7. The Bowels of Christ
The Lord Jesus Christ is the most passionate Person in the universe. He is utterly consumed with two driving zeals and intentions. One is the vindication of the Word His Father speaks, but that zeal cannot be separated from and is all tied up with His other passion. The Bowels of Jesus yearn with all yearning right now, in the present year of our Lord, over His bride upon this earth. To be filled with Christ is to be caught in the grip of and to be consumed with that very Passion.
7. The Bowels of Christ
The Lord Jesus Christ is the most passionate Person in the universe. He is utterly consumed with two driving zeals and intentions. One is the vindication of the Word His Father speaks, but that zeal cannot be separated from and is all tied up with His other passion.
The Bowels of Jesus yearn with all yearning right now, in the present year of our Lord, over His bride upon this earth. To be filled with Christ is to be caught in the grip of and to be consumed with that very Passion.
Instantly, we must stop in our tracks. This is not theology or ideas about God. We are dealing with the up-front fiery determination of the most intense Person in the universe. Yes, He fills our hearts, but we have no idea whatever of tha tender but consuming fire that fills us full.
“Lord Jesus, You fill me with all that You are. You carry every part of myself inside of You. You surround me like a mighty fortress wall. I am encased in you at all times. I recognize, Lord, the intense passion and determination that fills Your bowels over Your woman alive now upon this earth and standing in the time of her greatest need. My heart is Yours, Lord Jesus, it belongs utterly to You. I ask you to seize my heart in all the grip of Your zeal for Your bride. My heart is available to You to contain and to express Your passion and determination. I am one person with You, Lord Jesus, as You call forth Your elect into their place.
“And now, having asked You to grip my heart with all the intensity of the passion that fills Yours for Your beloved bride, I believe that I have received what I ask for. I expect that as I go forward from this moment, every direction of my heart and mind will be the pursuit of her gathering together, her safety, her nourishment, her victory. There is no more need of one thought for my own “salvation” or destiny, but the zeal for Christ revealed in His people is now all the intensity and purpose of my being. My heart is Your heart, my mind is Your mind, my determination is Your determination.”
Let’s be specific on what, exactly, the Lord Jesus is about right now. First, where are we in the unfolding of human folly?
For those with eyes to see and hearts to understand, something big has shifted upon this planet. I watched the television news, the image of the beast, present pictures of three obviously very different men, and call all three of those men, Bin Laden, who died in late 2001 of kidney failure. People across this planet looked at those three different men and “believed” they were the same man. Why? Because the image of the beast told them they were the same man.
At the same time, the Fukishima nuclear disaster is an unbelievable nightmare. The Japanese government has stated that the reactors have been in full meltdown and breach of containment since day one; now they suggest that, in fact, they have already melted through. In other words, the worst claims of the worst gloom and doomers were correct from day one. Has the image of the beast informed the American people of this reality? Have they been told that plutonium and uranium particles are blanketing the west coast of North America, and that there is no solution, that it will not likely ever stop? No. Here’s the incredible dilemma we are in. Because the image of the beast does not say something is true, no one will believe that it’s true.
And here is an even worse dilemma. Most of our Christian brethren believe the image of the beast, and they refuse to believe that the beast or his image could ever lie to them or not tell them all the truth about this world!
The world has always been filled with deceit. It cannot be other. The world cannot speak the truth, ever. It has no Spirit of truth in it. You can find the most “honest,” Spirit-filled Christian you can find, make him the American President, and from that moment on he will tell you a continual stream of things that are simply not true. He will lie, and he will not speak the truth.
But what is happening now is different. It’s as if the liars have pulled out all the stops. They present such obvious fabrications to the public, declare it to be true, and then laugh behind the scenes as the masses actually believe them! When God’s people reject God’s testimony about this world, that it can do nothing but lie, they open themselves up to desperately believing anything and everything.
An overwhelming spirit of delusion now grips every part of the fabric of our world and of the church in our world. This is the context. But the purpose of the context is for one thing and one thing alone.
The gathering together of that beloved woman who fills the heart of Passion and Determination and her nourishment and protection in the time of her greatest need.
Yes, she is deluded. Yes, she staggers under the nonsense of this world, but the Lord Jesus Christ loves her with a fire that you and I cannot comprehend. And He lives in our hearts.
Having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth – in Him. Ephesians 1:9-10
Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him. . . 2 Thessalonians 2:1
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22
Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. Revelation 12:13-15
I tie these four passages and others like them together inside what the Spirit of Christ is speaking in me in the present moment. These are not verses about Bible things; this is not “eschatology.” This is the present burning passion of the reality of the Holy One who fills our hearts.
Preston Eby, in his wonderful teaching on “Looking for His Appearing,” points out that Matthew 24:27 has been grossly mistranslated. – For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
These are the same Greek words as are found in 2 Peter 1:19: And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
In other words, Matthew 24:27 actually says this, “For as the sun rises in the east and shines to the west, so also will the presence of the Son of Man be.”
That arising of Christ in our hearts has three parts. First the light appears ahead of the sun itself. Then the sun slowly lifts above the horizon, and finally the sun shines fully in the morning sky, illuminating the earth with its glory.
