God’s Poem

Posted December 23, 2012 by sandres2k8
Categories: Identification

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Did you know that you were God’s poem?

Paul writes in Ephesians 2:10,

We are His workmanship (KJV).

We are His achievement (CLT).

We are God’s own handiwork (WNT).

F.B. Meyer, writing on this passage, says, “The word ‘workmanship’ in the Greek is ‘poem.’ We are God’s poems” (Back to Bethel, 1901).

Are you troubled and concerned about the direction of your life? You needn’t be. After all He is the Great Poet of your life. You are His beautiful poem; as Denis Durham has written in his wonderful song His Workmanship, “the years of your life form the stanzas, and the days form every line.”

It may at times seem as though this poem has no rhyme or reason; the divine lines can be painful, but He is directing all for your good (Romans 8:28) – all in His Own time, and in His Own way. You are His masterpiece of love. He is patiently shaping you; He is telling His story with your life.

Rest assured that you are like a building under construction, a painting yet wet and unfinished, a batter still being mixed, a tree that has yet to reach maturity, a tapestry still being woven. Await with patience the Master’s grand completion.

Being confident of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you, will perform it until the Day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).

No wonder Paul says,

Then do we with patience wait for it (Romans 8:25).

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.

“I”

Posted December 23, 2012 by sandres2k8
Categories: Identification

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Some might be surprised when we consider the frequency of Paul’s usage of the personal pronoun “I.” Depending on the English version consulted, Paul uses the word “I” nearly 800 or upwards of 1200 times; and he uses the personal pronoun “me” on nearly 200 or upwards of 300 occasions.

Christianity sometimes can convey the idea that we have to give up who we are, that we lose our “I”; but the fact is that “I am what I am.” God has made me a person. “I am” a personality. God has made me so. “I” do not lose my personality “in Christ.”

“I” am very much “present” in my life, I am not “missing.” I have not somehow been replaced by Jesus Christ my supposed “Substitute.”

“In Christ” “I” am still very much present! “I” have not vanished. “I” have not gone out of existence. “I” am still very much alive. Jesus Christ is not my replacement. His has identified Himself with me in living union.

“In Christ” I am free from the seemingly independent “I” of Adam, to the unioned “I” with Christ.

I [a son of Adam] am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I [a son of God] live; yet not I [the “I’ of the old creation], but Christ lives in me [the me of the new creation]: and the life [the life of God] which I [the unique person God that has made me to be] now live in the flesh [right now, this very day] I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20).

“In Christ” I am actually now free to be myself, the real me that He alone has made me to be. Thus, Paul could actually freely use the personal pronouns “I” and “me.”

I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).

To me to live is Christ (Philippians 1:21).

Clyde L.Pilkington, Jr.

I Am What I Am

Posted December 23, 2012 by sandres2k8
Categories: Identification

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By the grace of God I am what I am (I Corinthians 15:10).

“I am what I am.” This is the truth of Scripture! We are not self-created, self-made or self-determined. We are exactly what we are because we are the created, and we have so been fashioned. Being God’s creature He has made us precisely who we are.

Of course, in a larger context, He is continually making us who we are. That is, His achievement in all of us is an ongoing work that will find its final result only when He is completely done with His masterpiece.

The only thing that makes us different from the majority of those around us is timing. God’s steady work of creation has always involved the time element and, as in the resurrection, in every aspect of His work in all mankind – whether it is birth, realization of the truth, glorification, etc. – it is “every man in his own order” (I Corinthians 15:23).

We, who are the “Called” – the “First Trusters,” the “First Fruits” – are simply farther along in Father’s handiwork than the rest of His creation. He is doing an early work in us. Thus, at times His hand can be more easily identified in our lives than in those around us, and along with Paul we can – out of God-given faith – rejoice that, by Father’s grace we are what we are. It is only the timing of His grace that makes the difference.

Clyde L.Pilkington, Jr.

