Sylvia Pearce teaching at a mini-conference in the home of Brian and Tandy Coatney

Sylvia Pearce teaching at a mini-conference in the home of Brian and Tandy Coatney

When I was a young girl playing with my dolls and having pretend tea parties, I always had the thought of having children of my own. I knew I would have a boy first and then a girl so that the girl would have an older brother to protect her and play with her; just like my older brother did for me. As I grew into a teenager, my thoughts became dreams and then became plans on having my own children. When the time came for the relationship that produces children, it didn’t work out like I thought. The man whom I thought I would marry turned out to be abusive and he could not produce children. After living in sin with him I felt like I had to stay with him forever because that was what I was taught being raised so strict. After all God’s way is to get married, have children and remain with the same spouse for life, right?

I remember sitting on my porch and crying without end because I would never hear a little child call me mommy or feel their little arms around my neck pulling my hair. It was a time in my life I will never forget because I felt like I was dying to those hopes and dreams. After that relationship continued to be violent, I ran away and moved to Kentucky. A person would think the dream would revive but it didn’t. I fell in love with another man who never wanted children and since I had already resolved myself to the idea, it was okay with me.

I am older now, I look back at my life, not regretting not having kids, but wondering what they would look like and what would they be doing now and how would I be different as a person. My husband, Louie and I are in jail and prison ministry and hang out with some really awesome people. One of them being Sylvia Pearce; she told me once that I was a mom, but I didn’t believe her until recently. It was God who had to show me and make it real in my life and that is exactly what He did.

This past weekend, while at a mini-conference at Brian and Tandy Coatney’s house, with Sylvia and Brett Burrows teaching; God impregnated me with the truth about me being a spiritual mom. On Sunday I received a text from a good friend of mine who I met in jail and God changed her into a new creation. I had to read it out loud to Louie because I couldn’t believe what it said. She said “thank you for being my spiritual mother.” From that moment on, being a spiritual mom has been quickened and made alive in me. The Lord gave me a poem I want to share with you:

Childless, they call me mom
While from this body I have not conceived,
From heaven, many children I have received.
There have been sacrifices I have made,
Not a big deal, because they were for your sake.
A mothers’ spit is powerful enough to clean your face,
So is your sin removed by God’s amazing grace.
As a mom, I encourage you, discipline and hold you,
I also teach you, comfort you and feel the things you do.
I can love you with the same love that Jesus loves me,
So that you can be destined for greatness like you’re meant to be.
Life’s lessons are hard to learn,
That’s how we go through life to discern
I have seen how far you have come.
I have seen your mistakes, but remember none.
I love you now and forever and outside of time,
God gave you to me as a child of mine.

I too now know what the Apostle Paul meant when He wrote the Galatians saying, “my little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.” Galatians 4:19

Tracey

The letter to the Philippians has a theme throughout it’s four chapters which is Paul’s admonishment to be of One Mind. In the very first chapter he tells them to “conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the ‘faith of the gospel.’

You see according to the scriptures all who have been born again are of the same Spirit and have been given the mind of Christ but we aren’t always operating from His mind. My friend Sylvia Pearce says, “Even though we Christians all have the heart of God we may still be operating with the mind of Satan.”

Well, how do we begin to operate from the mind of Christ then? Thankfully Paul doesn’t leave us to wonder but describes the mind of Christ in Philippians 2 saying, “Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Of course this is the very mind of Christ. Jesus Christ’s whole life was a life lived for another. He only did what His Father sent Him here to do and it was all for us. Even though by Him, through Him and for Him all things were created, He still gave up His own rights in order to set us free from our bondage of self-centered living. It truly takes the mind of Christ to do this in our lives. “The Servant” living in “the servant” is the only way.

In chapter two we also read about a couple of men that had the same mind and attitude as Paul so he trusted them to be his representative. He sent Timothy to Philippi in order to check on them. He said, “For I have no one else of kindred spirit (like minded) who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.” So we see that the mind of Christ is defined by putting others first therefore the mind of Satan would be the opposite which is thinking of ourselves first. Doesn’t this sound like some of our Mothers? I grew up with two older sisters; and when you have siblings you have to learn how to see things from others perspective and how to share. This, I think, is some pretty good evidence we are all born with the Satanic mind. Hence the reason Paul admonishes us to “Let” this mind be in you. We have to let the mind of Christ operate in us or we will never come to the unity of the faith.

