LOVE MOTIVATES BUT FAITH ACTS

Photo by Tracey Lewis

Have you seen the television show called “Total Blackout?” It’s a show that demonstrates your imagination becoming your own worst enemy. They start the person out in a pitch black room with 3 tanks and all three tanks have 3 distinctly different items in them and the person has a short amount of time to name what it is. For example, the first tank might have a live, slithering snake in it. Anything after that is going to cause you not to put your hand in there. The second tank has a stuffed animal and the third would be something like a human foot coming from the bottom of the tank. I wanted the ladies in jail to experience something similar to make a valid point of how we let our imaginations be our guide and we are deceived. I asked for 4 volunteers to stand facing the crowd while I put a slimy, glittery, silly putty like substance out for them to feel behind their backs and try to name it. I told them it might bite so be careful. One girl said it might be a lizard, another girl guessed GAK. We had a good laugh, they got the point and sat back down.

The passage of scripture that fit my demonstration was Isaiah 26:3 “thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee because he trusts in you.” Also in Phil. 4:7-9 and another verse is “the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension will guard your heart.” What we believe takes faith. I was going to count today how many times I exercised faith, but it is impossible to count. I would venture to say everything takes faith, and we do it all day long without thinking or seeing it. If we could see faith, it wouldn’t be faith.

Love and Faith go together because next to love in importance is faith. “Love is the driving force.” I quote this from Norman Grubb as well when I say, “Love motivates, but faith acts.” Faith is action. Faith carries out the urges of love. Faith works by love. God is love and love gives therefore its only natural that love is the power. What does faith look like in action? I think a good example of this faith-action or taking something is a chair. For instance the chair you are sitting in right now, you took it to sit in, but once you had done that, the chair now takes you.

One other thing I have learned from Norman Grubb is what you fight fights you. It’s impossible to fight with someone who is silent and won’t argue back with you. We could never accomplish this in the flesh, by the flesh; it happens in the spirit and spills out in your life where others can see it. There are a lot of different emotions going on around us all the time and we get caught up in it, don’t we? We don’t have to be controlled by our feelings though because more than likely they will change in just a moment anyway.

There were a couple of girls who wanted to talk if I had enough time. This is my favorite part of the night, really, because you can concentrate on one person. The first girl didn’t have any questions or problems; I think she just wanted to talk, so I enjoyed listening to her and then praying for her as well.

I found out from the second girl, who I will call Bee, is the great granddaughter of a lady who used to go to our church and has since gone on to be with the Lord. She had other good news about her family she shared with me, but most of all, her focus is back on the Lord. It is easy to believe things people say when there is no way to know for sure. Our solution is to believe what God says about us. God said He would never leave you nor forsake you; He is faithful when we are not faithful to Him. I am glad that He is holding on to our hand and not us holding His.

We watched Tony Evan’s daughter, Priscilla Shirer on DVD on sleep walking through your Christian walk. She talked about rushing to the next thing and passing up what God has for you right now. Even through the stuff you don’t like, God is making Himself known. He is head over heels in love with you, and He will stop at nothing to get your attention, because once we fall in love with Him, He takes over and you can’t help it. He already loves us; He first loved us so that we could love Him back.

Written by Tracey

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READING HABITS

I was born again in 2001. Since that time I couldn’t tell you how many books I have read. Being born again brought with it a hunger to study the Bible. I had no idea how to go about it so I went to the library and found a book titled, amazingly enough, “How to study the Bible.” It helped me immensely. It was a very simple and basic overview of the whole Bible with an outline of each book and a very basic overview. It was very remedial but it was a great start.

At some point I found myself studying apologetics. For those that don’t know what that is let me just say it is defined as “the discipline of defending a position (often religious) through the systematic use of information.” I read books by Ravi Zacharias, Lee Strobel and C.S. Lewis. The more I read these authors the more I noticed other authors they quoted so I searched out their books too. I read things like Martin Luther’s biography, Dallas Willard’s “The Divine Conspiracy” and R.T. Kendall books. I fell in love with Philip Yancey and bought everyone of his books I could find and devoured them.