All Difficulties Removed

Posted March 19, 2012 by sandres2k8
Categories: Identification

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How can those who are “blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3); who are “chosen in Him before the foundation [overthrow] of the world” (Ephesians 1:4); who are “accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6); who have in immediate prospect the blessed promise of a prior resurrection or exanastasis, that resurrection out from among the dead, and a “calling on high” by Him (Philippians 3:14); who have their political status already, now, existing in the heavens, from whence we look for the Savior; not to judge us but to change us; not merely to raise us, and clothe us upon with spiritual bodies, but to transform our vile bodies and make them like unto His Own glorious body (Philippians 3:20-21) who are “perfect in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1:28); who have been “made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the holiest of all,” in the light of the heavenly Shekinah (Colossians 1:12); who “have the redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness [freedom] of sins” (Colossians 1:14); who “are complete in Him” (Colossians 2:10); to whom He says, “having forgiven you all trespasses” (Colossians 2:13) – how, we ask, can there be necessity for such to appear before the judgment-seat of Christ to be judged in respect of any imaginable thing whatsoever? Impossible.

Yet all of this wondrous standing, given to us in the riches and glory of His grace, is made of none effect, and is utterly lost to those who force themselves back into a position which obtained in a Dispensation which has passed away.

What despite is thus done to the grace of God! What loss is sustained by the doers thereof! What difficulties are thus created and thrust into the Word of God, and what vain and ceaseless efforts are made to get them out!

Whereas, once we rightly divide the precious “Word of Truth” according to its times and Dispensations, then not only are all of these difficulties removed from the Scriptures (difficulties which are the subject of the questions put by most inquirers), but we are free to learn something of the peace of God and the grace of God; what He has made Christ to be to us, and what He has made us to be in Him.

E.W. Bullinger (1837-1913)
The Foundations of Dispensational Truth, pp. 124-125
Bible Student’s Press (2011 Reprint)

Paul’s Roman Citizenship

Posted December 3, 2010 by sandres2k8
Categories: Identification

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Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned? (A.D. 58; Acts 22:25).

Some believe that passages such as this from the Book of Acts somehow show that Paul was advocating involvement in Gentile politics. However, things are not always as they first appear.

The Nature of the Book of Acts

One must be careful about establishing their doctrine from the Book of Acts. This book was not written by Paul, nor was it written to establish doctrine for the Body of Christ, nor was it designed to be a pattern for our practical living. Instead, Acts is a book that reveals the transitional history of the fall of Israel and the rise of the Body of Christ. To obtain truth for the church, the Body of Christ, one must turn to the epistles of Paul.

What Paul Was NOT Doing

Paul did, on occasion appeal to Roman law, but this can’t remotely be compared with being an active participant in influencing and determining governmental policy. Neither Paul nor Jesus ever tried to reform Caesar or the Roman government.

What Paul Was Doing

To understand what Paul was doing when appealing to Roman law, we need the historical background to understand the passages where Paul brings up the issue of citizenship (A.D. 59; Acts 22-25).

First, let’s realize that all throughout Paul’s earlier 20-year apostolic ministry as recorded in the Book of Acts he is never recorded as having made any such reference to citizenship, even in the face of severe torture. A Roman citizen was protected from such treatment, nevertheless without any apparent appeal from him he received 39 stripes on five different occasions, and was three times beaten with rods (all prior to A.D. 57; II Corinthians 11:24). So why does he suddenly change and make an appeal?

The background of events will provide us with the answer. Paul had for “many years” (Romans 15:23) desired to make a trip to Rome; but he had been “much hindered” (Romans 15:22) because of constant delays caused by persecution from unbelieving Jews. Paul planned to make a trip to Jerusalem to deliver relief that he had been raising for the poor saints there. His plan was then to move on to Rome after that, provided that he is “delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea” (Romans 15:31).

After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome (Spring, A.D. 54; Acts 19:21).

Paul wrote to the saints at Rome to inform them of his plans to come to them.

For I long to see you [the saints in Rome], that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, to the end you may be established. … I have been much hindered from coming to you; but now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come to you, when I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey … But now I go to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. … When I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come … And I am sure that, when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. … That I may be delivered from them who do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints; that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed (Spring, A.D. 58; Romans 1:11; 15:22-32).

While at Jerusalem heavy opposition broke out against him. Seizing upon an opportunity to be delivered from the unbelieving Jews so that he could finally take his ministry to the capitol of the Roman Empire, he simply inquired, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?” (Acts 22:25).

Paul appealed for the civil authorities to act in accordance with the law which bound them. He appealed to the principle of Roman law, an intervention that delivered him from the hands of the Jewish persecution. With his opposition constrained, Paul now only needed a means to get to Rome. He saw this opportunity in by exercising Roman rights to “appeal [his case] to Caesar (A.D.59; Acts 25:11). Relatively, the government saw Paul as a Roman citizen, and Paul related to their treatment of him as such – pressing upon them the standard of their own law – and as a result he was able to make his long-desired trip to Rome under Roman authority.

