March 7th.

Leviticus 14 / Psalms 115-116 / 2 Corinthians 8-9

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Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.

Two whole chapters devoted to the Corinthians being generous says a lot. It reinforces the idea that the animal nature was not being suppressed by them. They were acting like humans normally act—selfish, ambition-hungry, craving indulging humans who were missing the point about the new reality they were a part of, but were slipping back into the old ways so Paul had to remind them what it was they were doing—what this thing was they had been chosen to become a part of as witnessed by the power of the gifts they were being given by the Father so they could believe. It also says a lot about Paul, who was eager to receive their financial gift, not because he was going to take any of it for himself, but that he would be able to share it with those who were barely making it and give those brothers some relief from their poverty.

Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written: "He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little."

He was happy and eager to administer a kind of socialism that God loved, antithetical to the way the humans usually are driven, which is why capitalism works so well and communism doesn't work well with the humans at all, except maybe in the minds of the theoretical dreamers who don't comprehend the force of power that always drives the humans. "What's mine is mine and you can go and get your own if you need it," is a system and philosophy that's protected by law because it works for the humans who are motivated by greed, which is motivated by the fear of not having enough, even if there is plenty. The fear never goes away, it just turns into some other kind of fear about not being able to have this or that to insulate oneself from the hostile world of competing animals who don't ever go away.

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:

"He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever."

Paul had just written about what he obviously thought might be the cause of their retardation—they were being influenced by the humans around them who hadn't been chosen to become sons of God, and were binding themselves to them (being yoked) so that the old way was resurging inside them. That is the way of the scared, hiding animal who can only perceive himself as a wild animal living and competing with the other wild animals around him—who cannot perceive the Father and His willingness and ability to provide for and protect him. That natural condition of being driven to survive at all cost was being reinforced in them and they were becoming stunted in their growth in the new way—of the Father, Son and new brotherhood of the sons who aren't perceiving themselves as animals lost in a world of other animals, but of sons of the living Father who is able to provide for and protect them.

And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will.

The Father's will is that we remain loyal, faithful and bound to Him first; which is our primary and enduring concern. From that flows the understanding that nothing matters about our natural existence and reality except what He's concerned about—His family of sons. This is the identity that is created in one who is being conformed to the Father's will. Not a will that conforms to what man is and wants to remain, cloaked by his "willingness" to conform (but only to the god of himself). It is that which was in all of God's sons from Abel to Jesus and beyond, the genuine desire of those who were simply willing to conform to another way than what was naturally in them to want to be.

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

"What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"

He answered: " `Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind' ; and, `Love your neighbor as yourself.' "

"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."

The condition of being inhabited by the life of the Father and the Son to grow that new life makes it possible that everything can fall away except for these two things. We don't need anything else for life now if we have these, because that life is alive and growing and when we actually realize the authenticity and ramifications of that, we start to see that all the other stuff we used to live for, hold on so tightly to and protect with our life only lead to death. They are unsatisfying and we know how much they don't satisfy when we begin tasting the life that is truly life within us, which is nothing but the life that we can't control or hang on to, or use for our own gain. We only keep believing, and by our belief the life keeps growing to keep feeding us with enlightenment about the Father and the Son, and our being chosen to be in the family of the sons of God.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Nothing is important anymore, which is nothing new for God's sons who love their Father. This is what the Father stressed to the Israelites (the copy of the true people of God—His own sons) in Deuteronomy before they were going to enter the land, and in Joshua when they were entering the land.

Be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul.

Is there anything more important than loving our Father, and the Son who gave his life so that we could be near them, in the family where all of our true brothers will be, together with us because they loved the Father's purpose—to have His own family with Him where He is—more than anything else?

The LORD has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. One of you routs a thousand, because the LORD your God fights for you, just as he promised. So be very careful to love the LORD your God.

What was the main warning to the Israelites about why they might get dragged away from doing that? If they didn't separate themselves from the humans who were obviously not chosen to be the people of God, then what lived in those other humans would be too powerful for the Israelites to deny, and they would be unfaithful to the God who saved them. It was God's intention that the humans who were living in the land that He had prepared for His people be driven out and destroyed from it, so that influence that lived in them like a virus would not infect them. They couldn't inter-marry or even allow them to live as their slaves because they would be infected with the virus of the nature that lived in them, and the urge to go after foreign gods would be too much.