It was probably the better part of two or three years that I spent studying apologetics. I learned that there is plenty of evidence at our disposal to give us enough reason to trust what the Bible is telling us. I discovered there are numerous sources outside of the Bible that corroborate what it says. You may laugh at that and say, “Well, of course there are, and I don’t have to have you to tell me that.” I understand, but it is only what we believe for ourselves that truly makes the difference isn’t it?

Moving along my reading habits started to shift a little, and I discovered a Chinese author named Watchman Nee. He spent the last twenty years of his life in a prison for his Christian witness. He had quite a different take on things as far as I was concerned. Apologetics is the study of facts and logical thinking to prove a point. Watchman Nee introduced me to the Apostle Paul’s revelation of “Christ in You.” He spent more time talking about how it was all about Christ in you rather than you understanding it all. This marked quite the shift in my thinking. After spending a considerable amount of time reading Watchman Nee’s writing’s I discovered a disciple of his named Witness Lee. Witness Lee sort of carried on the ministry after the death of his mentor. He was a controversial figure, but who isn’t that has ever made a big impact on the world?

Soon after studying Watchman Nee and Witness Lee I came across an English author and missionary named Norman Grubb. He wrote several books during his long ninety eight year life. He lived as a missionary In the Belgian Congo and translated the New Testament into Bangala. Norman’s underlying theme to his writing is the revelation that Christ is the point. We humans are a vessel, temple and branch. The plan all along is for Christ to dwell in our vessel and express himself through us. We were crucified with Christ, buried, resurrected and ascended to the right hand of God. He said things I have never heard anyone say. He said things like, “God is the only person in the universe.” He came to the conclusion that God is the only person and everything is an expression of him. Some might think this is pantheism but he wasn’t saying God was everything but everything did in fact reveal something of God’s character to us. Of course man being the ultimate expression of God on the earth. While some may scoff at this or disagree there is no way for me to explain to you the impact his books have had on me. He said, “God created man in his own image that he might have a visible means of expressing and manifesting himself, The Invisible in visible form.”

Norman Grubb is just like the rest of us and he was also a reader. He read other authors too such as Soren Kierkegaard, William Law and Jacob Boehme to name a few. Since discovering Norman’s reading habits guess what? You guessed it I too have started reading some of William Law’s and Jacob Boehme’s works.

I could spend hours talking to you of the things I have learned from these and other writers but I won’t. I will simply leave you to dig and hunt on your own. We all have to find our own path and we will if we simply get on with it. I wrote this only to encourage you to expand your level of understanding by way of the books you read. There are so many men and women that have left us such great resources of understanding God and his universe. I would encourage you to read and read with only one thing in mind. No matter what authors or books you read never let anything but the Bible itself be the last word.

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 NASB But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.

Written by Louie

THE GREAT WHY AND THE TOTAL ANSWER–Norman Grubb

Christ gave himself for us, and God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself. John said that this was the essence of love. It meant and means that love cannot be hurt with what hurts it. It only knows one hurt, and that is the hurt of the hurter. It is not the killed who is hurt; it is the killer whose deed kills himself. So God who is love has only one hurt through history in the fall of the human race. Not the hurts we have inflicted on Him by our hates and sin and rebellion; but the hurts we inflict on ourselves, the eternal destiny of the damned. That has hurt God because He is love, and so hurt Him that He must save us.

Our need is His concern; so Jesus came to meet our need and take our hurt on Himself. He called Himself bread, meaning that His real living would be by becoming our life. God really lives by living the life of others: Jesus as bread, Jesus as living water, Jesus as the light of the world, Jesus as the door of the sheepfold, Jesus as the good shepherd—all mean the same thing: that the person who is love finds the meaning of life in being identified with others, in meeting their need, in taking their place, in being them.

Did not Jesus on Calvary so become us that it is said that when He was crucified, we were crucified, buried when He was buried, and risen when He arose? Is He not now our life? “Christ lives in us”, “Christ who is our life”. “In all our afflictions he was afflicted”. “I was an hungered and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger and ye took me in… Lord, when saw we thee and hungered and fed thee? Or thirsty and gave thee drink…Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me”. The identification is so complete that he is saying that hungry, thirsty, naked man is He.

