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ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: THE CALL OF THE BRIDEGROOM, Part 3
Blessings upon you this first day of the rest of your life!
This may sound like a really strange way to say things, but FINALLY! I'm whole again. Now, don't start laughing at me. Della has been in Alaska for most of the last three weeks, visiting and sharing with our daughter, Danielle, and her family, and our son, Joshua, and his family, getting to see our latest granddaughter, Trinity Elizabeth, for the first time (this one is #24), and continuing to lay the groundwork for our return to Alaska.
When you have been joined by the Lord to your counterpart, absence for any length of time from one another is not something easily tolerated. You feel incomplete without your counterpart present, lacking, inadequate. Of course, with today's technology, one can still stay in touch (and, brother, do we ever!) by telephone, by computer, etc. But it's just not the same!
You'll remember how I started off the previous Coffee Break, sharing the event in which James Merwin made the statement that "I'd rather be dead than live for 10 seconds without the presence of the Lord." THAT'S INTIMACY!! What we have with the Lord in that place of intimacy is life itself. Paul said that he was, "willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord!"
That's probably a great description for the relationship the Lord has given to Della and me. What the Holy Spirit has given to us in our earthly relationship throughout the decades has been a tiny microcosm of the same bonding that we have with the Lord Jesus Christ. Our bond with Jesus Christ is a bond of intimacy, a bond of love, a bond of absolute trust and confidence. By the same token, He has given to Della and me that same kind of bond in this natural realm -- a bond which is a picture for those who see us and know us of what we have in Christ.
That said, let me pick up where I left off in the previous discussion, and draw upon this picture of intimacy and the developmental process designed to get us there with the Lord Jesus Christ. We were talking about Ekklesia as the preparation of the Bride of Christ.
Ekklesia is not an event. It is not something one can attend, in the sense of attending a church. It is not something one can decide to join at his or her choosing. One does not make an intellectual decision based on circumstances to be joined in an intimate relationship to the Lord. It is a life to which one is called by the Lord Jesus Christ.
The call goes forth by the Holy Spirit. Individuals hear -- not a message of "get saved so you can go to heaven" -- but that Jesus paid the ultimate redemption cost to purchase for Himself a people who would be groomed, fitted, and prepared to be His counterpart, His "other self," His Bride! Having heard the call from the Bridegroom to "come away with Me" deep within their spirits, they respond to the preparation processes that now begin.
(Once again I emphasize the fact that in the same way that we see developmental stages of growth between birth and maturity, we MUST experience and respond to the processes laid out for us by the Paraklete at the Bridegroom's direction. This is not for us: this is for Him! We were and are created for His pleasure -- not the other way around. And that's not to say that we won't experience pleasure in this relationship -- we will!!!)
Ekklesia is the gathering together, the forum in which this preparation process is directed by Holy Spirit under the leadership of those in whom He has already made much preparation and given a vision of His objectives. It is designed as that same microcosm I just described of bonding and joining in the realm of the Spirit. The objective purpose of Holy Spirit is for us to be so bonded together -- first, with the Lord; and secondly, with each other -- that the world can look on and KNOW that we walk and live naturally supernatural and supernaturally natural as sons and daughters of God!
I do not say these things in order to manipulate individuals into joining us, nor is it some clever way to suggest that people should come under subjection or submission to some special set of doctrines we might hold to. As has been clearly stated, this is not something that people can join! At the same time, Ekklesia is not some kind of exclusive club with a set of requirements to keep "undesirables" out.
Perhaps this can best be explained out of John 1:12-13 through an illustration which the Lord gave to Della recently. Rendered from the Greek text, it reads like this: "But as many as believed in, and responded to Him, to them He gave the authority and ability to become -- and be transformed into -- begotten children of God, specifically to those who entrust their future existence and well-being by faith in His name, rank, position, character, personality and being; who were begotten, not of flesh and blood, nor because human flesh determined it by its own decision, nor because the mind and intellect of man seized upon it and willed it into existence, but by God as a sovereign act of His will and determination." (my translation)
It becomes clear, therefore, that:
(1) Ekklesia begins with the Lord, through and by His Spirit calling and choosing us;
(2) it requires a response of obedience predicated on believing His word and the voice of His Spirit;
(3) our character and nature begin a process of transformation so that we, as spiritual beings, can be joined to Him;
(4) no act of our flesh is involved in the process;
(5) we are begotten by the Spirit in a genetic sense of the word;
(6) neither strong personality, nor an intellectual decision to become "one" with Him play the slightest part in any transformation which takes place in our life;
(7) we cannot "will" ourselves to become a part of the Bride, nor can we "choose" by arbitrary decision to participate in anything which the Lord is doing in His people;
(8) everything which occurs as a part of the developmental processes initiated by Jesus Christ through His death and resurrection, does so because the Father first spoke it, willed it so, and called those who are undergoing the processes.