A Greater Revelation

Now, before we assume that statements found in the Book of Acts have some instruction for the believer to become political, we must first be careful not to anticipate revelation. This is a significant concern when reading the Scriptures. We need to recognize that Paul received an abundance of progressive revelations over his some thirty-year apostleship.

I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord … through the abundance of the revelations (Autumn, A.D. 57; II Corinthians 12:1, 7).

It must be remembered that even if Paul intended to advocate an earthly citizenship in the Book of Acts, later, upon receiving greater revelation from the Lord, he clarified the issue entirely. While in a Roman prison God gave him additional revelation which he recorded to the Philippians. This was a revelation of singleness of mind; and a Roman prison was quite an amazing place for such a celestial revelation.

For our citizenship is in heaven; from where also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (A.D. 62; Philippians 3:20).

Paul did not write, “one of our citizenships is in heaven,” or “we have another citizenship in heaven,” or “we have two citizenships, one of which is in heaven.” Instead he writes absolutely, and plainly of one singular “citizenship.” From his Roman bondage he boldly and without qualification declares this citizenship to be celestial.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
© Daily Email Goodies

Morning and Evening

Posted October 27, 2010 by sandres2k8
Categories: Identification

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Vanity of vanities; all is vanity … I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity … (Ecclesiastes 1:2, 14).

Life is vain when viewed apart from the Sovereign, loving God who is our Father.

I feel for those who face daily life apart from the knowledge that He is in complete control.

My days, all of them were written in Your book; the days, they were formed when there was not one of them (Psalms 139:16).

The steps of a man are ordered by the LORD (Psalms 37:23).

Think of these wonderful truths. All your days written in God’s book, formed there before any of them ever had been lived. Many live their daily lives without recognition of the stabilizing truth of the One Who “works all things after the counsel of His Own will” (Ephesians 1:11). They approach their day, and struggle through it, as the master of their own lives.

For those who live as though they were in charge of their lives, two of the hardest parts of the day are waking up in the morning and going to bed in the evening.

In the mornings, days are greeted with uncertainty as thoughts of the “What if …” trials and challenges of the day press in upon the mind and heart. There is a waking up to varying degrees of uneasiness, concern, apprehension, worry and anxiety; even at times to overwhelming fear, dread and depression. Feelings of inadequacy and uncertainty press in.

In the evenings, days are retired with the annoying “What if …” reflections of its happenings. There is second guessing, regret and disappointment. Feelings of frustration, disappointment and failure settle in; even at times shame, guilt and worthlessness.

After all, they see themselves as the lords of their own lives, the captains of their own ships and the masters of their own destiny. With this view comes but a recurring cycle of vanity.

Vanity of vanities; all is vanity … What profit has a man of all his labor which he takes under the sun? One generation passes away, and another generation comes: but the earth abides. The sun also arises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to his place where he arose … All things are full of labor; man cannot express it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing (Ecclesiastes 1:2-8).

Why is man’s life filled with such vanity; such futility, emptiness, barrenness, purposelessness and aimless frustration? Because he has been subjected so by his Creator.

For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him Who has subjected the same in hope (Romans 8:20).

“Vanity” is the lot of man “under the sun.” Yet for the believer who has been seated in the celestials, quite another view prevails! Instead of being bound to vanity, we can rise to heights of divine life.

Solomon’s perspective “under the sun” showed the vanity of the human viewpoint. Paul’s perspective, “far above all heavens” revealed true purpose found only in the divine viewpoint: “your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (I Corinthians 15:58).

Those of us who know Father as the great Planner and Director of our days have a completely different approach to our mornings and evenings – and the entire unfolding of our every minute of our day.

In the mornings, days can be greeted with the joy and excitement of knowing that they are His, as well as ourselves. The uncertainties of the “What if …” viewpoint are divinely transformed into the eager anticipation of seeing what God has planned for the day. We are able to awaken to the thrill of knowing that we will be witnesses of the unfolding of His detailed plan and purpose for our day. His presence presses in upon our minds. There is a waking up to peace and joy as we know that our life, with all of its daily circumstances, is firmly in His hand, and carried out by His capable direction. Our hearts are able to say, “Today we are on the great adventure of faith!”