That is how far love goes, and God is love. It goes to the limit. It is a new interpretation of the meaning of life. We humans give our lives, maybe, for those we approve. God’s love has no reservations: it is total, unconditional. So Paul said: “Peradventure for a good man, some would dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us…when we were enemies; we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.” Christ gives His life for those He disapproves; for below their hate and guilt and rebellion, indeed, because of it, He knows their dire need; and God lives to meet need and gives Himself without limit to do it. That is a different quality of love, and only God is this kind of love. What is God’s joy? What is His pleasure? How does He complete Himself or express Himself (for, as we have said, a self must have self-completion and self-expression)? What is life, this eternal life, in its ultimate meaning?

The answer is given us in the God who has shown us exactly what He is in Jesus. It is in self-transcendence. God’s life is others having life: God is blessed when man is blessed: God sorrows when man sorrows: God (in Christ) moves into man’s earthly hell when man is in hell, to get him out of it: Christ lives His life in man, so that man in his turn now, through God in him, begins to live other people’s lives. The gaiety of God, the seriousness of God, the joy of God, the sorrows of God, the song, the laughter, the eternal livingness of life, the total meaningfulness of eternal life—here it is.

Taken from “The Spontaneous You” by Norman Grubb

AN EXCERPT FROM “YES I AM” BY NORMAN GRUBB

The following is part of a letter that was sent to Norman Grubb. It was published in his book “Yes I am” and I thought it was fabulous—Enjoy!

The organized church today is, by and large, a modern Moses’ Tabernacle, trying to fulfill certain principles, rules and regulations, dos and don’ts, laws and commandments, and daily disciplines in order to get the presence and approval of God. That’s fine, as long as one does all that; but Scripture says that no one can keep the law. It also says that whoever does the law must also live in it. You’re blessed if you can do it, but cursed if you can’t. (I’ve been trying for thirteen years, but never could.) Besides that, even if one could keep all the principles, laws, disciplines, etc., there is room for pride saying, “I’ve done it.” But God will share His glory with no man. There is absolutely nothing we can do to merit His presence or approval; neither does God expect us to do anything to obtain it, because of His very self-giving nature.

It is the tangible, felt, manifested presence of God that the organized church is looking for today. They’ll never find it though, and only become frustrated in the process, because Jesus said, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation, but behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” It is a wicked and adulterous generation that seeketh for a sign, a manifestation of God. Once again, the signs and manifestations will automatically and naturally follow them that believe. It will be a natural outflow of who we are and not what we do.

For years I have been asking God for a great hunger and thirst for Him. I felt that the more hunger and thirst I had, the more God would come to me. I now realize I’ve been wasting my time and energy. But as I now understand who He is within me, I am full, I am satisfied, my thirst is quenched, my hunger is gone. Even as the Scriptures declare, out of my belly, my innermost being, flow rivers of living water, Jesus said, “He that drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.” He said, “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” He also said, “He that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” There is an end! That end is Christ! I no longer hunger or thirst. I now only know a permanently satisfied, fulfilled life in Christ—full and overflowing for the benefits of others.

Taken from “Yes I am” by Norman Grubb

WHAT IS GOD’S WRATH? By Norman Grubb

The effects of the disobedience were the opposite to what the natural guilty world would expect God’s reaction to be. We would think God would, in anger and wrath, turn His back on the two. But it was precisely the other way around. It was Adam who hid from God, not God from Adam. Here was God “walking in the garden in the cool of the day” and looking for Adam. But where was Adam? Hidden in the bushes. Nor was God displaying some wrathful retaliation, but only questioning Adam…to bring the reality of the disobedience home to him. For when He came face to face with the three, the serpent and Adam and Eve everything God said was to clarify to them the “beneficial” consequence which they, thankfully, could not escape—a way of life which always has sorrow at its roots. God said in effect, “Eve, you will have sorrow one way; Adam, you will have sorrow another way.” That was all. And of course, the point of the sorrow would be that the whole human race through all its centuries of history would always be inwardly miserable, always knowing they were missing the mark and meaning of life, always seeking a phony happiness which would always escape them…and thus, always at the heart of every man, however covered up, is a sense of lostness and a longing for fulfillment. That alone was God’s judgment on His disobedient children, a judgment totally for their benefit.

