Union With Christ by James Stewart

Daily Thoughts
Union With Christ

By James Stewart
The heart of Paul’s religion is union with Christ. This, more than any other conception ­ more than justification, more than sanctification, more even than reconciliation ­ is the key which unlocks the secrets of his soul. Within the Holy of Holies which stood revealed when the veil was rent in twain from the top to the bottom on the day of Damascus, Paul beheld Christ summoning and welcoming him in infinite love into vital unity with Himself. 
If one seeks for the most characteristic sentences the apostle every wrote, they will be found, not where he is refuting the legalists, or vindicating his apostleship, or meditating on eschatological hopes, or giving practical ethical guidance to the Church, but where his intense intimacy with Christ comes to expression. Everything that religion meant for Paul is focused for us in such great words as these: “I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). “There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). “He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit” (I Cor. 6:17). 
Why is it so vital to keep the conception of union with Christ in the centre? For one thing, to assign to this fact any place other than the centre is to endanger the whole doctrine of atonement. The idea of justification, for instance, can only be gravely misleading, when it is not seen in the light of a union with Christ… Similarly, the thought of sanctification, dissociated from union, loses all reality. It is left, as it were, hanging in the air. It becomes an “extra.” It is not organically related to the rest of redemption. Only when union with Christ is kept central is sanctification seen in its true nature, as the unfolding of Christ’s own character within the believer’s life; and only then can the essential relationship between religion and ethics be understood. In short, the whole meaning of the atonement is here at stake. 
Paul declares his conviction that in Christianity the final stress must ever fall on one thing, and on one thing only, union with Christ, life in fellowship with Christ. 
From: A Man in Christ: The Vital Elements of Paul’s Religion. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House. Pgs. 147-153.
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Living Water by Linda Bunting

Daily Thoughts
Living Water

By Linda Bunting
The body of Christ is thirsty; almost dehydrated from not knowing where to find the living water that Jesus refers to when speaking to the woman at the well. 
When he tells her he has water she may drink of and never thirst again, she immediately says; BUT … “I do this or that” “but we worship here or there” … to which He replies; “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain, (of self-effort) nor in Jerusalem,(external ways to judge your spiritual life) shall you worship the Father for He must be worshiped in Spirit and Truth … The LIVING PERSON of Christ IN YOU … 
Most of us have had our days searching in all the wrong places; outside and not inside our common human vessels where the pearl of great price, the living person of Christ himself resides. 
II Cor.5:17 “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new …” because; 11Cor. 5:21 “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him …” 
Total exchange … He became us so we can become Him … and it is for now; not when we die and go to heaven ….
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You Say You Want Balance. . . by John Gavazzoni

Daily Thoughts
You Say You Want Balance. . .?

By John Gavazzoni
It has always been a priority of the true and mature teacher of the Word of God, that he or she maintain a proper balance, that is, not to emphasize a truth or truths at the expense of other truths. That awareness is seen at it’s best when seeking to find the cohesive bond which unites all spiritual truth into a full presentation of Him, who is Truth, our Lord Jesus. We find ourselves today at a point where the extant prophetic word, with it’s varied expressions, gives indication that we are (1) in a dynamic time of transition and (2) that God is calling us to take a fresh look at what we have called, “the finished work of Christ” (Jn. 4:34; 17:4; Rom. 9:28; Phil. 1:6). If we do not realize that the normative Word is an ever unfolding Word which demands constant adjustment in our thinking and that, at it’s cutting edge, may disturb what has been our status quo understanding of doctrinal balance, we may get stuck at a place where that which is deemed to be a balanced approach has been depriving us of the full truth of all that we have attempted to hold with equilibrium. Such is so when we do look afresh at Father’s saving work completed in the Person and life of our Lord. As the Spirit of truth presses His claim upon our minds whispering gently but insistently that we have stopped short of valuing what God in Christ has accomplished for us, we find ourselves experiencing intolerable intellectual tension, tension that causes us again, and at a deeper level, to realize that “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness unto Him…” (I Cor. 2: 14). 
The prophetic declaration that ushers in a new day with a new norm is rarely one that speaks in what most would think is an appropriately centered emphasis. It is bold, demanding and seemingly impervious to the wisdom which says, “make room for the other instruments of God’s orchestra of revelation to blend with your trumpet blast.” But at some point after we hear from the piercing brass section, along comes the string, reed and percussion members to give a full bodied sound to the symphony of redemption. We have heard the blast of the trumpet announcing the next movement in the musical score but we must be brought to a new level of understanding of what has been sounded forth. For those who know a little about music let me illustrate a point. A composer or arranger may at times use a musical device whereby, either with a somewhat dissonant chord or a less than conclusive chord in the music’s flow, he will “tease” the ear of the listener as it naturally craves a note and/or chord of resolution. By momentarily withholding that sound of consummation the composer or arranger makes the fulfilling sound all the more satisfying. So it is with the unfolding of biblical revelation. We must be bold enough to assert that until we reach the place that the New Testament writers pointed toward, we find in their inspired record a certain God-ordained dissonance, a construction of written revelation that leaves the most sincere seeker with a divinely induced frustration that cries out for that final, clear Word.
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Our Passion for Him. . .? By John Gavazzoni

Daily Thoughts

Our Passion for Him. . .?
By John Gavazzoni

We stubbornly cling to the notion that we will still find a key there [Scripture] that will give us full entrance into the heart of God and WE ARE WRONG IN THAT HOPE. It can go no further than declare that “….the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn. 1:14), and that in Him we are “the fulness of Him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:23). So in the light of that final Word of scripture, standing on the highest peak it offers, what do we do brethren, HAVE ANOTHER BIBLE STUDY? When we climb the highest peak of biblical revelation and there find ourselves resplendent in His glory what do we do, take another course in Greek and Hebrew? When on that peak we hear the Word, “In Him dwelleth the fulness of the Godhead bodily and ye are complete in Him” (Col. 2:9), what shall we do? Shall we bring to God a fresh offering of our yearning that He do a greater work in us because we are so lacking before Him? Slowly but surely, the Spirit of God has laid upon me the prohibition against my coming to him with the passion of my yearning for fulness when He has declared me full and complete in His Son. He said to me, “I don’t need your passion, I have enough for both of us and I have seen the travail of my soul and I am satisfied. Away with the burnt offerings of your piety, it is as nothing when seen in the light of my burning love.”

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He Is Within You by George Washington Carver

Daily Thoughts
He Is Within You

By George Washington Carver
In Alvin Smith’s George Washington Carver: man of God, from a chapter titled “Where Is Thy Creator?” Smith quotes Carver telling his Young Men’s Bible Class: “If we are to contact our Creator, we must know where He is — where to find Him. He is within you, me and everyone. He is everywhere at any time; we don’t have to go away from where we are now seated to find Him. He is at the seat of our very being — in our hearts. He is in us and we are in Him. The bible says, ‘In Him we move and have our being.’ Our hearts within hear at His command.”

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Around 2009/2010 the Lord directed my attention and time to study George’s life and struggles and read much about him as I sort to glean how God communicated with him about himself and peanuts. 

I visited the National monument in Diamond Missouri with my dear friend Allen Stancil and we enjoyed an extended time of prayer as we considered the hardship George and the black community had suffered and still suffer, yet despite the suffering of all mankind, God sustains all men.