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 Posting May 17, 2024

LET YOUR RIVER FLOW: Ezekiel’s Temple and You

Wherever the river flows, life will flourish.  

Ezekiel 47.9

One day 4,000 years ago the angel of the Lord and two companions paid a visit to Abraham, who had pitched his tent in the hill country of Canaan, far above the Jordan Valley.  Off in the distance below the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were glistening in the sunlight. After announcing to Abraham that his elderly wife, Sarah, would bear him a son within a year, the angel of the Lord decided to reveal to Abraham that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were about to be annihilated.  Abraham was alarmed by this news, because his nephew, Lot, was living in Sodom. So, Abraham decided to bargain with God.

Abraham approached him and said, “Will you sweep away both the righteous and the wicked? Suppose you find fifty righteous people living there in the city—will you still sweep it away and not spare it for their sakes?  Surely you wouldn’t do such a thing, destroying the righteous along with the wicked. Why, you would be treating the righteous and the wicked exactly the same! Surely you wouldn’t do that! Should not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?” And the Lord replied, “If I find fifty righteous people in Sodom, I will spare the entire city for their sake.” Then Abraham spoke again….  (Genesis 18:23-27a)

 Abraham keeps dickering, until he has bargained the Lord down to ten righteous.  If there are ten righteous in Sodom, Sodom will be spared. Too bad, ten righteous are not found, and Sodom and Gomorrah are slated for destruction. But through Abraham’s intercession, his nephew, Lot, and his family are dragged out of Sodom just before the meteor crashes in from outer space.

So where are the remains of Sodom and Gomorrah now?  These ruins are at one of the lowest spots on any continent on earth—at the bottom of the Dead Sea, covered with water so thick with salt and potassium and other minerals that no fish or sea creature can live in it.  

The Dead Sea.  Dead because water flows in from the Jordan River and simply evaporates.  

It has no outflow… Dead because nothing can live in it.   

And at its bottom lie the ruins of a dead culture. 

When water flows in and never flows out, when all it does is take in fresh water, but give nothing but vapor to the world around it, what else can it be but a dead sea?  

And now the experts tell us that the Dead Sea is itself drying up.  In a few decades it won’t be a sea at all, just a salty, barren crater covering the remains of a culture that, long ago, fell under the judgment of God.

So what happens to me… 

When I keep drinking in the living water of God, but never give it out? 

When I keep feeding on the Living Bread, but never give it out? 

When I keep receiving God’s mercy with praise and thanksgiving, only to let it dry up inside me, as I cling to my grudges and continue my subtle retaliations against those who have aroused my ire.

I become a Dead Sea.

What happens to a church, where the word is alive, the Spirit is moving, people are receiving blessings from the Lord, but there’s no outflow? 

Holy inflow, but no outflow. 

Church is over and we walk out the door leaving the name, love, and mercy of Jesus behind us as we melt into the culture, living lives which are indistinguishable from the lives of those who have no faith.  

We become a Dead Sea.

Now let’s turn our thoughts away from the ruins of Sodom at the bottom of the Dead Sea to another city in ruins not many miles away.  We’re looking at Jerusalem many centuries later.  Jerusalem lies in ruins.  The Chaldean armies swept into Jerusalem in the year 586 B.C., sacked and burned the city, dragging off hundreds of captives to Babylon.  Now, nearly seventy years later, Jerusalem is nothing but ruins.  The ancient wall is piles of rubble.  The magnificent temple of Solomon is only charred wood and heaps of stone. Far off in Babylon a Jewish prophet named Ezekiel has a vision.  In his vision Ezekiel sees Jerusalem restored.  He sees the temple rebuilt, more glorious than ever.  But here’s the most important part of his vision:  Ezekiel sees the Dead Sea Allegory in reverse. Instead of fresh water flowing into the Dead Sea and stagnating…

Ezekiel sees a tiny stream flowing from the temple, growing into a River of Healing and Life.

Then (the angel) brought me back to the door of the temple; and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east….and the water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar.  (Ezekiel 47:1)

It begins as a trickle, flowing beneath the door of the temple.  The stream flows south of the great outdoor altar, across the courtyard toward the East Gate.  As this trickle flows out the East Gate it begins to deepen to ankle depth, then to waist depth, until it becomes a mighty river that heals everything it touches.

Ezekiel saw this, when Jerusalem and the Temple were still in ruins.  But it happened.  Jerusalem was rebuilt.  The Temple was restored.  

And that river of life began to flow when the “Ultimate Temple” was rebuilt—-when Jesus rose from the dead.

“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”

It began as a trickle, when a handful of nobodies were baptized in his Spirit after the resurrection.  

They received life—they gave life.  

They received mercy—they gave mercy.  

They received love—they gave love.  

The Word spoke to them…and soon the Word was speaking through them. 

This life from God passed from one person to the next, each passing it on to others, until this river of human souls, anointed by the Spirit of the Lord, began to flow in all directions.  West, across the Roman Empire as far as the British Isles.  East as far as India.  All within four decades!  Without the help of armies, or money, or political clout.

  Just person-to-person, life-to-life. This river changed the course of history.

We are looking at two rivers:

  1. The River Jordan, flowing into the Dead Sea, covering the ruins of a dead city.
  2. Ezekiel’s river, which begins as a trickle in his vision, takes on flesh in the body of a dying man, becomes a stream of life as this man breathes the Spirit of God into a handful of followers.

 One begins as fresh water and ends as a stagnant sea.

 The other begins as a trickle and becomes a River of Life that never ends.

Why are these two rivers so prominent in scripture?  

We see the River Jordan throughout the Bible.  Ezekiel’s river shows up in the Garden of Eden and reappears in the last chapter of Revelation, flowing through all redemptive history. 

There is a river whose waters make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High lives

Psalm 46:4

These two rivers are prominent in scripture because every person who ever hears the word of God becomes part of one or the other.

If the life which the Word creates in you never flows out of you, if it keeps coming in, but never flows out as mercy, (“Thank you, Lord for saving my soul!  But who does this man think he is, belittling me like that!  I’ll take care of him!)—

—If it never flows out as forbearance and love—

— you become a Sodom.

But if the life which the Word creates in you finds an outlet— 

—even if it’s just a tiny trickle

—you have become Ezekiel’s Temple.

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, “If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink.  He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.’”    (John 7:37-38)

Never mind if the river flowing out of you seems to be only a trickle.  