In Philippians three Paul tells a brief testimony of how he finally came to see his accomplishments and heritage as worthless compared to knowing Christ and gives them, and us, a warning about those that are earthly minded and self-seeking. He said, “For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.” For those living only for earthly things there is no end to the cravings. If our appetites and earthly desires are the only thing driving us we will never be content. There truly is only one thing that brings human beings fulfillment and that is Christ himself.

As Paul finishes up his letter to the Philippians in chapter four he urges a couple women there to live in harmony or be of one mind in the Lord. Thankfully once again Paul doesn’t leave us wondering how to do this he gives us some very practical advice. He tells us to rejoice, be anxious for nothing but rather pray and be thankful as we let God know what we need. He then spells out for us what to let into our minds. He tells us to think only on things that are “True, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent and worthy of praise.” These are the secrets of the Apostle Paul’s thought life. By these things he has “learned to be content in whatever circumstances He’s in.”

While there are many, many troubles in this life there is one thing that is for sure. While we may have little or no ability to control the things that happen we do have the gift of the Mind of Christ and with that a choice in how to respond when these things find their way into our world.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”

Louie

 

Spirit, soul and body seem to always make their way into my thinking. I have come to see how important it is to make the distinction between soul and spirit so now I see it throughout the whole of the Bible. Today though I’ve been thinking about the body, and not just any body but what our heavenly body will be like.

In 1 Corinthians 15 the Apostle Paul spends a great deal of time discussing the subject of our resurrected bodies and what that might be like. While Paul admits he doesn’t really know exactly what our new bodies will be like permit me if you will to ponder these things for a moment.

When God created the first man Adam he used dust. We read where it says, “the Lord god formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” In other words our bodies are created not just for our environment but actually from our environment Earth. Remember this because it will play an important part in the point I’m hoping to make; but first let’s look at a few other instances in the scriptures to build the case for our new bodies.

There is an instance in the gospels when Jesus took his inner circle of disciples Peter, James and John to the top of a mountain. While there “He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.” To me this is a glimpse of what our new bodies will be like. If this is true then we are really, at our core, light beings living in a veiled body at present. The word transfigured used hear is the same word used in Romans 12:2 when we are told to have our minds “transformed”. It comes from the same word as metamorphosis meaning to change or transform. It is the same as when a caterpillar is changed or transformed into a butterfly. The one body is completely different from the other.

Paul even said in 1 Corinthians 15 “That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be…” What if the transfiguration of Jesus is a glimpse for us of what our heavenly bodies will be? Let’s look at another glimpse God gives us in the design of the Priestly clothing.

In Exodus 28 we read where God instructed Moses to design the clothing to be worn by the priest as he did his duties in the Holy of Holies. He was to wear an ephod of gold with shoulder pieces with onyx stones for each shoulder representing six sons of Israel on each. He also had a breast-piece with four rows of stones equaling twelve altogether to represent each tribe of Israel. So they are to be covered in jewels when they go into the Holy of Holies. To me this is a picture of what we will look like one day as we enter the true Holy of Holies in our new bodies. Do you see what I see?

While there are probably many other places we can point to in the scripture let me just finish with one more found in the book of Revelation. Remember the first man Adam was formed from the dust of the ground right? He was designed from his environment to live in that environment so it is only reasonable our new bodies will have to coincide with our new environment, right? If we look in Revelation 21 we discover the New Jerusalem to be made out of costly stone, as crystal-clear jasper. It has gates of pearl, jasper walls and the city is pure gold, like clear glass. Wow! It has twelve foundation stones of all types of precious jewels, and the streets were pure gold like glass.

In conclusion let me say if the first Adam was created from the dust of this earth in order to be compatible to his environment it only makes sense we too will be re-created to live in our new environment. If our new home is made up of precious stones, and gold as clear as glass, it only stands to reason that we will be transfigured in our bodies one day and it will be conformed with the body of his glory! “The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.”

