An experience allows us to subdue and have dominion.
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
(Note: this lesson is related to #125; please read prior lesson if necessary)
Theory joined to experience produces good works. It is necessary to have the Word by theory (head) and by experience (heart). Theory is head knowledge which can evolve into heart wisdom through experience. When a joining takes place between the head and the heart, no conversation is able to persuade the believer that the truth is not real and alive. There is no conversation; the heart becomes unswervingly convinced that the truth it has experienced is an immutable anvil of iron, solid and unchanging. When hearing the truth in theory form, the mind understands and acknowledges the power and light that accompanies it. The mind sets the table, so to speak, for the heart to make that truth its own. Truth shared with the mind does not make it the possession of the heart---initially. Even though experience always follows theory, it is the choice of the heart to be converted and conformed by the stamping, impressing glory of the Word, thus, making that Word part of the heart. The Word is not ours until it is allowed to affect the nature of the old heart. When the Word causes a permanent impression upon the heart, this experience cannot be challenged; there is no conversation! The believer holds the key that unlocks experience. Faith in the effectual ability of the Word, and a choice to let it do its work causes change. All too often we thwart the operation of the Spirit and negate the attempts by the Son of God to mold and reshape the heart. Our choices have eternal consequences, sometimes even to the point that we reject with the heart what we say we believe with the mind. We must believe and have faith (spiritual eyesight) in the workings of the Son of God and the Holy Spirit! If we are to subdue and have dominion, we must have an experience!
Please read Luke 22:31-32. For almost 4 years Simon Peter was a diciple of Jesus, daily exposed to heavenly theories spoken by the LORD Himself. He felt the power and the glory of the Light as it was expressed by God in Flesh. Nearing the end of His ministry, at the Passover Supper, Jesus speaks to Simon Peter a very personal message. Notice that the LORD did NOT pray that Satan NOT sift Peter. Jesus knew that the sifting was necessary. So, in this verse, we discover the "ministry" of Satan: to sift the saints! Sift means to be passed through a sieve, to be separated from the coarser particles and let the finer particles pass through. In other words, Satan is allowed to sift the saints so the reality of the Word received in theory can be made manifest through an experience. In the sifting process the serpent comes to engage the believer in a conversation..."Hath God said?" By having a conversation we open ourselves to being persuaded against the theory we have just learned. The objective of Satan and the serpent is to "reason" with us and eventually cause us to make a choice of rejection against the truth. His objective is to pass us through a sieve so we do not experience the truth. Satan knows the power of theory joined to experience and sifts us to prevent this union from happening. It all starts with a conversation to get us distracted from having a powerful experience with the truth. In verse 32, Jesus prayed that the sifting take place and that Peter's faith fail not. So, we also see, through this verse, that it is faith (spiritual eyesight) that carries us through the sifting process to the successful conclusion of experiencing the truth. At the end of the verse, after sifting and exercising faith, conversion of the heart is the conclusion. This is so powerful! After conversion the believer can then strengthen the brethren! To say it differently, after theory has been joined to experience through the sifting process, we can have a positive impact, through our personal testimony, on other believers near and around us! Remember, Jesus did not pray that Satan not sift Peter...He prayed that Peter's faith be strong in the theory he had learned as a diciple to allow him to have an effect on those around him, and, evertually, the world. Upon this rock (Peter) I will build my church! Because of the faith of Peter and his experience with it, the world was turned upside down and multitudes have come to know Jesus. Who can we strengthen and have a positive impact upon through our personal testimony by having an experience? Having a conversation with the serpent allows the possibility to be persuaded to not have an experience. Who is being cheated out of a confession that Jesus Christ is LORD by not having faith in the truth?
Sometimes a battle starts with a conversation!
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
Recent events happening in this country are necessary so America and the world will accept the antichrist. We are not engaged in a natural battle. What happens on the natural plane is an indication of what is happening on the spiritual plane. We are engaged in a spiritual battle and the goal is for the entire world to accept and embrace antichrist. Fear, terror, and evil will abound as we draw near to the next great event on God's calendar: the Rapture or catching away of the LORD's Bride! It is the occupation of the Bride, so to speak, to praise the Headship of the Almighty Father as He chooses to judge this nation and the world. The Bride will praise His Name and Sovereign Headship for His Just Judgements! Everyone is looking for answers---why this, why that, what went wrong, what could we have done to prevent this? While looking for the answer the elephant in the room is ignored. The obvious answer is that this nation and the world has rejected the LORD and He, through His Great Love, is trying to reach out to us and bring us back to Him through Just Judgements. It is no time to be fearful or mad---just praise His Name! Just praise God from Whom all blessings flow! Don't be affected by recent events; His Judgements are Just and Right!
