Five-Fold Today - The Corporate - Freedom, a New Revolution - Revelation to start a Revolution! - Death Comes Before Blessing - Your Faithfulness Will Be Rewarded - Going In and Out Before Me - Faith - Ever So Close - Come

April 13, 2001

The Corporate

One of the most fundamental and essential aspects of the christian life is the believer's participation in the 'corporate'. Throughout the history of both Israel and the Church, the corporate aspect of life has been set at the forefront. Every individual Jew was aware that his nation, as a collective people, had a unique destiny and that his individual destiny was entwined with it. Every Christian who has had a fuller revelation of God's purposes knows that the greatest and grandest of all God's workings will take place through His many-membered Church. A very powerful and far-reaching statement came from the mouth of Jesus in Matthew 16:18, "...upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." This shows that the ongoing conflict is between two collective entities, the Church (inherently corporate) and the gates of hell, composed of the devil and his subordinates. Without question, Christ and His Church will emerge victorious. Let us consider 4 major pictures of the Church as they are presented to us in the New Testament scriptures. May every believer and seeker of truth seriously consider how he relates to and participates in each picture.

The Flock

The main scriptures giving us this picture of the Church are Psalm 23 and John 10. In this picture, Jesus is seen as the Good Shepherd, who gives His life for the sheep and faithfully provides and cares for them. In both these passages, promises are given to address every need of spirit, soul and body. In Psalm 23, the Shepherd's provision is such that each member of the flock is left with 'no want'. Among the Lord's gracious blessings are peace and rest, comfort, guidance and protection from evil. The shepherd's presence is constant. As a member of the flock, the life is constantly graced by goodness and mercy. The abundant overflow of all God's blessings and provision is summed up in the words, "my cup runneth over."

In John 10, a similar picture unfolds, with the focus kept on Him (Jesus) who is the source of all good things which touch the life of each individual sheep. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, lays down His life for the sheep (salvation), guides them to find pasture (provision), calls His sheep by name (personal relationship), holds each in His hand (protection) and generally provides abundant life for all.

This first picture of the Church is vital and precious to every believer, young and old. None of us can continue in life without the constant oversight and care of our Good Shepherd.

The Building

It is sad to observe that a majority of Christians choose to live in the first picture without a conscious awareness of anything further in their calling. Their lives tend to remain self-centered and unfulfilled. The prevailing mentality of many is that Christianity starts and stops with blessings. Very little regard is given as to whether God's heart is satisfied or whether some responsibility may accompany salvation. Our second picture, that of the Building, introduces a different focus and begins to challenge each of us with a dimension of responsibility. In 1 Corinthians 3:9, it is declared, " are God's building." And again in verse 16, "Know ye not that ye (collectively) are the temple of God...?" In Ephesians 2:19-22, the picture of 'the Building' is further drawn, showing that believers are to be built together to become a (corporate) habitation for God.

Christians are not to live a life of self-centered isolation, but rather to interact with other believers until spiritual joining and unity are achieved. In our first picture, believers are seen as sheep in a flock, recipients of the manifold blessings of God. Here, they are seen as 'living stones', built together by a unique operation of the Spirit to become the very habitation of God.

Let us consider some steps of responsibility which now begin to fall on the true Christian believer:

  1. We are called to come unto Him as 'living stones'. (See 1Peter 2:4,5)
  2. We are placed by the Spirit into a local church. (1Corinthians 12:18)
  3. We are molded and fashioned by the hands of God's appointed ministry. (1Corinthians 3:10; Ephesians 4:11,12) Some want to remain in the sovereign hands of God, but His way is that we be placed in the hands of responsible ministries in a local church.
  4. We are joined one with the other to become the habitation of God. (Ephesians 2:19-22) (Where joinings have been established over a period of many years, there is an increase both in the measure and quality of God's presence. This is not true of revolving crowds that gather just for blessings' sake. Reference: Psalm 133.)
  5. If this picture is to become a reality, every believer must respond to his calling into a local church and interact effectively with all its members. Note some examples from scripture of interaction which should take place among believers: (receive one another; love one another; forgive one another; pray one for the other; edify one another; admonish one another; care one for the other; etc...)

