kingdom

Life By Faith

Heb 11:1 Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

 Faith is a living thing. You can let it live in you or let it die. The way we live, the lifestyle that we practice gives breath to faith. Most of us are able to practice the first part of Heb 11:1 and all of us struggle with the second part. The first part is being sure about our hope, our dream, our desire, our expectation and our wish. Every one of us carries a ray of hope in us even if it were quite thin. Hope is a powerful indestructible weapon. That is why people (refugees and migrants) risk their lives crossing deadly seas in dangerous conditions. A small dream, a likely wish, an ambitious expectation or a necessary desire, can awaken the sleeping beast of hope within us and charge us to almost an eruptive state to stretch us to an unknown future that does not promise a good or a bad prospect.

 The second part of Heb 11:1 is about being certain, being sure, questionlessly convinced and having an undisturbed confidence as if we have tested it and have proved it real. The toughest part here is being certain of what we do not see, meaning, we have not seen it or tested it; we cannot prove it real. It is as if to say that there is a reality, of which, as of now I cannot show you any material evidence. The reality remains immaterial as long as I live by my physical senses, what my eyes can see, my nose can smell, my emotions can feel or my brain can understand.

 The nature of life by faith can be compared to the nature of walking on water. It is saying no to the substance of unbelief, which wants us to act only on what we can see, touch, smell and bunker in the bank. Many Christian believers have succumbed to the promises of Mammon, and have ended up not in God’s Promised Land, but somewhere where we never imagined we could end up, sitting with mammon in a very hot whirlpool for far too long. Mammon says, “Make deals, sign contracts, have insurances, job security, make double sure to seek first a firm employment and all its benefits, and then you can – in your spare time or after retirement – do something for the Kingdom of God.”

 Life by faith is to know, either God’s promises are true, or we drown. Even if it sometimes takes a long time – thanks Abraham and Sarah for living the example – God’s promises will come true. If not, we have died waiting for them, which is far better than dying without a thin ray of hope. Faith comes from hearing the word of Christ, not from hearing our own desires and dreams.

 Abraham was told to go to “the land I will show you”, not very clear or specific. And he set off. He lived in tents looking for the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. He heard God say, “go to the land I will show you” and he simply trusted God to be the city planner.

 According to the promise of God, Abraham’s wife Sarah, past the age of child bearing, bore him a son, Isaac. Abraham loved him. Some years later, God told him to sacrifice his only promised son. I cannot imagine the reactions of Abraham’s physical senses, his emotions, feelings, thousands of questions that raced his mind, and his own dreams and desires of his son growing into a young man. Early next morning Abraham left, he did not ask any questions. He only had answers.

 “Where is the lamb for the sacrifice, dad?”

“God will provide, my son”.

 Abraham stopped using his physical senses to perceive God. He understood that there is no material way of seeing the reality of the immaterial.

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Should Christians Be Circumcised? Part 3

“I am God almighty, walk before me and be blameless.” To walk before God means to walk before no other, to stand before God means I cannot stand before any other. To serve God means to serve Him alone and not expect the applause, acceptance, appreciation and approval of man. This decision is the blade that cuts us from following the patterns of this world. If we still were part of this world we would be worrying about such things and would be doing our best to please man – and miss God.

When a baby leaves the 9 months of comfort, safety, provision and care and enters into the real world what happens first? The cord is cut around off the placenta; the very cord that gave life for those 9 months of growth. Why would any doctor with a sound mind do that? Does he not know that this is the life giving cord? Yes, he knows that and in fact he knows that this very cord of life will become the cord of death if not cut. The very thing that sustains life to a baby will be the very thing killing it once it is out of the womb.

Picture a grown man with his umbilical cord still attached to his mother to sustain his life. Isn’t it awkward? And yet the Church exhibits that picture! The household of God cannot let go of the “onions and the garlic”. Nu 11:5-6 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna! We want the Kingdom, but we can’t let go of the world and the protection and security that it gives. Seek ye first a secured employment, a financial security, safe neighborhood, cool friends, and then if you have some energy left, debate and argue your own opinions about the Kingdom of God and block it from expanding, if possible. This is how we have understood Mt.6:33! The world in us that we so strongly rely upon to give us security, comfort, safety and identity is the very thing that strangles and suffocates the life that God wants us to have. This is surely putting confidence in the flesh and not learning to live by the Spirit. We live by calculation – not by faith. Phil 3:3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh. The household of God is not there yet, but behaves as if it is.

Many of us want to experience the resurrection but are unwilling to pay the price of suffering and death. There is no resurrection without death. There is no born again life unless we are dead to our self-driven and self-fulfilling lives. Col 3:1-3 set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God”. Only the dead can be hidden not those who still breath. No one wants to be dead; it is the most unnatural thing to want to be cut off from the land of the living and hidden. But it is the way of the cross, the way of being circumcised with the circumcision done by Christ. Christ is the place to live in, to be rooted, built up and strengthened.

