpening

As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. - Proverbs 27:17

Today's verse is one that is quoted often when referring to healthy and productive friendships. Just as iron is used to sharpen iron, a man or woman is used to sharpen his or her friend. What is this verse really saying? How do we apply this wise proverb to our friendships?

To sharpen a knife (even the basic kitchen knife) we must use a metal tool designed to sharpen the blade. Wood will not do the job, nor will plastic or glass. Certain types of stones were used in ancient times but many of the knives were also composed of stones or metallic substances. It takes a substance of similar strength and durability to handle the friction required to sharpen the object. Sharpening in itself is a process of fine grinding, requiring just enough to remove the dull edges. How does this compare to sharpening a friend? The knife is without a will of its own. It is in complete submission to the person doing the sharpening. Friends, however, have wills and opinions, and are much less likely to submit.

To sharpen the countenance of a friend we must first love them. When our motives are founded on love, our words and actions will reflect the love in our hearts. The Bible tells us to speak the truth in love and that without love, nothing we do really matters anyway. It is when we truly love a friend that we are willing to take the steps necessary to sharpen them. Just as with a knife, the process requires friction, some grinding and the removal of bad edges. And, just as with a knife, a person of similar strength and durability is required to handle the job. Sharpening involves heat, intensity and duration. A loving friend knows when heat and friction are needed, despite how long or intense the process. A loving friend is honest, even to the point of pain. If we are willing to submit to that friend, then we will be sharpened. Friends willing to work through these things in the Lord will bear much fruit together.

Do you have a friend who sharpens you? Are you the kind of friend who sharpens others? God has given us friends for His purposes. We have the greatest Friend of all as Jesus calls us His friends. He will sharpen us if we submit to Him. Friendships based on prayer and love will result in growth and maturity. Pray for your friends today. Ask the Lord to lead you in how to sharpen them. Also, ask the Lord to help you receive their counsel. If we place everything in God's hands, He will work through us in mighty ways. And one of the greatest ways to see God work is through our friendships. 

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Union With Christ # 37

5. Functional Union (continued)


And then there must be interrelatedness. Interrelatedness is essential to the full expression of this union, this fellowship, this relatedness; there must be a working together, there must be a mutual consideration with a view to helping one another, definitely helping one another. We are members not only of Christ - we have read that twice already - but "severally one of another." That is interrelatedness, and it is the very practical aspect of the Body of Christ that there is mutual support and mutual helpfulness, and that we are really laying ourselves out for the good of other members of the Body of Christ. That is the only way of the fullness of His expression. I said this is subject to test, to proof. You will find that your measure of Christ increases when you go to help another member of Christ; when you consider the need of other members of the Body and do what you can to meet it. Christ s coming out in fuller expression in your own life. If you are wrapped up in yourself, circling around yourself, occupied with yourself, nursing your own grievances and sufferings and trials and difficulties, and so becoming more and more isolated and imprisoned within yourself, your measure of Christ is diminishing all the time. It is that outward movement to His own that means spiritual increase to the on who makes it. It is necessary, it is essential, for the full expression of the personality. The New Testament is largely constructed upon that truth.


And in the next place, interdependence. It is only another phase of the same thing. This brings in a general spirit of meekness. One member cannot say to another, "I have no need of you." It is not, perhaps, likely that you would say that in so many words. It may have been said in Corinth. It does seem as though something like that was going on there, and those actual words may have been used by some about others. "We can do without you!" "You do not count!" But it is not likely that spiritual people would use those actual phrases. Yet we act them. We behave like that too often. It is one of the lessons that we have got to learn. We really must consider this matter - that somehow or other the members which are least honorable are necessary. Somehow or other, those whom we would discount are necessary. It may be difficult sometimes to see how they are necessary. At any rate, it is to be  an attitude. Can the Lord do without that one? Does not all the grace of God in salvation and in glorification come down to that least one? And am I not the least one, after all? Do we feel we are more important than others, and that we therefore merit the grace of God more than some others do? You see, the whole question of meekness arises. Interdependence means that somehow we need one another. That is true, and that is a necessary basis for the full expression of Christ - mutual recognition, mutual honoring; so that we take the attitude, "Now, this child of God, with all the faults and weaknesses, cannot be despised, cannot be cut off as of no account. Somewhere they fit into the whole in the realm of the Spirit, and the measure of Christ is increased." In that way we try to make the most of the least. There must be an acceptance of the fact of the Body.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 38 - (Functional Constitution and Appointment)

Direct Access

In talking about the Holy of Holies…that second part of the tabernacle behind the veil where the presence of God dwelt under the old covenant… Hebrews 9:7 says,

But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people's sins committed in ignorance.

