(Source of material:  Rev. B.R. Hicks)

Please read 2Corinthians 5:17.  We are promised 3 benefits when we are IN Christ.  1.  We are a new creature.  2.  Old things pass away. 3.  All things become new.  If we are not IN Christ, at any given moment, we are OUT of Christ.  We are:  1.  The same old creature.  2.  Still wallowing in old things.  3.  Bored and indifferent in our spiritual life.  The Hebrew word for new is ke-dem.  Ke-dem has to do with God's Purposive Will and is an eternity of no-form.  When we are IN Christ, not only is there no room for old things, but we enjoy ke-dem formless energy that enables us to praise, thank, bless, and glorify His wonderful Name.  What are the old "things" that pass away while IN Christ?  The old thoughts, feelings and deeds.  The old forms pass away and new thoughts, feelings and deeds take their place.  New, ke-dem, formless, positive energy assists the body, soul and spirit in exclaiming thankful gratitude for things JUST THE WAY THEY ARE!!!  When something is new it did not exist before, it's a new form, a new shape. Old thoughts and feeling can be turned into something new!

We can tell when we are not IN Christ---we spew out our old forms (things).  We voice our disgruntlement, criticism and dislike.  We judge, pick, condemn and censure ourselves and others. At any given moment I can "BE" (present tense) IN Christ and have all these old forms pass away.

Please read Proverbs 8:22-31.  The Son of God, Wisdom, at the end of verse 31 said His delights (plural) were with the sons of men.  In the Hebrew language men is aw-dam.  All spirits and souls of men (aw-dam) were in the Son of God as He was being prepared by the Father to become Christ.  He was "truthed-up".  It wasn't until after the resurrection "that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36).  All mankind was in the Son as He was being truthed-up and He would share the delight of His Father with us.  This delight was passed on by Him sharing what He had learned from the Father.  Jesus declared Himself to be the beginning and the end.  In the beginning we were IN Christ, by gift, delighting in the Word of God in unity and love.  Now, in the end, the Lord wants us to be IN Christ by choice, experiencing the Word of God through the Cross.  Theory is joined to experience and we return to the unity, love and delight IN Him.  

How do we get IN Christ?  How did Jesus get inside us?  We asked.  To get IN Him we simply ask.  When we are surrounded by our old thoughts, feelings and deeds, we can ask to come inside Him and make us new.  God wants the same delight and love among us, as brethren, in the end, that we had in the beginning IN Him.  He will not reject us when we ask Him to be IN Christ.  The suffering was too great, too much blood was shed, the stakes are too high for Him to reject our request of being IN Him.  Frankly, being IN Him is why He went to the Cross.  He will not say, "No, let me think about it".  His purpose is to bring us all back to the Father, IN Him, as one. 

Please read 1Corinthians 13:4-7.  When we are IN Christ, this is how we should be treating Him and the brotherhood.  































                                                                                                   (Source of material:  Rev. B.R. Hicks)

Please read Matthew 4:1-3 and Luke 4:1:3.  These scriptures recount when Jesus was tempted of the devil after He was led into the wilderness by the Spirit.  In Matthew He is tempted to turn "stones" into bread, in Luke just one "stone".  Notice one is plural and the other singular.  The devil tempted Jesus to do a big thing with many stones, but He refused.  Subsequently, He is tempted to turn one stone into bread.  "It won't matter, just one stone won't make any difference, it's no big deal, nobody will ever know".  Jesus refused to give Himself any relief or pleasure in His circumstance in a large way or a small way.  He was hungry but would not intervene in His Fathers' Plan for Him by exercising His own Authority and Headship.  He had a desire to be fed but waited for the Father to satisfy His hunger.  He would not step out and provide His own pleasure.  We are tempted the same way as our Savior.  When the LORD has us in a dusty, parched wilderness of a situation, the devil is there to tempt us in providing our own little pleasure.  We are tempted to escape the pain and make things "better" by providing our own satisfaction.  If we cave under the pressure, we are cheating ourselves of the glory that comes when our sitation is terminated by the Father.  When He is well-pleased, He will step in and say, "Peace, be still!"

