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For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

To walk with Christ at the sharpest definition of His word is to walk the edge of the double-edged sword –the razor’s edge.  Now, look at the verse and see what is written, then see what is not written.  The word of the Lord will divide between the soul and the spirit, joints and marrow, that is, it is able to cut a fine line between what men find difficult to define… for any anatomist knows, any doctor knows, it is very difficult to divide between joints and marrow… and any spiritual person also knows and understands it is almost impossible to divide between soul and spirit…  But the word of God can divide, that is, sort it out and decide what is of the spirit and what is of the soul.  That is, what is of life, for as the Lord said, “The Spirit gives life…” and what is in need of salvation, for we wait upon the salvation of our souls.

It is the word of God that decides what is of our spirit, which has been born of the Spirit, that it may manifest in our lives now and what is of our soul that must await its salvation before it can be manifested in life.  It judges what is for life and what is for salvation, that is, to have that which is good salvaged and that which is evil dislodged.  Thus, it is those who live according to the Spirit of God who are led by the Spirit of God, who are sons of God… now, not later.  Paul was not writing about what was to come in Romans 8, but rather, what is now, and how we may live a life that has overcome the law of sin and death by being led by the Spirit of Life and His law of life.

Peter wrote:  for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.  But we are born again of the Spirit to enter the Kingdom of God.  And even as we live that life of being born again, we are awaiting the salvation of our souls.  Thus, within us there must remain a yearning for the day of our resurrection, when our soul is complete in its salvation and we are completely whole as God would have us whole.  Thus, do not suppose that in the days to come, no matter how spiritually mature you become, powerful you become, you still find this yearning within you that cannot be satisfied until you see Jesus in the clouds and are with Him forever.  For that is when as members of the first resurrection (God willing) you experience the fullness of what God had in mind – a fully salvaged soul in a glorified body whose spirit has been fully trained by the Holy Spirit Himself with a heart that is in complete love with God and a mind that thinks as God thinks.  That salvaged soul is as close as anyone would get to being like the Soul of God.  Thus, the word of the Lord that now abides in you separates that which belongs to your soul and thus awaits salvation, and that which belongs to your spirit, which through the Holy Spirit may be made alive.  For the Lord Himself, Jesus that is, was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit (and alive in the spirit), through whom (and through which) also He went and preached to the spirits in prison…  See that it was not to souls that He was preaching to, but to spirits.

For in the same way, the Spirit (Holy) makes alive our spirits that we may live a life that is spiritual and not of the flesh, a life where the spirit is more powerful than the flesh, for as the Lord said, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,” to the disciples who were with Him in the garden that night.  Yes, their spirits were willing, but their flesh was weak, so they had to “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

However, those of you who are invited by the Holy Spirit to be in Him rather than Him in you are not being trained up and apprenticed for a role where you can pray about a matter before you are expected to decide and act on it.  No, for the level of the maturity expected of you by the knowledge of God in you is such that you will know what to execute without prayer (that is, without first asking God) because you already know what God’s will, command and desire are.  The Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me?  Tell the Israelites to move on.  Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground,” when the Egyptians were coming on them.  See that God did not find Moses’ prayer to Him pleasing.  It was more an annoyance… as if to say, “Don’t you know what to do?  Isn’t it obvious?  Why are you calling on Me?  Do what needs to be done… part the sea and walk across.”  Why did the Lord take such an attitude to Moses?  Because Moses had seen what the stretching out of the staff in his hand could do so many times before.  There was no need to wait for God to tell him what to do next!  A miracle was needed, yes, but the tool by which miracles happen was in his hand.  He would have been better off by stretching out his hand and commanding the waters to be solid for them to cross over, and have the Lord then say, “No, part it… it is less frightening for the Israelites and it will lure the Egyptians into a trap.” 