Only the high priest could go into this part of the tabernacle, into God's presence.  And he could go only one time each year to offer the blood of an animal to cover the sins of the people.

But look with me at Hebrews 10:17-19,

Then He adds, "Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."  Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.  Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus.
You have access into the very presence of God.  In fact, Hebrews says, Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

You do not have to go through a priest.  You do not have to go through Pastor Bayless.  You have immediate, constant access.  In fact, God not only welcomes you, He desires you to come into His presence.

You know, my kids just barge into my office all the time.  I can be in there having a meeting when the door just opens, "Hi, Dad!  Got anything in your refrigerator?"  They just come in like they belong there…and they do.  I'm their father.

Your heavenly Father is the same way.  He is not going to put you off and say, "You know what?  You have to come through an angel.  I'm sorry, but you cannot talk directly to Me."

Nope.  You have direct access!

~Bayless Conley~

Friday, December 26, 2014

Union With Christ # 36

V. Functional Union (continued)

Inclusive Function: Expressing the Personality - Christ (continued)

On the other hand, it is possible to underestimate and be careless about the boy, and that is equally evil. To be careless, slovenly, shabby in your bodily presence dishonors the personality, it takes something from the man, it degrades him. That could be applied in many ways. We make the observation as we go on that we must honor the Body of Christ. We are under obligation to keep the Body in respect for the sake of the One who is inside. While I speak, of course, of the fellowship of the Lord's people - the mutual honoring and respecting and helping and trying to elevate the standard of spiritual life; keeping things from becoming spiritually shabby and threadbare and down at heel, it does have - and forgive the somewhat mundane application - it does have an application to our personal presence, as to whether we, as Christians, in our personal appearance are really discrediting our Lord, by carelessness in habits or in dress, in behavior or manners. These things let the Lord down. As Christians we ought to be far above them. Now I am not suggesting to you that you at once go and begin to elaborate your personal adornment, but I do say that Christ deserves to be honored by the body and in the body, and it is possible t sin against Christ by carelessness with regard to the body. I would like to follow that more closely in our mutual care of one another - what the Word calls "provoking one another to good works," and "washing one another's feet"; that is, helping one another to keep from the earth, to keep out of touch with the low level of this world.

Functional Relatedness

We turn now to look at some things of  primary  account. The things that we have just been considering are perhaps only relatively important but there are also the greater things, the things of primary account for the full expression of the personality. I am using that word deliberately, for the time being, instead of Christ, because you will get the point better, I think, if I do so. For the full expression of the personality, which is Christ, thee must be first of all a body, and a body, as we have read in 1 Corinthians 12, is not so many individual scattered members. The body is not so many disconnected or unconnected members. The Body of Christ is the fellowship of believers, in the Holy Spirit, in a very definite, conscious relatedness, involving an inward registration and recognition that we are all related to all the Lord's people, that locality in this matter is not the final criterion, that we are related to the Lord's people everywhere. That is, indeed, most definitely emphasized in the New Testament as an absolute necessity for the full expression of Christ. The full expression of Christ cannot  come through unrelated individual believers. There may be some small, some partial expression of Christ in such, but fullness requires relatedness, and I challenge you on this matter. It is open to proof and it is constantly demonstrated. Your measure of Christ depends upon your relatedness. You will never get beyond a certain small degree of the expression of Christ in isolation, in separation, in independence, in apartness. The increase of your measure of the expression of Christ demands that you are in vital union with other members of His Body. I cannot be too emphatic about that, because I see everywhere the spiritual limitations and even the spiritual ravages resulting from the loss of that great reality. The Body must exist; there must be relatedness. And not just as an abstract thing; it must be real, it must be conscious, it must be deliberate, it must be a part of the very life. We know it - and if we do not know it, satan knows it - but the Lord knows it.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 37 -  (Interrelatedness )

Stop Talking to Yourself

You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. - Psalm 139:3 

Does God want to be involved in every decision we make? Is it necessary to pray about every little detail? Many would say that God doesn’t care, He saved you and He gave you a mind to think things through for yourself. I would completely disagree. After spending years of praying over the details in life, I have come to appreciate all He does for me just by including Him and looking for His fingerprints in my life.

But how does this work? Well, for a great starter, stop talking to yourself and start talking to the Lord. If you are late, talk to God about it. If you are confused, include God in it. Talk to Him as a friend, a counselor and a companion. He says that He is all those traits so get to know Him in those ways. In every relationship, there needs to be two-way communication. Prayer obviously is your part in the communication process with the Lord. But the Bible is God’s way of speaking back to you. So let’s say it is on your heart to buy a new car. Start talking to Him about it. Ask Him to change your heart if it is not His will or to lead your heart in the car buying process. Next, go to the Bible and ask the Lord to give you verses to guide you in this decision. If some verse pops out to you, pray over it and ask God to make His message clearer through that verse. If He does give you the go ahead, do further research with that promise.  Keep talking to Him and keep going back to the Word, asking for specific direction. Whatever you include Him in, the Lord will work with you from dealerships to your finances. As you grow in the knowledge of God’s guidance, you will gain a peace in your decision of what to purchase. Regardless of the outcome, you will have assurance of God’s hand in the process. Walking through these decisions in our lives with God is the only way to assure peace. The more we include Him in every decision, the more we grow in our knowledge of Him, which leads to a closer walk with the Lord.

