Light in Darkness

Today, the Lord made me realize that everything in this world will just fail you, disappoint you. Even ourselves are disappointing and a failure. Only He never fails. Only in Him can we have our expectations.

The Lord gives us experiences and trials that may make us backslide or turn away from Him. But through these things can we have a deeper appreciation of what and who He is to us. It is just a matter of turning to our mingled spirit.

These past months, I have been very dormant and stagnant in my Christian life. I even chose the world over Him. Even though, in myself I know these things are not my real satisfaction, still I was so hardheaded that I still sought my happiness in darkness. But thank the Lord! In the midst of darkness, there is this light that leads us back to Him.

I don’t speak this out of knowledge, but of my experience of Him.

The church life, my church life is not perfect. Much more my Christian life is. Rather it is full of ups and downs. And these months, I’ve experienced a lot of downs. And in these down times, I chose to look at myself, at my situation, at my condition. I’ve been introspecting all this time, not realizing that all I need is to turn to Him, to call upon His name out of my heart’s inner content, to come to Him just as I am, and confess to Him that I can’t. In myself, I just can’t.

Praise the Lord for the new beginning everyday. He gives us new hope, new chance, to make it up to Him. It’s just so sweet of Him that even though we are the ones who have problems, and who are turning away from Him, He’s still the One making the way for us to come back to Him, to our home, to our real rest and satisfaction.

This may not be just “another” experience. May this be something that will change my living. Learn from mistakes. Then turn to the spirit. And just remain in the spirit, where we can have mutual enjoyment with the Lord.

Lord, I love You. I just love You. Thank You for loving me first that I am able to love You back. I want to love You again with my first love. Rekindle my love for You. Recover my heart and love. Recover myself. Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness. I am always unfaithful but You are. You never fail to remind me everyday that I am not my own anymore. Even though most of the times I ignore You, You still kept on whispering, even with that sweet, small voice, telling me that You miss me, that You still love me and that You want me to come back to You. Lord, thank You. Lord, I love You. I love You. I just love You.

Real Priesthood

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To be a priest is not mainly to do something for the Lord but to be taken over by the Lord. We must spend much time in the presence of the Lord and let Him come in to fill and saturate us.

His intention is that we answer His call by opening ourselves to Him and saying,” Lord, here I am, not ready to work for You, but ready to be filled and possessed by You and to be one with You.”

The main function of a priest is not to work but to spend time in the presence of the Lord until he is one with Him in the spirit. The priesthood that God plans to have is a corporate man who is saturated and permeated with Himself.

Take heed of this warning.

To do something for the Lord may be good, but its source is the wrong tree. We must realize that to do something for the Lord is awful, even terrible! What brought death into humanity? It was the tree of knowledge, and any consideration of doing something for the Lord comes from the same source.

The Lord’s only intention is for us to open ourselves to Him and let Him come into us to fill us and be one wih us. Then He will do something through us. Whatever He does through us will flow out of Himself. This is the real service which God is seeking today

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Quotes from Collected Works of Witness Lee, 1966, vol. 1, pp. 430, 427, 435
Further Reading: Collected Works of Witness Lee, 1966, vol. 1, “The Priesthood,” chs. 8-10
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2 Corinthians 3:18 – But we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.

John 17:22 – And the glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, even as We are one.

Priests Serving God

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It is a great matter that we, who once were sinners, sons of disobedience, children of wrath, children of the devil, enemies of God, and sons of Gehenna, are now priests of God serving Him. As to our person, we are sons of God. As to our spiritual occupation, we are priests of God. … Since we are priests, we should be serving the Lord all day long in whatever we do.

“A priest is one who serves God professionally.” But what is to serve God? Is it that we work for God? Absolutely not! Serving God is not doing something for God.

To realize what a priest is, we must first see God’s eternal plan. God is a God of purpose. He has a purpose which He wants to accomplish. According to the revelation of the Scriptures, God has a plan to work Himself into a group of people in order that He might be their life and they might become His expression.

Man was destined to receive God, to be filled, saturated, and permeated with God, and to have God flow out of him that he might be the living expression of God. This is a brief definition of a priest. He must contact God, be filled with God, and be possessed by God completely that he may be built up with others in the flow of the life of God. Then the priesthood will be God’s living, corporate expression.

We are no longer in the religion where we serve God without Christ in it, merely doing some work for God. God doesn’t call us out of the world to be His mere workers. Serving God is opening ourselves to Him, allowing Him to fill us inwardly and outwardly that whatever we do would just be an outflow of God in the flow of life.

Quotes from The Conclusion of the New Testament, p. 1097; Collected Works of Witness Lee, 1966, vol. 1, p. 426-427
Further Reading: Collected Works of Witness Lee, 1966, vol. 1,” The Priesthood,” chs. 1-6
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Revelation 1:5-6 – And from Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and has released us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and the might forever and ever. Amen.

The Death and Burial of Sarah

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Hear us, my lord. You are a prince of God in our midst. In the choicest of our burial places bury your dead wife. None of us will withhold from you his burial place for burying your dead wife. - Genesis 23:6

Here, we can see that Abraham cared much more for the burial place for Sarah than his tent for his dwelling. This is because he considered himself a sojourner while he was on earth (Genesis 23:4). His hope was not in the present but he kept looking forward for the future. Like Abraham, we must realize that we are just sojourners here on earth. This is not the place of our dwelling. Our hope is not today but at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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That he would give me the cave of Machpelah, which is his and which is at the end of the field. For the full price let him give it to me in your midst for the possession of a burial place. - Genesis 23:9

Although Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac were living at Beer-sheba (Genesis 21:33), Sarah died and was buried in Hebron, the place of fellowship with God. Hebron is between Beer-sheba on the south and Jerusalem on the north. Thus, Hebron was not only a place of fellowship but also a way that led to Jerusalem. In spiritual significance, the cave of Machpelah in Hebron (v. 19), in which Sarah was buried, is the gateway to the New Jerusalem.