For those who see the foregoing as an impossible situation, and find themselves at the height of frustration because they feel that they are being by-passed by others in a spiritual sense; that others are hearing and responding, but they are not; there is a simple answer. It is no more complicated than saying to the Lord, "Whatever it takes for you to accomplish your will and heart's desire in me, do it, Lord! Enable me to hear your voice so I can respond!"
This is the very essence of all He asks. To respond to His direction and calling! Change begins to occur within our lives thereafter because of what we are rapidly coming to refer to as His "processing." Processing is nothing more or less than the dealings of Holy Spirit, His identifying those areas of our lives which need to be conformed to the nature and character of Jesus Christ, and His beckoning for us to respond.
When Jesus Christ, by a sovereign act of His will, brings individuals into the Ekklesia He has built among us, there generally are, or have been doctrinal disagreements. The Lord, however, has a unique way of dissolving those disagreements, or at least setting them on a back burner. What He has done, instead, is to bring us into a "unity of the Spirit."
This is a principal priority! Once that unity of the Spirit is established, He then can deal with the "unity of the faith." Those who make "the unity of the faith" their priority usually do not stick around (and have not) since this so-called "unity" is generally based on some pet doctrine or set of doctrines to which they choose to cling.
Those, likewise, who do not allow the establishing of worship and intimate love between them and the Lord do not remain. If there is a common denominator in all that the Lord has been speaking to us, that common denominator is worship. That does not mean that we have found some magic formula to bring us into the presence of the Lord. It simply means that people who resolve for themselves that the Bridegroom's desires are THE highest priority find that He places within them an overwhelming yearning for His intimate presence.
Worship may be expressed in different modes whether musically, verbally or by some act or action on our part. Worship always has a prophetic component to it. Though accompanied by music, the spoken word, or some actions on our part, it ALWAYS takes place in, by, and through spirit communication -- and that transcends the intellect. Without the joining that happens in the realm of the Spirit, what we've often referred to in time past as "worship" is really nothing more than some form of praise, prayer, or testimony.
Because many of us have been involved in some of the previous great moves of God, there are certain bondages that each of us must be free from -- most of which are very "religious" in nature. It has been frequently said that "those who are a part of one particular move of God usually resist the next move of God, and in fact, persecute those of the next move."
The resistance and persecution generally come from the fact that each successive "move" brings God's people -- and specifically, the Bride -- closer to perfect union with the Lord Jesus Christ. It almost seems paradoxical that anyone would resist this; yet, when we consider that each successive "move" also exposes more and more things which have been hidden within our spirits, it becomes quite clear.
These are flaws, or spots which cannot continue to coexist if there is to be union with Jesus Christ. These are parts of our character which are under the motivation or control of evil spirits who find their authority and operation being challenged, and their hiding places exposed. Exposure and subsequent deliverance mean greater freedom for the individual in his or her relationship with the Lord.
At the same time, these wicked spirits want to keep us bound within the religious structure we have known in times past, and blinded in such a way that we can only accept the "truths" thus far revealed. Hence, these "religious" spirits oppose and resist any new move of the Holy Spirit which would bring them into the light, or expose their hiding places; and, consequently, motivate contention and strife within the individuals who are bound by them towards those who do yield to that "new" word which the Holy Spirit is bringing.
For this reason, the Lord has specifically directed Della and me to frequently lift up all those who are coming into, or responding to, that which Holy Spirit is calling His people to in this day and hour: an intimate love relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. The significance of this "call" to intimacy is obvious. This will bring a union between the Bride and Bridegroom. Hence, we have been directed on many occasions to undertake specific fasting.