Are you in the midst of a trial or major decision in your life? Are you searching for answers in various places? Knowledge can bring peace, but the knowledge of God brings everlasting peace that continues to surpass our understanding. Start out everyday in God’s Word. Take time to put His Word in your heart and mind. Before the day is through, you will need to hear from the Lord on something that crosses your path. The knowledge of His Word will give you peace and assurance in ways you could never imagine. Try it and see what God will do.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Union With Christ # 35

Functional Union (continued)

Inclusive Function: Expressing the Personality - Christ (continued)

There are several matters connected with this. Let us look in the first place at some things of relative or secondary account. It is possible to exaggerate the Body. That is sometimes done in the physical, human realm! Such an assertiveness, such an elaboration, such an aggrandizement, such an adornment and decoration of the external, the body, the fabric - to the hiding of the personality - so that the thing which impresses is the form, the pageantry, the external, no the presence of the Lord. It is that which touches the senses of men, so that their sight is taken up and their human natural senses of perception are occupied with the externals of the Church and often with the people themselves making an impression, and the Lord Himself is not to be found. It is possible to exaggerate the body; and apart from that - possibly exaggerated - observation, in many other ways we can bring the "technique" of the Church, of the Body of Christ, how it must be done and so on, so much into view, that all this is occupying the attention instead of the Lord Himself. The very teaching can obscure, if we are not very careful. Unless the Lord, the personality within, transcends all the means employed, then there is something wrong and we had better reconsider our means.

In the next place, it is possible to make the body "artificial"  - now I am on very thin ice! - by titivating and decorating and painting. And what is it all about? It is an attempt to create personality where it is felt to be lacking. Forgive me if this make any reader feel uncomfortable! But that is its underlying object - to make an impression, to carry weight, to give a sense of personality, or to make up some conscious lack. It is possible to be so occupied with this elaboration in connection with the Church in order to make an impression. How much of it, indeed, is already being done by the organized Church, with this object in view. All sorts of things are being put on, taken on, employed, all the paint and gilt and tinsel, all the artificial, in order to try to overcome this sense of a lack of impact, in order to make an impression because the impression is not there naturally; and it is quite possible to make the Body of Christ artificial, and its registration an artificial one, which will wear off unless you put more paint on and still more. You have to keep to going or it will fade out. It has to be done every morning!

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 36)

God's Ordered Authority

God's plan for each one of us has our best interest in mind. His way leads to fullness of life. Yet He did not create us to be robots that blindly and lifelessly live their godly life. No, the Lord grants us the choice of whether or not to obey Him. Our human nature tends to choose a self-centered path that turns away from God's authority. But in doing so, we miss His best for us.
Consider the life of King Saul. God chose this man to be king and provided guidelines for him to follow. Though Saul knew the Lord's instructions, he chose to do things his own way. At times his sin was unquestionably deliberate, such as his attempt to kill David out of jealousy. At other times, however, his rebellion seemed less clear-cut. For example, despite God's order to "utterly destroy" the Amalekites and their animals, Saul spared the best of the herd, with the justification that they were "to sacrifice to the Lord" (1 Sam. 15:3, 21).
His disobedient choices cost him the throne and eventually led to his destruction. This man chose the road that satisfied his immediate fleshly desires, but as we know from history, the end result was hardly fulfilling. We can learn from Saul's mistakes. Partial obedience is actually disobedience. And any disobedience falls in the category of rebellion, which is sin.
Each day, we face the same types of choices. Though the details are different, both large and small temptations lure us. We can live according to Christ's will, following His lead and listening for His voice. Or we can refuse. Choose today to live God's way--which leads to fullness of life.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Union With Christ # 34

5. Functional Union

Romans 12:4, 5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Ephesians 1:23; Ephesians 2:15,16 Ephesians 4:12; Ephesians 4:15, 16; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 5:23; Ephesians v. 23

We continue with our consideration of this great and many-sided revelation of union with Christ. We come now to the fifth aspect of union with Christ, which we are calling Fundamental Union: that is, as a body, with head and members.