This is how Christ returns, arising in our hearts. BUT, Christ is not a bunch of individuals. Christ is a Corporate Body, a people walking together in oneness of heart and spirit, in the deepest respect for one another.
I believe that the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement in the life of the church is being completed in the present moment. That means that just ahead in our actual experience is the Feast of Tabernacles itself. The Feast of Tabernacles begins with a Sabbath day, the Day of Atonement, the Day of full rest in Christ, then it continues through six days of dwelling in booths, and then comes the final Day of the Feast, another Sabbath day, the day referred to in John 7:37, when Jesus spoke the rivers of living water into the experience of those who believe in Him.
This is real and practical and right now.
It is found in the gathering together. The gathering together never was a “lightning bolt,” instantaneous sort of experience. That image must be erased from our minds, one of the tares the Lord Jesus is removing from our field. The gathering together is Christ arising in our hearts.
Christ is a Corporate Body; Christ is a people walking together in oneness of heart and spirit, in the deepest respect for one another, connected together by a Spirit of power and a prophetic Word.
I want to share with you here a post by Chris Welch on his blog: On Now to the Third Level.
The Two Generations
What this post has turned up is the reality of the two generations that are currently at large in the church. Both spiritual.
Before the Day of the Lord comes he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children.Malachi 4:6
And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Luke 1:17 (John the Baptist’s call)
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.Ephesians 3
There is a dynamic tension in tuning the twelve strings of a piano, or more precisely, exactly detuning each of the twelve strings so they play in every key. Apart from Octaves, everything else on a piano is tuned so that it is just “out”. Too much out, and people will wince, too much “in”, and when you come to play in certain keys, people will also wince.
There is a tension in the work of God, in the doctrines of God, in people’s personalities, that is there in the Holy Spirit, but as every really good gathering of the saints shows, God Himself fills in the gaps and smooths over the seeming incompatibilities. He joins our dots.
Until this last century, men had pretty much everything their own way. Women and children were subjugated to them. And this seemed to work fine as long as women and children did exactly that.
However, God’s purpose never supported this.
God’s heart is more along the lines of this phrase:
...Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:16
God never planned for women not to function fully. God never planned for children not to function fully.
God never planned for every single member of the Body of Christ regardless of maturity not to function fully.
Part of the sickness we inherited at the fall was fatherlessness. This means absenteeism, but also where fathers do not function as “enabling figures to others.”
Part of the “Fathers Blessing,” which a lot of people named the “Toronto Blessing,” was to quicken the reality of Ephesians 3:14, the name/character and function of father as the Blueprint of how heaven runs. We are connected to God the Father. Every family derives its form from this blueprint.
A ripped, torn up blueprint shatters the internal image, the internal identity of the family individually and as a unit. What goes wrong first is connection.
Churches do not need more power and anointing. They need to “see” the full extent of the supply of the Father through all the channels in their midst.
Christ is in each member as each member. The Kingdom of God is here now. Even in our mouth.
It is not a natural thing for someone trained in the flesh to do less, wind down, and encourage others to take their place. But if we live the Life of God which has always poured itself out since before the foundation of the world, then sons will be turned to fathers and fathers to sons.
Now most charismatic churches are always asking the Lord for more power and more anointing, when all along these passages describe where the flow already is. Churches do not need more power and anointing. They need to “see” the full extent of the supply of the Father through all the channels in their midst.
Christ is in each member as each member. The Kingdom of God is here now, even in our mouth.
Like an electrical circuit board with all sorts of gaps, and short-circuiting pieces, the power is there in the church now, but each part does not do its work. Or if it does what it thinks is its work, it’s some kind of “works” activity which refuses to acknowledge the finished work of God and seeks to add: If I can just pray for two hours, if I can just fast more, if I can just worship more, if I can just read more Bible pages…
What is the work of God? That we believe on the Son of God whom the Father has sent. Where is this Son who the Father has sent now? At the right hand of God, the One who fills us full by His Spirit. This is the work of God, believing it.
So there is this dynamic tension between sons and fathers, even in the church, which the Holy Spirit alone holds together to form a vibrant community.
There is a measure of Christ as He really is found only in the dynamics, the tensions, the operations, the Spirit-connections found among a whole people, walking together in utmost respect, with each member of that body, from the least to the greatest, freely giving all that Christ is in them.
I and my family have been “alone” for the last few years in this season the Lord has for us. All things have their time – but I am looking for His appearing with all the intensity of my heart and THAT appearing is this body of people walking upon the earth. Young and old, men and women, little and great, with no limitation of God found in their hearts and minds, nor any shadow of separation from Him or from one another.
In this volume, Gathering To Life, I want, somehow, to shed the little bit of light God has given me upon what must be for real right now.
The Bowels of Jesus yearn with all yearning over His bride upon this earth. To be filled with Christ is to be caught in the grip of and to be consumed with that very Passion. Jesus wants His bride gathered together in fullness upon this earth with a wanting beyond our ability to grasp. He is in us for that very purpose.
Let us give ourselves with arms stretched wide, with hearts fully open, with utter devotion, to the entrance of the King of Glory through us into His inheritance, into a people who know Him upon this earth.
The arising of the morning star, the fulfillment of the Covenant in the life of the church.
Even so come, Lord Jesus.