We have also been directed to fast on behalf of those who, for physical or emotional reasons, are unable to fast during times or periods when Holy Spirit calls for a corporate fast. For many of them, the Lord will bring them to a place where they can fast, and will experience little, if any, physical difficulty or side effects during the time they are directed to fast.
Toward the end of one of Della's times of fasting, the Lord showed something to her regarding one of the principal reasons why so many people struggle to receive "new" revelation from Holy Spirit, and come into an understanding of what the Lord desires of them. Della was directed back to Genesis 3 to review what we have all been taught as "the original sin."
We have all been taught, and have understood, that the original sin was "disobedience" when Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit. What the Lord showed Della was that the original sin occurred before they ever ate, and that this sin is at the heart of the problem within the corporate church structure.
The original sin took place progressively, and the progression goes like this:
(1) The Serpent (Satan) began the temptation by bringing
them back to the original word which God had spoken
to them with the question, "Hath God said?" (see Genesis 3:1)
(2) In raising the question, he caused them to question the
integrity of God and challenge the word of the Lord to them.
(see Genesis 3:2-4)
(3) Once the question of God's intent had been raised
in their minds, God's motive was challenged. The idea
was planted that He was trying to prevent them from
becoming like Him. Were they to become like Him, His
authority would be challenged. They would become "wise,"
being able to discern what was "good" and make their own
judgment regarding "good," as well as determining "evil," and
make their own decisions with regard to "evil." Hence, they
would be "as God." (see Genesis 3:5)
(4) The "original sin," therefore, occurred in their questioning
of God's word to them, and judging His motive in
commanding them not to eat of this one particular tree. The
"original sin" occurred when they elected to make their own
independent decision, choosing to believe Satan's version of
"wisdom," and choosing "knowledge" over a relationship of love
and trust between them and the very God who had so carefully
and lovingly created them. (see Genesis 3:6)
(5) The "original sin" came when they agreed with Satan
in direct violation of the word which the Lord had clearly
spoken to them. Had God said? Absolutely!
(6) The disobedience which followed (vs. 6) was only the "fruit"
of the original sin, and compounded the original sin by violating
a spoken commandment, given in love as a warning from the
Lord God, who knew that such action would bring an end to
their "cool-of-the-day" intimate fellowship.
God's people have been re-enacting this sin ever since that day, and it is at the core of the corporate church structure. We are taught repeatedly and continuously, through various doctrines of the "church" to pass judgment on the word of the Lord which comes to us. We are educated to the concept of getting as much "knowledge" about the Lord, and the things of God, as possible; trained to make our own decisions and determinations of what we will respond to, and made to feel perfectly justified in not responding to certain "words" from the Lord.
Education, knowledge, and "wisdom" are made to become GOD. The lie of this, and the deceit of the Enemy, comes in the exchanging of receiving the "Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ" (see Ephesians 1:17) for "getting" wisdom, knowledge and understanding (i.e., "education") by "study" -- in other words: "man's way," as opposed to "God's way". It is the very thing which has separated us from an intimate love relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
I have shared in these Coffee Breaks in time past the travesty of the KJV translation of II Timothy 2:15 in which the word "Study" has been translated from the Greek "spoudason" in contradistinction to the real message of Holy Spirit. That message (and we'll get into it more in our next Coffee Break) is to "Be instantly responsive!" What a huge difference in meaning! What a huge difference that one single word represents to those of us who are pressing in for the intimate presence of the Lord.
We'll explore that difference in depth in our next Coffee Break.
"We are called to be heirs of God in Christ. There is no higher calling in all of creation. Everything happening in our lives is intended to prepare us for this high calling by working in us Christ's nature. Christ is the answer to every human problem, and He is the answer to every problem we're now facing. It is not just that He has the answers, but He is the answer. If we are living in the knowledge that the One we serve is over all rule and authority and dominion, how can we fear? Every challenge is an opportunity to grow in faith, so a key to the victorious life is to not waste our trials. (Prophetic Word from Rick Joyner)
Blessings on you!
Regner A. Capener
709 South 7th Street
Sunnyside, Washington 98944
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