If there’s any outflow at all, even a trickle—

— you have the beginnings of a river of life.

If what you are reading now has the ring of truth…. if it is confirmed in your heart by the Spirit as you ponder these words, then whatever is valid in what you are reading is living water.  The Lord is speaking to you—and to me.  And when he speaks, his word is Spirit and life, straight out of heaven.

But now comes the critical moment. 

What are we going to do with this living water? 

Are we going to be another Dead Sea? 

Or are we going to be Ezekiel’s Temple? 

Is it going to collect in us and stagnate? 

Or is it going to flow out?

All we have to do is let it flow.

Let it flow, even if it’s only a trickle.

Even if you feel totally inadequate. 

Even if everything around you seems hostile and dry. 

Let it flow.

“What do you mean, let it flow?  I’m no preacher.  I’m no prophet.  Don’t expect me to be out on the street corners preaching at folks, ’cause I’m sure no fanatic!”

Here’s what I mean:  At the beginning of your day, find a place to be alone, even if it’s the bathroom with the door shut.  Stretch your hands toward heaven and present your body as a living sacrifice to God, saying, “Here I am, Lord.  Flood me afresh with your Spirit!” 

Then go out about your business believing that God has arranged everything (which he has). 

Expect that you will indeed touch someone with God’s life, through a word of encouragement, through an unspoken prayer, through the touch of your hand, through a few words spoken on the phone. 

Go out into your day with that mindset, and living water will begin to flow from the threshold of your temple—from your body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit if you are truly a disciple of the Lord Jesus.

It will flow from your mouth. 

It will flow from your hands.

Of course, it will begin, as it always does, as a trickle.  But just as in Ezekiel’s vision, that trickle will become a stream, and that stream will become a river.

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, “If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink.  He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.’”                          

Keep drawing near to the Lord Jesus for fresh life –week-by-week in your fellowship, day- by-day alone before God.  But don’t stop there. 

Let that life flow out!  

Into your home.  Into the neighborhood.  Into the telephone. 

Believe that the Spirit of God has transformed you into Ezekiel’s Temple.  

Out comes a little trickle.  

God will take that little trickle and turn it into a river.

God will take your faltering words and cause them to burn with fire!

Just start giving out what the Lord Jesus is putting in, and a stream of healing and life will follow you wherever you go. 

Prayer: Lord, we don’t want to be stagnant, lifeless… We are tired of being mired in stinking, spoiled water. Forgive us for clinging to our grudges, for allowing our attitudes to block the flow of life from us. Lord help us to take the life, the mercy, the blessings you have generously poured into us and allow them to flow out of us. Help us to come to you day by day, so we have something fresh to give. Here we are Lord, do something with us. Make use of us. Flood us with your Spirit. Fill our hearts with mercy, kindness, and forbearance. Use us today and every day, especially in the small insignificant looking things, in these tiny trickles. And by your power, by your hand, turn what we say and what we do into torrents of blessing, letting our rivers flow today. And yes, may a stream of healing and life follow us wherever we go in your name. Amen.
Message: Richard E. Bieber 2008  Sharable/Printable Copy
Featured Artist: Permission, courtesy, and kindness of Janice Van Cronkhite  Website:
#Stagnant #DeasSea #JaniceVanCronkhite #Ezekiel’sTemple #WePursueGodNotJoy #HolyJoy #Ezekiel47 #Trickle #LifeWillFollow #LetItFlow

 Posted April 19, 2024


(A Study)Read Galatians 5:16-24

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 

Second only to love, the most important fruit of the Spirit is Joy.

 Joy is deeper and more permanent than happiness. 

Happiness depends on things that happen, and like the weather, comes and goes.

Joy is a gift from God which remains even through life’s storms.

Joy is the knowledge that I am safe and strong in the will of God, regardless of my circumstances. 

I am doing the will of the Father, sustained by his joy.

When I stumble and come back to him, joy returns.

 Joy is knowing that God has put me into his family; I am no longer alone.

The Holy Spirit is God’s gift which we receive by faith

 Joy—God’s joy—rises up within us, as we walk in the Spirit, in unity with God and with each other.

Notice that when Jesus started gathering disciples, the thing that marked them as different from the scribes and Pharisees, or even the disciples of John the Baptist, was joy.

 In the early church, people were drawn to the joy that visited every time they gathered. 

Heaven was among them. 

They were celebrating the presence of Jesus in their midst.

To this day, when the Spirit of the Lord is allowed to have his way in a fellowship, there is Joy.

The Body of Christ includes people with problems, people with great needs, people who are suffering. And yet, you cannot miss the joy among them.

 When joy is missing, when it’s nothing but a dull “church routine,” … .when it’s merely “bless me” time and joy is lacking—-something is wrong.

Because when Jesus is truly recognized and served as Lord, there is joy, even in the midst of sorrow.

“As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.”

2 Cor 6:10 

Holy joy supplanting human joy

Read John 16:16-24

You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy.

For them this joy began at the Resurrection…and was sealed at Pentecost. They experienced persecution, they suffered loss, but they never lost their joy.

They imparted this joy of the Lord to all who received their witness.

 For us, this joy begins when Jesus becomes real to us…..when we know the risen Lord, not as a “concept” but as our Master and Lord.

This joy is sealed to us as we receive and walk in the Spirit.

The joy of knowing that I am safe and strong in the will of God, regardless of my circumstances.

That I am doing the will of my Father, sustained by his joy.

The joy of repentance.

The joy of being joined to sisters and brothers in the Body.

 The joy of asking and receiving

I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name. You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy. (NLT)

Asking in Jesus’ name is not using his name as a formula—“In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

To ask in Jesus’ name is to be in his mind, his nature, his will of mercy.

When I am one with Jesus, when I’m abiding in him, whether I say the words, “In Jesus’ name” or not.  

Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.

Why is my joy abundant?  Because I’m able to get goodies from God through prayer?

I have joy in asking and receiving when my asking brings God’s life down into the ones I am praying for. 

It’s the joy of knowing I am granted the privilege of bringing heaven down into these earthly lives.

 Do I see heaven come into these lives?  Only by faith.

What about my own needs?  Can’t I pray for them too? Of course!  But increasingly we find ourselves simply trusting the Father to provide and bring healing on his terms.

 Joy in the midst of external misery.

Read Psalm 43

In spite of the trouble pouring down on me and the evil being done to me,

There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God!