As such, for you no longer should it be “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,” but rather, the spirit knows what to do and the flesh counts for nothing.  It counts for nothing as a hindrance that is, where it really should count for nothing, which is that physical barriers do not count.  Just as the Red Sea was not an obstacle because of Moses’ power in his staff, but rather, it was the answer to solving the problem of the Egyptians once and for all. 

So likewise, at the edge of the Land of the Absolute Solution, it is a time for you and I to pause…  It is a time for circumcision again, as it was for Joshua and the generation that followed him into their Canaan, the promised land.  During this pause, let us consider what salvation is and what glorification is.  For what we are, for the Kingdom of God, is to work and to glorify the Lord.  Yes, by faith all who believe in the Gospel of the Lord are saved from perishing, for the Lord Himself said so.  However, we are no longer speaking of salvation only.  I will use Israel to illustrate what is about to happen.

Israel was delivered from Egypt by God sending Moses, and even though they did not believe the message of Moses, nevertheless God did His miracles and they were all released, everyone of them.  The only thing they had to do to receive their freedom was to put the blood of the lamb over their doorways so that the angel of the Lord would pass over them as the first born of Egypt was slaughtered that night.  Then the next day, they walked out, free from bondage with the gold and silver of Egypt.  That is the Old Testament version of what happens to all who repent and accept Jesus.  They merely have to apply the blood over themselves, just like the Hebrews applied the blood over their houses in Egypt.  That is the only work they have to do, and they would walk out free from their sins into a new life.  Salvation is a gift, just as Israel’s deliverance was a gift and no work was needed.  We, like them, only had to receive it by applying the blood of the Lamb that was slain.  It was not even our blood…  So complete is salvation, like deliverance, it only needed to be received by faith, and the blood applied and the flesh of the Lamb eaten, and we walked.  The Israelites did nothing to convince pharaoh; God did all the convincing.  Just as we did nothing; Christ did everything.  So understand, elect, we are not speaking of salvation anymore.

Now, as the Israelites went into the desert, one generation refused to believe in the power of the Lord to give them Canaan, and the other believed and entered Canaan.  The first generation went back into the desert, not Egypt that is.  They were still free men, not slaves, but they spent a lifetime going from campsite to campsite, possessing none of the land, and doing very little planting or harvesting except animal husbandry, picking up the manna and attending various religious festivals.  They fought hardly any wars and built no cities.  Everything was provided for them, even their flocks.  They did nothing extraordinary.  No different, even less than the natural around them.  That is what those who belong to the Kingdom of Heaven are like.  Saved by faith, yes, to spend a life, an ordinary life, of living as other men live and dying as other men die.  Those Hebrews spent 40 years waiting to die to be released from the desert into Abraham’s bosom, as they called paradise. 

So likewise, those who are saved for the Kingdom of Heaven spend a lifetime waiting to die to go to Heaven, while living a most ordinary life, a moral life, yes, but a most ordinary life that men of other religions could also achieve.  There was nothing separating them really from those who put their faith in their gods, raising children and businesses, whilst they lived a life of three score and ten years and then to die… with random tragedies and illnesses cutting short their lives, just as the pagans’ lives are cut short.  The greatest tragedy is that they all were never set free from the fear of death, just as those in the desert were never set free, for time and again they complained that God had brought them into the desert to die!

Just like the early church experienced a period of miracles, signs and wonders, so the first generation of Israelites experienced their miracles until they came to Canaan and turned back.  That turning back from Canaan is like the turning back by the church in Acts 15 to the partial observance of the law at James the Younger’s recommendations.

