Archive for May, 2009

Prayer for Oneness

Posted by Pelgrim on 21st May 2009

PRAYER FOR ONENESS (John 17:11, 20-23)

“As history was rushing toward its focal point in his redemptive death, the persistent concern Christ expressed in his prayer was for the oneness of his followers … the same kind of oneness that prevailed between Father and Son within the Trinity.” (Bilezikian 35-36) ” … that they may be one as we are one.” (v. 11) “Jesus was asking for the restoration among humans of the oneness that had originally been entrusted to them in creation, a oneness made in the image of the oneness within the Trinity.” (Bilezikian 36)

Jesus said, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.” (John 17, 20)

Reality Check.
“In our day, whenever the church is ineffective and its witness remains unproductive, the first questions that must be raised are whether the church functions as authentic community and whether it lives out the reality of its oneness. In a community-starved world, the most potent means of witness to the truth of the gospel is the magnetic power of the oneness that was committed by Christ to his new community at the center of history.” (37)

Bilezikian, Gilbert. Community 101: Reclaiming the Local Church as Community of Oneness. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1997.

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The fallen nature, the body of death/sin

Posted by Pelgrim on 12th May 2009

Crucifying our ego-centric self. 

“Sin is what fills the spiritual vacuum created by the loss of right relationship to God” (Tracy 33)

“Inward sin is not something we do, as A.W. Tozer taught, it is something you are. You grieve, for the at the deepest level you want to be like Christ. But there is a part of you that treasures lust, or harbors a lurking self-idolatry, or nourishes the ‘the drum major instinct’, or thirsts for praise, or protects a touchy ego, or affirms a cultural prejudice, or shelters unworthy motives, or rebels against continual obedience to God. Tozer called these ‘the hyphenated sins of the human soul.” He named some self-righteousness, self-pity, …. self-sufficiency, self-admiration, self-love.
The Spirit of the Lord is so gentle, yet so firm. Faithfully He confronts you with these un-Christlike affections. At first you may dismiss His gentle revelations or try to ignore, mislabel, or sidestep them. But He keeps bringing you back to the mirror of the Divine Light, where you can admit that you need to have your very inmost heart cleansed of sin. You are ready to join Charles Wesley in:

Show me as my heart can bear,
The depth of inbred sin;
All the unbelief declare,
The pride that lurks within.
Take me, whom Thyself hast bought,
Bring into captivity,
ev’ry high, aspiring thought,
That would not stoop to Thee. (Tracy 79)

“But between you the believer on the way to sanctification, and that blessed stat of ‘all loves excelling’ looms the cross, the hurdle of self-surrender. Along the road of growth in grace the Holy Spirit keeps inviting you to surrender the one thing you can’t give up. The one thing - or the things - to which you have given ’god value’.” “Such consecration is not easy. The bible calls it being crucified with Christ.” (Tracy 81)  ”But if you make your consecration complete, self-surrender can become the prelude to sanctification.” (Tracy 82) Do not think that loving submission to God in consecration does away with your personhood. Far from it, loving submission is the way to find your true personhood, your true self.” (Tracy 89)

Steps: “There is a sinful self to be crucified with Christ.”, “There is a human [or natural self] to be disciplined in Christ.” and “There is a true self to be actualised in Christ.” “The end God has in mind is the actualisation of the divine self. The goal of the New Age movement and of consumer psychology is self-actualisation, The goal of the gospel is Christ-actualisation - Christ lives in me.” (Tracy 89)

The reconciliation of our right relationship with God, to allow him to fill that spiritual vacuum, the place that is rightfully His.

Romans 8, 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Sources quoted:

Tracy, Wes. et al. Reflecting God. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 2000.

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To descend into the heart

Posted by Pelgrim on 5th May 2009

“To pray is to descend with the mind into the heart,
and there to stand before the face of the Lord,
ever-present, all seeing, within you.”
- Theophan the Recluse

Quoted in Foster, Richard J. Meditative Prayer. Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 1983.

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