In the midst of persecution or suffering of any kind, I have an anchor.  God is still my exceeding joy.  The joy of the Lord is my strength. 

I worship and praise him—by faith.  And his joy sustains me.

 Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad?  

I will put my hope in God!I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!

The joy of abiding in him

Read John 15:1-11

The essential lesson of discipleship:  “Abide in me…..Let my words abide in you.”

Keep your connection with Jesus fresh, dwelling in his words…walking in his words…bearing fruit through prayer.

Live this way, and your joy will be full.

When you call on his name…when you talk with him…you are talking to God who has come down to your level, who has entered your world. 

You listen to his words, you take hold of them, soak your soul in them…walk in them….do them.  

Now you are abiding in the Vine.  

You are drawing strength from the Risen Lord. 

The issue is not:  What are you accomplishing for God? That question will side-track you every time. 

The issue is: Are you abiding in the Vine?

If you are, you will bear fruit as naturally as grapes form on the branch.

If you abide in the Vine….dwelling in his words…walking in his words….bearing fruit through prayer, the Father’s love will burn within you as an eternal flame, and the joy of God will hold you through any storm, empower you for any challenge.

We do not pursue joy. 

We pursue God….

 …. and as we walk in the Spirit, whom God gives generously, we have union with Jesus….union with each other….

….And a holy joy which no one can take from us.

Prayer: Oh Lord, that we may pursue you, pursue you with all that we have. We choose to abide in you, walk with you, talk to you. We choose to lay before you … our hearts, our struggles, and our concerns for those around us, as well as our weaknesses, and sins. May we come before you asking in your name, your nature, your mercy, asking in all that you are… for you to pour your life, your healing, your provision into those we pray for, as well into our own hearts. Lord what joy, what joy that you bring heaven into their lives. What joy that we have hope in you, that we can trust you…that no matter what, no matter what … you are our joy. May we continually pursue you and have your joy fulfilled in us as we dwell in the joy of your presence. Amen.
Message: Richard E. Bieber Unknown Date but found in the study booklet “The Holy Spirit, the Ultimate Witness” Session 11.  Sharable/Printable Copy
Featured Artist: Kind Courtesy of  Rex Deloney Website:
#Joy #JoyIsAGift #RexDeloney #JoyOfAbidingInHim #WePursueGodNotJoy #HolyJoy

 Posted April 5, 2024


My grief is beyond healing, my heart is sick within me. Hark, the cry of the daughter of my people from the length and breadth of the land: “Is the Lord not in Zion? Is her King not in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with their foreign idols? The harvest is past, the summer is ended and we are not saved.” For the wound of the daughter of my people is my heart wounded, I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me.

Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?

Why then has the health of the daughter of my people not been restored?   (Jeremiah 8:18-22)

Soon afterward he went to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the city, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a large crowd from the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” And he came and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you arise.” And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all; and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” And this report concerning him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country. (Luke 7:11-17)

The physician can see that his friend’s fever and rash are not just minor symptoms… 

They’re part of a syndrome that spells sure death if the disease isn’t given attention… And the physician knows exactly what to do for his friend. With a little cooperation he could be perfectly cured in two months. But, if the friend keeps laughing it off, if he refuses to take warning, what can the physician do?

The man’s wife pleads with him.

    “Fred, listen to your friend. You’re not well. You’ve lost so much weight. You’re getting weaker every day.”

   “Get off my back, woman. I’m all right. After Christmas we’ll take a vacation down south and get some rest and sunshine.”

The man keeps getting weaker. On Christmas Eve he collapses on the living room floor and dies. 

At the funeral people shake their heads.

    “The man had a curable disease. His best friend was a doctor. Why didn’t he do something for him?”

Ah, but the doctor was never given a chance.

And if there is sickness in the Body of Christ which the people won’t admit, what can the Physician do?

When Jeremiah spoke those words, the people of Jerusalem scoffed, “What’s the matter with you, Jeremiah? We’re not sick! Jerusalem is in good shape. You’re the one who’s sick!”

Jerusalem went on about its business.

– The priests in the temple prepared the sacrifices and looked after the crowds.

– The king and his court were busy with their social life.

– There was still plenty to buy in the market, and money to buy it.

Granted, wars were going on all around them. Granted, there were rumors of an approaching siege from Nebuchadnezzar’s army, but that all seemed unreal.

As the months passed, things in Jerusalem began looking bad. Jeremiah kept calling the people to turn to God, and the leaders of the city kept protesting that things were fine, their troubles were only minor……

– even when the siege was laid and no one could come or go from the city,

– even when food became scarce and water was short,

– even when people started dying,

… still the leaders insisted “things will be all right soon.”

Right up until the day the Chaldean army broke through and the king fled and was captured, and his sons were slain before him, and his eyes were put out, and the temple was destroyed, and the people were led away in chains… right up until they couldn’t deny it, people kept saying, “Jeremiah, you’re morbid.”

And all this was so unnecessary. 

Jerusalem could have been healed long before things really got bad. Jeremiah saw the sickness, which anyone with eyes could see, and cried out. 

“Why is this? Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of the daughter of my people not been restored?”

Throughout the Body of Christ we are seeing symptoms which, taken by themselves, perhaps don’t seem very dangerous.

A brother or sister falling away… What’s so strange about that? Brothers and sisters have been falling away since the beginning. After all, “Many are called but few chosen.”

Believers at each other’s throats… We know that that’s been going on since the earliest days of faith.

Disciples turning lukewarm and starting to compromise.

Lives that were made pure stumbling back into immorality.

Laborers getting weary.

Love turning cold.

Men and women of God losing that vision.

We could go on and list many other symptoms. But the real problem is not these things in themselves, bad as they are. The real problem is twofold and it’s exactly what Jeremiah came up against.

    1. Nobody will admit that  there’s anything wrong

    2. Nobody pays attention to the Physician who offers healing.

When we have a wounded thigh like Jacob, or a thorn in the flesh like Paul, these things don’t hinder the flow of God’s grace. God’s grace is made perfect in our weakness. 

But when we are sick with unbelief, fear, anger, lust, covetousness, hypocrisy, hardness of heart, when the whole Body is infected with these things and still we go right on pretending that we’re well… then we’re in trouble.

Sure, these things happened in the apostolic church. And what did the Lord do about it? 

He called it to repentance.

“Remember then from what you’ve fallen and repent!”