On the day we are born-again our dead human spirit is resurrected and joined to the Holy Spirit. From that day forward we are learning what it means to live with the mind of Christ calling the shots or to be transformed in our minds; and one day we will be given a brand new body that corresponds to our new home where we will live for all eternity in the city which needs no sun because the Lamb is it’s light. He will shine and shine for all eternity in and through his chosen vessels fully transformed with their pure, clear, jeweled bodies with nothing to hinder his full expression to anyone gazing upon his Glory forever and forever.

Louie

While watching the news and seeing the things that go on around us everyday may sometimes be discouraging I say, “Don’t lose hope yet.” The Apostle Paul told us of a mystery that had been hidden in God before but is now revealed. Christ in you, the hope of glory is our answer. While the world may run after politics, money, religion and power we know Christ is the only lasting solution to our problems.

The Bible is divided primarily into two covenants, what we might call the Old and New. The old one of course didn’t work and it couldn’t because it depended on us and we simply couldn’t hold up our end of the deal. Therefore God declared even to Jeremiah He would make a brand new covenant, one that included putting His law in the hearts of the worshiper. He said, “I will be their God, and they shall be my people. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” Wow! Did you hear that? There is coming a day when everyone will know the Lord.

For those of us who have already received Christ we have been given a glimpse of the glory of this coming time and if you’re like me you are anxiously awaiting for this to be fulfilled in our neighbors and brothers too. Jesus did tell us just before His arrest and crucifixion, He would send the Comforter; and He would remind them/us what He had told them, lead them/us into the whole truth and be their teacher. The Apostle John reiterated this in his first epistle saying, “As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”

You see God’s plan all along has been to live in each of us and have one on one time with all of us all the time. While the Apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors and teachers have their roles they aren’t meant to be forever. In Ephesians Paul tells us why God gave us these offices and it’s so the rest of the saints might grow up into their specific roles in the body. God’s intention is for each member of the body or “Church” to do their part in ministry until everyone that will enter has entered. At some point, just like the Arc with Noah, the door will be shut. Until then The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.”

Louie

Mankind was created in God’s image so we would be compatible with him. In other words just as God is Spirit we are too. Like God we have a personality, we feel and desire, think, have a will and speak and act. Could it be the invisible God wanted to make himself visible? What if humanity’s purpose all along has been to be the means by which the invisible God manifest himself in the material world? What if the fall didn’t change his goals at all and we’re still on track to fulfill them?

According to 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 we are made up of spirit, soul and body. As far as the spirit is concerned Jesus told us we must be born-again which means born from above. You see when Adam fell man died, just as God had warned, so we are all born dead in sin hence the need to be born-again by the Spirit of God. Once that happens we are joined again to God and regain our God-consciousness. Jesus did tell the woman at the well “God is Spirit and those that worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth.” The Apostle Paul told us “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.” So we see this is what God has been after all along. He wants us to be in union with him, “The Father of spirits.”

Our soul-level is basically what you might call our personality primarily made up of our emotions and intellect. I guess you could say our soul is how we are self-conscious. The soul was meant to be the means by which God’s Spirit, joined to our human spirit, could express his self. In the fall mankind’s spirit was deadened so we became outwardly focused. We began to be led around by how we felt and thought rather than by the Spirit of God. So our personality, originally meant to be an expression of God, became the expression of another. The Bible tells us we, not only have to be born again we have to have our minds, ie. souls, transformed. We’ve spent way too much time thinking and behaving as the world if we really have become a new creature in Christ why not operate in his mind?

Someone might ask, well how do we obtain this renewed mind? Well first of all of course we have to have the Spirit of God living in us but then we have to let him reteach us. The Apostle Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 2 “The natural man cannot know the things of the Spirit but the Spiritual man appraises or judges all things because they have the mind of Christ.” Ultimately the renewing of our minds is also the work of God. He is the one that changes us “from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” You see it is the Lord who does the transforming as we behold him. So our job is to behold him and let him have his way. As we fix our eyes on him we will find ourselves being transformed.

