I have been a believer for over 40 years. I have read Tozer and A.B.Simpson's work and truly loved them, but never could discover the life that they tried to convey. Three years ago, I retired from work and made the decision to find the kind of life they spoke of, no matter how long it took. I chose the scripture in Jeremiah that says I will be found of those who seek Me with their whole heart, as God's promise to me. At times, as Oswald Chambers described, I thought I would lose my mind. Other times I began to feel like I might not even be one of God's people. But recently I discovered the crucified life, not just in my mind but experientially as well. I never realized that when Jesus said Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled, one could actually experience something like that, much like being born again. I realized that although I had been born again, where I could see and have right to access to the kingdom of God, I remained all these years at the doorway to the kingdom. I read Romans 6:6 for years without it being fruitful and bringing access to the kingdom, but the scripture all of a sudden opened to me like a veil dropping from my eyes. I began experiencing carnal things drop off like shooing away a fly from my head. I then realized that Paul and the disciples as well as Tozer , Simpson and others really weren't great men of God, but that they had discovered Galatians 2:20 for themselves. No longer I but Christ lives in me, the crucified life. It is all by faith, that's why the scripture says it is impossible to please Him apart from faith. Apart from experiencing the crucified life we are left to wallow in carnality our whole life. He came to truly "set us free."
the crucified life
Posted 27 October 2014 - 09:07 AM
Seeker.....I cannot believe that I missed this post of yours!!!! I can FULLY identify with this quote from your thread: "At times, as Oswald Chambers described, I thought I would lose my mind. Other times I began to feel like I might not even be one of God's people." When I read that......I was floored!!!! That was me all over!!!! But I am still pressing onward toward the experiential part. I need to keep ever in my mind that I am "holy and dearly loved".
"Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind" has been very difficult for me!!!! I have so many doctrines floating around in my brain. The ages-old: Calvinistic versus Armenian. That debate really derails my faith at times. Sometimes I cry out..."God...if I am NOT one of the elect....PLEASE let me know......or If I AM one of the elect....please let me know that too!!!"
Sometimes....I need to kind of forget some of what I have learned through reading the various things and simply "Think on these things, whatsoever things are pure......." I guess what I am trying to say is this: I can easily over-complicate things.
But your post is like a breathe of hope!!!! Thanks!!
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Posted 18 November 2014 - 11:57 PM
This too has been my happy experience. It sounds like you hit upon the key of knowing the “crucified life: - it can’t be a teaching, but has to be imparted by life union through the Holy Spirit. Eternal life is not a commodity but the Person of Jesus. I too was a Christian for over 40 years (including elder at a C&MA church) and knew lots of information about living a Christian life. But the Lord broke into my Christian life in December 2011 when I was preparing to teach a class on types of Christ in the Bible. As I was following a string of Bible stories that had some sort of openings in them, the Lord took one OT story in particular and showed me that He was my life (Col. 3:4). It was very powerful and nothing short of a revelation, epiphany, whatever you want to call it.
After that the Bible became alive in a new way. The Holy Spirit seemed to be very chatty about OT stories and how they are ALL picturing Jesus and His crucified life imparted to us through life union / life alignment (also known as faith). In 2012 I wrote something called, The Jesus Pictures to explain what the Lord was showing me. To tell you the truth, after writing it, I was a little sad for about year because I realized that this message has been missing in large part from all the solid churches I had been a part of. Few people every see the singular template of “to live is Christ”.
Then the Lord showed me something from the ancient church – how they had known this crucified life message as a written graphic (Gal. 3:1), but instead using it as a memory help, they turned it into a decoration on stone churches. I found some examples in Israel. I then realized that this graphic can also describe every OT story as a picture of the crucified life. So I had to write another little explanation called: Spiritual Knowledge. That one will be out any day – hopefully before the end of November 2014.
