Jesus Seeker || Vanderbilt || Mississippi St Nashville, TN || Starkville, MS || Auburn, AL
October 9th
11:40 PM
Via
"Christ within us can accomplish what we can never hope to do in our own strength; and that continuous walking with Him will change the weakest of us into His image."
—  Donald Gee (via ever-gazing)
September 1st
9:17 PM
Christ is the Light 
As human beings living on this earth, we have all had to eventually confront the deeper questions of life. What are we doing here? What is this life all about? Why are these questions at the core of every human being’s thought? The Bible reveals that man is sitting in darkness.

“The people sitting in darkness have seen a great light..” Matthew 4:16

This darkness refers to sin no doubt but further touches on a state of being. Being in darkness indicates that there is a lack of seeing and understanding; it portrays a quality of befuddlement. Just like being in a dark room prevents you from seeing the objects present in the room, we as humans born in this darkness are unable to adequately describe the purpose of our human life. But praise God, He has come as the light!

“..I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall by no means walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” John 8:12


But the purpose of God’s entering into human hearts is that we might see reality. Light reveals, and so does God. The enigmas of life will gradually unfold, the great mysteries will become clear, illusions will be seen for what they are, deceiving phantasmata that disappear as the light shines upon them. – Ray Stedman, “God is light”

Further, when we truly see the light, we are transferred from the authority of Satan to the authority and headship of Christ.

“To open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan to God…” Acts 26:18 

As followers of Christ, we have had our blurred vision sharpened to see and answer the fundamental questions of our existence. We have been delivered out of darkness and have entered into the light. Further, we have been brought into the kingdom of God and into an eternal hope. This is indeed glorious! 
However, the purpose and implication of the light goes beyond just our finding the purpose of our life objectively and our salvation from eternal perdition. We are called to walk in this light.

 
Walking in the Light

“House of Jacob, come and let us walk in the light of Jehovah” Isaiah 2:5
“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin. 1 John 1:7 

What does it mean to walk in the light? I grew up with the impression that walking in the light meant to have good behavior and walking in darkness meant to have bad behavior. This concept is at best incomplete. Walking in the light is not a call to modify our behavior outwardly but a change in our “location” inwardly. We are to walk IN the light.

Light is the presence of God. If we would be in light, we must turn to Him from within. Then His presence will become the shining light. In this way Christ becomes the portion of the saints in a practical way. – Witness Lee, “Life Study of Colossians”

Walking in the light means to walk in the presence of God each day. It is to be immersed in a realm of light that turns our hearts to Him moment by moment. This type of living will direct our behavior in ways that outward regulation could never do. Practically, walking in the light manifests itself through our constant prayers to God, our quiet times with Him in His Word, and our genuine fellowship in His Body. It spawns from our sincere desire to know and seek Him. 
 

The Effect of Walking in the Light 
Revelation Concerning God
As we walk and live in this way, we will find the eyes of our hearts enlightened concerning Him. Our experiences will fall in line with Paul’s prayer in Ephesians.

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Him, The eyes of your heart having been enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, And what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the operation of the might of His strength, Ephesians 1:17-19

We will “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” [2 Peter 3:18], and this revelation will be excellent to us [Philippians 3:8].
With the light, there is the revelation concerning God

 
Revelation Concerning Man
In addition to the revelation concerning God, there is the revelation concerning man, concerning our self.

The mystery of self was revealed by the light as it shone upon me from the word of the only One who knows what is in man. – Ray Stedman, “God is Light”



 Walking in the light means that we are willing to be known for who we really are (warts, sin, and all). It doesn’t mean we have perfected morality, just that we have stopped hiding. – Ben Sternke

In the light, there is no hiding. The true condition of our heart will be revealed to us time and time again. Our disingenuous and selfish heart will be exposed. However, the revelation is not grounded in condemnation…

“There is now then no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” Romans 8:1

…but in love. There is healing in this light. There is His transformative work in this light. There is His love in this light. As we encounter this light, we enter into God’s work in us today and are shaped and formed into the expression of Christ’s life.

