Only This Day to Love Jesus Christ!
How do you report on a whole year of life with Christ? How do you even know what you have gained? Or learned? Or birthed? 2017 now is just history, gone and not changeable.
I heard Roy Hession’s wife quote this: “Now is the ever moving point of eternity, separating the past from the future, neither of which have any relevance.”
We are called to give no thought for the morrow and none for yesterday – unless God brings up either side. Only this day. That’s kind of my mood as I try to write to you of our profound appreciation for your support and our passion to represent the Lord Jesus in such a way that He can be known and even seen.
I’ve always said that writing is like letting go of a red balloon with your name on it. You never know where it will land nor who will take it up into a heart-listen. Our fruit will only be known in heaven…so I will count the seed we have sown, rather than the fruit it has born. Yet I have the strong feeling that the important issues of the year were those things that formed us, changed us and above all, reduced us.
Only This Day to Know Christ
Our strong belief is that every day exists to know Christ. Every event and challenge is to discover Him, who Alone is worth knowing.
Who we are with God,
how much we yield to the Holy Spirit,
what we come to know of Christ—
these are the hidden journeys that determine the measure of the anointing of our seed and your reaping what is of Jesus only.
So I want to share personally with you what we witnessed of Jesus last year, as He moved on us and through us. We witnessed together an amazing manifestation of His power…
In Our Inheritance in Christ, T. Austin-Sparks wrote this:
“In the wilderness the whole of our natural life is brought out, and we come to know our weakness and emptiness; that we have nothing. Thus it is that we now find everything in Christ…
“It is that we have come to the place where all things are ‘in Christ’ and He is everything – our very Life and being. Our flesh is cut off and we know as the deepest thing in our being, that unless God does everything in us by His Spirit, all is of no value. We must come to an end of our own working in order to come into His fullness.”
Only This Day to Follow Jesus
For me – and others – 2017 was a wilderness. I have never been more weak than this whole year. I was in good health but I just had no energy. And it seemed my Good Shepherd made me lie down in green pastures to rest.
When there was a Message of the Month or a podcast to tape, I would be completely debilitated, my voice near a whisper. Yet when the mike was turned on, we saw a miracle. I was energized by the Life of Christ, anointed with the Spirit. And I could be confident that what I was called to do, Christ Himself would perform. I was excited to experience His power rising up and taking over so that there was no evidence of my weakness. My voice would become strong just for that time of recording.
The Lord led us to call a conference in August, but I had no strength and no ability to prepare the message. It was the most terrible dependence on the Lord. I was overwhelmed because I needed the Lord to do it all!
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9b ESV
I was in Paul’s condition of great weakness but I was not very glad about it (smile).
Only This Day to Let Christ Live
More than 100 people came from far and near. We loved them so! The message was called The Road That Leads to Life: The Narrow Way and the Few Who Find It.
Behind the scenes I was completely weak and had to be helped to my chair in the conference room. Yet every time I stood to speak, the Lord would rise and fill me with HIS energy and HIS joy and HIS message. Truly there was nothing of me in it. I began to realize that it was not just strength the Lord was imparting to me; it was Christ’s actual resurrection Life. His is a Life undefeatable, unconquerable and my body was merely a clay vessel for a life totally different from mine.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.
2 Corinthians 4:7 NASB (emphasis, my excitement!)
Joan Wentzel wrote this to me, and I hope it will give you a picture of what the Shulamites witnessed of Christ in me.
“Even though your warfare (and weakness) is ongoing in your life, the Lord has kept you full of spiritual vitality and rich in the freshness of revelation, anointing, writing, ministry. During all this onslaught you are flourishing. His life in you cannot be diminished or defeated, your inner self “is being progressively renewed day after day.”
Only This Day to Be a Vessel of Christ
After the conference, I completed my 400-plus-page book on forgiveness, Altogether Forgiven. A miracle! The Lord Jesus proved His transcendent power. He is able where we are not, His glorious Life for our poor humanity! And I tell this story to boast in Him but more, I am so hungry to live utterly dependent on Christ, that HIS resurrection life dominates and lives through me and you and all who love Him.
Speaking of those who love Him, there was another river flowing in Suches, a constant stream of living-reality.
In 2017 John wrote 104 posts on our blog, Get Along With God, sharing in all honesty his personal journey with the indwelling Christ. John plumbs the depths of real human dilemmas and then calls us to look up and out – and even within – for the experience of authentic spiritual life, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” We hope to put his writings in book form this year!
Only This Day to Love the Lord
You have supported us through thick and very thin! We don’t exist without God’s gracious help through you. And we are more than grateful, we are amazed and awed, for our support, yes, but more for your encouragement to us and your open hearts to the Lord.
The messages that come to us at Shulamite are for YOU. I pray this story will inspire the hope of Christ’s indwelling Life, a Life of resurrection, untouchable by death or trouble, loss or weakness.
May the year 2018 reveal Jesus and His resurrection more deeply and clearly to us all. May that Life live and express His thoughts, His secrets, His love…through our earthen vessels. And may you live for HIM, in HIM, captured into the great story He will write this year…about you!
Come, let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us, and He will heal us; He has wounded us, and He will bind up our wounds. He will revive us after two days, and on the third day He will raise us up so we can live in His presence. Let us strive to know the Lord. His appearance is as sure as the dawn. He will come to us like the rain, like the spring showers that water the land.
Hosea 6:1-3 HCSB
‘Come, Lord Jesus!’