The Body

The picture of the Body is one of ministry, i.e., the function of its many and diverse parts to produce a fullness of life. Whereas the picture of the Flock gives us a focus on receiving, the picture of the Body gives us a focus on giving. Throughout the domain of God's creation, we see entities composed of both head and body. Although our head, the Lord Jesus, may be perfect in every way, He is incomplete without a body. In Ephesians 1:23, the church is declared to be, "...His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all."

When Jesus was on earth as a man, the fullness of God dwelt in Him and was manifest. No other single human being can ever hope to be indwelt by that fullness, for the fullness of God is meant to reside in a many-membered body. Each believer is gifted and graced in a certain manner to give expression to a portion of that fullness. The scripture basis for this concept is found in 1 Corinthians chapter 12.

Let us consider several concise summarizing statements related to this picture of the Church:

  1. We are saved to become a specific part of Christ's body. (1Co.12:13,18)
  2. Each member of the Body not only receives from the Body, but has a responsibility of ministering to the Body. (1 Corinthians 14:12; Ephesians 4:14-16)
  3. God has placed special ministry gifts in the church to equip the saints for the work of their ministry. The saints should consult their pastors and leaders with regard to their ministries and giftings and have them confirmed with the laying on of hands. (Ephesians 4:11-13; 1 Tim.4:14)
  4. God's objective is a fully functioning, mature, corporate man (Christ and His Church), through which God's work will be accomplished and His purpose be established in the earth. (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 4:13; Ephesians 3:10) While the concept of 'the building' implies a dwelling place for God's presence, the concept of 'the body' implies a full expression of the life of Christ. Both these aspects of the church require a serious conscious commitment on the part of the believer. Thus, our commitment to the Lord should include a commitment to a local Body for the fulfillment of God's purpose in a certain geographical area.

The Bride

The concept of the Bride is the fourth major picture of the Church given in scripture. If we are awakened to and truly serious about this concept, it will require a depth of commitment previously unknown. The picture of the Bride calls for intimacy of relationship with Jesus, the Bridegroom, and preparation for participation with Him in both the end of this age and the coming Kingdom. The popular and shallow teaching of a rapture followed by some type of 'honeymoon' in heaven falls far short of God's intended purpose for His Church.Let us note some very profound and important aspects of the Church as the Bride of Christ:

  • Espousal In 2 Corinthians 11:2, the Apostle Paul considers the Church 'betrothed' to Christ, even as a woman might pledge herself to marry a certain man. The yearning of the Apostle is that she, the Church, might remain a pure virgin, fit for her pure and holy Bridegroom. In this passage, it is significant to note that her defilement could come not only from the world, but from 'another gospel', 'another Jesus' or 'another spirit'. It is sad to note that, from our vantage point, a large portion of the church has already been defiled and has become disqualified to be the Bride of Christ.

  • Preparation. If we become gripped by the profound implications of our calling as the Bride of Christ, we shall acknowledge that a salvation experience followed by careless living will disqualify us. Instead of a 'saved and going to heaven' mentality, we shall walk softly before Him and expect a process of preparation for the 'marriage supper of the Lamb'. Revelation 19:7 indeed indicates that "his wife hath made herself ready." Let us further consider the preparation process: a.Ephesians 5:26 indicates that the Lord will "sanctify and cleanse the church with the washing of water by the word." This is an on-going process performed by the anointed ministry of the Word of God. Those who are serious about participating in the marriage of the Lamb will not follow the multitudes to be simply blessed or entertained. They will seek out a ministry characterized by a sanctifying and cleansing word. b.I John 3:1-3 indicates that when our Lord appears, there will be those who will be like Him at His appearing. Many conclude that this is an impossibility and dismiss it from their theology, but if we stay with what this text is saying, we see in verse 3 that there will be those who will hold to the hope of being like Him and will purify themselves. (We know we cannot do this in our own strength, but as God speaks and deals with us, those who yield and respond in obedience, will indeed experience transformation into Christ-likeness. (For other confirming texts see: 1 Peter 1:22; Titus 2:14; 2Corinthians 3:18; 2 Corinthians 7:1.)