 
The Result of Walking in the Light
Lastly, something issues from our walking in the light. We become the expression of God’s light.

“You are the light of the world..”  Matthew 5:14 
 “…shines as luminaries in the world” Philippians 2:15 

We become shining ones, shining into the entire world. However, this light is not of ourselves; it is not something we can generate. It is not something that can be done via emulation. It is purely a reflection of the light of God.

“But we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of God” 2 Corinthians 3:18

This is a part of our Christian story. The God who is full of light, who is the very definition of light, is working to make us shining people dispelling the darkness in this world to bring life and light to all people. As we live in this way, we become a testimony of the life of Christ in us to those around us, and we bring encouragement and building up to the Body of Christ.
May God bring us all into the experience of walking in His light. May this light permeate all aspects of our lives shaping us and conforming us to the image of the Firstborn Son. #PTL !

Christ is the Light 

As human beings living on this earth, we have all had to eventually confront the deeper questions of life. What are we doing here? What is this life all about? Why are these questions at the core of every human being’s thought? The Bible reveals that man is sitting in darkness.

“The people sitting in darkness have seen a great light..” Matthew 4:16

This darkness refers to sin no doubt but further touches on a state of being. Being in darkness indicates that there is a lack of seeing and understanding; it portrays a quality of befuddlement. Just like being in a dark room prevents you from seeing the objects present in the room, we as humans born in this darkness are unable to adequately describe the purpose of our human life. But praise God, He has come as the light!

“..I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall by no means walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” John 8:12

But the purpose of God’s entering into human hearts is that we might see reality. Light reveals, and so does God. The enigmas of life will gradually unfold, the great mysteries will become clear, illusions will be seen for what they are, deceiving phantasmata that disappear as the light shines upon them. – Ray Stedman, “God is light”

Further, when we truly see the light, we are transferred from the authority of Satan to the authority and headship of Christ.

“To open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan to God…” Acts 26:18 

As followers of Christ, we have had our blurred vision sharpened to see and answer the fundamental questions of our existence. We have been delivered out of darkness and have entered into the light. Further, we have been brought into the kingdom of God and into an eternal hope. This is indeed glorious! 

However, the purpose and implication of the light goes beyond just our finding the purpose of our life objectively and our salvation from eternal perdition. We are called to walk in this light.

 

Walking in the Light

“House of Jacob, come and let us walk in the light of Jehovah” Isaiah 2:5

“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin. 1 John 1:7 

What does it mean to walk in the light? I grew up with the impression that walking in the light meant to have good behavior and walking in darkness meant to have bad behavior. This concept is at best incomplete. Walking in the light is not a call to modify our behavior outwardly but a change in our “location” inwardly. We are to walk IN the light.

Light is the presence of God. If we would be in light, we must turn to Him from within. Then His presence will become the shining light. In this way Christ becomes the portion of the saints in a practical way. – Witness Lee, “Life Study of Colossians”

Walking in the light means to walk in the presence of God each day. It is to be immersed in a realm of light that turns our hearts to Him moment by moment. This type of living will direct our behavior in ways that outward regulation could never do. Practically, walking in the light manifests itself through our constant prayers to God, our quiet times with Him in His Word, and our genuine fellowship in His Body. It spawns from our sincere desire to know and seek Him. 

 

The Effect of Walking in the Light

Revelation Concerning God

As we walk and live in this way, we will find the eyes of our hearts enlightened concerning Him. Our experiences will fall in line with Paul’s prayer in Ephesians.

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Him, The eyes of your heart having been enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, And what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the operation of the might of His strength, Ephesians 1:17-19

We will “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” [2 Peter 3:18], and this revelation will be excellent to us [Philippians 3:8].

With the light, there is the revelation concerning God

 

Revelation Concerning Man

In addition to the revelation concerning God, there is the revelation concerning man, concerning our self.