Inclusive Function: Expressing the Personality - Christ

I am going to begin with the inclusive function of the Body of Christ. That function is the expressing of the personality of the Body, which is Christ. The Body of Christ, the Church as the Body of Christ, does not exist for self-expression. It does not exist for any other purpose at all than that of expressing the inward personality, the personality dwelling within the Body, that is, Christ. We never rightly speak of a corpse as a man. We can speak of it as the body of a man, but never as a man. The man is not there. His body may be there. We may, on the other hand, speak of a living body as a man, but we know quite well that the body, even though it is animated, is not the man, or is at most only a small part of him. The body is only the vehicle or vessel for the expression and activity of the man. The real man is what is inside the body.

So it is with the Body of Christ. We discriminate between Himself and His Body, and in a sense we identify His Body with Him, and yet there remains that difference. It is important to keep this in mind. Christ is not merged into something called His Body and His own personality lost. He remains the personality of His Body. There may be the framework without the personality, just as there can be the personality without the Body; but - and this is the teaching concerning the Church as His Body - for all practical purposes the two are one. That is, Christ demands His Body, and the Body demands Him. The Body is dominated by Him in order that, according to one passage we have just read, it may be His completeness, "the fullness of him that filleth all in all."

So, then, the Body has as its function two main things. One is to locate the person or the personality, to bring Christ where the Body is, so that, where the Body is, there Christ should be. He has decided and chosen so to bind Himself up with His Body, that that Body, the Church, should be the place where He is found; that, in the minimum of representation - two members - it should bring Him into any place, that by it He should be able to come into any location or situation. One purpose of the Body, then, is to locate Christ.

Secondly, its function is to express the personality, to be the means, the vessel, wherein and whereby He can express Himself, make Himself known - bring people to see the Lord, to know the Lord, to understand the Lord. That is quite simple, but it is quite challenging.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 35)

A Commitment to Obey

The Bible declares the Lord's great power and majesty while also revealing His deep mercy and love. He is worthy of wholehearted, passionate submission, but He doesn't often get it. Are you among the few who offer themselves to Him without reservation?
Complete obedience is a choice to follow God regardless of the consequences. This means that we obey the Lord even if our friends choose a different path or when suffering or embarrassment is guaranteed. Seeing His will done is more important than our own comfort or personal ambition. We commit the consequences to God and cling to His promises: He will never leave us (Heb. 13:5), and He makes good out of every situation (Rom. 8:28).
Notice the word 'commitment' in the title of today's devotion. I'm not writing about obedience that is born of the moment (as in, I choose to follow God in this instance) but about submission as a way of life. Setting restrictions on compliance is so tempting--we want to be able to change our mind when obeying upsets our lifestyle, the final result is unclear, or we're just plain scared. But let me ask you this one sobering question: If Jesus is the Lord of your life, what right do you have to limit how and when you'll do His will?
Believers have no right to set their own limits; their one criterion for making decisions should be, What does God want me to do? The answer at times may cause suffering, but obedience is always right. And following God in all things is the surest path to favor and spiritual growth.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Union With Christ # 33

Vocational Union (continued)

D. A Stewardship: E. An Order (continued)

So we do not begin by saying, "Now, to have an expression of the heavenly order, you must first bring a company of people together, and then you must have the Lord's Table and baptism, and you must have brethren in authority and corporate ministry - everything must be corporate and in fellowship." Do not have that kind of mentality. It is deadly; it can be as earthly as anything else. You will find, if the Holy Spirit really gets things into His hands, that you will begin to be exercised about things. We have seen that happening so wonderfully. Where Christ is preached, with a seeking of complete and utter surrender and abandonment to Him and the establishment of His lordship and headship; when all those things are brought into view and have been accepted, it is not long before  people say, "I am beginning to be exercised about so-and-so; you have never said anything about this, but it has been coming up with me lately."

That is the way, and the only way, that is fruitful and valuable. The Holy Spirit precipitates things when He gets His place. He brings the house, He brings the stewardship, the dispensation, the economy, the heavenly order, and when it comes up like that, it is a very blessed thing, and you say, "This is not some system of teaching I have taken on; it is something the Lord  has has shown me." That is the way, and the only living way. If you walk in the Spirit, if you really walk in the Spirit, you will find that, as you go on, all sorts of adjustments will be made because the Lord indicates them to you; all sorts of things will be put away or be brought in, because the Lord is speaking. He is a Son over God's house, and as such He is bringing in this heavenly economy, this heavenly order; not to have ordinances, but testimonies - those things which embody spiritual and heavenly principles.

