… He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. – John 14:12-21
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Likewise, when we sense that love of the Father and the Son, we love doing what Jesus asks from us. As we act, our understanding becomes clearer.
In this, we come to live prophetically.
Prophecy knows many levels, including the standard dictionary meanings in which prophecy (1) tells what will happen if the people continue to be unfaithful; (2) speaks when or as divinely inspired; and (3) interprets Scripture through the Light of the Holy Spirit.
And then Christ’s Universal Love transforms them.
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The great Gospel-Treasure is the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Glory of that Treasure is Christ in us. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)
… Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you … – John 14:12-21
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Christ is in us, opening our spiritual eye. The Christ Within. The Inward Light.
Connecting us with the Infinite, the Holy One.
The Oneness of Universal Love.
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Being guided by the Light, which is the Spirit of Christ, within us, hereby a sure Hope of Eternal Glory is given to us. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)
… And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you … – John 14:12-21
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Again, we have a promise of the Holy Spirit or Inward Light dwelling within those who seek it.
In passages like this, we also need to take care to avoid dismissing a biblical situation with contemporary values; it is easy to label a confrontation in the Bible as patriarchal, for example, without being aware of how shrewdly an individual may be subverting the existing situation or exploiting to her own benefit (see Ruth or Esther). I do value attempts to understand a scene in both its historic social context as well as its modern parallels: we are too easily blind to our own conditions of exploitation and injustice, such as those arising from racism or from the military-industrial-high tech-university complex we are enmeshed within. Like it or not, as modern Americans we are part of a system of haves and have-nots that has benefited us handsomely. When we perceive historic injustice, we need to ask also where the parallels are in similar settings today. Put another way, when I’m reading scripture, the characters are often wearing Levis, rather than bathrobes – even Calvin Kleins and Land’s End; but they are still in Birkenstocks, rather than Reeboks, and remain pedestrians rather than jet-setters.
But this passage urges us to look within, now, for divine comfort and guidance.
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It shines in the dark Heart of Man, though Man in his dark State cannot discern what it is, yet it is that sure Word of Prophecy, whereunto we do well to take heed, as unto a Light that shineth in a dark Place, until the Day dawn, and the Day-star arise in our Hearts. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)
If ye love me, keep my commandments. … – John 14:12-21
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If we keep our promise to him, he keeps his promise to us. The child of God dwelling in constant faithfulness to his voice, even in the smallest things, will receive the victory. Pray that he will find us loyal and victorious to the end.
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‘Tis in him we are elected; not in ourselves, as though personally some were chosen, and others past by: But in the Seed Christ, the Elect of God, the Object of the Father’s Love, all who are gathered into him, are made a chosen Generation, an elect People by the Lord. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it. … – John 14:12-21
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We can do greater than Jesus? Think about it!
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Christ Jesus, who descended into the lower Parts of the Earth, the same ascended up far above all Heavens, that he might fill all Things, and sits now at the right Hand of God in his glorious Body, and therefore shall the low Estates and humbled Body of Believers be made like unto his glorious Body, through the working of his mighty Power, whereby he is able to subdue all Things unto himself, and then shall this Corruptible put on Incorruption, and this Mortality put on Immortality, and Death itself shall be swallowed up of Victory. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” – Luke 24:30-32 (NIV)
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Has anybody counted the number of meals in the New Testament?
Sometimes it’s a matter of quenching thirst; and sometimes, hunger.
Sometimes, while seemingly attending to the stomach, the heart was being the most fed.
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For they know that the Son of God is come, and hath given them an Understanding, that they know him that is true, and they are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ; this is the true God, and eternal Life. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)
As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him. – Luke 24:15-16 (NIV)
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So often, we think we see something clearly but later learn we missed something larger. That’s even before we consider our walk with Jesus.
Remember, Jesus said time after time, “You have heard … but I tell you …”
Continuing revelation cannot ignore a previous understanding.
Indeed, it cannot say, “We now have a different truth,” but rather, “We now have a clearer understanding of the truth, which leads us to react differently.”
This is how we have both roots and leaves and become fruitful.
Many of these things take time to unfold and ripen. We take one step at a time and watch and listen.
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It may be noted, how their Adversaries have been disappointed, for first, it was the Design of some, to have made Saduces of them, by giving out, That they deny the Resurrection, as it was said of them. For the Saduces say, There is no Resurrection, neither Angels nor Spirit. Thus some have sought to render these, as if at Death they believed Soul and Body were both to be annihilated; but when this would not take, then they reported, That the Body only was that which the Quakers held should never rise again. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)
… In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. – Romans 6:11-14 (NIV)
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At Ohio Yearly Meeting, a Plain Friend raised an interesting observation: “In their a cappella singing,” she said, “the Mennonites come very close to what we experience in our silent worship.” Which struck me as being quite true: the only way I can really sing harmony is by yielding and blending to the right harmonies. Joining my voice with Bob’s on the bass line, and yet being aware of each of the others.
So it is when we become instruments, and instruments of righteousness.
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Paul speaks his own Experience; For the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, hath made me free from the Law of Sin and Death, saith he; and therefore he exhorts the Corinthians, Having these Promises, dearly Beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all Filthiness of Flesh and Spirit, perfecting Holiness in the Fear of God. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)
… Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once and for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. … – Romans 6:8-10 (NIV)
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Paul proclaims a Oneness with Christ – a unity.
Many Christians await a Second Coming of Jesus, but here Paul sees Christ living already in the reborn believer.
This creates a life of faithful, loving, tender, continuing relationship.
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For they had an Eye to the Recompence of the Reward, and patiently they indured this, with much more, as seeing him who is invisible … (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)
… If we have been united with him in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin … – Romans 6:5-7 (NIV)
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“Sin” can involve something other than guilt: it can be our failing to live up to our end of the relationship. The death Paul speaks of in this passage, among others, dissolves the hard shell of ego or selfishness or self-centeredness that separates us from yielding to the Inward Light or the love God extends to us. It can free us to grow as the Holy One wants us to be.
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Let none any longer inquire at a Distance after the Quakers and their Principle …
But let them remember the Answer of Philip, who bid him, Come and see; so shall they meet with Satisfaction in that inward Principle of Divine Light, and the professors of it, which hath made many, and now hath it made me, a spiritual Traveller for Souls eternal Welfare. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)