The mystery of self was revealed by the light as it shone upon me from the word of the only One who knows what is in man. – Ray Stedman, “God is Light”

 Walking in the light means that we are willing to be known for who we really are (warts, sin, and all). It doesn’t mean we have perfected morality, just that we have stopped hiding. – Ben Sternke

In the light, there is no hiding. The true condition of our heart will be revealed to us time and time again. Our disingenuous and selfish heart will be exposed. However, the revelation is not grounded in condemnation…

“There is now then no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” Romans 8:1

…but in love. There is healing in this light. There is His transformative work in this light. There is His love in this light. As we encounter this light, we enter into God’s work in us today and are shaped and formed into the expression of Christ’s life.

 

The Result of Walking in the Light

Lastly, something issues from our walking in the light. We become the expression of God’s light.

“You are the light of the world..”  Matthew 5:14 

 “…shines as luminaries in the world” Philippians 2:15 

We become shining ones, shining into the entire world. However, this light is not of ourselves; it is not something we can generate. It is not something that can be done via emulation. It is purely a reflection of the light of God.

“But we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of God” 2 Corinthians 3:18

This is a part of our Christian story. The God who is full of light, who is the very definition of light, is working to make us shining people dispelling the darkness in this world to bring life and light to all people. As we live in this way, we become a testimony of the life of Christ in us to those around us, and we bring encouragement and building up to the Body of Christ.

May God bring us all into the experience of walking in His light. May this light permeate all aspects of our lives shaping us and conforming us to the image of the Firstborn Son. #PTL !

July 3rd
9:18 AM
"We love because He first loved us."
—  1 John 4:19
June 2nd
9:57 AM
"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen."
—  Galatians 6:18
May 6th
9:51 AM
"And the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."
—  2 Corinthians 3:17
April 23rd
10:53 AM
"The more we study the words of grace, the more grace we shall derive from the words"
—  Charles Spurgeon
March 23rd
9:54 PM
What a sweet time with all the cool kids from the church in Conway! #PTL for the Body of Christ! @hanpas @spastor1 @jacobhobson @annaneedsinstagram #nashville

What a sweet time with all the cool kids from the church in Conway! #PTL for the Body of Christ! @hanpas @spastor1 @jacobhobson @annaneedsinstagram #nashville

December 3rd
10:12 AM
"God does not give us things but the Person of Christ."
November 8th
9:01 AM

Handling the Word of God

image

The Word of God, the Bible, is an essential component in every believer’s life. Matthew 4:4 says “..Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out through the mouth of God”. The Word of God is necessary for our sustenance in the same way that food is necessary for our life.

“Bread is a second cause; the LORD Himself is the first source of our sustenance.” 
― Charles H. Spurgeon

This may be old news to many of us; however, often times I feel that we as Christians are somewhat unsure of how to really approach the Word of God.

 

Rightly Handling the Word of God

 2 Timothy 2:15 says

"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

This verse indicates that there is a proper way to handle the word of truth. Psalm 1 gives an example of one who is taking in the Word of God in the proper way.

"1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3

This blessed one is yielding fruit (John 15:5) and experiencing newness of life (Romans 6:4). He is sturdy and useful in God’s hands.

Likewise, there also are improper ways to approach the Word. John 5:39-40 shows an example of the Jewish religionists who searched the Scriptures but could not find the One concerning whom they testified.

"39 You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life, and it is these that testify concerning Me. 40 Yet you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life." John 5:39-40

These people were reading the Scriptures, but they regrettably missed Jesus. The lesson to learn here is that the proper handling of the Word is of utmost importance. We as seeking Christians mustn’t be loose in our consideration of what the Bible is to us. The Bible contains many profound truths and principles that can be applied to our lives, but it is much more than that. The Bible is described as spirit and life (Matthew 4:4), the breath of God (2 Timothy 3:16), and even mysteriously God Himself (John 1:1-2).

