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As ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. KJV Matthew 10:7 -- I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. KJV Matthew 16:19 -- Ye are come unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, KJV Hebrews 12:22 On my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: KJV Acts 2:18 -- That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. KJV 1 Corinthians 2:5 --

Body Of Christ Writings:
Van Byington
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Food for Thought
What sin has overtaken us that our land suffers because of it? Have the rains been withheld? Have the locusts come and devoured the land? Has there been a pestilence been amongst the people?
The Lord says it is He Who does this in 2 Chr. 7:13. Then in the next verse, He further says "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." These are the conditions and the provisions He has set forth. It is as day follows night that it will happen as it is set forth in this very important verse.

The way is clear for us: we must humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn away from our wicked ways. That is four conditions to His three: hearing from heaven, forgiving our sin, and healing our land. Come on, Church, let's fall on our faces before the Lord, prostrating ourselves before Him, reverencing the Almighty God, fearing Him in His magnificent splendor and majesty. Let us humble ourselves, privately and publicly in the gathering of saints, bringing ourselves low, bringing our mind, soul, and spirit under subjection to His greatness, recognizing His sovereignty in this whole creation and in us His created.

We need to pray like a house on fire within our soul. We need to really mean business, not playing at being a part of the church. Our part is clear as we come to Him in true self-affliction of our soul to travail and cry out to Him. That is the prerequisite for seeking His face, how we look earnestly for Him to tell us over what to wrestle with Him on.

The way is clear for us to move the hand of God. He made a promise to hear from heaven when His people would turn from their sin and folly, crying unto Him through the dwelling place of His name meaning from within their heart as they pray to Him in Jesus' Name. He will then forgive us our sin and heal our land. This is what we really want - for Him to move in our lives and be moved by our prayers. Let's get on with prayer for the healing of all the land, ours and the nations we minister unto.
Van Byington 7/6/2004

What goes through our mind when we come to an end of a time shared with people we have gotten to know? Is our heart impacted with the love for these ones and made heavy at the thought of leaving them? Do we feel a loss over the soon parting because we may not see them again?
I think it is because we are leaving behind a part of our selves, the part we have given to them in love and friendship. We are grieving over the loss before it occurs because we know it may be the friendships will never grow any further than where it is now. That is a double grief because there may be no further development to the unity between the parties. It could also be a sadness of us being left alone.

After the parting, we feel like we are all alone. Of course, Christians never need to feel this way as we always have four of us around to fellowship with: ourself, the Father, the Holy Spirit,

and Jesus Christ. They all bring a comforting caress to our soul and we can take courage in this knowledge.

We must see things from the perspective of how Jesus looked at life. He was quoted in Jn. 16:32

as saying "Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me." He knew, even though the whole group would leave, He would not be alone. He would have the Father with Him. And, technically, He also was with the Holy Spirit.

It is in like manner that never find ourselves alone, friendless, and comfortless. He and His crowd is always there for us to commiserate with. The familiar phrase often quoted when I was growing up is "Two's company and three's a crowd." After all, He said He would never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5). Let us take our comfort in the Lord Jesus and be consoled with His love to get us over the hard times of leaving these dear ones behind. We will see them again on the other side of this earthly veil for all those who would come to know Him throughout their life.
Van Byington 6/18/2004

How many of us are properly giving the Lord thanks for His many blessings on our lives? Do we realize how much He has given us and how much we forget to acknowledge the goodness' given us? We have much to thank Him for and be thankful for and there are many areas to look to His providence in, including our spiritual life and those kingly riches in prosperity He has brought to us in the material.
There are seventy scriptures in the King James Bible where the word blessings is used and ten times where the word blessing is used. There is a place in Christ where we can come to recognize we have been greatly provided for and in addition our offspring also has been given the same benefits of the Lord. He has made this universe and world in which we live: He has set us in the midst of certain laws and bounds of physics and nature, determining our impact and destiny.