In the evenings, when the day is over, we can rest our heads on our pillows and with surety and confidence regarding our day say, “This was the will of God.” The “What if …” reflections of its happenings are transformed into a place of peace and rest – knowing that the will of God was done, and who could have prevented it? The realization of our divine appointment is able to settle within our hearts and minds. After all, He is the Lords of our life, the Captain of our ship, the Master our destiny.

He does according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand (Daniel 4:35).

We have the joy of waking up each morning as His clay.
We have the anticipation of living each day as His workmanship.
We have the rest of laying our heads on our pillow each night as His achievement.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
© Bible Student’s Notebook

Adversarial Strongholds

Posted September 15, 2010 by sandres2k8
Categories: Identification

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For the weapons of our warfare are not physical, but powerful through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to Christ’s obedience (II Corinthians 10:4).

Lately I have been wanting to quit. I’ve considered throwing in the towel.

Well, that may be a little misleading. What’s misleading is the “lately” part. Truth is, this feeling of wanting to give up is actually quite reoccurring. What I am trying to say is that “lately” it has been trying to fill my thoughts again.

Are you struggling with God’s will in your life? Has the enemy somehow convinced you that Father does not really know what is best for you? That somehow your life is a mess, and that you are just barely hanging on. That somewhere there is a better plan for your life than the one that He is actually carrying out? That somehow, when it comes to your daily life, you are managing to doubt His vast wisdom, His unfailing love, and His boundless goodness? If so, you are not alone.

These strongholds are real, and we face them – to one degree or another – daily. They are satanic strongholds that actually battle against the very nature of God, exalting itself against His wise, loving and good plan for our lives. They oppose the life of God in us, attempting to prevent us from enjoying all that God has for us, keeping our minds in confusion and in bondage to fear, frustration, disappointment and discouragement.

Yet, just what is it about which are we actually fearful, frustrated, disappointed and discouraged?

Do we really fear God’s will? Are we actually frustrated with it? Are we disappointed in Him? Does His way in us discourage us? Or are we being strategically confused in our thinking by an adversary?

What we are dealing with is adversarial “strongholds” – and do not underestimate the enormous power they have upon us. As the word implies they have “hold” of our thinking processes, and they are very “strong” – thus “strongholds.”

Pull Down, Cast Down

…  pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations …

These strongholds are adversarial imaginations, or unscriptural “reckonings” (Concordant Literal New Testament) of God and His will. Strongholds that possess our thinking must be pulled down, but how?

Well we, in and of ourselves, are personally powerless to bring them down. They are beyond our own ability to overthrow; but we can rest in the fact that the battle is the Lord’s, and the divine weapons of our warfare are completely sufficient – they are all-sufficient to pull and cast down these well-established dictators. The divine viewpoint can ably overthrow the mental coup of the adversary. Our weapons are indeed “mighty through God” – to the pulling down of these strongholds. This is, as Paul declares elsewhere, the renewing of our minds.

Be not conformed to this age: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove the will of God, that it is good, and acceptable, and perfect (Romans 12:2).

God’s will – His plan and purpose – is good, and acceptable (well pleasing), and perfect, regardless of what our Adversary attempts to place in our minds to the contrary. God’s will alone is having its absolute way in the minute details of our lives, as He alone is sovereign to do so. For, masterfully “He works all things after the counsel of His Own will” (Ephesians 1:1l). The renewed mind proves this grand truth to our hearts, providing much needed release from the bondage of the enemy. It is then that we can rest, being assured with Paul,

That He Who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).

God’s will for your life is good, well pleasing and perfect – as it is for all of His creation. We may not always be able to see it when we are caught up in the middle of some trial; but do not give way to the Adversary’s attack upon the goodness of God and His will in your life. This is his modus operandi all the way back to Eden’s garden – that God somehow withholds that which is good from us.

How do you imagine God’s dealings in your life?

What do you reckon as to His will? Do you doubt that He has you exactly where He wants you? Or, are you heeding the satanic questioning of the great wisdom of His will?

Find rest from all of the mental anguish that wars against the sovereign God. You will, with me, find this rest in the renewed mind; for faith casts down these challenges against the nature and character of Elohim – the Placer and Subjector – and embraces Father’s will for our lives as good, and acceptable, and perfect. After all, would we really have it any other way than His will for our lives? Then give up the faithless struggle against it.

I have for now, and peace has returned to my heart and mind.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
© Bible Student’s Notebook™


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