When our Wonderful Savior was dying on Calvary's Cross, He was mocked and jeered by the assembled crowd.  "He could save others but cannot save Himself---come down from the Cross and save yourself!"  In other words, pick up this stone and turn it into bread;  provide for yourself some relief and pleasure from your present circumstance.  If He had done so, He would have forfeited the glory that was poised to leap out from the temple.  At the sixth hour the temple veil was rent horizontally and glory rushed out to the horizontal bar of the Cross on Calvary's Hill.  Additionally, at the ninth hour the veil was rent again, vertically, and the glory joined to the vertical bar of the Cross.  He was immersed in glory as the old covenant passed away and the new was introduced to the world. A Roman Centurion exclaimed, "Surely this was the Son of God!"  Jesus is the fulfillment of the old covenant, the Precious Lamb of God given to the world for salvation from sin!  

If we WAIT in our crucifying situations, refusing the temptation to provide our own way of escape, the glory will arrive and surround us when the situation is complete.  "They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength..."  (Isaiah 40:31).









                                                                                   (Source of material:  Rev. B.R. Hicks) 

Please read Psalm 107.  This is a Psalm that expresses gratitude for 4 things.  Verses 1-8 give gratitude for redemption.  Verses 9-15 express gratitude for longing.  Additionally, verses 16-22 thank the LORD for being needy.  Lastly, verses 23-31 give gratitude for being a traveler.  Let's study a little about gratitude for longing.  

Please read Romans 7:15-25.  The intensely personal character of these verses seems to indicate that this was Paul's own experience as a believer.  He not only is explaining his own battle, but is also defining the same battle in the heart of all believer's.  This is his diagnosis of what happens when one tries to be sanctified by keeping the law.  Even though there is a longing within the regenerated human heart to be obedient to the LORD, the law (the flesh) has a strong opposite influence.  There is a disposition deep within a man's heart that produces acts of disobedience that are contrary to the longing to be like the LORD Jesus.  In verse 24, he exclaims that he is a wretched man whose body is experiencing a "living death".  The body, dominated by sin, much to the dismay of every believer, is a living death!  In verse 25 he thanks God for the turmoil of living in a body of death, at the same time having a longing to serve God in his mind.  

The LORD would like us to be grateful for the longing to be like Him.  As Paul stated, the inevitable result of making promises to God to serve Him "better" is failure.  Many times we determine, under our own headship and authority, to pray more, study more, fast more, attend church more, etc.  In our own flesh, we determine what is a "good" servant and what will satisfy Jesus.  Our own proud image is destined to come crashing to the floor because of the power of the flesh and its contrariness.  Failure is the speedy result when we strive in our flesh to be good.  When Israel was experiencing the exodus from Egyptian slavery, it was the cloud and fire, the Spirit, that got out in front and led the way.  In Romans 8:1-2, Paul declares the same principle:  "for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death".  It is the Spirit of life, the Holy Ghost, that will lead us out of the bondage of the flesh.  Our images of how to free ourselves from sin will not stand.  The Spirit does the work.  The LORD, after we fail miserably, simply asks us to be grateful for the longing to be free from the living death of the body of sin.  To have a desire and longing to be like Him is a street to a need of redemption. He will meet the need and convert the body of sin through the  leading of the Spirit and give us a GREATER longing to be like Him.  No flesh shall boast or triumph in His presence.  He does the work and asks us to simply be grateful for longing to be changed by the Spirit and be transformed into HIS image.  