  • Presentation. Several times, the Apostle Paul alludes to the picture of the Church being presented to Christ as a proper Bride. Whereas the majority in Christendom simply think 'rapture' without regard to their condition, the Bible clearly indicates that the Bride will be a company of people who will be "holy and without blemish". (See Ephesians 5:27; Colossians 1:22; 1Thessalonians 5:23; Jude 24) Again we refer to Revelation 19:7 to show that the Bride is composed of saints who are diligent in preparing themselves for a marriage with Christ the Bridegroom.

  • Participation. Whereas shallow Christianity establishes a mentality of going to heaven to enjoy eternity, the scriptures do not confirm such theology. The complete song of the redeemed is given in Revelation 5:9,10: "...Thou art worthy to take the book and to open the seals thereof, for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred , and tongue and people and nation; and has made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth." Thus, the Bride will be co-regent with Christ in His literal kingdom on the earth. Another passage which points to the Bride's participation with Christ in His coming Kingdom is found in Revelation 19:11-21. A careful study of this passage, which follows the marriage supper of the Lamb, shows that the Bride is the army which follows the Lamb and which shares in the smiting of the nations and ruling them with a rod of iron. (Supportive scripture: Rev.2:26,27)

    Author Unknown

    Freedom, a New Revolution

    by Michael Danforth

    When we speak of knowing our place in the "BODY", the idea is much larger than the organism that is formed within the four walls of some building. The body of Christ is destined to fill the entire earth. So when we speak of people finding their place, we are not just speaking of some building that stands on the corner of third and Franklin. We are referring to a living organism that is growing, destined to effect every kingdom, within every culture, throughout the world. Therefore finding our place in the body of Christ is much broader than finding some position within our limited understanding of what the "LOCAL CHURCH" is really all about.

    Why do we find ourselves often times, referring to the people and the church as if they're two different parts? The people are the church and the church is the people. Once this really takes hold, we are on the edge of discovering a whole new kind of freedom, possibly even a "New Revolution". There are certain basic principles such as these that are vital to the edification and maturation of the people of God. It's time for leaders in the Christian world to address barriers that have been warring against the growth of the church for last hundred years or so. Not just the ones that always seem agreeable with the majority, but the ones that have the potential of dimming our own popularity amongst other Christian leaders in our own communities. I mean God forbid, that it slow "OUR MINISTRY" down.

    If our highest call is to build up, "TO EDIFY" the body of Christ in love,then shouldn't that involve a response to those who appear to be hindering that process of edification? There’s a lot of wrong thinking in the minds of many Christian leaders today, but yet we seem to be so reluctant to address it. Isn't that a part of our responsibility, as leaders in the church? We have become so concerned about being marked, as dividers of the unity of faith, that our very lack of response has become a major hindrance to the maturation of the body of Christ?

    Are we not mature enough to allow others within the body to question our leadership? And if we are questioned by one of those who seem to be "MUCH LESS QUALIFIED" than ourselves, do we feel the need to put them in their place or maybe even show them the door? After all, how dare they question our authority! I'm not referring to those who like to question leadership just for the sake of disagreeing. No, I'm speaking of those who believe they have the ability to hear God's voice, or maybe even interpret scripture almost as good as a "PROPHET OR APOSTLE" can. What is our attitude toward them?

    As leaders, what are we telling "THE SHEEP" when they have a desire to go across the street to another building and have a little interaction with the rest of the "BODY OF CHRIST?" Do we encourage them to do so, or do we caution them to be careful and not get to close? After all, there is a danger of him or her being edified by someone else other than "US". And what if they do leave and go so somewhere else? Do you bless them and send them on their way? Or do you tell them how they are out of God's will and that they're certain to pay a high price for their disobedience?

    I'm not saying that you don't offer them wise counsel concerning their decision, after all they could be making a bad choice. Nonetheless, let's make sure that our counsel is for their benefit and not just our own. It doesn’t mean it's wrong to want them to stay, for whatever the reason, but it’s wrong to sacrifice them for the sake of our "MINISTRY."

    Are we really amazed when they finally escape our systematic prison of thinking, to find their reluctant to ever want to come back again, to anything that might remotely remind them, of you and me?

    How do we justify this kind of manipulation, control…witchcraft? We say that it's our responsibility to care for "THE SHEEP" is this really our main concern? I'm sure they are overwhelmed by our deep concern to keep them all together in one nice neat pin, but have you noticed their resistance in the last few years? It's almost as if they are unappreciative of all our hard work and commitment toward their future. I'm not really sure what initially caused many of the revolutions before us but I know they all had one thing in common, THE LACK OF LIBERTY!.