Now, just as the generation that endured 40 years in the desert, born in the desert, would cross the Jordon with Joshua, so likewise now, those who have decided they are of the Kingdom of God and not of Heaven will cross their own Jordon and enter to take the promised land.  It is not a time of receiving whatever God has in His mind to give you, but rather, a time to take what God has given you and put it to practice, put it to use.  Like those who were with Joshua who had to fight against 31 kingdoms over a space of perhaps five years… that generation did not just receive the promised land, they had to fight for it… the walls of Jericho may have come down with a shout, but they still had to rush in to kill the inhabitants.  That is, they did not just talk about warfare, they practised and executed warfare.  Then they had to occupy the land, plant and harvest, and build and enlarge the cities.  Above all else, they were a generation that had men who fought to stay alive.  They were not just fighting to take possession of what laid before them; the Eastern tribes consisted of men who were fighting to stay alive so that they could return to their houses on the East side of the Jordan!  No one in that generation was fighting to die; they were not there to die for the promised land.  No, they were there fighting to live in the promised land.  See then the two generations, one waiting to die to go to paradise and the other fighting to live in paradise. 

These two generations are the Old Testament examples that show the difference between those who will be witnesses of John 11.25 and those who are to witness John 11.26.  Those who have been martyred before us were all martyred because of the departure from the original plan.  Even Stephen and James the Elder were martyred because no one went to Galilee on resurrection morning, just like Joshua lost 36 men at Ai because he listened to advice from the spies.  Perhaps Joshua had forgotten what happened when they listened to the reports of spies forty years earlier.  Instead of assembling all 500,000 men outside Ai, he sent 3000 and it emboldened the citizens of Ai to resist.  Deviation of God’s original plan resulted in 36 deaths, not Achan’s sin.  The martyrs in Heaven, even the 11 themselves, are waiting to return because they never went to the Mount of Transfiguration that morning.

That is why your training has been different.  You do not believe in miracles, you practise miracles.  You do not just hear and read the word; you have written and sung the word of the Lord, and so on and so on.  You see, salvation is by faith through grace, just as deliverance from Egypt was by God’s promise to Abraham and not to Israel.  However, glorification – to take hold of the life that salvation has given you to its fullness – requires you and I to enter our Canaan with all its grants and to fight to take possession of it.  It is a fight to stay alive, for life is what Jesus came to give us, life and life abundantly.  So abundantly that we who live and believe will never die.  And if we truly believe, then we need no spies to tell us what is ahead, for the Lord has already made it amply clear – live and never die – even through these days of distress because for our sake they will be shortened that we might survive them.

Just as my ignorance led me to conclude that it took Joshua 33 years to conquer 31 kingdoms… so now, I see it only took five years according to the age of Caleb.  Just as so many of us assumed from Matthew’s gospel that Jesus sent them across the lake to be trapped and tested by the storm… so now, we know it was to Bethsaida they were sent, not across the lake.  31 kingdoms in five years, that generation of Israelites did something that none of the Canaanites had ever done, for not one of those 31 kingdoms had been able to conquer the other 30 kingdoms in 40 years, but in five years, Israel conquered all 31 kingdoms.  They did what no one else who lived around them could do.  Likewise, so for you, elect, it should not surprise you that you are being prepared to do what no one else living around has ever been able to do.

You see, Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”  Yes, those who put the words into practice are like the wise man.  However, do you see, can you see?  If you succeed in your practice of the words of Jesus, you are not like the wise man at all.  For you will not only have a house that cannot fall or be shaken, but rather, you are not like the wise man whose soul is saved, but rather, you are the miraculous man whose soul is not only saved, but who has the power to stop the rain from falling, the wind from blowing, the river from rising and the torrent from striking.  That is, “everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice” successfully are more than wise. 

For it is written:  “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”  Or rather, from Isaiah directly:  “Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”  For if you are successful in the practice of His words… especially the words that give you perfection, then your house will not even get wet from the rain and the torrent.  You see, both houses in Matthew 7.24-27 of the wise man and the foolish man were touched by the wind, rain and the river’s torrent… though only one was not destroyed.  Those houses represent the lives of believers and non-believers of John 3.16… both are touched by death and die, it is just that the wise saved their souls.  All who are witnesses of John 11.25 die, like those who do not believe in Jesus.  But the house of the man who succeeds in his practice of the words of Jesus to do what He has been doing and greater things than that, is the one who will live to witness John 11.26, just like a man with miraculous power can stop his house from being touched by the water and the wind.