Well, that is familiar ground to many, but to all who read these lines it may not be equally so, and it may be the Lord would have that word said. Yes, union with Christ as a stewardship: there is an arrangement that the Holy Spirit will make in the house of God, that Christ as the Son over God's house will bring into into being; a heavenly arrangement. It means a new mentality - "stewards of the mysteries of God" said Paul (1 Corinthians 4:1) - a new mentality, a new conception of things; or, as Peter said, "According as each hath received a gift, ministering it among yourselves, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God" (1 Peter 4:10). In "housekeepers of the manifold grace of God". If you think that is straining the sense, look at the context. "Using hospitality one to another" - that immediately precedes it. "According as each hath received a gift, ministering it among yourselves, as good 'housekeepers' of the manifold grace of God."

It means a new mentality bringing heavenly conceptions; heavenly-mindedness. It says that Adam gave names to everything - I suppose the animals and the flowers. ( I am quite sure he did not give Latin names: none of that in Paradise, please!) He gave names to everything. My point is this. We have to find a heavenly name for everything, find out what the Lord calls things. The Lord calls a thing by a certain name. We go round it and call it by other names, but the Lord says, No, that is that, it is this; you are calling it by another name. We have to call things by their right names, give the right heavenly name to things. The Lord calls a certain virtue meekness; we call it weakness. Give the right heavenly names to things and you will have plenty to do - it is a very big world.

The other aspect is administration or ministry: the house as a stewardship, a ministry, a place of ministry. That does mean, of course, setting up a professional ministry or a particular company called ministers. It is the household; that is the place of ministry. Everybody in this household ought to have a stewardship; everyone ought to be a steward of the manifold grace of God. In some way or another you can be a steward, because you are called to be a steward, to have something of the Lord to give. That is why the Lord is dealing with you as He is. He is trying to make you a steward in His house, to make it possible for you to have something to give to someone else, something of Himself that you have received, that you have come to possess that you can pass on to someone else.

Well, all this is compassed by the word for house, and its related forms, all referring to the house of God. This house is a wonderful thing. Do ask the Lord to make more clear to you what it involves, and let us ask the Lord very much that there may be literal expressions of His heavenly house found more and more widely on this earth.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 34 - (Functional Union)

Get Out of the Boat

Jesus said to them, "Come and eat breakfast." Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, "Who are You?" knowing that it was the Lord. - John 21:12

Do you ever find yourself wanting to ask a question when in reality you already know the answer? Jesus had already appeared to His disciples several times since His resurrection. But the disciples were still waiting for direction on how to go forward. So in the meantime, some of them decided to go fishing, their occupation before they followed Jesus. On this particular morning, as they were returning from their fishing, they looked up from their boat and saw a Man cooking breakfast on the shore. They did not need to ask who it was; they knew it was Jesus. I wonder if that moment punctuated their last fishing trip, as Peter jumped out of the boat to make his way towards Jesus. He did not have to ask Whowas waiting on him; he just knew.

At times in our Christian lives, we look back at those things we used to do. We may even question whether we should go fishing again. Maybe we keep going back to old ways and habits, even though we know we should have gotten out of that boat a long time ago. If Peter and John had not stopped fishing and had stayed with their boat, what all would they have missed? They left it the first time Jesus asked them when He said, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Matthew 4:19) Now, they are leaving their boat for the final time, never to return to their former lives again. From this moment on, they would live and die for the message of the gospel of their Lord Jesus Christ.

Maybe today you need to look up from your boat. How far are you from the shore? You are never too far away from Jesus. If you look for Him, you will find Him. When you see that Person who seems familiar, you really do not need to ask who it is. Jesus is always with you, wanting to feed and comfort you. Maybe He is asking you to get out of the boat and come towards Him. Maybe He wants to make you “fishers of men.” Is it a “maybe” or a “definitely”? I think we all know the answer to that question too. Today is the day to stop asking and start knowing and get moving.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Monday, December 22, 2014

Union with Christ # 32

4. Vocational Union (continued)

C. A Temple

Again, union with Christ is a temple. Perhaps you might think that that has been covered when we say that God is present and God is available. These are not watertight compartment ideas of union with Christ. They are all parts of a whole, the house of God. The temple simply brings out one particular idea. You see, it is not only where God is. God is in His holy temple, but that temple idea is that it is there that God's rights are recognized and where God gets His rights, because that is just the meaning of worship. The temple is the place of worship, and worship is just giving God His rights. God's rights are absolute, and in His temple God get everything - all is unto God. In the day when the temple was not what God meant it to be, as a figure very much otherwise, indeed - Isaiah wrote, "In the year that king Uzziah die I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple" (Isaiah 6:1). It is the place where there is no room for anyone else. You know the story of Uzziah - how he entered the temple to burn incense, unlawfully, without right he forced his way in and touched the altar, and he was smitten with leprosy and died in a lazar-house. In other words, he got into God's place. And then, when Uzziah was out of the way, Isaiah saw the Lord filling the temple. That is the true idea of the temple, and there it is "Holy, holy, holy," as we shall see. The thought behind the temple, then, is - Here, among these people here, in the two or the three or in the greater companies locally found, God is getting everything. God has a full, free, unhindered, unreserved way; His rights of complete capitulation, surrender, yieldedness, obedience, are ceded to Him. And it is not just in lip, it is in life. That is the temple, a living temple, a spiritual house. God's rights are ceded to Him.