In Genesis 3:1, we read about a serpent. Because we are engaged in a spiritual battle, we can conclude that, in the garden, there was both a natural and spiritual serpent. Notice that the natural serpent was okay with being a conduit for the spiritual serpent. We have learned in prior lessons that the Tree of Knowledge was in the midst of the garden. The serpent went to the center of the Garden of Eden and climbed up into the Tree of Knowledge, giving himself an exalted position of authority over Adam male and female. The two were compelled to listen to the serpent because of his position over them. The Serpent simply started a conversation. A spiritual battle started because of a conversation. Having a conversation allows the enemy the opportunity to change and persuade minds. Some things you don't have to talk about; the mind is settled and there is no persuading or changing!
Please read Genesis 1:26-28. The two were created in the image and likeness of the LORD. In Genesis 2:7 they were given the breath of life (lives) or neshama. The breath (spirit) was given to maintain the image and likeness. They received image, likeness, and breath by gift; for what purpose? To subdue and have dominion over the earth and its creatures. The image, likeness, and breath was given to empower them to subdue and have dominion. Likewise, we are given the image, likeness, and breath of God to subdue and have dominion over our own earth and its corrupt "creatures". The new man and the baptism of the Holy Ghost is given to us by gift so we can subdue and rule over the old man. In order for Adam male and female to subdue and have dominion over the earth, they first needed God's image, likeness, and breath. After receiving these three components, they were to produce good works by dressing and keeping the garden, as well as eating from the Tree of Life. To produce good works of eating, dressing, and keeping (experience) they needed first the image, likeness, and breath (theory). When the serpent beguiled the two in the garden they were equipped with image, likeness, and breath and were ready to have an experience by eating, dressing, and keeping. The goal of the serpent was to prevent the two from having an experience by talking with them. The serpent did not want Adam male and female to connect theory to experience. When these two are connected there is no conversation that can persuade or convince otherwise. The image, likeness, and spirit is given by gift to aid the believer to cross over to the other side of the scales and produce good works by experiencing the theory. With theory and experience joined, the believer is given the power to subdue and have dominion over his or her earth. Theory and experience, together joined, produce good works. The serpent stopped the two in the garden from experiencing the theory. Consequently, they were not able to subdue and have dominion. They were banished from the Garden. Sometimes a battle starts with a conversation with the serpent. If he can talk to us, he knows he has a chance of changing and persuading our mind to sin. Often we are all too eager to converse with the serpent. The serpent does not engage us in conversation to be nice. His goal is to get us to relinguish our image, likeness, and breath so we are handicapped from having an experience with God. This, in turn, causes defeat to subdue and have dominion over the flesh (the old man). Finding it difficult to subdue and rule over a certain aspect of the old man? Is there a "creature" that has dominion? It could be that a conversation with the serpent is preventing victory.
What is "the unity of the faith"?
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
Please read Isaiah 9:6-7. Notice that verse 6 states, "that the government shall be upon his SHOULDER. . . ". Which shoulder? In Hebrew, the word for shoulder means divide, center of the neck. This depicts a pair of scales, as it were, with the center of the scales being the base of the neck and the arms of the scales going left and right. The "government" is the center of the scales with pleasure on one side and pain on the other. Government is a balance of pleasure and pain. In order to attain balance there must be equal measures of pleasure and pain. The LORD diligently attempts to balance His government in all of our lives; His desire is for us to fall in love with His Just Government whether given through pain or pleasure. The will of God is accomplished through two routes: first pleasure, secondly pain. When we do the will of God we give Him an experience and fill up His Cup of Delight. Repentance at the Cross fills His Cup of Delight which will, in turn, overflow in to the heart of the believer. True pleasure is the overflow of delight from the Father. If believer's please the Father, delight is reaped where it has been sowed.