We live in human traditions, and basic principles of the world, following its ways and affairs, believing it to sustain our lives. If we not cut away from this, the very sustenance will suffocate us from living a life that calls to walk before God and no other; to serve God and not please man. “I am God Almighty, walk before me and be blameless”.

Click here to go to Part 1

Should Christians Be Circumcised? Part 2

Phil 3:3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh… We are the circumcision? If we do not know what circumcision is, how will we ever understand that we are the circumcision? According to the covenant made by God with Abraham, the cutting of the foreskin of the penis is a symbolic performance of the act of circumcision. “Every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised” was God’s deal. Many Jewish people do this as a traditional ritual on the 8th day of the male child’s life.

Simply put, circum is a prefix that means ‘round about’ and cision has to do with cutting, from the word incision. Circumcision means to cut around, cut out or completely cut off without any attachment.

When God promised Abram about his descendents as numerous as the stars and as countless as the sand, he was 75 years old. He went through circumcision as a 99-year-old man and his son Ishmael as a 13-year-old teenager. What old man or a teenager wants to be circumcised? The point was to get rid off of that confidence in the flesh; to be completely cut out, with nothing attached to. Circumcision is an unpleasant thing, it is bloody, painful and it is public. It is humiliating and it is shameful.

 “We are the circumcision” requires a lifestyle that is willing to be publicly unpleasant, publicly bloody, publicly painful, humiliating and shameful. This is the only way that God empties us. We may not be 99 yet, but when we allow God happen to us, we may feel like one. It is the way of the cross, the baptism of fire; it is the dying to Self. It is the circumcision done by Christ. It is not about you at all, Abram; it’s all about me. It is not about your ability, not your gifts and talents, your image, your identity, your brain, the good things that you cherish, it’s not about you, it’s all about me. Get rid off of that confidence in your flesh.

Without this detachment, we will never be able to live with Christ, because we have not died to the uncrucified desires and lusts of our Self. We will continue to do “dead works”– works done motivated by flesh, the way the world thinks and works, which is the very first thing newborn followers of Christ need to repent of.  As a result, we end up fleshly – people who do what we know we should not be doing, and not doing what we know we should. Torn, limping on both legs, lukewarm – an abomination to Jesus and others around us. Heb 6:1 Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God.

 “My Kingdom is not of this world” says Jesus. “My Kingdom is from another place”.

And yet how much world we try to bring into the Kingdom of God! How difficult it is for us to be circumcised and live detached from the world and its ways!

He prayed this for his disciples while he was still on this earth:

I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world

I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me;

for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.

They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.

but they are still in the world, Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name

Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory

Jesus was praying on the act of cutting away from the world and its pattern, its standards, its affairs, its wisdom, ways and principles, everything that gives us confidence in our flesh; things in this world that give us security, identity and safety. If we cannot permit public humiliation and shame, public bloodshed and pain and unpleasantness happen to us, then we cannot see His glory.

Are we circumcised yet? Are we cut out of the world? Are we cut around completely off the flesh? Are there still some things attached? Are we still dancing religion in a holy masquerade? Let Jesus publicly put us to shame, humiliation, pain and blood. It is unpleasant but it is necessary to empty us.

Col 2:11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ.

To be continued.

Should Christians Be Circumcised? Part 1

Col 2:11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ.

We sing about this, preach about this, do Bible studies on this and graduate in our exams. What does it really mean to be circumcised in Jesus with the circumcision done by Christ? Circumcision is a covenant made to Abraham by God when he was 99 years old. You can read the origin of circumcision in Gen 17:1-14

What was the covenant all about? The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I am God Almighty, walk before me and be blameless.”  To walk before God, to stand before him and to serve such a God is not easy. All our human frailties, weaknesses, failings and indecision are stripped naked in front of Him. There is nothing to boast about one’s Self. No flesh can stand such a presence. There is nothing left in us to glory before such a being, “I am God Almighty”. It makes your feet to melt like wax and you of course fall face down – even faint or die.

What to make sense of the being – “God Almighty”?

I will confirm my covenant between me and you.

I will greatly increase your numbers.

I will make you very fruitful.

I will make nations of you.

I will make kings come from you.

I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant.

I will be your God.

I will be the God of your descendants after you.

I will give the whole land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you.

I will be their God.

The only sense to make out of this is: I WILL

I WILL MAKE YOU – AND IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU!

Today, there are many who say, “we are”, “we will”, “we do”, “we stand” “we make it happen” but few who walk before him. One of my favorite verses that often challenge me is Ge 5:24 Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away. This is what it means to walk before God and with God: you are “no more”! The call of God to the ultimate walk with him, in total perfection is the challenge that we need to decide about in our hearts. When we do this, He will do that because he has said, “I WILL” and it has nothing to do with “we will”. I will because I am God Almighty and you are not.