Taken from “Yes I am” by Norman Grubb

A letter to Norman Grubb

The following is an excerpt taken from Norman Grubb’s book “God Unlimited.” It is part of a series of correspondence letters to Norman sharing some wonderful enlightenment. I know you will be blessed by this.

“July 3. God has been opening up more in Ephesians about the life of sharing the throne with Christ. The key to me is in the first chapter ‘to usward who believe.’ It may not hold much to others, but to me it is like an open door of a vast dominion-to us who act in accordance with these facts that we are really delivered out of Satan’s authority into the kingdom of His Son and share His authority. I see that God has to use shadows to reveal the invisible which is the real Substance. We tend to hold on to the shadows and thereby miss the Substance.

In meditating in Romans 6 on how the old man is out, the new man helpless in 7 and Christ in us in 8, I was thinking how the illusions are so contrary, just like in physical life. If a person gets his tonsils out, he says his tonsils hurt (how can tonsils hurt if they are out?). If one gets an arm or foot or any other member cut off, the person usually complains that the limb which is cut off hurts him, and he says it until death. Illusions, are they not? When we get cut off in Christ’s death with the circumcision not made with hands, we have had quite a severe operation. What illusions we have and quite painful, but they are illusions.

It is a marvelous truth that Christ is living His own life in us. It has come to me just very slowly, but it is a fact and not feeling. I realize that there are those who feel His presence constantly, but He has not been pleased to manifest Himself to me that way. I find that He will manifest Himself through me rather than to me.”

ENTERING INTO REST

  Most people don’t enjoy salvation in its fullness. I mean, if you have been born again and filled with the Holy Spirit you have been delivered from bondage. That is great, but are you also enjoying life in the Promised Land? The Children of Israel were delivered out of bondage in Egypt, but not all of them entered into the rest of the Promised Land. I’m afraid that is where most Christians are also. They have been forgiven of sins, delivered from bondage and yet they aren’t enjoying the rest God has for them. The following is an excerpt taken from Norman Grubb’s book “God Unlimited” in which he talks about this very thing. He said it so well I thought I would just let him do it, so here it is, enjoy!

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“Israel had a savior, indeed two saviors: one brought them out of the land of their bondage, and the other into their land of promise: Moses and Joshua. A greater than these is our Savior; but we had better be sure that we have experienced the benefits of His salvation, as they did of theirs.” At least, they all did of Moses, but much fewer of Joshua. They all came out triumphantly enough from under Pharaoh’s yoke: “they were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea”. That is what we would call a regenerating experience, separated from the world, justified by the blood, dead and risen with Christ. But then trouble began. Through ignorance and willfulness they allowed civil war to rage in their hearts. On the one hand they had the bread from heaven and the water from the rock, which Paul said was Christ to them. On the other, they were constantly racked by fear, unbelief, resentment, murmuring, and even hankerings after the old life in Egypt. They did not know the secret of victory, as Moses did. They had an undiscovered self-life, which God had exposed and dealt with in Moses long before, in the backside of the desert. They foolishly thought that they could be true to God in their own strength; they even replied to God, when He told them how gracious He would be to them if they obeyed Him, “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do”. What abysmal self-deception! And all their miserable failures did not open their eyes. So they never entered that land of promise, land of corn and wine, with rest from their enemies. They never made real in their experience the fullness of the blessing which was theirs from the time they joined themselves to Moses, if they had only gone through with him in faith. They died, in the wilderness, not damned souls, but defeated Christians, as we would say.

What about us? The writer asks. We have gone through in faith with our Moses to separation, justification, regeneration, which in fact means death and resurrection with Christ. But then we have landed where the Israelites did in “the waste and howling wilderness” of trial, assaults from the enemy, dryness of soul, good resolutions which we fail to keep. We too have had to learn the hard way that self-effort, though it is the new self, can’t keep the commands of God or live the victorious life. Have we learned this? Or do we continue rebellious, resentful, unbroken, like the children of Israel? Do we die in the wilderness, as they, instead of reaching the Promised Land?

Extended quote taken from “God Unlimited” by Norman Grubb