The shadow and type of the LORD's government is at the Ark of the Covernant, the Head Realm of the Mosaic Tabernacle. Experiencing the pleasure and pain of the government of God means being in the Father's Realm. The LORD's desire is for the Bride to carry the government upon her shoulder; God wants the Bride to carry the ark (as it was done by Israel during their wilderness journey). If you look at a Tabernacle chart, you will see Judgments at the Head Realm. The Bride loves the government of the LORD, administered in either pain or pleasure. The word "Judgments" in the Hebrew is "mitsvah". These are judgments that are favorable or unfavorable. The Bride, carrying the Ark of God on her shoulder, praises His wonderful Judgments given in pleasure or pain. She will praise His Glorious Name with equal fervor for favorable or unfavorable events. The Bride loves His Just Judgments and His government, consequently, she praises Him for which ever way it is administered. She is in love with HIM! His Judgments are JUST AND RIGHTEOUS!
The line of sight of the cherubim on the Mercy Seat was directed inward and down. Each cherub focused on the center of the Mercy Seat, or the center of the scales of God's government of pleasure and pain (balance). The direction of their sight was concentrated on the unity of pain and pleasure of the government of God. What is unity? The balance of pleasure and pain.
Please read Ephesians 4:11-13. Verse 13 mentions "the unity of the faith". What is "the unity of the faith"? 1. We believe in God's Headship whether in pain or pleasure. 2. Pain or pleasure does not dictate whether or not I praise His Name. 3. Looking at the center, or the unity of pleasure and pain, like the cherubim on the Mercy Seat. 4. Everything is constant, it's all the same, it's all the NAME! The Bride is unaffected by outward events and circumstances. She carries the government on her shoulder which requires that she exalt Him in every-THING! When the Bride is sent out of the New City, whatever abode she visits, glorious praise to His Name will issue from her. She knows that pain and pleasure, both, fulfill and accomplish the will of God. She learned this during her sojourn on earth and carries this same realization into eternity. His will is done through both pain and pleasure!
Is it okay to fear?
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
Our lesson is about Jehoshaphat (Jphat), King of Judah. It will come mainly from 2 Chronicles 20 but, if you wish, please read chapters 18 and 19 to familiarize yourself with this righteous and good king. In chapter 18 Jphat goes to battle with Ahab. In 19, he returns from battle to Judah where he ignites a revival. The land is swept clean of various idols and there is a renewal of spirit in the people to serve God. Jphat cleaned up himself personally and his actions sparked a desire in the nation to do the same. He was good for himself and for Judah. On the heels of this national revival comes another war; this time with Moab, Ammon, and Mt. Seir. Please read 2 Chronicles 20:1. Seems like God would have given Jphat a respite and congratulated him for leading Judah through a revival but, such was not the case. Here comes another battle. He got the victory and was led into another battle. Victory, battle, victory, battle, etc. Spiritually, the same happens to us. We are in a military way; we fight battles! A battle is good---it allows us to walk in the light from the most recent victory! Seasons of blessing are followed by another war which allows us to experience the theory of the previous victory. Jphat's battle involved Moab, Ammon, and Mt. Seir. Please note that in order for these three nations to approach Judah's border, they had to move through Israel. Israel was so backslid it did not consider these heathen to be enemies. Moab and Ammon were the incestuous sons of Lot, Mt. Seir was Esau. Likewise, the Christian world does not consider some things enemies that we do. Lukewarmness has dulled their senses.