Witness Lee describes reading the Word as a means to contact God

"If we would contact the Lord in our spirit as we read the Bible, the Word will become spirit and life to us. In our spiritual experience, it will be God’s breath. Whenever we read the Word, we need to touch the source of the word, and this source is God Himself." ― Life-Study of Exodus; Witness Lee

 George Mueller notes that the Spirit and the Word must be inseparable.

“The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.” ― Answers To Prayer; George Mueller

These quotes highlight the fact that the Bible is much more than black and white words on paper that convey facts and principles; the Bible is a book that imparts life. Its goal is to supply spiritual nourishment to every believer for growth and fruit bearing. We as believers must tap into this spiritual component of the Word in our handling of the Scriptures. What does this really look like?

 

Following the Pattern in Psalm 119

We can learn a lot from reading Psalm 119, which documents one’s complete experience of the Word of God. 

"Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with all their heart.” Psalm 119:2 

"Turn to me, and be gracious to me, As is Your custom with those who love your name.” Psalm 119:132

The psalmist comes to the Word with a seeking heart and a loving heart. This is altogether different than the Jewish religionists mentioned earlier. They were adamant in their following of the law, but their pursuit was devoid of God. To them, the written law was their focus, rather than the God that was present in them. We see from this that our approach to the Word really depends on the condition of our heart. Our reading of the Scriptures must be grounded in our pursuit of God Himself.

The psalmist in this chapter gives us an example of one who is reading the Word with a loving and seeking heart.

"Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.” Psalm 119:66 

The psalmist believed the Word of God; he believed in its genuineness, its authority, and its power.

"I have chosen the way of the truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.” Psalm 119:30 

The psalmist made a conscious decision to choose the Word, to choose the way of the truth.

"Your word is very pure, and Your servant loves it.” Psalm 119:140

The psalmist loves the Word of God. Loving the Word is mentioned eleven times in this psalm.

"I will take delight in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.” Psalm 119:16 

The Word of God brought delight and joy to the psalmist.

"How sweet are Thy words unto my taste! Yea sweeter than honey to my mouth.” Psalm 119:103

The psalmist tasted and experienced the Word of God (1 Peter 2:3). This signifies something subjective, something within the realm of spiritual experience.

"I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies.” Psalm 119:14

The psalmist rejoiced in the Word. Rejoicing connotes more than just being in a state of joy but even verbally praising God.

"Thy statues have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.” Psalm 119:54

The psalmist sang of God’s Word.

"My hands also will I lift up unto Thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will muse upon Thy statutes.” Psalm 119:48 

The psalmist mused and meditated on the Word of God by spending time in prayer and fellowship with God. This is to dig into the Word of God and discover the depths of the spiritual truths.

May we be encouraged by the rich and vast experiences of this psalmist. May we come to His Word daily with a loving and seeking heart. If we would consistently come to the Word in this way, we will be like those blessed people, planted and rooted by rivers of living water.

September 17th
10:06 AM

We have this treasure in earthen vessels

image

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God and not out of us” 2 Corinthians 4:7

This verse has been a favorite of mine for a while. It is simple, yet profound. It is simple because it presents a straightforward illustration regarding the fundamental elements that exist in our Christian life. It is profound because upon our consideration of being earthen vessels filled with a treasure, we are brought into God’s true design and can live the Christian life as He intends for us to live it.

 

We are Vessels Designed to Contain the Treasure

As human beings, we are described as earthen vessels/jars of clay in the Bible.

“… Indeed, as the clay is in the hand of the potter, so you are in My hand, O house of Israel” Jeremiah 18:6

“… he will be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, useful to the master, prepared for every good work” 2 Tim 2:21

This indicates that by design, human beings were meant to contain something. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God “has put eternity in their hearts”. The amplified Bible describes this eternity as

 “A divinely implanted sense of a purpose working throughout the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy”.

This implanted eternity further supports the notion that we are vessels. Within us is an aspiration for something eternal, a deep longing for purpose and satisfaction. This longing can be thought of as an empty vessel. It is when the vessel is filled that it experiences fulfillment and satisfaction. On the earth, billions of people are in this condition, a condition of seeking fulfillment and satisfaction. The things of this world can satisfy us to an extent; however, this satisfaction is temporary and fleeting. Temporal things can never satisfy the eternal longing. We were designed to be filled with the eternal One, that is the Triune God, who can ultimately satisfy man to the fullest extent.