“Remember what you have received and heard; keep that and repent. If you do not awake, I will come like a thief and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you.”

There is a balm in Gilead. 

There is a Physician. 

And he’s standing in the midst of his church with eyes like flames of fire and feet like burnished bronze. In his right hand he holds seven stars. From his mouth issues a sharp two edged sword. And his face is like the sun, shining in full strength.

When will his church admit that she needs his healing touch? 

When will she turn and call upon him for cleansing and forgiveness?

The church of Jesus Christ doesn’t need seminars, and clinics, and workshops, and endless remedial meetings to bring itself to life. These things will never do it! And don’t be misled by the size of the crowds. Don’t be lulled to sleep by the fact that you hear people praising God here and there.

Sure there are meetings, Bible studies and church services all over town… but the work isn’t getting done! The Lord of the Harvest keeps calling laborers into his harvest… 

….yet the harvest stands there waiting to be reaped. 

Ninety percent of the energy in our fellowships is spent taking care of ourselves…

– babysitting each other,

– sympathizing with each other,

– exhorting each other,

– gossiping about each other,

– wrestling with inner temptations and conflicts.

And with whatever strength that’s left, we’re trying to proclaim the Kingdom of God. And the world looks at us and says, “That’s the Kingdom of God? Thanks, I’ll take Burger King.”

Our city won’t feel the impact of the gospel until the Body of Christ here is healed, and cleansed, and raised from its drunken stupor, lifted out of its preoccupation with itself, and made to stand on its own two feet and speak with a clear mind and a strong voice.

All it takes is for some gathering of believers, some­where, to admit that they need healing… not just for bad backs and jumpy nerves, but for the Body itself.

All it takes is for some congregation, somewhere, to admit that it has not been what it was called to be and to start weeping before the Lord for its corporate sin and its corporate death.

As he drew near to the gate of the city, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a large crowd from the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep,”…

… and then he raised her son from the dead. 

Her weeping brought him near to her with life from heaven.

 “Why are you weeping?” he said to Mary Magdalene, and manifested to her the power of his resurrection.

“Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, will visit his church with life when he sees her mourning for her dead condition. 

Mourning……. not criticizing.

 A lot of us are  highly critical of the way things are in the Body. 

But a critical spirit never brings life from God. 

All a critical spirit ever produces is more death.

 Many of us feel that we’re gifted with discernment about the condition of the Body and we become quite upset be­cause nobody seems interested in our profound insights. But while we’re diagnosing and discerning and criticizing we’re failing to do one thing:

– we’re failing to admit that we are part of the disease!

We’re not the Physician… We’re part of the sickness. 

The Physician is standing in our midst waiting for a chance to heal us, waiting for us to come down off our pedestals and repent for our part in this disease.

He was wounded for our transgressions.

He was bruised for our iniquities.

Upon him was the chastisement that made us whole.

And with his stripes we are healed.

The bread of the Holy Communion we eat is not just the body broken for someone else’s healing… Not even the body broken for the healing you needed before you became a believer…

It’s His body broken for the healing you need today... 

For the sickness of arrogance and self-righteousness and unbelief  you carry with you today.

And the wine we drink is not just the blood shed for someone else’s sins… Not even the blood shed for sins you committed before you became a believer… 

But His blood shed for the sin of stubbornness and rebellion against God’s grace you carry with you today.

Jesus has so much more for us than we have now. 

But the healing and the forgiveness of our crucified Lord cannot flow in until we admit our need of them.

May God, in his mercy, enable us to face the truth about ourselves and help us, with broken hearts, to draw near to the only Physician in all the world who can heal us.

There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole,
There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul.

There is a Physician standing in the midst of the children of God who is able to make them strong in the strength of God…. right now.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to stop resisting bringing you our sick, hardened, numb souls. Help us to admit the danger we are in. Help us to see how in need of healing we are…individually and corporately. May we see that you have the balm we need, that you are the one, the physician who can heal this disease and the creeping death within us. Help us to weep in grief like the mother who lost her beloved only son. Help us to mourn and yes,not to mistake criticizing for mourning. Oh Lord, have mercy, deliver us from our critical, life draining spirits. We are distracted from the real disease. We are sick, so sick … .we are not drinking in the healing water you offer us. Healing is not flowing from us to this desperate sin-sick world that’s besieged by misery, bitterness, despair, by satanic forces we can’t face in our weakened state. If we would only take the balm, if we would only allow true healing to begin we could end the siege on ourselves and the miserable souls around us. Make us well, make us strong, beginning today. Amen.
Message: Richard E. Bieber 1973  Sharable/Printable Copy
Featured Artist: Kind Courtesy of Edward Knippers Website:
#BalminGilead #Healing #JesusHealsWounds #CriticalSpirits #MourningForOurSins

 Posted March 15, 2024


I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all(Ephesians 4:1-6)

If you make the mistake of reading too many missionary biographies or too many articles about well-known, highly “successful” Christian celebrities, you may get the im­pression that Jesus Christ came to those people with a special call.

– One man is about to give up living, when the Lord speaks to him as he lies on the floor on a   Saturday afternoon. “I have a great work for you to perform.”

– Another is visited by an angel near the woodshed on his grandfather’s farm. “You’re going to be a great healer.”

– Another is awakened in the middle of the night in his hotel room in Hong Kong. “You shall win a million souls before the end of the year with the help of your prayer partners.”

It’s true that God calls people. 

He called you. He called me. 

But God never called anyone to greatness in this world.

When Jesus called Peter He said, “Follow me”. If Peter ever thought there was going to be any kind of earthly glory in following Jesus and catching men into the Kingdom, he soon learned otherwise.

Saul of Tarsus was chosen to carry the name of Jesus before the Gentiles and kings — but how did Saul stand before those kings? He was in chains! Jesus made it clear to Saul at the outset that it wasn’t going to be a glory ride.

“For I will show him how much he will have to suffer for the sake of my name.” (Acts 9:16)

If you are a believer, you have been called by God

And if there is anyone reading this who is not a believer, the fact that you are taking the trouble to read these words may well mean that God is calling you this very hour and making you to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that He is calling you.

 But the call is not to be a great missionary, not to be a great healer, not to be an elder or a teacher. 

The call is simply to follow Jesus.

The call is….

….to come out of the dominion of the prince of this world and to put your life, body, soul, and spirit under the authority of Jesus Christ.