    You know that scripture we have used so often, again and again, over the last decade, the one that says, "where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, well, its been lacking in most of the people that are a part of the "Local Church." The freedom that most people are accustomed to is best defined as, "Manipulative Freedom." This is the kind of freedom that manipulates you into doing something you really don't want to do but you do it anyhow, because you either feel guilty or fear the consequences if you don't. I'm sure that’s the kind of freedom Jesus gave His life for.

    Have you've ever wondered how many people "Tithe" into the kingdom of God because of this kind of liberty? I'm sure there would be no pressure on our part or condemnation if they decided to do other wise.

    Did I mention a "Revolution" oh yea, I did. Well get ready, because "A REVOLUTION" is coming to a city near you! I'm sure we will be quick to call them rebels and declare them enemies of the "LOCAL CHURCH" rebellious against the government that God has ordained. But nonetheless, "GET READY" cause where the spirit of the Lord is, THERE IS LIBERTY!

    You're destined to make a difference,
    Michael Danforth
    Mountain Top Ministries

    Revelation to start a Revolution!

    Debra Westbrook

    This morning as I awoke, I heard those words rising in my spirit. Revelation should start a revolution! The government of the Kingdom, the Lordship of Christ, seeks to begin a revolution in each of us. Ruling and reigning from the throne of our lives, Jesus is the center of our beings. His divine authority and power flows through submitted lives on bended knee. Any attempt by our flesh to rise up to take control must be silenced in His glory!

    The revolution must first take place in us before it can flow through us to touch those around us. Isn't that what Christianity be blasted with the reality of revelation to start a revolution! He has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light so that we may proclaim His praises with a violence to change the spiritual atmosphere everywhere we go! We must see the evidence of a revolution in us through changed lives around us!

    In Him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28) Any revelation from the throne of God produces lives of divine revolution- rotating, transfixed, in awe of the glorious reality of the Son, Jesus Christ. He is the center of our lives. The revelation of Jesus, unveiled in greater depth in each of our lives, (Christ in us, the hope of glory- Colossians 1:27) produces a radical violence within us before that is ever manifested through us. For what revolutionary ever attempted to start a revolution that did not first start as a passion and a fire burning within them first? The order is simple- revelation to start a revolution.

    Those violent in spirit possessed by an increasing revelation of the Son will want to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. It is all about Jesus- the ultimate revolutionary who left heaven and emptied Himself of glory to redeem mankind back unto the Father! So let the revolution each of us!

    Violent times call for violent measures - the Kingdom of Heaven (within us) suffers violence (as our flesh rises up to take control, unsubmitted to His Lordship) and the violent (those willingly submitted to the cross of Christ) take it by force. The revelation from God's throne must start a revolution or we will all fade into obscurity as a people who brought forth word after word after word with little if any manifestation of these words being evidenced in revolutionary lives sold out for Jesus. The evidence of true spiritual revolution is in lives transformed by the power of the cross.

    I long to be a revolutionary in God's Kingdom. There are many like me and in reality, we know not what we are asking but where are we to go? We are so hungry that revolution stirs in our hearts to know Him more. We await a divine release from heaven to sound forth a revolutionary war cry. "I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death..." Philippians 3:10. We will allow the cross to be the standard in our lives. It will be worked through us so that we may die to our interests and come alive to His desires for these times in which we live.

    God's divine strategy has been revealed to us in the wilderness to flow through us as we step forth in power and authority. Remember God's revolutionaries will be known not for their violent actions nor their fiery rhetoric. That will happen but God is looking for those who will bear the resemblance and be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. So lead on King Jesus........bring on the revelation that will start a revolution!

    "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death!" Revelation 12:11

    Rivers of Eden
    Debra Westbrook
    May these words bring glory to Jesus!

    Death Comes Before Blessing

    Doug Morrell

    The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead changed everything; past, present, and future.