Through all this amazing stuff (which can’t be just a teaching), I’ve been writing a devotional for a year called “Behold”. It’s not a word study, but what the Holy Spirit has been doing to certain scriptures to open up the crucified life template. And yes, most of the scriptures contain a “behold” or “see” or something similar. It is true there is this desire of the heart that needs to happen to seek the Lord at all costs. And if you seek Him whole-heartedly He will reveal to you the Son. I have to tell you, that is what is so amazing about Matthew 16 to me now when Peter says Jesus is the Christ. It’s not the confession that is the big deal, but it is the Father revealing the Son. Now that’s the big deal! The “one thing” is the “crucified life”. Paul only sought to know “Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2).
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Posted 19 November 2014 - 09:05 AM
YES, yes, and yes again! After 40 years of believing(why does that number seem to be showing up in these posts), I too earnestly became a seeker of this life described by Paul. My salvation was not an issue, I had that assurance, but I wanted more. I was looking for a closer relationship with the Lord, and I am not sure if it was confusion, frustration, or thinking I already had as good a relationship as I could have, but I nearly "crashed and burned" during the search. The end result was finding that God was there with me all the time and I had not offered myself to Him completely, without reservation, trusting Him to do what He had already said He would do. "The just shall live by faith".....it is not how smart you are, how many things you get right, or how much you do. It is a matter of faith and trusting God to do in your life exactly what He said He would do. I have never heard the audible voice of God, but many times I hear deep in my soul..."Do you trust me? Trust me on this. Looks bad doesn`t it, but trust me."
These posts above are precious and "on the mark" for me. Thank all of you for showing me that I am not alone in this jouney.
Your brother in Christ,
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Posted 21 November 2014 - 10:39 AM
In speaking to the “40” number, there isn’t anything mystical about it except to say that God has used it in one of my favorite Jesus Pictures. A Jesus Picture is my term for an Old Testament story that pictures Jesus in the light of the crucified life. When the Lord first started to show them to me, I wasn’t sure if all the OT was like that. But after some time, I realized that the OT exists first as a Jesus Picture and then secondly about the history of the people within the OT. There is only one template that ties them all together: the crucified Life of Jesus. We need His view on this life that is also only His to offer. There are a lot of reasons why the Lord “hides” them from people until they are ready for Him to show them. I won’t go into all that right now, but it has to do with the perspectives described in 1 Corinthians 1-2.
Joshua and the people in the wilderness form a wonderful Jesus Picture. As I mentioned in an earlier post, there are two ways of reading the Bible. Anybody on earth can read the Bible story and get a moral out of it for behavior modification. All that is OK and good, but the Father likes to show off His Son. The Holy Spirit wants to guide us into all Truth – and Truth is the Person of Jesus (John 14:6). So if we just stop with the “Bible as my handbook for living”, we can easily miss the Son and regulate Him into a story character as the Son we need to follow around. But Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:16 that we no longer know Jesus in the flesh – that’s not how we know the Lord – especially not by my effort to follow Him around. Knowing Jesus is knowing Him by His crucified Life.
This means that “story followed by moral” become “Jesus’ story followed by Jesus’s moral/life”. It is the difference between having a living view “in Adam” or “in Christ” (to borrow Paul’s terminology from 1 Corinthians 15:22). All things were created through him and for/towards/into him (Colossians 1:16). Everything is to bear His image, nature, character. All this must first become real in the soul. We can’t muster it up, but rather “die to self” and “decrease as He increases” (John 3:30). And this is what is so amazing about the Jesus’ Pictures. God shows this crucified life principle time and time again. The danger is that we would learn it for knowledge, but miss His life reality increasing in us. It is so very easy to learn things about Jesus and have correct doctrine regarding Him and never truly know Him. And I don’t mean to talk about the crucified life as an abstract force. No, the crucified life is Jesus as the person Who dwells richly in our hearts (Ephesians 3:17).
Here are the cool features of the Jesus Picture of Joshua and the people in the wilderness. Don’t just figure out the typology. Rather, seek the reality of what it means to “share Joshua’s view of how to take the land”.
1 - Joshua is the same name as Jesus. By the way, the same is true for Hosea.
2 – There is a first generation and a second generation that travelled through the wilderness
3- The first generation comes “under the blood of the lamb” at Passover. This frees them from captivity in Egypt. They plunder Egypt by having given to them the very articles to build “God’s house/tabernacle”. They leave with a new calendar which turned the year upside down by 6 months. (I love this last part because God speaks to me through it all the time about how the crucified Life of Jesus is the “Great Inversion” of all things now in Him. There are other Jesus Pictures that dovetail into this).