Paul doesn’t have a higher call than yours. Billy Graham wasn’t called to something higher than you. 

To all of us the call is the same.

 Jesus says,

– Come, walk with me!

– Let me be your life!

– Lay your sins at the foot of my cross!

– Let me deliver you from the dominion of darkness and lift you into the Kingdom of Heaven.

And, when a person answers that call of Jesus, he becomes not great, but the least of the least.

He’s ruined for the world and the world for him.

His days of greatness and success are over.

“But” you say, “Paul was great. There was never a greater missionary in all history.” My friend, in Paul’s day, nobody saw him as great. For all the mighty things that happened through his ministry, Paul was to people of his day an odd, unattractive little man. If you want to see what Paul got for answering the call of Jesus, read II Corinthians.

Afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, tumults, labors, sleepless nights, hunger……

 And Paul never considered this rough, hard, thankless life a let-down.

“Here I thought l was going to be a great missionary and all I get is trouble!”

“I had always hoped to found a university. I guess I’m just a failure.”

Paul rejoiced in his sufferings!  He gloried in his weakness!

Paul understood right from the start that following Jesus was never going to get him into the hall of fame.

Once we have received the call from Jesus and answered it, it’s up to us to live lives worthy of our calling. And that doesn’t mean,

– to maintain our dignity,

– or make sure that people respect us,

– carve a niche for ourselves,

– do something to be remembered by.


       I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life  worthy of the calling to which you have been called. 


   “With all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Three things: 

  1. Lowliness and meekness.

  2. Patient forbearing love.

  3. Unity of the Spirit among brothers and sisters in the bond of peace.

How come it’s all lowliness and meekness and love? Why doesn’t Paul say something about having power? 

Because the power and the authority and the boldness that we need are given to us by God without any effort on our part.

God gives the power, but we have to work on lowliness and meekness and patience, love, unity with brothers.

Your job is to humble yourself and fit in with God’s ways.  God’s job then is to lift you up into the mighty stream of His redemptive grace.

Your job is to humble yourself under the mighty hand of God.  God’s job is to exalt you in due time. 

But if you insist on subtly exalting yourself, then God will have to do for you the thing you should have done for yourself — He will have to humble you.

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled.

And he who humbles himself will be exalted.

The place of honor at the marriage feast represents a position of spiritual authority and Jesus makes clear that this is a position you are not to strive after.

Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them,  “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him,  and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  (Luke 14:7-11)

   You don’t seek it.

   You don’t climb for it.

  You don’t compete with other believers. 

That place of spiritual authority is for God to lift you to when He is ready.

If you take it upon yourself to go heading for the place of authority and to establish yourself there, God may let you go for a while, but in time He will come and re­move you — for your own good He will bring you down.

When you are invited into God’s marriage feast, you are to head straight for the lowest place. And, by the way, when you get to that lowest place, take your coat off and make yourself at home. Don’t be expecting an angel to come in five minutes and order you up to the executive suite. We’ve got some lessons to learn down here in this lowest place.

– We have to learn humility.

– We have to learn patient-forbearing love.

– We have to learn to live in unity with brothers. 


We don’t have to learn how to cast out demons. Jesus never gave the disciples detailed instruc­tions on how to cast out demons. He told them to do it and they did it.

We don’t have to learn to preach and bear witness — that’s easy.

We don’t have to learn how to heal the sick or prophesy or pray in the Spirit — that comes. 

These are God given.

  1. But we sure have to learn from Jesus to walk in lowliness and meekness.

Notice how much of Jesus’ teaching in the gospels has to do with this:

 Blessed are the poor in Spirit. Blessed are the meek.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and lowly of heart.

He that would be greatest among you, let him be as the least.

If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

”Humble yourself! Come off that pedestal where you sit criticizing everyone else, and get down at the foot of the Cross where you belong.

– It’s your vanity, child, that’s getting in the way of your faith.

– It’s your vanity that’s blinding your eyes to your true condition.

Other people may think you’re a great Christian — but you know and I know how high your heart is riding beneath that humble mask. Get under the yoke with me, and start learning to be meek and lowly of heart before it’s too late.”

  1. And we have to learn from Jesus how to patiently forbear one another in love.

We can read all the books that have been written about patience and love, and even write a few ourselves, and still fail when it comes to day-in-and-day-out love of brothers and sisters. 

Only the Lord Jesus Himself can teach us patient, forbearing love. See how He deals with His disciples.

– He wasn’t always climbing into their case.

– He put up with so much — even as He does with us.

How good He is to us! We blow it again and again and He reaches down and says, “Come on, follow me”. And He takes us by the hand and lifts us up and gives us a new start. So how can we be so dogmatic, and rigid, and hard with one another? How can we be so right and everyone else so wrong?

Of course there are sins of lust and bigotry and com­promise and deceit that cannot be tolerated in the Body. They have to be dealt with. But even these must never be dealt with without love.

There was a man in the Church at Corinth (2 Corinthians 2:5-11) who, by his open sin, was jeopardizing the whole Body. He had to be dealt with severely. The man repented. But some of those Corinthians didn’t know when to quit. Their jaws were still going and their hearts were hard.

“Forgive and comfort him” says Paul. “Reaffirm your love for him, lest he be overwhelmed with excessive sorrow …. otherwise Satan will gain more ground through your mercilessness than through that man’s open sin.”

  1. And we need to learn from Jesus to maintain the unity of the Spirit among believers in the bond of peace.

God gives us unity. There is only one Body, one Spirit, one Lord. When we are joined to Jesus, we are joined to every man, woman and child on earth and beyond the grave who belongs to Jesus. But it’s up to us to maintain that unity.

– To live it.

– To conform our lives to it.

When a man and woman are married, they become one flesh. But, my friend, if that man and woman fail daily to maintain that unity — if they fail to live and think and honor each other as members one of another, they are in for hard times. The marriage ceremony doesn’t guarantee them bliss forevermore. And the fact that we meet in the same room for fellowship does not assure unity in our praises of God, or in our service of God.

We have to be listening to the Spirit of Jesus who will show us when the things we say are jeopardizing unity — when our attitudes are divisive. He will teach us to care about our brothers and sisters the way we should.

And the white believer will start having some insight into what his black brother is going through.

And the young believer will begin to have a glimpse of how her elderly sister feels about things.