    That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death... (Phil. 3:10)

    "That I may know him" is not about acquiring facts about Christ but, rather, is an intimate, deep-down, personal relationship with Jesus, which is best described as a union in His death, burial, and resurrection. "I have been crucified with Christ," Paul says in Galatians, "nevertheless I live. Yet not I, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

    When we are united with Christ by trusting in Him, we experience the power that raised him from the dead. That same mighty power will help us live morally renewed and regenerated lives. But before we can walk in newness of life, we must also die to sin; death comes before blessing. Just as the resurrection gives us Christ's power to live for Him, His crucifixion marks the death of our old sinful nature. In truth, we can't know the power and blessing of His resurrection without personally applying the pain and suffering of His crucifixion. From his book, Body Life, Ray Stedman wrote:

    We must understand that resurrection power is like no other power on earth. It is unique, and has no possible rival. For one thing, it is the kind of power that operates in the midst of death. It works when everything around it is dull, dead and barren. It works best in the midst of a cemetery, for that is where it was first demonstrated. When Jesus Christ was resurrected he came out from among the dead. Therefore, if you learn to live by resurrection power you can be alive and vital when everything and everyone around you is dead and lifeless.

    Resurrection power is also irresistible. It cannot be thwarted or turned aside. It takes absolutely no account of any obstacles thrown in its path, except to use them for further opportunities to advance its cause. When Jesus came bursting from the grave, he paid not the slightest attention to the obstacles man had placed in his way. There was a large stone in front of his tomb; he passed through it. He himself was wrapped in yard after yard of linen cloth; he left the graveclothes undisturbed behind him. There were Roman guards in front of his tomb; he ignored them. He took not the slightest notice of the decrees of Caesar, or the orders of Pilate or the fulminations of the Jewish priests. Furthermore, resurrection power makes no noise. Other kinds of power that we know usually make some kind of sound: they pound, pulsate, throb, hum, buzz, explode, or roar. But resurrection power is quite silent. Without any display or ostentation it quietly accomplishes its purpose though there is nothing audible or visible to mark it. When a Christian is living by resurrection power he does not advertise it or seek to dazzle others by its display. His effect upon others is quiet and unobserved at first, but soon there are evident changes that mark the inevitable effect of resurrection power at work: the return of life, vitality, excitement and joy to an individual or situation.

    The good news of the Easter message is that Jesus can open your eyes to spiritual reality. He can forgive your sinful rebellion, eliminate your fear of what happens to you after you die, and He can give you life to the fullest right now. All you need to do is turn to Him as Savior and Lord. The Bible makes it clear that you don't have to have your life all in order or have to give up bad habits or anything of the sort. The Bible clearly says that "...if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness [being made right with God], and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."

    What better way to celebrate Easter than to accept the new life Jesus offers today? If you have not done so already, or if you are not sure, today you can trust Him as your Savior by surrendering your will to Him as Lord. Then you will know the thrill, the joy, and the security of the resurrected Christ Jesus living inside of you.

    May you grow in grace and truth....

    doug morrell
    christian outfitters

    -- Live Christ Deliberately!

    Your Faithfulness Will Be Rewarded

    Bill Hardaway

    My child come to me and I will bless you beyond your wildest dreams. Come to Me now and I will release an even greater presence in your life. I desire for you to walk in the fulness of My Spirit and experience my presence continually. Know that I am drawing you ever closer to me. Do not strive to enter in, allow me to continually draw you. Like a person laying in a row boat without ores. (I see God having a rope attached to this boat, slowly pulling you towards Him) You will be a blessing to others and be a vessel for Me to pour out my blessing and love to others. Know that everything you have gone through have been for a reason, nothing has been left to chance in your life. You have suffered for Me, now I shall raise you up into Heavenly places and place you right by My side. Rejoice.......your deliverance from yourself, that you have prayed for so hard and long, is at hand.

    Going In and Out Before Me

    Ras Robinson

    I have called you to go in and out before Me all the days of your life. There are so many things I have to say to you. Many are the things I want to show you. The work I have done in you already has been in preparation for this hour. I am making you holy even as I am holy. You are learning obedience through your suffering. There has always been purpose for you. You were called with a destiny that can only be fulfilled by your going in and out before me. This is My method of your training. You have come into a trusted position with Me. It is through your obedience that My will will be done in all the earth. Consider yourself my ambassador or statesman and that you are an extension of Me. I have already given you full and complete authority to go and accomplish many things in My name. The more faithfully you obey My instructions, the more assignments you shall receive. And greater still will become your reward in both Heaven and earth. Now, go in and out before Me.