We have, in coming to Him, surrendered all of our will and desires to Him. He, in His great magnificence, has given the desires of our heart back to us because He has put them there originally, as it were, before we thought of having them. All the things He has given us throughout our lives we may have taken for granted because we were possibly not raised from birth as a believer in His ways, properly acknowledging Him as our Lord and Saviour. Even when we were raised this way, we may not have properly given Him the honor due Him in all the things in the way of blessings He has given us.

I would encourage us to take a few moments, minutes, blocks of time in hours, days, weeks, or months to meditate on the goodness of the Lord in our lives. I urge us to think on how He has shown us His tender mercies in all the ways He has brought blessings to us. It can be a very moving and humbling experience, giving us a greater intimacy with Him. It will come out in our appreciation of how the price of redemption for the whole world was planned for, prophesied throughout the ages, and paid by our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary. We can do no less than this deep consideration of His loving inheritance for all the children of God, all His creation.
4/23/04 Van Byington

Is there a requirement for us to look for the Lord? How is it we seek the Lord? Is there a set method or best practice for getting a hold of Him or gaining His attention?
The Bible tells us, in Is. 55:6, we are to "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:" This is a good thing for these reminders because we, as His children, often forget and need, like any child, to be told again and again of the thing we have forgotten. We have to look for the Lord daily, many times a day, not just once in a while. It is based on conscious effort on our part.
The word seek is defined by two different usages throughout the Old Testament. They are often used in a doublet construction, as in the following two verses:
Jer. 29:13 "And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."
The word search is the other word for seek.
Ps. 105:4 "Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore."
Both words are there in the Hebrew text. The word in the Isaiah verse is darash (1875), meaning to seek (with care), to resort to, enquire, require; to seek a deity in prayer and worship; to seek (with a demand), demand, require, to ask for; to practice, study, follow, seek with application or care, care for; t o investigate, enquire.
The other word for seek, or often translated as search, is baqash (1245). It means to seek, require, desire, exact, request; to seek to find, to secure; to seek the face; to desire or demand; to require or exact; to ask or request; to be sought. It can be found in many places where it talks of seeking the face of the Lord, as in Ps. 24:6 "This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah."
The psalmist and other people, mostly Hebrew, would set their heart's cry to music and offer their prayers unto the Lord. That is what a psalm is: a melody of praise unto the Lord from the heart of one inclined to sing of His great goodness and provision to them and others. They made music by rehearsing the words of positive affirmation about the Lord our God. We need do no less as we go throughout the day, to praise Him with a song in our heart and the words of truth from our most uplifting and comforting scriptures upon our lips.
Van Byington 4/6/2004

How do we get our faith to increase? The Bible teaches us this is accomplished by speaking the word out of our mouth. How do we get our beliefs to line up with what we speak? What causes us to believe our confession?
Let us look at a verse in Romans: "But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." This word near us is from the Lord. He has planted it in our hearts and made it known to us. The Lord will look to those of contrite heart who revere and tremble at His word (Is. 66:2).
The Lord can use us when we are in this position. The Romans verses tell us to confess the word out of our mouths. That word in Greek is omologeo (3670) and means to say the same thing as another, i.e. to agree with, to assent. It involves a profession, declaring openly, speaking out freely this word of the Lord with no shame or self-consciousness or hiding of the fact we have known and believed of the goodness of the Lord. We say the same thing as our Lord, the apostles, and what is written in the Bible coming from the Lord as our written instructions and promises to keep and claim as our own.
How we do this is to confess them on every occasion we can apply them to, everywhere in our day-to-day lives. In this manner, we are aligned with the truth of the Logos of written word and it becomes the rhema word to us as we hear ourselves say it out of our mouths and it becomes a part of us. Our sub-conscious is set free to create the devices to get us to the place we are confessing, aligning our mental, physical, and emotional energies to line up with that of the spiritual realm, that area where the Lord God spoke the worlds into existence. We have no real problem accomplishing that which He has spoken and already put into motion by the prayers of Jesus providing for His sheep for time eternity (Jn. 17:14-17) and by His righteous act on Calvary for all the world and us who would believe.
Van Byington 4/5/2004

When we build a house, is it one we would be pleased to show off to our friends and to the Lord? Are our efforts of the godly sort and do they bring glory to His name? What are we building with, the kinds of building materials used?
Ps. 127:1 tells us "Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain." We can glean from this that we are not to be doing things without the Lord as our primary focus. It also shows us the Lord will put His blessing upon us as we seek to do those things for Him, walking in His leading.