D. A Stewardship: (E.) An Order

And then, finally, we come to union with Christ as a stewardship and an order. The word translated "stewardship," strangely enough, is from the same root as the Greek word for "house": it means the management of a house or household, and gives us our word "economy." It is the word that is elsewhere translated "dispensation" - what we call an economy, or administration; that is, an order of things - the order which exists in a certain time. It has two aspects: one is that it represents and expresses this Divine, heavenly, order; the other, that it is an administrative place, a place of administration, or ministry. That is the double-idea of stewardship.

I was saying a little while back that it is foolish to think of a heavenly order being found without some company to express it. There must be that here and there in the earth which expresses this order, in which this order is seen. Now, I am not contradicting myself in saying again that you must introduce the New Testament system. It just depends on how it comes in, but it must be there. It must be a heavenly order expressed. But it is possible to have the order without the doctrine, and it is better so than to have the doctrine without the order. We have found that the very thing is there, in existence, and people do not know anything about it. There it is: it exists - a wonderful spiritual order. They have sensed that this is how the Lord would have things done. When it has been pointed out to them that there is a whole revelation from God on that very matter, they had never realized it, but there it is.  They have come under the regime of the Holy Spirit, and found that this is how the Lord does things, this is what the Lord would have; it is spontaneous.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 33)

Assurance in Trials

We all experience hardship, and trials can shake us unless we cling to truth. Let me share three assurances to remember when troublesome circumstances arise.
First, God will always meet our needs. This doesn't mean He provides everything we want. Instead, the Lord will bless us with all that is necessary to fulfill His purpose for our lives. His goal is to sanctify us, not simply to satisfy each immediate desire.
Second, we're never alone. God promised to be with us always (Heb. 13:5). Loneliness often accompanies hardship, so we may feel deserted or opposed by family and friends. But our Father has sent His Spirit to be with us and in us, until the day He brings us to heaven (John 14:16-17). He is all we need--our advocate, guide, helper, and comforter. Recognizing His intimate presence gives us confidence in the midst of trials.
Third, God's love is eternal. Regardless of our circumstances or poor decisions, His care is unconditional--even when He reprimands us. Loving parents allow disobedient children to experience the consequences of wrong choices; they recognize the benefit of learning from mistakes. Of course, there are also times when we are negatively affected by others' wrong actions. Even then, God is sovereign and allows only what will bring good in His followers' lives.
In difficult times, we can remember that God will meet all of our needs, is always with us, and loves us forever. Though Jesus said we would face troubles in this life, He offered encouragement: The ultimate victory is His. So keep in mind that trials are fleeting, whereas our Father's love is forever.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Union with Christ # 31

Vocational Union (continued)

B. A Household (continued)

Well, this family conception, this household idea, speaks, firstly, of purity of strain or pedigree. You remember that in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah a very severe test was applied to everyone who had any place at all in recovering and reconstituting the house of God. He had to show his pedigree, because there were a lot of people who wanted to have "a finger in the pie," who wanted to come into that thing and have a place there, and because a lot of people had come in and there had been a mixture of seed, everyone must now show his pedigree. "Now, then, your birth certificate, please; where were you born, when were you born, what is your parentage, how far back does it go?" If I asked you this, what would you say? When were you born?

Now, perhaps you do not have to be able to say the precise day, hour, moment, when it happened, but you must at least be able to say, Yes, I know that at a certain time in my life something happened, and that happening was nothing less than a new birth. You must be able to do that to be in the household. And what is your parentage? Where were you born'. Now you would be quite wrong if you said, I was born again at such-and-such a place. The only answer is, I was born in heaven, from above; my citizenship is in heaven, my franchise is in the city of God. "This one was born there". "All my foundations are in thee" - I take my rise and my support from up there, the heavenly city. Where were you born, and how far back does your pedigree go? Ah, blessed be God it goes back beyond time, altogether outside of time. In Christ, we are not children of Adam; we are children of eternity. We are chosen in Him before the foundation of the world.

So this household must imply absolute purity of strain, of pedigree; there must be no mixture here.

Then it speaks of filial relationship. The household of God is a family which is a family bound together by filial relationship. "We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren" (1 John 2:14). The filial relationship and our birth are linked together. You cannot prove your birth if you do not love the brethren - the brotherhood, the family. You cannot prove your birth if that is not true. The proof of our birth is our mutual love one for another.