    Ras Robinson to Strengthen, Encourage and Comfort Fullness in Christ Church, Pastor
    Fort Worth, TX


    Martin Sayers

    Tell My people that I love them in spite of their difficulties. That I indeed loved them while they were yet sinners and knew me not. During this time of great discoveries of your weaknesses and inabilities I have not left you or forsaken you, but I wait on you to call upon the name of the Lord from a position of faith. Then My strength will be made manifest in you. There is no good work that you can do that will be pleasing unto the Lord; it is faith that I am looking for. It is your faith that has been challenged by these winds, not your ability to perform good works for the sake of God. There is nothing you can do to make Me love you any more that I already do. I see your willingness to work and do good work yet where is you faith? These times of testing are about the strengthening of your faith.

    Heb. 11:1-2 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it (faith) the elders obtained a good report. Have faith in God. It is by faith that the door will be opened not by any good thing that you can do. Where ever you think you are strong I will let you become weak until you humble your self and call upon the Lord that My strength may be manifested within you. Then will the Father of your Lord Jesus be glorified.

    Ever So Close

    Luz Cintron

    Hide me in the secret chambers of Your heart, Oh Faithful One!
    Keep me under the shadows of the golden wings
    Deep in the center where all Your mercy sits
    Covered by Your glory, hidden from my weakness and my faults,
    There where they can not find me,
    There where there is no room they can have,
    Because You fill it all!
    Oh how I need You Holy One!
    To make me Holy unto You
    Oh How I need You lovely One
    To teach me love as love endures in You.
    What can I do but surrender?

    There is no beauty in me to be desired.
    In the rags of my pride it is my spirit who cries
    Open my eyes and my heart
    to Your truth and Your guidance.
    Y'shua El Shaddai
    My heart longs for You and You alone.
    In You I am quieted and still
    None of us know who we are
    Until You reveal it to us,
    At your embrace, Oh Y'shua El Shaddai,
    Let me go down to rest from the strive of my pride and my flesh.
    Let death surrender its sting and become in Your hands
    A tool for perfection.

    Oh Y'shua Adonai!
    You are all that I want
    In my weakness You are there to sustain me.
    You are my stronghold
    Hold me close to Your heart
    And there, bind me with the cords of Your love
    Ever close, ever yours, and forever surrendered.

    You are my all in all, Lovely One
    How long and how dry seems the life that refrains me from Youv Compared to Your kisses of love
    and the fragrance that rise from Your smile and Your hands
    How I long to be present to You
    My Y'shua El Shaddai

    Soothe the longings in my heart!
    Draw me closer still in the golden center beneath the wings
    Of Your mercy and Truth
    While You purge my iniquities
    While you teach me the fear of You
    in the rest of Your arms
    While Your heart sings Your love
    When its beat is all I hear
    In the worshipping silence of trust.
    Here I am, here I am
    Have Your way in my life,
    Help me trust You through all...

    For You are all that I want
    You are the love of my life
    Y'shua El Shaddai
    Hold me tight and forever in Your arms!

    Your servant in His love;
    Luz Cintrón
    "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready."

    Revelation 19:7


    Tim Plett

    This word is for those who being called to step out, in obedience, into a new place of service but the temptation to fear is strong. You feel the Lord is asking you to crawl out onto a limb. And as you look out on that limb it seems nothing but dry, barren and fragile, utterly incapable of holding your weight. A fall seems inevitable.

    The Lord asks:

    How much do you trust Me? Do you trust Me enough to leave your place of safety and security by the trunk and crawl out toward Me? Do you trust Me enough to allow Me to be your Security--your Strength--your Support?

    I have set you in that present place of safety. You have been protected, nurtured, fed and strengthened there. You have grown there. It is a good place.

    But I am calling you from the good to the better. Are you willing to come?

    Come and I will be your Strength. Come and I will be your Security. As you step out onto that limb, you will find that My hands are beneath you, supporting you, protecting you, offering security.

    As you come that limb--which seems so dry--will begin to flow with new life. You will find it strong and supple. It will bud and blossom and bear fruit.

    Come. I will be there.

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