The last but not least part of us is our body which is world-conscious. We live in a material world therefore we need to have a material body in order to be in contact with it. I have come to see our situation as being one where we are born-again, resurrected spirits living in a fallen body. This, I believe, is the cause of many of our troubles even as believers. We are reading the Bible and it’s telling us we’re whole, blameless, perfect, righteous, justified, sanctified and on and on. When we look at ourselves, meaning our thoughts and feelings or our bodies it seems to be untrue sometimes doesn’t it? Well what if our spirit has been perfected, our soul/minds are being transformed and we are still waiting for the new bodies? Maybe we’re already complete and we are simply awaiting the manifestation of the new body. What if our new body is already present within awaiting for the time when it will be seen sort of like how a single seed really has a whole forest within waiting to push through the soil. Maybe we’re in transition between two worlds and our spirit is complete, our souls are being renewed and our new body is yet to come. I’m not sure about all these details, but “I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

In the letter to the Ephesians it tells us we are seated in heavenly places in Christ, we should walk “on the earth” mind you, in a manner worthy of our calling and stand against the enemy. Isn’t this telling us we are really Spirit people seated in eternity, which means no time, and yet living out our calling on the earth in time?

According to Philippians 3:21 the Lord “will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to himself.” In other words one day our bodies will be glorified bodies just as Christ has even now and it will come about by his power. The way John says it is “Beloved, we are now children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see him just as he is.”

One day we will be transformed completely. Even though now it may seem unfinished if you go back and read 1 Thessalonians 5:24 you will see “Faithful is he who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” God always finishes what he starts. We can trust He will complete us spirit, soul and body.

Louie

While there are elements of the Bible that seem complicated at first glance; overall God has made things quite simple. For instance let’s look at how God sees people. Everyone is in one camp or the other, either in Adam or in Christ there is no other category.

In Romans we discover through the first man Adam sin entered the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned. Did you catch that? What this is telling us is we were all present in Adam when he sinned so we all really did participate when he sinned. While some may say, “That’s not fair!” I say, “Don’t jump to conclusions quite yet; let’s keep reading.”

If we keep on reading we discover, just as the one man Adam sinned causing all of us to fall, there was another man, Jesus, who obeyed and if we are joined to him we too will be counted as righteous just as he is righteous. I don’t hear anyone screaming about how unfair that is now do I? You see “God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.” When it comes right down to it we are either in Adam or in Christ; that’s pretty simple isn’t it?

So the question is how do I get out of Adam and into Christ? Now that is a great question let’s look at Romans six for a minute. There we read the way to be joined to Christ is through being brought into union with him through the cross and his death, burial and resurrection. Just as we were in Adam in the beginning and joined to him and his sin, now through the cross of Calvary, God has placed us into Jesus Christ and all that has happened to him has happened to us. By faith we declare that we have been crucified with Christ, buried and raised to walk in newness of life. That’s what Paul means when he said, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death?” You see baptism means “to be overwhelmed”. In other words we have been placed or fully enveloped by him. It is a union like when a man and wife become one flesh except “He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit.”

God’s ultimate plan is for all of us to be in Christ. It’s not his will that any should perish in fact in 1 Corinthians 15 it tells us this very thing. We read where there is an order for the resurrection of the saints. First of course was Christ then there will be those that are his at his coming. Eventually even the last enemy death will be defeated and all things will be put in subjection to Christ who will in turn subject all things to God, so God may be all in all.

Jesus Christ’s once and for all atoning death on the cross enables God to move into believers by His Spirit so we might participate in His plan to reconcile all things in Christ. What an amazing plan! God reconciles sinners to the savior and not only that he also takes the barriers that used to divide Jew and Gentile and tears it down so we can all be one. The letter to the Ephesians tells us God’s objective is to reveal his wisdom through the church to the rulers and authorities in heavenly places. I’m not sure all of what that might entail but God does seem to enjoy choosing the foolish and weak things in order to confound the wise and strong. Maybe he does things this way so throughout eternity no one will have any room to brag about anything but how Magnificent, Wise and Glorious God truly is to have such a plan.

Louie