I think this verse from the psalms contains more than just being about building a house for the Lord or watching over a city. We have an incumbency to look to the Lord for our every morsel of bread and to place Him first in everything we do. We need to open our hearts up to Him, to let Him into our lives in such a real and meaningful way, to give Him such place in our hearts that we cannot we separated from Him or Him from us. We must never let there be any gap between us being with Him or Him with us.

He is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Pr. 18:24). He gives His protection and love, providing a way for us to live in the shelter of His covering wings (Ps. 36:7). There is nothing we can do to escape His love and presence - He is always there, everywhere we go. As long as we stay in His hand, in His kingdom, we will be drawn to His side and share in His love for us: believe it.

Another great bit of encouragement is Ps. 84:10 "For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness." This is the peace coming from being in the Lord's house and dwelling in safety there. It is shown in another psalm of praise in Ps. 63:7 "Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice."

Let us build our house to be a home for ourselves and the Lord of our heart. He will meet us and fill the whole place with His great love.
Van Byington 4/2/2004

Are we caught up in loving Him for what He has done in our lives? How are we loving Him and returning that love to Him as we appreciate and adore the things He has done for us and the places He has brought us to and the place He has brought us out from? It needs to be a full, rich, and meaningful love we give Him. Our praises of Him must be a deep heart-felt experience or else we are missing a facet of living in Him that could be ours.
In Eph. 1:3-6, Paul tells us we need to realize we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, to the end that we can praise the glory of His grace where we are accepted in the beloved. Imagine that! We are like totally accepted in Him, into His loving arms, all the time. We never have to doubt ever being shunned by Him - He is always there willing to welcome us into His loving embrace.

Every time we come to Him, we find all our issues, problems, and dilemmas simply evaporate in the presence of His tender affections toward us. It is so wonderful to live as accepted. We do not have to strive or work to do anything to earn His love because it is already there as that free gift we can receive at any time for all times of our lives. It is not a one time thing we take from Him at our initial salvation and then it wears down, tarnished along the paths we go down. This love is there all the time for all to lay hold of, to apprehend as we make it our possession for each time, each moment we are in need of it.

Live deeply in His presence at all times, my brethren. We must hide ourselves in Him to give ourselves the refuge for our every need, whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. He will be there for us at all times - oh, saint, come to Him with every cry of inner heart. He will lift us up into those heavenly places whether we can get our self there or not, He will do it. His hand is always extended unto us. Let us reach out and take hold of it, drawing on the strength is there to deliver us up to sit in the glory of His grace
Van Byington 2/13/2004

 Have you ever had the experience of being in the presence of the Spirit of
fear of the Lord?  Isaiah 11:2 tells us about this: "And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;" and it is talking about the worship and the awe of the Lord.  It is a very special aspect of the Lord's calling on our life. 

  When a cross-reference to the verse is done, what is found is scripture verses which talk about the Spirit of truth, the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of God, the spirit of wisdom, and generally the Spirit.  The context of verse three, following what is contained in verse two, explains, at least in the New King James, that "His delight is in the fear of the Lord" giving better indication of what it says in the King James.  It reads "And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD" which is simply stated as finding "fragrance in the reverence of Yahweh" in Rotherham's.

  So, verse two basically tells us what the spirit of the Lord comprises: it is the spirit of
wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, and knowledge and the fear of the Lord.  Do you see the groupings of the phrases?  I believe they are done that way in the Hebrew to indicate a strength gained from being together as a pair.  Would you believe that wisdom (3068) here is the word for JEHOVAH?  It is, and tied to it is the word ruwach (7307) which is the Hebrew word for breath, that life-giving kind.  For wisdom and understanding as one, WOW, that is something to stand in awe of, yes?

