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Sun Rise Swiftly Part II

By.

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This morning, I went out too late to catch the sunrise but it was still quiet enough to feel the freshness of the day. I looked up and tried to discern between the fancy flyers darting this way and that in a flock. When I looked closely, there were three types of birds working together in that flock. They just caught my imagination because I’m currently pensive about what the evenings and a mornings of Genesis 1:1-31 (see part I) and these birds are usually active at sunrise and sunset and they work in a group of three types of bird: house martins, swallows and swifts. Whenever I see the number three in nature, I look to see if there is a revelation of the Godhead in there. I nearly always find out something I didn’t know about the Godhead just by looking at nature in this way.
So I’ll pick up my train of thought from the previous post:
In Part I of this blogpost, I talked about accepting the sacrifice of Jesus as a finished work, with no additions needed from me. In other words, my righteousness is start to finish from God and was fully achieved by God for me. I had very little to do with it except contributing the sin. So it’s from this place that I start my quest to fulfil the commandment of the New Testament, Which starts by telling me to love God:

Mark 12: 28-31 The Greatest Commandment

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

I never really paid attention to the first bit that says, “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One.”

This tells us the real beginning point is not “love you God with all your heart…”. The real beginning point is the revelation that the Lord our God is one. This means hearing God, communicating with God, interacting with God as all his persons (The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit) whilst understanding that they are all in complete harmony as they perform their part of the Godhead. When was the last time I spent time with Jesus? The Father? The Holy Spirit? How much time do I spend meditating on each one? Do I know the difference between them really? Why do I communicate with The Father? When do I really need the Holy Spirit specifically? When do I worship Jesus?
It seems to me that this revelation is what allows me to move into the second part of the commandment which requires me to love God with all I am and all I have. I cannot do this until I truly behold each personality of the Godhead and realise why each personality deserves my adoration, my praise, my commitment, my love, my time and my thanksgiving. This is why Jesus said that God is looking for worshippers who will worship in spirit and in truth. He said this to the Samaritan lady by the well in John 4:1-26.
Remember previously in Part I of this blog post, I talked about how spiritual things are discerned spiritually? This applies very much to this concept. Beholding the Godhead in their majesty and understanding their divinity is not an academic or physical exercise and it can only really be done by those who worship God in spirit and in truth. That means I need a new spirit, that is a spirit that is born from above, not the dead one I was originally born with, which gives me a natural propensity toward sin. David longed for the day this could be a reality when he was pouring out his heart to God after murdering Bathsheba’s husband so he could marry her and then the subsequent death of their little boy:
Psalm 51:10 (NIV)
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

This is the new birth that Jesus talked about in John 3:1-21 and I need it before I can love God and then be able to worship Him they way I’m supposed to: in my new spirit born from above.

Now let’s look again at the great commandment and concentrate on loving God (Mark 12: 30):

…Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength…

If I have a new spirit, then I can connect with God, who is spirit, and this part of the commandment becomes doable. When God has created in me a pure heart, I can love Him with all of it. A pure heart means a heart that does not have its attention divided between good and evil. It is undivided, pure, set on God. A great picture of this is when Peter was walking on the water and when he sank (Matt 14:22). As long as his eyes were on Jesus, he did the impossible and did exactly what Jesus was doing. When he looked around him, he sank like a stone.
Loving God with all your heart does not come naturally to man. This is why it is made possible by an act of grace, so no one can boast and no one is excluded. The act of grace was calvary: By accepting the death of Jesus as payment for their sin, everyone has an opportunity to experience being born from above. Everyone has an opportunity to walk away from who they don’t like being, and change into a new creation, born from above.
So what happens after accepting the sacrifice of Jesus? Well, I have to set my eyes on God. I have to start exercising my new pure heart. I must find out God’s perspective on all the things that matter to me. I start aligning myself with Him. When I struggle, I ask Him to help me get to the bottom of my issues. This is called “making Jesus Lord of your life”. Its the least I can do after what He’s done for me. Its how I say “thank you for saving my skin!!!”. The best bit though is that He didn’t save me so I could be just holding on until I get to heaven just surviving this life. He saved me so we could become friends! Wow. God wants to friend me. There were people who God called His friends “walked with God” in the Bible and they were very few compared with the vast array of characters from Genesis to Revelation! Here are a few:

Genesis 5:24
And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

Genesis 6:9
These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.