You see, it would have been pointless if Joshua’s generation believed God and attacked Canaan only to be slaughtered by the Canaanites.  It is not enough to have believed and put into practice the words of Jesus and fail.  That would be like the Israelites charging into Jericho only to be wiped out by the Jerichoan army… see?  No, now you must be of the thought set where failure is no longer an option to your practice, but where success is not one of two possible outcomes… it is the only outcome.  Like the Israelites, you charge into Jericho to kill and not be killed.  As they fought to stay alive so you practise to succeed, and succeed you must, or else it is all futile.

And what is and must form your personal goal?  Forget Jesus for a moment.  Like an Israelite soldier, forget Joshua and the nation for a moment.  You are in the field and you are facing a Jerichoan soldier bigger and stronger than you.  Laying down your life for the honour and glory of Israel is not going to let you enjoy Canaan.  So that soldier’s personal goal is to stay alive, kill the Jerichoan and live!  So likewise, your personal goal must be this:  You must be part of the first resurrection, not the second.  If you cannot stay alive till He arrives, make sure you lose your head for the sake of your testimony and His Gospel so that you will return with the others.  To return with the others is a secondary option, but to be here amongst those who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord to watch those who have fallen asleep to rise first, is the first objective.  The Lord has many who have not had your training, but who are willing to lose their heads for Him already, more than enough to fulfill the numbers.  He does not have many who are trained to stay alive until He arrives, so be absolute in your resolve.

So, are you rested and refreshed enough to see clearly what lays ahead without needing to send spies into the land?

For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Can you see what is missing?  The word of God does not judge the thoughts and attitudes of the mind… can you see it?  A man or a woman whose mind is set on things above and not Earthly things is subject to no judgment for his or her thoughts.  If all the thoughts of your mind are set on ways to ensure the work is completed so the end can come, if the thoughts of your mind are set on calculating all the ways to fulfil the word of the Lord like Moses could have done – look at the sea and thought, “I can cause this sea to be solid and we can run away from the Egyptians” – if your mind, the thoughts of your mind, are set on thinking about doing things that are impossible with men, but possible only with God, so that there is no doubt that it is God who did it for you, or rather you did it by God’s power, then the word of God does not judge you.  As He said to the woman, “…neither do I condemn you.”

Too many times we turn our minds to the ways of men… and solve problems using a method that any man can use.  As an example:  To raise money we start a business so that the work of God can be done.  So what… anyone else can do the same.  I state the obvious; you do not have to be a Christian to be rich through business.  And I also remind you Jesus’ words to Peter:  “…you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”  It was the contents of Peter’s mind, not Peter’s heart, that brought him the rebuke.  So then, it is what you have in mind that sets you free from judgment.  What you have in your heart, your thoughts, attitudes and intents, are subject to being exposed, sifted, analysed and judged, not the thoughts, attitudes and intents of your mind.  And since, as I have said, your mind controls the action as your heart controls the speech, then perhaps you might see what Jesus was saying when He said, “My reward is with Me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.”

Set the thoughts of your mind, your calculating, scheming, logical mind, to the things of God and learn to scheme and calculate from God’s logic – a mind that thinks in the context of what can be accomplished with unlimited miraculous power and seeks out ways to allow that power to manifest so that what is done can be clearly seen by all that it was the power of God that accomplished it – then declaring God’s kingdom has come in power!  But now, step forward and cross the Jordan… there is no turning back.  Even if the walls of Jericho fall by your shout, it means nothing if you are killed.  Likewise, step forward and set your mind on success… and be prepared to be absolute in your concentration and focus, for God deserves to have those who are absolutely successful in their practice of Jesus’ words.  Failure is no longer an option.

The power of the thoughts of one whose mind is set on the things of God is the power that sets you free from judgment even by the word of God! 

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