Everything was about and for the God who had chosen and was preserving them. His purpose was everything for them because without that they were just common animals to be used for other animals' purposes, like every other thing on the earth is used by the more powerful group. Within that purpose of God to preserve them as the copy of the better thing—the chosen sons who couldn't be seen by the humans—they were that chosen people, according to His purpose, and nothing else mattered. The only reason that this creation exists is so that God can have a family of sons around Him, which is His entire will. There are many other things that we could live for—what the humans always naturally do—but nothing else will last except that which is His sole purpose. So what is there to live for, be devoted to and take care of in this life? First the Father and the Son, then His family of sons, which is the bride of the Christ. That is a metaphor that points to the condition of being loyal and faithful beyond anything else that seems to matter.

The sons won't be able to fully know that nothing really matters until they're farther along in the new way, because if the old way lives in them to any significant degree, then all those things it tells them should matter to them, will. Like the humans and every other animal they'll be caught up with their constant need to attend to whatever that nature dredges up in them and tells them is important, what they should run after. As long as they pay attention to it and allow it to dictate what is important and what they should worry about, it continues to live in them so they're at its mercy to be dragged this way and that, trying to satisfy the cravings and appease the fears that it presents like the virus that it is, to keep them from seeing and knowing what the Father wants them to see and know—the only reason they have the new eyes and mind to be able to see what the others can't.

Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written: "He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little."

The strong utopian sentiment within Paul about the brotherhood came to him because he had those new eyes which could see the unseen. He knew about the humans and their tendency to hoard what they have because they need it for themselves and their own DNA carriers (the only time a pure kind of enduring love exists among them that is a copy of the Father's for His own sons). The "every man for himself" works fine for animals who are merely trying to survive in the way they are driven to—something so fundamental to their nature yet they're so driven to hide by their fear that they're blind to it—but it is the antithesis of the sentiment that is born into God's sons. They're driven by the opposite force, what is unseen amongst the humans, which is the will and purpose of God. It's the power of the force of the life that drove Jesus. What was the Son driven to do more than anything else—to please himself? The temptation record, along with everything recorded about the real Jesus, say otherwise. He was only driven to be concerned about the Father and His possession, His true family, whom Jesus was given the responsibility to take care of, be concerned about, reveal their true Father to, and give his life for. That's why the Father loved him, because he didn't act like every other human animal, which are driven to be consumed about their own welfare so they could never love the Father and His purpose as they do their own.

There couldn't be a more clear explanation about how to please the Father than this simple two-pronged devotion; yet the nature that lives in the humans is such an efficient thing that it's impossible to even recognize, let alone live our lives away from its dominance over us. That's why we have to be driven by another force, of the same power that drove Jesus, in order to not be led by it. There is no thinking our way to it, or figuring out how to please God and then doing it, because as soon as we turn the corner, there will be another compelling, alluring thing inside us, wanting/needing/craving/forcing us by its will to give it some attention.

Why do the nations say, "Where is their God?
Our God is in heaven; He does whatever pleases Him.

Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, `You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.

We don't decide what the will and purpose of God is, or what part we're going to play in it. We can't even know it unless that information has been given to us, and we are being driven by the same force that Jesus was driven by, to accomplish that will and purpose. How arrogant it is of the humans to think that they can decide what God's will is (not accidentally it just happens to suit them and their needs & cravings and appease their fear), and that they know the exclusive way to Him—and by their own power of agreement and consensus they can include and exclude whomever serves them and their cravings that they are driven to have satisfied within themselves.

But their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men.
They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see;
they have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but they cannot smell;
they have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but they cannot walk;
nor can they utter a sound with their throats.