Paul could have boasted and rightly so about himself. He had all the true reasons to put confidence in his flesh but he knew the One with whom he walked. He was circumcised with the circumcision done by Christ. He was able to say: “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain”. “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me”. This is the 24/7 lifestyle of the circumcised.

Question still is: Are we circumcised with the circumcision done by Christ?

To be continued.

A Follow-up Response To “Our Dear America”

Dear friends,

Due to the many mails that are reaching us after we sent out the “Our Dear America” message after the US election 2012, we attach a follow-up letter that can serve to answer some of the most frequently asked questions and take the liberty to point into some directions and practical steps we might need to take!

Blessings to you,

Wolfgang and Mercy Simson,

Germany.

Please click here for The Follow-up Response

Our dear America – Where do you go from here?

Dear readers, for this post we don’t invite comments. But you may send an e-mail to the address in the pdf file attachment below. Thank you for your understanding.

…We sense that God is saying something important today about the amazing future of America from his Kingdom perspective.

In 2008, God has been challenged by a man standing up in public, preaching to the cheers of a huge crowd: “Yes we can!” We watched it; we saw the tears of excitement in the eyes of the people; the statements were received as if coming from the Messiah himself, and the electoral rallies had all the flavor of a religious revival. “Yes, we can” is the exact opposite of the King of kings saying: “Without me, you can do nothing!”

If God is the one who “deposes kings and raises up others” (Dan 2:21), does it really matter what are the names of the current puppets set in place by God that advance both the New World Order and the Kingdom of God?
Neither Herod, Pilate or Cesar were truly important for the development of the Kingdom. That is exactly why Kingdom people do not play in the Second League, but the First, the one that matters. The one that puts the Kingdom first, and everything else – including their own nation – second.

Read more here: Our dear America

If Jesus Would Go For A CAT Scan…

Last night our son was in the hospital to fix his badly dislocated finger after a break dance move that he tried with his friends. Before he would go to the hospital, some of his friends suggested that they could twist it back for him. But looking at the finger dangling in an awkward 90 degree angle, our son decided to go get professional help. The town’s Red Cross drove him to the hospital. The doctor made an X-ray to see exactly what went wrong where and how exactly to twist it back to its original place. Don’t worry, he is all fixed now and is doing fine again.

While waiting for his finger to be re-set, I was reminded about the body of Christ that, because of its phenomenal disobedience, is badly dislodged. How painful it must be for Jesus to live in that body without getting appropriate treatment. Imagine, for instance, those who are not apostles, self appoint themselves as apostles! This means an extremely painful dislocation in the body of Christ, a disfigurement and quite a pain to bear for Jesus. Many parts of Jesus’ body are dangling in all sorts of awkward angles for reasons that are ridiculous. The pride, jealousy, denominationalism, greed for money, power and control usually make Christians to behave – ridiculous!

Once upon a time, Israel sent out spies to Ai before going to war against them. The spies returned back saying with pride and self-confidence: “Piece of cake; we can fix Ai”. They went to war and the men of Ai routed them. The hearts of the Israelites melted and became like water. Then they turned to professional help from above. ‘Go’, said God to Joshua, ‘consecrate the people’. You cannot stand against your enemies when I stand against you. What had happened? Someone had violated a specific rule and had hidden stolen treasures in his tent. In other words, he had a skeleton in his closet, a hidden secret. And what was God’s way of dealing with this? He called for an X-ray. “Come forward before me, tribe by tribe, clan by clan, family by family, man by man, and I will scan you all through to see what is wrong here.” (Please read Joshua 7 for the full story).

I have often wondered why after so much fasting, prayer, thanksgiving, worship, strategic evaluating, planning, organizing and performing bible classes and seminars, small and big conferences, retreats, Sunday programs, Wednesday Bible studies, Thursday small group meetings and Friday street outreach, Christians still are routed by their enemies. The Body of Christ in its current disposition seems to live like a dislodged cripple at the work place, among friends and neighbors.

As parts of Jesus’ body, we dangle in awkward angles. First, we need to accept the fact that we are not all well. Secondly, we need to allow professional help. Put a stop to what we do and take time to consecrate. Allow God to do a thorough CAT scan. Remove our masks. Don’t pray that God will remove it, no! It’s our job, we need to remove our masks. We need to be honest and admit our failures, expose our weaknesses, and allow the Light to fix what we have hidden inside our tents. There is more at stake than our petty church programs, conferences and the usual false ministry reports to our money donors. Let the Light scan what is hidden within these ‘tents’ of ours. Allow the Truth to re-set our dislodged and dislocated condition back to their original position, and the body can function properly again to disciple the whole earth.

Ps 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

If God is sending your way a scanning machine, do not end your friendship with that ‘machine’. Say ‘no’ to your self-justification; admit your unrighteousness and take courage to face your real self. This is how God seeks to refit all of us so that the whole body can finally function properly again – and finish the job it was called to do.