In 2016 me and my wife Dawn were over in San Francisco waiting for our first grandson to make an appearance. We decided to wait by visiting the Grand Canyon – what a place and what an experience! This was one of those times when the use of the word awesome was appropriate but inadequate!
This visit has helped me recently regarding a new discipline I am learning which I’ve called – ‘Echoes from the Psalms!’ The Canyon had some brilliant echo points and to my amazement so too do the Psalms! The difference between the Grand Canyon echoes and the echoes from the Psalms is this –
It is another voice that comes back to me through the Psalms and not my own.
That voice, through the Psalms, is the Father’s and it will resonate with where we are, how it is and how we might respond to the situation we are in! When we take this new ‘echo’ and through the discipline of meditation, implant it into our hearts, it will strengthen and empower us to persevere and overcome.
Here are the steps I have learnt and am applying about this wonderful truth and discipline –
- Bring the issue we are struggling with and honestly name it before God.
- Start to read the Psalms with an expectation of hearing His echo!
- Continue to read the Psalms until you hear His Echo!
- Take the verse or verses and read these again, in different versions.
- Keep reading until you see the word, image or thought, the Father is releasing to you!
- Repent of any thoughts that are contrary to what He is showing you.
- Then take this new thought and implant it into the soil of your heart which will produce the fruit contained within His echo!
- Every day and throughout the day say what His echo is saying!
Confessing is coming into agreement with what He has said. Faith also comes by hearing the Word of Christ. Roms 10:17
An often-used word throughout the Psalms is Selah.
Selah means to – ‘pause and calmly think about that, in His presence!’
There is nothing off limits to Him concerning our lives and He desires to empower every aspect of our life. My final thought about this Echo from the Psalms is taken from studying angel Gabriel’s words to Mary in Luke 1:37b –
For nothing is impossible with God.
The word nothing is actually made up of two words: no and thing. The word for thing is Rhema. Rhema is God’s now word which comes out of His said (logos) or written word.
Jack Taylor sums it up well –
“No, freshly spoken Word of God will ever come to you, that does not contain in itself the ability to perform itself.”
The Echo from the Father which is His now Word will have the power within itself, to perform and deliver what is being promised. All we have to do is implant it within our hearts. This implanting is vital because James 1:21 says – “it is the implanted word that is able to save us! “ The word able means –
“a word whose property it is to root itself like a seed in the heart.”
The power and capacity of His ‘seed Word’ needs the soil of our hearts. When His Word is in our hearts it is able to produce a thirty, sixty or hundredfold harvest. Mark 4:20
So, don’t let any issue boom around in your hearts and minds. Go to the Psalms, hear His echo, follow the above steps and begin to see the issues, your life and your contexts change.
1096 is the Strong’s number for the Greek word – power to become which is within the foundational verse of this blog –
“to all who received him, to those who believed in His name, He gave them power to become children of God.” Jn 1:12
He gave, is the language of bestowing a gift or privilege! Everyone may be a child of God, however, sonship or daughterhood are bestowed when we are born again or from above, by the Holy Spirit.
Bestowing happens in a moment, becoming takes a lifetime and then a few seconds! See 1 Cor 15:52. Bestowing and becoming involves the Father, The Son & The Holy Spirit. What the Father desires, His estranged sons and daughters to come home, The Son has secured and The Holy Spirit will apply.
In fact, the primary function of The Holy Spirit is to testify to our spirits that we are adopted sons and daughters, who are also heirs and co-heirs with The Father and The Son. Roms 8:15-17. The Spirit desires to reveal to us – who we are, whose we are and what we’ve been given.
This is the Biblical path of identity and becoming!
We are adopted sons and daughters, we belong to The Father, who views us as His prized possession, His workmanship, a good work in progress and a Persona Viator –
“a person on the way!”
We have been given full rights as sons and daughters which includes all sins forgiven and forgotten and the power, price and penalty of that sin decisively dealt with through Christ. We have The Spirit who is a down payment and a guarantee of daily empowerment and the anointing to be, live and speak for Christ. Below is a list of sixteen truths and present-day realities which is why they are written in the past tense, that are part of the full rights, every son and daughter has been given.
- Grafted in
Our being is in Christ, who has brought us back home to our Glorious Father. Eph 1:17 and the Father desires that the eyes of our heart be opened so we can know Him better and see and know the hope, the inheritance and the power that are ours by adoption. Eph 1:18-20. The Spirit’s core role in all of this is to help us to –
“become in experience what we already are by grace!”
Alec Moyter commentary on Philippians
This Spirit led and achieved process, of being and becoming, needs us to understand and undertake two lost spiritual disciplines – identification and appropriation.
When the Spirit does a work of grace within us, He leads us to see that Christ’s work on the cross and through the resurrection, was for us. He then leads us to repent of our declaration of independence, the core nature of sin and we return to the Father, deciding to make Jesus our Lord; all of this is identification.
Historically and sadly, much of recent church history has focused almost entirely on getting people to identify with the finished work of Christ. Although correct, it is incomplete because Jesus never came to ask people to pray prayers, or even invite Him into their hearts. He gave people the opportunity to become His disciple, to learn with and from Him and to follow His leadership for the rest of their lives.
In between the moment we identify with Christ’s work and the very moment we see Him face to face, our core concern is appropriation! This is the daily partnership with the Holy Spirit, so we become in our experience what we already are in Christ!