And then as a household it speaks of loyalty and jealousy for the Name. How the house of God is spoiled, how the household is marred, by our lack of loyalty. We may not think it is lack of loyalty to our Lord - we do not mean it like that - but we all bear His Name, and lack of loyalty to the Name is found in our lack of loyalty to one another. Is it not a terrible tragedy that Christians, whether individuals or companies, find it so easy to criticize one another? There is a loyalty in the world that is very often better than the loyalty between Christians. Think of the loyalty of the professions - you never hear one doctor speaking to the detriment of another doctor. There is a covenant of honor, there is a standard of loyalty, and there is always an extenuating, an excusing, not only there but in other realms also. But here, sadly, among us, we do not so easily try to excuse, to cover a multitude of sins,to let what is good be the object of our attention more than what is bad. That is a contradiction of the household.

And it is very practical. If that is a true conception of God's presence, God being available, then it requires a very practical outworking in our relationships. The house requires the household, the large conception of the family, of the pure strain of heavenly life that is above this earth.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 32 - (C. A Temple)

Get The Most Out of Your Work

According to Scripture, work is to be part of the believer's life. We all have daily tasks, and many Christians hold jobs outside the home. Some people view these as drudgery. Others wake up excited to face the day's challenges. What is your outlook?

There is an important biblical principle to follow if you are going to enjoy your work: View yourself as a servant. This might be hard if you feel unappreciated or your coworkers are difficult. But consider the example that the Lord set for us. He was rejected, tortured, and crucified. Yet Jesus was willing to serve even His tormentors with His attitude and, ultimately, with His life. Colossians 3:23-24 states, "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men . . . It is the Lord Christ whom you serve."

When I was in college, this proved to be a valuable perspective. I worked in the bleachery, which was the hottest and most uncomfortable job at the local textile mill. At first, I focused on how much I disliked this position. But I decided to change my attitude and look for opportunities to serve Jesus through my work. For the first time, the heat did not bother me. In fact, I was eager to share my faith with those around me. People listened and responded because they noticed my demeanor.

No job is perfect; each position has negative aspects. But we can find joy and excitement even in the most menial task when we decide to work for God. Choose to serve Christ in all you do. After all, why face each day with dread when you could experience excitement and anticipation? 

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Union with Christ # 30

4. Vocational Union (continued)

B. A Household 

The second phase of this wonderful word "house" is union with Christ as a household. That is a slight enlargement of the conception. You will understand what I mean, or what that means, if I remind you that in the Old Testament you have such phrases as "the house of Jacob" or "the house of Israel," or, in the New Testament, "the household of faith" (Galatians 6:10). In Germany you had the House of Hanover; in England you have the House of Windsor.

A household denotes two things - a single progenior and a family name. For example, the house of Jacob - Jacob was the progenior, and the house takes his name; or the house of Israel - one man gave his name to the whole line, the house of Israel. And then consider the household of faith. This household of faith - we know who the progenitor is. "I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20), said the Apostle. We are of those who are of the faith. It is the collective thoughts of one household, and brings in immediately the conception of the Church as a family, Father, Son and children.

Now here I want to say something which is to most of you by no means new, but which is of very great importance. We must not take these thing as abstract truths and ideas. We can, of course, have all the teaching on the house of God; we can know what the Bible says about the house of God and get the whole technical conception - and yet it can mean nothing of practical value. This house of God must be expressed locally; it must be found in existence locally. What we are going to say in this connection shortly, under another phase, makes it quite clear that this thing must be in existence in order to satisfy God's requirements. There must actually and literally be, in locations, that which corresponds to the union of living stones - be it even so few as two, the irreducible minimum - to provide God with this.

But it is not, let me say it again, an ecclesiastical building called the house of God. Our Christian mentality is all astray. There are people, who really ought to know better - for they are under the sound of the teaching all the time - who, when they come into gatherings, still say, in prayer or in worship, that they are glad to have come to the house of the Lord, meaning that they have come to a place. They do not mean that they are glad to have come into the presence of the Lord's people - though of course that may incidentally be true. The house, for them, is still this other idea of some place, of something external. But that is not it. It is not an ecclesiastical thing - to say nothing about architecture. It s not any particular place or any particular form. We can kill the house of God by starting with its technique - demanding the technique of the house of God. Whatever comes along that line must come organically and spontaneously, as we shall see at another time. We do not begin by constituting something according to a form. We are present together in a place, a location, as living stones, livingly expressing this house of Go and fulfilling its vocation, bringing God into that area, making God available. Perhaps that will be better born out as we go on.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 31)

Get God's Attention

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity. Jeremiah 29:11-14

The verse above from Jeremiah 29 may be one of the most popular sections of Scripture within the whole Bible. For me personally, it was one of the first that I ever committed to memory. So often, there are times in my life when I just need to hear that the Lord is thinking about me and that He wants to give me “a future and a hope.” Many times, I have difficulty grasping the truth of that statement. The God of the universe, the Lord of heaven and earth, actually has time to think about me? Is that really possible? Not only is it possible but also there is so much more: He wants us to call upon Him, pray to Him, seek Him, find Him, search for Him. God Himself wants us to want Him.