1 Kings 8:25
Therefore now, Lord God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel; so that thy children take heed to their way, that they walk before me as thou hast walked before me.

James 2:23
And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

So how do we really becomes friends with God? He laid down His life for me so that’s great start as seen in this scripture:

John 15:13
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

John 15:14
You are my friends if you do what I command.

No arguing with that. I guess I know what my part is.

John 15:15
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

We can be servants or friends. The difference is depended on whether we will take the time to know the Master’s business. Do we care to know what is on the Holy Spirit’s mind today? Do we know the voice of the Holy Spirit as we know when He’s speaking to us? Do we make time to know the heart of The Father and what matters most to Him? Do we know what He’s saying to us? Do we listen for the voice of the Good Shepherd and do we answer when He calls or do we follow the voice of another?

John 21:5
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered.

I think this is lovely, because it’s like how it all began (Luke 5; 1-11)

Everyone who is born of the Spirit can love God with all his heart and all his soul and all his strength because this is what comes naturally the man born of the Spirit. It’s just new so unfortunately, we often fall into what is familiar and act like a natural man again. We really need to get to know our new selves and give time and effort to this. If you experience that new birth when you were 23, then you have 23 years’ worth of familiarity to overcome as you get to know who are as a newborn spirit-man born from above. That’s when the pure heart comes in handy. If you’re set on God, you’ll create and cultivate the habits needed to make room for your new spirit man to thrive. “You” no longer refers to your sinful old nature. You stop identifying with that because it’s not who you are any more. When you look back in that direction, all you should see is the cross and the blood that was shed to make you free (Jeremiah 31:34
And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.)

Now comes the hard part to understand. It’s not hard, just hard for many of us to understand. Jesus’ sacrifice has made a new life available to us when we accept it. It is given to us without us earning it. We receive it only by accepting it, so it is by God’s grace not by man’s effort, so no one can be proud before Him. All enter into His presence through the door of Jesus’ sacrifice. No exceptions. So the new birth allows us to worship God in spirit.
How do we worship God in truth? A renewed mind allows us to worship God in truth. We must change our minds about a lot of things that we’ve believed that are simply not true. The Bible is God’s way of letting us know what He thinks about anything that matters to Him or us. We need to relearn what God actually says. When we do this, we have the truth. I’ll give you an example:
Two paragraphs ago, I said that “If you’re set on God, you’ll create habits to help your new spirit man thrive”. I wouldn’t be surprised if somewhere in your mind a cynical voice said, “well can you really be described as being ‘set on God’?”. The people around you may agree with that cynical voice in your mind, judging from looking at your life. The Bible however would not. The Bible says,
Jer 33:31
“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people”

Eze 11: 19-20

19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:

20 That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.

In the new birth, you’re given a new spirit and have spiritual heart surgery removing your stony heart and replacing it with a heart of flesh, which has some interesting consequences: It enables you to walk in God’s statutes and keep his ordinances, and do them! This was impossible for the natural man! But your new heart gives you new desires that are in line with God’s heart. You just need to cut back the weeds from the old man and let your new man through so he can grow. So this shows that the cynical voice is lying, your default setting now is actually wanting to do God’s will. You now need to fan the flame of this truth in your mind and act accordingly. If you do this, the lie will eventually diminish and it will be replace with the truth.
Your part is cutting back the weeds. God’s part is making you grow. You cannot take credit for God’s part, which is how He planned it. That’s how His grace works. So every time I feel like taking credit for something that was freely given by God I have to stop and check myself. I’m a gardener tending the garden where I hang out with my God in the cool of the day, maybe even at sunset or sunrise 😉 I watch out so weeds are not planted in the garden while I’m having a nap, I keep chatty serpents out and I have everything I need right here. I’m not supposed to toil to get what I need as long as I’m employed as a gardener, tending to the Master’s business. The problem arises when the Master’s agenda stops being my priority. What could matter more than God’s priority when your needs are taken care of? Could it be that when my needs are not taken care of and I’m toiling to get my needs met, then this might be because the Master Business is not my priority?

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