As Christians, we have received God into our vessel! Hallelujah! It is a wondrous fact.

This treasure is in us a well of water springing up into eternal life [John 4:14]. It is an abundant, rich, and bountiful supply. Herein lies the secret of our Christian life. The treasure within us issues into a power that is of God and not of us. This divine power is one that differentiates a Christian from a non-Christian and results in a life that transcends. The details of this life are described in the following verses.

"We are pressed on every side but not constricted" - 2 Corinthians 4:8a

"Persecuted but not abandoned; cast down but not destroyed;" - 2 Corinthians 4:9

These overcoming qualities are not attributed to the virtues of our humanity, rather it is the product of the power of God operating in Paul. Strikingly, these extraordinary responses are described further as the manifestation of the life of Jesus in our bodies [2 Corinthians 4:10]. This is how God designed the Christian life. It is to allow the treasure to take root in our hearts and transform and conform us to the image of the Firstborn Son. Giving heed to this treasure in our vessels impacts all facets of our life. It fills our spirit and influences all the parts of our soul: our mind, emotion, and will. A living that intimately involves this treasure will cause Christ to be magnified in our bodies [Philippians 1:20].

 

Living the Christian Life According to God’s Design

As we muse upon this passage, we may clearly see this illustration of our condition as vessels with a treasure; however, practically we may not be clear on how to live in this manner. In my experience, it is easy to have zeal for proper Christian living. It is easy to try to display genuine love, to exercise my own patience to handle circumstances, and force myself to manufacture joy; however, our own love, patience, and joy is regrettably limited. Often times, we have the tendency to try to present ourselves as “holier” than we actually are by polishing, painting, and “beautifying” our vessel. We seem like we are shining outwardly, but inwardly we are empty. In fact, this was how Jesus described the Pharisees, as whitewashed tombs [Matthew 23:27]. We are trying, even with good intention, to be good and useful in God’s hands; however, we are not taking the way of God’s design. 

God’s design begins with our acknowledgement that we are earthen vessels or jars of clay. This descriptor, earthen, is noteworthy, and we must be constantly reminded of this. Being earthen or made of clay signifies that we are lowly and our constituents are not of much worth. This does not mean that we have no value, but rather what is generated by us is insufficient to fulfill God’s demands.

“For all of us became like him who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away” Isaiah 64:6

An earthen vessel is not very glorious; however, when the treasure is being manifested from it, it becomes of great value. It becomes useful. Even, it becomes fragrant.

“For we are a fragrance of Christ to God…” 2 Corinthians 2:15a

The glory is His, not ours. Following God’s design and allowing our living and works to be a product of the treasure in us is not an easy, quick endeavor; it is a day by day process. If we would daily take this way of seeking, beholding, and conversing with God through His Word, prayer, and genuine fellowship in His Body, we will find that His qualities: His love, His care, His life, will begin to be manifested in our life.

As we consider 2 Corinthians 4:7, we see what we as Christians are. We are simply lowly vessels, but we have this treasure in us that allows us to live a life beyond the normal human capacity. We are able to express the life of Christ, an overcoming and transcending life. This is God’s design. In order to experience this, we must set ourselves aside and give heed to this treasure within us. Chris Poblete sums this up nicely.

So then, the believer holds within himself (as an earthen vessel) an exceedingly valuable treasure. And he is given this treasure that the transcendent, extraordinary excellency of the power would be recognized of God and not of us. The dynamic, animating force that is to develop, drive, and produce a Christian life is to come from the contents of the vessel, not the vessel itself. - “Earthen Vessels with Heavenly Treasure” by Chris Poblete 

Praise the Lord for this design! May we all see that the source and supply of our Christian life lies in this treasure that is dwelling within us.