And, instead of hard thoughts and indifference, there will be an eagerness to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

To walk worthy of the call of Jesus, we need to spend our days in flesh and blood the way He spent His. We need to go down and meet Jesus in that lowest place and walk with Him there until He sees fit to take us up higher.

If we will do this, we’ll never have to worry about having enough power to make the demons flee and the mountains move.

God will pour out His Spirit upon us until the very atmosphere around us trembles with awe.

God help us to live lives that reflect the mind of Him who humbled Himself and became obedient unto death — even the death of the Cross.

Prayer: Yes Lord, help us to reflect your mind, your obedience to death, to self…help us to be worthy of your calling. Your calling, yours…a calling to follow you into meekness, mercy, forbearance, humility, and to love others enough to work to maintain unity with them. May we gladly accept this and not long for more. We do not need special recognition, or special power…we just need to be where you call us…covered in your presence…covered with your redemptive love. It is enough that we aren’t alone… even in the lowest of places, that you will pour your Spirit upon us as we draw close to you in obedience… wherever we are. And yes Lord, we desire to tremble with awe as we see your hand at work even in the humblest of interactions. Amen.
Message: Richard E. Bieber 1972   Sharable/Printable Copy
Featured Artists: All the art is by various artists in the public domain and the photos are via Unsplash   Website: N/A
#WorthyOfYourCalling #ForbearEachOther #Forbear #WashFeet #Humility #UnityWithBrothers #Luke14 #ParableOfTheWeddingFeast

 Posted March 8, 2024


“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.”  (Luke 12:35-36)

Sure, waiting is part of living.  Waiting for the light to turn green, for the elevator, for the test results.  “Please wait, your call will be taken by the first available representative.”   In the early stages of waiting, we’re impatient.  Hurry up!  Let’s get this line moving!  But as time wears on, we sink into apathy. What’s the use?  There’s nothing I can do. 

Believers have been waiting for Christ’s return for a long, long time, so long that many Christians have given themselves over to apathy.  But his command is still unchanged; we are to wait for him with our “loins girded” and our “lamps burning.”  Instead of sitting around marking time until God opens a door to the future that is still closed, we are instructed to get up and walk through a door he has already opened.  Our job is to”wait” for that closed door to open by passing through a door where the Lord Jesus is already present and alive and calling to us. 

 Jesus came to town and said in effect, “What are you waiting for?  It’s here!  The Kingdom of God is upon you!”  

While the rest of the world continued on its cynical way, Jesus began to bring people into God’s world—right in the middle of this world, right here in Satan’s territory!  He became the door to another world.  People could pass through this door into a place where God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.

That door is as close to you as it was to the people of Jesus’ day.  When you pass over the threshold, you are standing on the edge of time, and begin to experience “the end of the world as we know it.” 

You still live in the same house, breathe the same air, walk around in the same body.  But it’s a different world for you, because God’s Spirit has lifted you into a spiritual dimension in which the glory of the end of the age is already part of your life. 

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.  (Isaiah 35:5-6)

This is a picture of the coming glory, but it is also a description of something that is going on right now all over the earth, including the place where you are as you read these words. 

People are being delivered from the power of Satan into God’s world.  

Their eyes are being opened, so that they can see the hand of God at work in the midst of the chaos around them. 

Their ears are being unstopped, so they can hear the voice of the Shepherd, who leads them into a new kind of living. 

Their stumbling walk is being healed, so they can follow the Master in the paths of righteousness. 

Their tongues are set free to offer praise to the God who not only waits for us at the end of time, but is with us now.   

 It’s like…waking up from a bad dream. 

It’s like rising out of a grave and starting to live. 

It’s like stepping out of a prison cell and walking free. 

And it begins, not when the world comes to an end, not after you die, but now! 


We’re standing on the edge of time, poised at the threshold of another world.

We don’t have to wait until the end to see the glory of God…

…We can see it now—and enter it.

For twenty one centuries the world has continued on its way as if there is no “kingdom of God.” 

The sun rises and the sun sets.

The seasons come and go. 

Nations appear, triumph and disappear. 

But during these two millennia Jesus’ followers have lived, not only in this world of earth-time, they have also lived in a dimension known only to faith. 

They have lived on the edge of time, on the brink of a new world which has not yet fully arrived.

But the powers of this new world—God’s kingdom in it’s fullness—both penetrate and transcend this world of flesh and blood.  

Jesus’ followers are given the high privilege of tasting the age to come and walking in its light—now!

When Jesus instructed his disciples to … 

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding feast, ”                                     

… he was teaching them how to live on the edge of time.  He was saying in effect, “This world of earth-time is not your home. The kingdom of God is your home, even while you wait for its fullness.  Don’t get too comfortable.  Stay on your toes.  Otherwise this world of earth-time will swallow you.”

But suppose that servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the menservants and women servants and to eat and drink and get drunk.  The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of.   He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.”  (Luke 12:45-46)

The issue is not, How soon is Jesus coming?  Will it be in my lifetime?  The Issue is…

…Where am I living at this moment in God’s universe?

Am I imprisoned in earth-time or am I living in the dimension of God’s kingdom, out on the edge of time in the Vineyard, where Christ’s return is always imminent? 

No, the kingdom is not here in its fullness.  

But the kingdom is here. 

If you sit around waiting for the day of glory to arrive, without entering into the labor of the kingdom as it now exists, you will be caught unprepared when glory dawns.  

We wait for the kingdom in its fullness ….by entering the kingdom which is already here.  

Waiting is not sitting.  

Waiting is acting.

Waiting in Faith

Yes, we’re waiting for Jesus to return and bring all suffering to an end.  We’re waiting for the day when …

“The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”  (Habakkuk 2:14)

But we’re waiting with a faith which allows us to taste these things now.  

You pass through that invisible door, and you’re there. 

You still live in the same place, you look the same, speak with the same tongue. 

 But you’re in heaven, even while you walk this earth. 

You’ve stepped from this world of grief into a world of glory. 

You are walking with God.  

 You have God’s life burning within you, inspiring your thoughts, directing your steps.

Jesus explains that the door to this heavenly kingdom, which you can enter any time you choose, is faith.  

“Have faith in God!”  he says.  Mark 11:22  

“Everything is possible for him who believes.”  Mark 9:23 

“Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.”  John 14:12 

Most of us have spent too many years in a twilight zone of half-belief where we’ve been half-aware of what we could be, what we could have in God. 