4 – The people of Israel are called “My Firstborn Son” in Exodus 4:22. Of course this pictures the church. We are redeemed by Jesus’ blood and we are member s of His body.
5 – The first generation has lots of problems. They have their own ideas of what God should look like (golden calf), they are afraid to talk with God and so want Moses to do it, they perceive Joshua as just Moses’ assistant (also known as Jesus is my co-pilot), they complain and grumble about the things they want, they are always looking back to their old way of life because that is where their heart is. They just can’t ever seem to “get ahead”. All that God gives them is this constant dose of “what is it?” (manna).
6- The key issue behind all this is exposed when the 12 spies go out to see the land God is giving to them (Number 13-14). Joshua comes back with a good report and the people reject Joshua’s view of how to conquer the land.
7- This is the first generation doing this. One of the fundament Jesus Picture patterns is in Hebrews 10:9. It is taught in a couple of other places, but the writer of Hebrews just flat out says it, “God puts away the first in order to establish the second”.
8- The first generation rejects Joshua’s view of how to take the land. Remember, the story describes them as the church.
9- God’s solution is to kill them. The first generation must die. Didn’t Jesus say the same thing? We have to take up our crosses – take up the tool of your own execution. All that first nature described above has to die. So there you go: the 40 years of ministry labor.
10. After the first generation dies off, who is in charge? Joshua. When it comes time to take the land, whose view do they share? Joshua. Sharing Joshua’s view is just another way of describing what faith looks like. I’ll often substitute the phrase “life-alignment” to describe this faith that shares Joshua’s view of taking the land.
11. So what is the land? The inheritance. The land is filled with a bunch of uncircumcised Canaanites that can only be conquered by sharing Joshua’s view. My soul is that land of flesh that I walk in accordance with until Joshua takes it over step by step by His presence. That is why Paul says what he says in 2 Corinthians 10. He is thinking about this and how it is inverted from normal appearances. “Cast down the strongholds/imaginations… look at what is before your eyes (Jesus).
Every OT story has the potential to be enlivened by the Holy Spirit in this way. The singular template is the “crucified life of Jesus imparted to us by union to the nature and character of said crucified life”. This is what Paul means by Romans 12:1-2, Colossians 2:17 and Galatians 2:20, etc. So in all sincerity, spend time before the Lord on this. Prayerfully go through the story forgetting all your ideas and imaginations regarding it and let the Holy Spirit guide you into all Truth. “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth…"He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you” (John 16:13-14). It’s true!
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Posted 24 November 2014 - 09:29 PM
I learned a saying from a good friend. "Jesus took the bread, He blessed it, then He broke it, and then He distributed it." Guess who the bread is? We are blessed, but then we are broken (as He was) and then we are distributed. Yes, the cross must do its work in us for us to be of any use. What did Dietrich Bonhoeffer say? "When Christ calls a man, He bids him to come and die." Oh, and isn't it painful, confusing and lonely at times? But He is there. Oh, what they won't tell you in some circles.
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Posted 25 November 2014 - 04:45 AM
Inspirational Readings by A.B. Simpson
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Nothing will more effectually arrest the working of the Spirit in the heart than the spirit of criticism. At the end of a meeting, a young minister came forward and told me of the great blessing he had received that afternoon and of the baptism of the Holy Spirit that had come into his heart and being, setting him free from the bondage of years. And then he added, "it all came through your answer to that question, 'Will a criticizing spirit hinder the Holy Spirit from filling the heart?'"
As the question was asked and answered, he said, "I was sitting in the church criticizing much of what was going on, objecting to this thing and to that thing, finding fault with the expressions of praise and testimony and feeling thoroughly unhappy. The Lord brought the answer home to my heart and convicted me of my sin. There and then I laid it down and began to see the good instead of the evil. Blessing fell upon me, and my soul was filled with joy and praise. I saw where my error lay-that for years I had been trying to see the truth with my head instead of my heart."
Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come—1 Corinthians 4:5
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