One morning I got up early to pray and knew I needed to spend some time on my knees, literally. As I positioned myself on the floor, my dog soon discovered where I was and proceeded to demand my attention. He began nudging me, licking my face and pressing his body into a position where I could no longer deny his presence. He was insistent to the point that I continued in prayer while petting my dog. I must admit he is irresistible in his persistence and extremely affectionate. In those moments, I sensed the Lord impress upon my heart that He was doing the same thing to me. I knew in that moment that the Lord wanted me to give Him the same kind of attention. He wanted me to know that His love is unconditional, irresistible and affectionate. And He just wants to be loved back. He wants my prayers, but He also wants my never-ending desire to seek and search for Him, to never settle when I may not sense His presence. He is always with me, but sometimes I need to press into Him and not give up until I get His attention.

Just like my dog knew how to get my attention, knowing that I would respond with love and affection, the Lord knows how to get our attention and our response should be the same. But we need to learn how to respond to Him. We need to call upon Him, seek Him and press into Him. We need to give Him our love and affection. He just wants our hearts but He also wants us to sense His nudging. The next time your child or your pet demands your attention, especially in the areas of love and affection, just remember that the Lord is seeking the same kind of attention from you. And no one gives it back better than He does.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Friday, December 19, 2014

Union With Christ # 29

4. Vocational Union (continued)

A. A Building (continued)

In the Old Testament there was a time when the glory went up from the sanctuary: it went up from the place where God had been; and, although the thing continued, the fabric went on, it was a shell - it had no significance, no value, no meaning at all, or, if it had any meaning, it has the meaning of tragedy. The glory had gone up, removed; God was no longer to be found there. So, quite simply, the test of the existence of the house of God and of living stones is just that. Is the Lord found in us, and is the Lord found in the midst of us? If He is, that just satisfies all His requirements. He does not want the elaborate and the ornate structure. "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20). That is the house of God. The house of God is determined, not by a name, a title, a designation, a place, a thing. It is determined by the presence of the Lord, and anywhere, among any two or three, no matter where that may be or who they may be, if God is found there, that is the house of God, and that is all God wants.

The trouble with people is that they must have something over and around it, a building to meet in and call the "church." How often they glory has departed immediately something like that has happened; something has gone. Begin to arrange this thing, begin to set up an order of things, and where has the Lord gone? That is what you come to so often. The Lord simply says, Give Me living stones together, and that is all I want. Do not try to improve on that. You can gather more living stones: that is the way but that is all I want - living stones together in an inward "togetherness"; firstly because it is union with Christ, Christ united, Christ in His oneness. The Lord says, Give Me that, and I will make My presence very real.

And then of course the object is not that that should exist merely as something enjoying the Lord's presence. So often that is where a mistake is made. "Yes, we are having a lovely time with the Lord, we few, this little group, we are having a lovely time with the Lord" - and you think that you can perpetuate that indefinitely. You cannot. It is not only for the presence of the Lord: it is to make the Lord available to others, that they may know where to find the Lord - nay more, that they shall know that the Lord can be found. It is to provide the answer to their question, "Will God indeed dwell with men?" Yes, here He is. The presence of the Lord is the answer to men's hearts, to men's quests, and that is enough. When the Holy Spirit came to the Church on the day of Pentecost, "the multitude came together," and that is what happened - God was made available. What is needed is a few living stones, not to discuss doctrine, theology, the technicalities of Church order or anything like that, but to speak of the Lord, to be occupied with the Lord. If the Lord is not enough to occupy us for all our days here, there is something wrong with us. If yo peter out - with apologies to Peter! - when you begin to talk about the Lord, and then have to fill up the conversation with all sorts of other things, there is something seriously wrong.

God's eternal desire has been to have a dwelling and to dwell with men. So the Bible reveals. A marvelous thing! It was the thing which astounded Solomon. "Will God in very deed dwell on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee" (1 Kings 8:27) - "and yet He has commanded me to build Him a house!" God wanting to dwell with men. That is the very first thing about a house - that it should be a place of residence. Union with Christ, you see, means bringing God in: for where Christ is corporately expressed and personally present, there God comes in. Do remember that. If you want to know God's presence, be occupied with His Son, for, as we said in an earlier meditation, God's appointments are with His Son.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 30 - (B. A Household)