We’re still on the outside looking in. 

We talk about it, sing about it, even wish for it

…. yet something keeps us from entering the kingdom decisively. 

We’ve been afraid to leave these shallows of half-belief and launch out into the deep waters of faith. 

We’re in between.

In fact, we’ve been in between for so long that many of us seem to think that this is all there is—this twilight zone of half-belief.  

“Heaven begins,” says Jesus, “when you come out of that bunker of half-belief and commit yourself to me all the way.”  (See Luke 9:62)

Jesus pioneered this way of faith for us.  He cut a path; all we have to do is follow it. 

“How could Jesus pioneer the way of faith?” you say, “he was God!  How can God have faith in God?” 

 Jesus walked the road of faith, not as God, but as a man, as human and needy (yet without sin) as you and I. 

Scripture tells us that God the Son laid aside his glory, gave up his divine attributes, emptied himself of all that, so that he could be the Second Adam.  So that, where the First Adam failed to walk by faith, and produced a human race that never could walk by faith, the Second Adam—Jesus—did walk by faith and is producing a new race that can follow in his steps.  His death and resurrection have made it possible. 

We can get up in the morning and present our bodies to God as a living sacrifice. 

We can walk by faith twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, in our homes, on our jobs, with our possessions, with our money.

Our hearts can continuously be singing his praises saying, “Lord, I’m yours, and all that I have is yours.  All I want to do is live to your glory!” 

As we do that, the glory of the world to come sets our hearts on fire… and we know that the kingdom of God is already alive within us.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, guide us to the truth that waiting is acting. Waiting is rising from the grave and living…now. Waiting is walking through the doors you open…now. Waiting is entering your Kingdom…now. And Dear, Living Lord, while we wait, open our eyes so we can see your hand…now; Unstop our ears so we may hear you…now; Guide our feet so we follow your path…now; Open our mouths so we can rejoice in your Kingdom…now. Lord, Jesus what a beautiful gift and honor that we can begin to dwell in your kingdom…now. Help us to keep choosing to live in your Kingdom as we live our lives out on this earth. Help us to leave our doubts behind and step into your world of glory…now. Lord, all we have is yours…now. Amen
Message: Richard E. Bieber 2007 or so… excerpted from his book What are We Waiting For.   Sharable/Printable Copy
Featured Artists: Gracious Permission of Ain Vares  Website:
#EndTimes #WaitingForJesus #WaitingIsActing #LordIAmYours #HeavenOnEarth #KeepYourLampsBurning

 Posted February 25, 2024


How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony! (unity)  For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil that was poured over Aaron’s head, that ran down his beard and onto the border of his robe. Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon that falls on the mountains of Zion. And there the Lord has pronounced his blessing, even life everlasting.   (Psalm 133)

Most of us here have a taste once or twice in our lives of what they call a spiritual awakening, when suddenly in a certain place…. people’s hearts begin turning for God.

There’s a strong sense of the presence of God.

Of God’s judgment on sins.

Of his mercy on those who repent.

The feeling that the end of the age is just pressing down upon us.

Suddenly Jesus becomes very, very real.

And his Word comes alive to us.

And people draw near to him and to each other.

And their lives change.

In 1970, many flocks were touched by such a spiritual awakening as it swept across many places. And it is certainly true to say that, in one sense, the spiritual awakening that really shook those places has never left us and is still at work among us, and the evidence is all around us.

But it’s also true to say that this spiritual awakening that visited around that time, was but a miniature taste of a much greater awakening that we believe is waiting to come.

Certainly, an awakening that we personally need, and that your city needs, and that the whole earth needs.

And so we think of Pentecost, that first spiritual awakening, that visited when the Spirit fell and the tongues of flames were visible on the heads of the 120.

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven.  And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language.  (Acts 2:3-6)

They couldn’t figure out what was happening as they heard these people speaking in their mother tongues the wonderful works of God.  And some said these guys are drunk.

And so Peter, standing up with the eleven began to explain how this was

For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.  But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,  and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.  And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’   (Acts 2:15-21)

The Spirit that visited with such power on the day of Pentecost has never left this earth. 

Yet who of us can deny that there is a need among us for a fresh spiritual awakening?

New vision.

New zeal

New joy.

A new abandoning of our hearts to the Lord.

While we know that any spiritual awakening of this kind is the sovereign work of God, we don’t engineer it, we can’t manufacture it and make it happen, God sends it. Does this mean then, however, that we sit around and wait until it comes? Or is there something we can do to at least invite it? Is there some posture that we can assume together that will make it clear to ourselves and to God that we’re waiting and we’re ready?

How truly wonderful and delightful it is to see brothers and sisters living together in sweet unity! It’s as precious as the sacred scented oil flowing from the head of the high priest Aaron, dripping down upon his beard and running all the way down to the hem of his priestly robes. This harmony can be compared to the dew dripping from Mount Hermon, which flows down upon the hills of Zion.  Indeed, that is where YAHWEH has decreed his blessings will be found, the promise of life forevermore!     (Psalm 133 TPT)

This psalm is a description of a spiritual awakening.

When the life of the Spirit of God descends from heaven and comes down to the earth and quickens it. 

 That precious anointing oil that was on Aaron and ran down from his head, over his beard and covered his garments, was a sign. A sign that life from God was overwhelming him, was flowing over him, and coming down upon him and rolling out from his mouth, across his hands and bringing blessing to everything he touched, and everyone who heard him speak.

It’s a description of life coming down like the dew of Hermon giving new and fresh life to the mountains around Jerusalem and quickening everything.

Now this anointing oil, this refreshing dew of the Spirit…when it comes, doesn’t only bring us joy (as it does of course), or power (as it does of course)…..

But it flows out from us.

Permitting the world around us to experience life from God.

What do we have to do in order to experience such a thing?  And what is the evidence when the Spirit of God brings life upon us that this is really an awakening from God?

In this psalm, we see very clearly that the evidence, always, always when the life of God comes down upon us, is that we draw together and we dwell together in harmony, in unity.

It could also be equally true to say that when we come together in unity around the name of Jesus, the Spirit of the Lord will be there. That every spiritual awakening that has ever hit this Earth has involved people, men and women laying aside the barriers that separate them from each other. And coming together around the name of Jesus.

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

When they come together in unity, life from God begins to burn within them, and quicken them, and the dew of Hermon and the anointing oil begins to become obvious, and they have life and abundance for others.