The cave of Machpelah was at the end of a field, in which were many trees (v. 17). A field is a place where life grows; thus, it implies resurrection. Abraham did not bury Sarah in a place of death but in a place of life, a place full of resurrection (1 Cor. 15:36 and note). This indicates that Abraham believed in the God of resurrection (Rom. 4:17) and was filled with the expectation that his wife would be resurrected and would be in the city which has the foundations, the New Jerusalem. According to Abraham’s realization, Sarah’s death was not a termination but an entering into the gate of resurrection, the gateway into the expected city and the better country (Heb. 11:10, 16).

Quote from Genesis 23:9, footnote 2
Further Reading: Genesis 23; Life-study of Genesis, msg. 59
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Genesis 23:4 – I am a stranger and a sojourner among you. Give me the possession of a burial place among you that I may bury my dead wife out of my sight.

1 Corinthians 15:36 – Foolish man, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies.
Footnote 1 – The reality of resurrection is contained and concealed in nature, especially in the plant life. A seed sown into the earth dies and is made alive. This is resurrection. This answered the foolish Corinthians’ first question,” How are the dead raised?” (v. 35)

Hebrews 11:10 – For he eagerly waited for the city which has the foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God.

Hebrews 11:16 – But as it is, they long after a better country, that us, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

A Priestly Kingdom

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[In Exodus 19:6] God told the Israelites that they would be a kingdom of priests. … He meant that He wanted the whole nation to be priests. No one in the nation would be an ordinary person; the whole kingdom would be priests. This was God’s purpose.

Priests are those who wait on God and follow God. No one is able to come closer to God that the priests. Their job is to serve God.

The goal of God’s salvation is to gain priests (Rev. 1:5-6a). … The greatest calling and also the greatest grace is that men can serve God as priests.

Hallelujah! Today, as New Testament believers, we have the reality of this priestly kingdom. Each one of us can serve God as priests. It’s not that we have to serve God. It is that we get to serve God! We have to realize what a privilege it is! The Israelites lost this priestly kingdom but now, God is recovering it through the church. Praise the Lord!

Quotes from Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 50,” Messages for Building Up New Believers (3),” pp. 853-853; Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 57, pp. 199-200
Further Reading: Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 50,” Messages for Building Up New Believers(3),” ch. 48; Life-study of Exodus, msg. 50
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Exodus 19:6 – And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the children of Israel.

Revelation 5:10 – And have made them a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign on the earth.

Revelation 1:5-6 – And from Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and has released us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be the glory and the might forever and ever. Amen.

Life of Faith

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And He said, take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you. - Genesis 22:2

This shows a basic principle in God’s economy: all that God has given us, even what He has wrought in us and through us, must eventually be offered back to Him, that we may live a life of faith, not holding on to anything, even to the things given by God, but relying only on Him. …After we have offered to God what we have received of Him, He will return it to us in resurrection and it will become a blessing for the fulfillment of His purpose.

Isaac was Abraham’s son, given by grace. Even though Abraham waited for it for so long, he had no hesitation in obeying God. In verse 3, he even rose early in the morning. If we are on his shoes, we wouldn’t have been willing to do it, to think that you’re going to offer your only child. But Abraham had faith.

He believed that Jehovah would return his son. So in verse 14, Abraham was able to call the place Jehovah-jireh, meaning Jehovah will provide.

In our Christian life, we receive a lot of “blessings” from the Lord. But often times, when the Lord asks us to offer back to Him, we refuse, thinking that we are going to lose something. How we need to learn from Abraham, to be willing to offer back to God whatever we received from Him, to live a life of faith, depending on the Lord in everything, believing in the resurrected God. God will always provide.

Quote from Genesis 22:2, footnote 3
Further Reading: Genesis 22, Life-study of Genesis, msgs. 57-58
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Genesis 22:3 – And Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son. And he split the wood for the burnt offering and rose up and went to the place of which God had told him.

Genesis 22:14 – And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh, as it is said to this day, On the mount of Jehovah it will be provided.

Realm of Life and Truth

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Since we were regenerated, we have been transferred from the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of God. Although we are the most free people, we are also the most regulated persons, for we now must live in God.

To live in God is to live in the law of the Spirit of life, and this law is now in our mingled spirit. This is to obey the sense of life, to mind the spirit, and to live in the spirit.

When we live in the law of the Spirit of life, we live in God. Consequently, what we live out is God Himself. God is life; therefore, what we live out is life, and we become life-men.

We must also realize that the kingdom we are in today is a kingdom of light and truth.
When the Word is heard and life is received, the life becomes the light shining within to enlighten us. When Christ, as the divine life, shines within us as the light of life, we are under His enlightening. Having been born of God by receiving the Word, we have the divine life, eternal life, and this life becomes the light shining within us.

The divine light is the divine life in the Son operating in us.

And for us to live a life that corresponds with this divine light, we have the truth. This truth is not mere doctrine or teaching in the Bible. Truth or reality is just the Triune God Himself revealed in the Word. The more we spend time with the Word, the more we are sanctified, the more we live a life according to the kingdom of God.

Quotes from The Knowledge of Life, p. 109; The Conclusion of the New Testament, p. 567; 1 John 1:5, footnote 4
Further Reading: The Conclusion of the New Testament, msgs. 250-253; The Economy of God and the Mystery of the Transmission of the Divine Trinity, ch. 3
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John 3:5 – Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

John 8:12 – Again…Jesus spoke to them, saying, I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall by no means walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.