Moving from being in Him to becoming more and more like Him!
This post is not about taking the law into our own hands but at the heart of the dynamic of a vigilante is a sense that something has to change and someone should do something about it. Their frustration with the ruling authority’s inability or reluctance to act drives them to action. These thoughts are all contained within the 23rd verse of Proverbs 4 –
“Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts!” The Message
The ruling authority, God, is informing us that He is not going to do what only we can do – it’s ‘our heart!’
The short three-word sentence; keep vigilant watch, translates this way –
keep with more vigilance than you would use for anything else. Barnes commentary.
The NIV puts it this way – “above all else!”
The number one priority and discipline is to guard our heart as if it were the most valuable resource, commodity or treasure. The language of this verse seems over the top but actually, it is the language of a very concerned Father, who is seeking to help a beloved child, as they take their place in this world. Chapter four starts with this counsel – listen and pay attention to a father’s instruction. God as our Father, is trying to get us in the loop and see what’s vital and important, as we start out into adulthood – Guard your heart.
The last part of the verse – for that’s where life starts, carries the idea of the fountainhead or spring, i.e. the starting point of a river. Just as the spring of a river has its starting point deep within the ground, so too does the ‘downstream of our lives!’ The state and condition of the river are directly affected by the state and condition of the source, that is the spring. Making sure the spring was fenced off and protected from debris and dead animals would result in the downstream river quality being at its best. So, it is with the heart!
I have learnt, the hard way, that I cannot change me or my circumstances without first making the effort to go to the source and see if I have allowed anything in into my heart, that is directly affecting what it is I am seeking to change. This is vitally important because if I take new actions but still hold the same heart attitude, eventually my heart will win and my actions will wane and I will be discouraged.
Life, literally in the Hebrew, means boundaries and they are set within our heart and so, real transformations have to begin in the heart!
The context of verse 23 is from verse 20 to 25 and contains hints and warnings about how debris and death will try to get into the heart, so as to affect the downstream –
- Ears – Pay attention, to what it is our ears are listening closely to v 20
- Eyes – The words we continually focus on will get into our hearts
- His Words are life & health to our downstream life v 22
- Lips – put & keep far away perverse & corrupt speech v 24
God, as ruling authority, as our Father, is letting us into how He set up the system and informing us of our part. How vigilant we are, is our decision because love does not insist on its own way. However, love desires the best for us and as a father, He is not a passive observer regarding our life. Therefore, He will try to influence us for good and for change.
His influence centres around the event that lead to the ongoing discipline called self-discipline. The event is to show and reveal any perceptions, thoughts & attitudes that are in our heart. The saying is often true: the way we see the problem is the problem! Biblical transformation begins and only happens by the entire renewal of the mind. Roms 12:2.
After event number one comes to the ongoing process which will regularly lead to more of event number ones, and that is self-discipline or self-control. This is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit and He longs to help us through this ongoing event and process of transformation.
When the spring that’s producing our downstream is cleared of debris and death, the water and flow of our lives will run clearer.
It is a wonderful thing to be led back to the double take in the margins which was written in your own hand.
It’s one of the great joys of the Holy Spirit to double take us, get our attention and lead us into truth.
I know that when He is engaging me in this process I will experience more freedom and liberty in my soul, mind, emotions and then down stream into my life and contexts! I am learning to honour these moments with my full attention.
Pay attention is all the way through both the book of proverbs and my school days!
What did I write in the margin? Wow and appropriate.
These were in response to an amazingly succinct sentence written by Alec Motyer in his commentary on Philippians –
“As we become in experience what we already are by grace!”
As we become in experience is the language of appropriation and this is a lost spiritual discipline. This discipline empowers and enables us to become in our day to day what we are already, the day we reunited with His grace.
” yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name He gave the right to become children of God.” Jn 1:12 NIV
He gave the right are vital words to grasp in relation to the dynamic of appropriation.
The use of appropriate in our culture is predominately about taking what you have no permission or authority to take.
It’s not yours so you cannot take, use or appropriate it!
The Father gave permission and authority to ALL who received and believed His Son and His work, to make their own, ALL He has given us in Christ.
Who we are. What we been given. What we can do.
Identifying with His work is the beginning but not the end of our journey back to Father.
Making real to our experience and contexts, all He has done, given and commanded is!
And the shorthand for that is appropriation
We cannot be more connected, loved, empowered, resourced, protected and thought of because we are in Christ and seated at the right hand of Father.
We have the best seat in the house. This is hospitality beyond five star.
These and many more truths are a part of being in Christ and yet for many the reality of their day to day is anything but!
Every time I eat the appropriate nutrition, take in the appropriate hydration and lift the appropriate weights I appropriate to my body, life and world what is there but needs to become visible!
The Holy Spirit’s primary role after conferring on us the spirit of sonship (adoption) is to testify or witness to our spirits that we are children, heirs and co-heirs!
He double takes us, show us the truth that’s already been given and reveals to us the principles we need to work to make His finished work a reality in our day to day.
I call this my ‘road work!’ My punch the clock workouts!
The only work that made me worthy and deserving of His grace has been done. My ‘road work’ empowers me to become in experience what I already am by grace.
To make visible what is invisible at the moment!
To bring from His dimension into my dimension.
To use theological language justification is all gift. Sanctification is graft!