May it be that we all have a desire for this, a craving that is absolutely unquenchable until it is fulfilled by God.

We need to keep asking how can we come into such unity that the anointing oil may come down upon our heads, and that the dew of Hermon may descend upon the Body?

And the answer is very simple. We need two things.

First, we need to learn how to really abide in the vine.

Second, we need to learn how to really love each other.

Abide in me.

Love one another.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.  (John 15-1-11)

Now when the branch abides in the vine to the extent, to the degree, that the life of the vine is able to come up into the branch… so that the branch can bear fruit.

That branch absolutely ….must be in harmony with the other branches.

If one branch is drawing life from the vine and another branch is drawing life from the same vine, how can they be in disharmony? And when the wind blows upon the vine, all the branches move at the same time. If we’re gathered in the name of Jesus and the Spirit of God begins to stir among us, surely we’re going to move together.

If our hearts are one around him, then we move as one, as branches, a body in the same vine.

And when we are in that kind of unity around him, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers as well together in unity, then the life of God must flow.

The Spirit moves up through the vine, into the branch, and it begins to flourish.

The anointing oil comes down upon the head in abundance. It rolls down over the beard, covers the garments with life. The dew of Hermon descends upon the assembly, and there is an awakening.

Now the problem for many of us, is that we have tried to abide in the vine single-handedly, individualistically.

“Lord, I will abide in you. I want to dwell in you. I want to rest in you. I want to trust you. I want to do your will.  But Lord, please don’t ask me to open my heart to other Believers. Lord, I’ve had too many bad experiences. I’ve been disappointed too many times. It’s been too painful. Let it just be me and you Lord.”

And the Lord responds, “My child if you abide in me, you have no choice but to open your heart to the other branches that are abiding in me.”

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.  No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another. (John 15: 12-17)

Spiritual awakening is the sovereign work of God.

We cannot make it happen.

God makes it happen.

And if he wants to He can make the stones cry out to his praise.

And yet every spiritual awakening that has come to this earth since Pentecost has involved two things.

First, men and women who are deeply and radically committed to Jesus as branches on the vine.

Second, men and women who are deeply and radically committed to each other in holy love.

Abide in me.

Love one another.

You’ll never love one another unless you abide in me…. and you’ll never abide in me unless you love one another.

But if you abide in me and love one another, you will have the unity of Heaven. The anointing oil will come to rest upon the head,  the dew of Hermon will come upon the body, and there will be an awakening.

“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,  and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.

And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

Now the Spirit has come. And He is in our midst, but the power of the anointing of His Spirit upon us hinges on the extent to which we respond as he calls us to two things.

Commit ourselves to Jesus as branches in the vine

First, the spirit is calling us to deeply and radically commit ourselves to Jesus as branches in the vine.

And our response is often, “I’ve heard that a million times and I’ve done it a million times, what are you talking about?” “I know all about that,  I’ve done it”. And yet, if we’re honest, surely, we need to see that there’s more. Who of us can say that, that we are the way we should be?

We’re called to a rest in the vine that is deeper than we’ve ever known. A trust in him, a listening to him, a surrender to him, an obedience to him….as we’ve never done before.

“We’re going to listen to your word, Lord and whatever you tell us to do, we’re going to do. 

I want to know you Lord as I’ve known you before.  

I want to walk with you. 

I want to listen to you. 

I want to trust you. 

I want to fellowship with you.

 When this becomes supreme in our hearts, then when we pick up the Bible, it won’t matter whether we’re in Genesis or Psalms or Isaiah or Ezekiel or Revelation or some other book… Everywhere we look, we’ll see Jesus.

And we will hear his voice.

And mysteries will open to us.

We’ll begin to open our hearts in prayer to God, and we will know that we are being helped by the Lord himself, that he’s there interceding.

And now we will experience as never before what it’s like… this little branch getting its sustenance from the vine. The life of the vine begins to come up into us. We’re drawing our life from him. And drawing  strength from him.

When the wind blows we’ll know we are going to be alright. The vine is holding us.  And now we begin to bear fruit without even trying.

Abiding in him…. life after life that we touch, soul after soul that we touch in his name…. comes bounding into the Kingdom of God… to our own amazement.

Commit ourselves to each other in holy love

The second thing to which the Spirit of the Lord is calling us today… is to deeply, radically, rootedly commit ourselves to each other in holy love.

Have you ever heard the Holy Spirit calling you to love your wife or your husband? Or that child you’ve been disappointed in?

Have you ever sensed the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart and telling you to begin to love that mother of yours, that you’ve been mad at for years? Or that father who seemed to close his heart to you before you became a teenager? Or that boss at work?  You’re walking around with this.

And now comes the command …. love.

When we hear the Spirit of the Lord, calling us to love this person, the power to do it comes to us and it’s like heaven breaks forth in our hearts.

Now in the same way, the Spirit who set us in the Body is commanding us to love each other.

This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you.

And this works out practically in such things….

Now you go out and you begin to pray for the very person in the fellowship who has hurt you, abused you, ignored you, who has misconstrued your motives.

Then you go out to the people in the fellowship who are bearing wounds that you have inflicted and you ask forgiveness, and you make it right.

Then you reach out to people whose names you still don’t know, after all these years.

Then you reach out to people who seem to be in some kind of need.

If we’re abiding in the vine, we get all the strength we need to love each other.

We can do it.  We can do it. Even we can do it.

Spiritual awakening is not something far away. 

Mighty spiritual awakening is not something out of reach.

It’s very, very near.

It comes when the branches get down to business and really, really abide in the vine… and really, really begin to love each other.

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.

The call of the Spirit is upon us today… and if we will respond in faith…

There will be an awakening.

Prayer: Yes Lord, help us to really, really live in harmony with our brothers and sisters and to really, really abide in you. Oh, how we want there to be an awakening like no other. Oh, how we want you to pour your anointing oil on us, for your life to flow out of us bringing great healing to this world. We abandon ourselves to you. Help us to live in such unity, such love for each other that the dew of Heaven covers the Body. And that dew causes us to flourish and bear precious, holy fruit. Lord it is time. We want to know you as we never have before. The world needs to know you as it never has before. Give us the deep, radical commitment needed to bring the awakening you promise. Amen.
Message: Richard Bieber 1983    Sharable/Printable Copy
Featured Artists: Gwen Meharg  Website: Expired
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