                                                                                       (Source of material:  Rev. B.R. Hicks)

Please read Psalm 107.  This Psalm is divided into four parts, the first being verses 1-8.  This first segment has to do with gratitude for redemption.  When we lack thankful gratitude for the work of redemption and the high price that was required to provide it, we are on a backsliding path.  When the enslaved nation of Israel was in Egypt, the LORD had them slay a Lamb on the night of the first Passover.  They applied the Blood on the outside of their individual doors and went inside to eat of the lamb.  Their situation did not immediately change.  They were in the same house, it was still night, it was still dark, and death was all around them.  Plus, they were still in Egypt.  With the Blood outside as protection, Israel was to eat of the surrender and humility of the lamb, picturing their fellowship with the suffering of the Crucified Christ.  Their situation was the same---nothing had not yet changed. This shows us that the LORD wants us to accept our situations just the way they are.  They provide an opportunity to fellowship the humility and surrender of the Crucified Christ.  He wants us, in humility and surrender, to accept where we are: in the darkness of night, in the same house (as it were), still in slavery, with death all around.  Israel's situation, in the bondage of slavery, required the direct intervention of a lamb and its blood to provide redemption.  Slavery caused a need for the blood. Likewise, the LORD wants us to be grateful for our sitations because they cause a need for redemption and the Blood of a slain Lamb.

Please read Exodus 13:17-18.  The LORD did not lead Israel through the land of the Philistines, although it was near.  He lead them into the wilderness of the Red Sea---a place of solitary separation.  The wilderness is a place of dry barrenness or unrestrained growth.  He lead them to a barren place where there was no city and nobody around.  Where there is a need for redemption, the Blood will deliver and lead to a solitary, barren place of separation.  Here we cultivate the gratitude necessary for our situation---gratitude for things just the way they are because deliverance can be experienced through the Lamb, His surrender, and His Humility.  








                                                                                             (Source of material:  Rev. B.R. Hicks)

Please read Psalm 8:1-4.  The LORD is going to touch our works to determine the motive behind them.  Our works will be put through the fire.  Burned up works leave behind an unconverted will.  We must see how our will is joined to idols which are producing fleshly works.  He wants our will to be joined to Him exclusively which will produce works that will withstand the judgment fire.  When Jesus was dying in the Garden of Gethsemane, and it looked like He would not go to the Cross and save mankind, He laid down His will to the Father in humble submission.  He allowed the Father the option to change His mind because Jesus' will was in love with the Father---exclusively!  "Not my will but Thine be done"!

In verse 3, we see that the LORD uses His finger to shape light.  The moon and the stars emit light.  He used His finger to put a form to light and created the heavenly bodies.  There is power in the pointing of the finger.  He expects us to do the same thing in our daily situations.  Pointing to the light makes a form that will illuminate the darkness around us.  By praising His Name and confessing His justice and goodness, we are forming light which will make a luminary in our night sky.  We have been given power to point to the light!  Pointing is a gesture of contempt.  Unfortunately, we point in anger at people, places, and things.  Doing this creates negative images and we continue to walk in darkness.  Sometimes we point at our own faults and failures, as well as our past.  He wants us to point with our finger and form light!  Verse 1 says, "O LORD our lord".  Notice the psalmist didn't say, O LORD MY lord. God is OUR lord---He is the God of the brotherhood.  We need to stop pointing at people and start pointing at the LORD!  I can join my finger of light to His finger!

Please read Exodus 8:19.  The heathen, Egyptian magicians knew that God was pointing His finger at Pharoah.  The LORD was pointing at the problem; the reason why Israel was being held captive in grievous bondage:  Pharoah!  God points His finger at Pharoah (the old man) who is holding Israel (the new man) in slavery.  Pharoah holds prisoner.  The nature of sin is holding us captive!  The LORD wants "Pharoah" to set us free so we can go forth and worship.  God touches our carnal works so He can point to the problem: an unconverted will.  Works are connected to the the heart and will.  When He lops off the fruit, He can point to the cause of our problem.  He wants to set our will free from the controlling influence of Pharoah!  He points and says, "Let my people go that they may worship me"!

Please read Proverbs 7:1-3.  Here we see that the LORD wants us to bind the commandments upon our fingers.  Binding light to our fingers causes us to form positive images of His greatness and majesty, as well as His sovereign Authority and Headship.  With the commandments bound to my fingers, it is easy to confess Him as the Head over all things!