Our situation is a lot like the poet's, because the Lord has made us to be a certain way, and know certain things that are just true, but has only made it plain to us. Like the Israelites, we know that our God is the only true God, but He is invisible, and cannot be seen by the rest of the world, only by us the invisibly minute minority. In Israel's day the entire world believed in gods they could carve out of wood and see. This group of Israelites had no image of their God, so everyone looked at them and said, "Where is He? We cannot see Him so He isn't there." But they just knew that their God was real and alive.

In the same way they look at us and say, "Where is your God? See, we have a god we can see and believe in. Every Sunday He comes out to greet us. And look, all these people also believe in our god. You cannot be correct if there are so few of you—it's all in your minds and you have no proof." But just as the Israelites knew, we just know beyond anything that He is real, and has come to us and given us a special understanding that we did not have before, and that He hasn't given to the others. That's pretty much the long and short of our predicament, although it is as long and complex as the string of miracles that we've been experiencing over the past few years, which aren't stopping or growing faint—they keep coming and changing into something more stable as the life in us—what those miracles are for—continues to grow and become complete.

We know we didn't make it up, as much as the Israelites knew they didn't lead themselves out of Egypt through the Sea, or that the water just started flowing from the rock on its own. However, the joy they experienced when they witnessed the power and presence of God—knowing they were His people by that validation—was not always visible and tangible to them all the time. God wanted them to remember and have faith that He was real, in those times, which is what faith is. It's relatively easy to believe in the God we can't see when He provides proof in the power of His presence.

So be very careful to love the LORD your God.

We have experienced a certain type of anxiety in not being able to prove that our God is real and alive, and has called us to this new way, what we cannot prove. It's hard to take strength and comfort in the fact that we know He has called us to this understanding of His presence with overwhelming proof within us, however with no ability to prove it beyond our selves. We have an underlying sense of unexplainable dread within us, because we have no proof, that there must be something wrong, there must be something wrong. We know this thing, and it contradicts this other thing which many people adhere to. Yet we know we're right and about them we don't know.

One of the strongest components of that animal nature is that which they crave to get from the humans to be validated and accepted, to find an agreement with them about what we believe. However, it is the Father's express purpose that we *don't* find that agreement with them, because that would be being driven by the animal instead of Him. It would mean that we don't have to believe, as Abraham and Jesus believed, that we could just believe in concept while we continued along as before, seeking and finding the gratification for all of the cravings that are in us by nature. That means not believing at all, but just pretending, and hiding.

It's easier to believe something you can see, that is tangible, and that a bunch of others also believe in because that's where the animal nature finds that agreement. That is the way of the flesh and how it lies to us. It has a hard time believing in what its eyes cannot see and its hands cannot touch—that which it cannot control. It finds comfort in numbers, so it is driven to seek that out. It's why bible camp is so satisfying, because of the intense atmosphere of everyone all doing the same thing without the distractions normally present, listening to teaching about the things of God. It satisfies that craving in us to find that agreement and bypass the process of real belief, as per what we've been given by the Father.

What we should realize is that that's the way God wants it to be, it's the way it's supposed to be, and everything's fine, although not being able to find that agreement and satisfy that deep craving will give us lots of grief. We can only know what we know, and believe that the Lord has made it this way for his own reasons and purpose. By that we can believe that we're okay, it's okay, and we patiently endure in what he is giving us, not what our old nature wants and tells us we think we should have.

Even with the Israelites, He did great miracles and then went away a little, back to the spiritual realm, where He exists, where the humans cannot see. And He wanted them to remember Him when He wasn't so tangibly present, to fight the flesh that wants to forget Him and say that if we can't see Him then maybe He did that miracle, but right now He's gone, and we don't know if He's gone for good so we better do what we can for ourselves. Let's make our own god that we can see with our eyes and touch, who will not go away, one that we can control and believe is real because we can see, touch, taste and feel it. Then we will be soothed.

It is God's reason and purpose to be this way with those He has chosen, so we can take comfort that He has always been this way with those He has chosen to be His, those in whom He desires to see faith, which is against what the animals are innately capable of doing. This is something we should meditate on—that He wants to see this in us when He is not so present and tangible to us, that He desires to see it in us, and that it pleases Him, because it is against what is easy and natural. It is the way of the son instead of the animal, which is our new identity.

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.


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