In the face of this impending battle, verse 3 says that Jphat feared and fasted. He did not ignore his fear. He acknowledged it and took it to the LORD. He used his fear to get closer to God. Fear will lead us to either redeem self or draw closer to God. Moab and Ammon are a spiritual picture to us of the desire to redeem self. Mt. Seir (Esau) is a picture of hatred. Instead of trying to redeem himself and Judah by his hatred, Jphat chose to use his fear as a vehicle to humiliate himself before God. An enemy is to get us to confess our weakness and His strength. Furthermore, in verses 6-13, Jphat recites a beautiful prayer where he remembers who God is and rehearses what He has already done for him and Judah. Feeling fearful? Afraid of current worldly events? Start rehearsing what the LORD has already done and how faithful He has been to get you this far! He hasn't brought us this far to not finish the work! Confess Who He is and what He's already done! Recognize and identify that we, as unlearned human beings, can not redeem ourselves. He will start AND finish the work. In verse 15, we read that the LORD said to not be afraid. In other words, they brought their fear to God and His response was to tell them to not be afraid. They used their fear to get closer to the LORD and not redeem themselves. In verse 17, His response to this action was they didn't need to fight. If we refrain from redeeming ourselves and take our fear to God, He will fight our battles for us! The battle is the feeling of us trying to redeem self. Stand, believe, sing, and praise against trying to figure it out and come up with an alternate plan. We have the urge to go out and imitate God. We have no business trying to redeem something that is reserved for God's intervention only.
Salvation comes from the LORD ONLY! Deliverance comes when we remember Who He is and rehearse what He has already done. Deliverance comes when we believe!
How do I have gratitude for others and myself?
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
Please read 1 Corinthians 10:16-17. In verse 17, the Apostle Paul speaks of the blessing of unity which brings many individuals into one body through the precious blood and bread of the LORD. Notice this unity is not experienced through natural things or events. This unity is not a product of a form. Unity between the brotherhood has its roots in the spiritual realm.
Please read Numbers 6:22-27. In the book of Exodus we are given the blueprint of the Mosaic Tabernacle. Leviticus gives us the laws that govern the sacrifices. Furthermore, the book of Numbers explains, in detail, ordinances governing the camp of Israel. The Tabernacle was laid out in the form of a cross; 3 tribes were assigned a point of the cross, totaling 12 tribes. Three tribes camped on the east, 3 tribes camped on the west, and so on around the north and south. Moses received a "hebrew blessing" from the LORD which was to be spoken over the entire nation. As this blessing was spoken, the breath of the LORD would encircle the nation and cause unity among the tribes. The Name made the camp one. With the Name encircling Israel, the LORD's face would shine and generate gratitude for others and self. The breath and Name of LORD generates gratitude; gratitude was a sign that the Name had encircled the camp. Likewise, when we have gratitude for the LORD, others, and self, it should be a sign to us that His breath of blessing has encircled our heart. Unity is not manufactured from carnal forms and exercises. This program, that program, another meeting, coming together for a carnal purpose does not stimulate the presence of the LORD's unity. Sweet unity among the brotherhood is spiritual; emanating from the pleasure of the LORD's Name, gratitude for others and for self. Conversely, ingratitude causes us to alienate the brotherhood and self.
Leviathan, our arch enemy, has stolen the principles of God, perverted them, and uses them for his own purpose. He has successfully stolen parts of the "hebrew blessing" and breathed his own foul breath of disunity on them to cause ingratitude for others and self. He generates a form of unity by the emotion of ingratitude. Through scorn, ingratitude, and blasphemy he causes a corrupt unity which joins the armies of Leviathan together in a common purpose. Remember Pilate and Herod were joined together in a corrupt unity against Jesus Christ when beforehand they despised one another. They shared an equal amount of ingratitude for Jesus causing them to unify and kill the Son of God.
Our Heavenly Father, after He introduced His Beloved Son and commanded Him to create all things, retreated with gratitude into the unknown. We have the opportunity to fellowship the Father when we do likewise. Being unknown offers us the chance to fall back into the realm of the Father and experience His gratitude for others (the Son of God). Being grateful for not being known is a precious treasure; that's where the Father is.
Ingratitude for others and self breaks the unity of the Name. Please read Ephesians 4:11-16. Unity is spiritual, as well as gratitude. Ingratitude draws us to the wrong crowd who have corrupt motives that tear down, disunify, and destroy. The blessing of God is demonstrated by our love and acceptance of people; loving them for just who they are. Gratitude allows us to enjoy the presence of others, believer or non-believer. Additionally, we have gratitude for ourself---just the way we are! How many times have we looked in the mirror and voiced our displeasure at what we see? If only this, if only that, if only I was taller, if only I didn't have grey hair, etc, etc, etc! The LORD's breath and blessing allows us to look in the mirror and say, "Praise God! Thank you, LORD"! Having gratitude for others and self is a sign that the LORD's blessing has encircled us and His face is shining on us!