  Might is that plus bravery, valour, and strength.  Counsel is advice and purpose.  Do you see a direction or pattern this verse is taking here?

  What is tied to the main word under consideration here, fear, is knowledge.  It (1847) means knowledge, perception, skill, and discernment.  So, when we exercise our discernment and skill in understanding coupled with the proper reverence for the Lord as we look to Him in worship and adoration, there is a precise listening that occurs as He shows up due to our heart reaching up to Him and the response we create in Him as He comes down to us and inhabits our praises.  I think that is way cool, how about you?
Van Byington, Sept 15, 2003

I was awaken with Lev. 19:11 on my mind: "Ye shall not steal, neither deal
falsely, neither lie one to another." This is a three part injunction of the Lord. It has to do with stealing from each other, deceiving one another, and lying to one another. Sometimes, things are fairly simple in the way they are laid out for us to look at.

However, the term steal, in Hebrew ganab (1589), can mean that which is stolen and also to sneak away. This is significant because we will often very subtly withdraw ourselves from interaction with those we are in contact with. This happens when a point is reached where we have to place a boundary for our own benefit to protect our self from perceived damage and further intrusion into our space.

So, it looks as if we have a different interpretation on what the conventional wisdom is telling us is the correct meaning of this verse. I believe that it has to do with, not merely stealing articles of value from each other, the context bears out this more intimate human contact level based on how we interact with one another. Therefore, should the Lord really mean to be on that theme in dealing with our fellow man, we have a larger incumbency to not be invulnerable. We must evaluate the injunction to interact on a whole new basis: we can not withdraw ourselves from fellowship with one another, hiding our feelings, nor be false with one another in any interaction upon the face of this earth. It is a sin before the Lord to do so and we have no right to hide or cover over our true emotions.

As we seek to steal away, having learned over the course of our lifetime what we thought were slick ways to cover our thoughts and concerns for our own protection, we find that we are pulling away from the LORD God. We are becoming our own idol, worshipping at the altar of our feelings and holding our emotions and safety larger than what He has done for us on the Cross and provided for us by having our sins taken away.

This is very big with the Lord - He is a jealous God. I think the accusation stands out clearly in Jer. 9:3 where it reads "And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD." These adulterous and treacherous men have gone so far in their falsehoods that they know not the one true God. Do not let your eyes be so darkened by your own snare of self-deceit.

Van Byington, July 18, 2003

When we give unto the Lord, we offer Him our best by tradition, convention and it is according to the dictates of our heart that we give Him the best, the first-fruits of what we have. We can do no less.

We are usually constrained from robbing God by our conscience. What then could possibly keep us from giving Him all of our offering? Why would we hold any of it back? Do we have a need or some lust which is keeping us from giving all of what is due Him?

Recently, l thought l was giving Him a full tithe and when l figured up the gross receipts from statements of giving, l found that l was almost three percent short. Psalm one sixteen seventeen declares "I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD." This sacrifice is that of the annual covenant Passover thank offering sacrifice. It is coupled with the word thanksgiving meaning confession, praise and thanksgiving. So, the phrase could be seen as thank offering of thank offering and since this is a sacrifice of confession, we see that giving praise to the Lord is a proclamation of this sacrifice of our lips (Heb 13:15 "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.").

We are at peace with the Lord and we offer these grain or peace offerings of our lips or of our substance, our increase which He has blessed us with. Some say that the New Testament abolishes the need for tithes because we have no priestly order to maintain and supply the needs for. We are His priests and we need to give in our service in the work of the Lord where we are attending that He may have more of the means with which to bring the Gospel to the lost and dying world and to meet the needs of those in that part of the body of Christ.

Abraham is brought up in the New Testament as having given the tenth part, a tithe, to Melchisedech who was that king of Salem and priest of the most high God. l think just because we are not sure about who wrote the book of Hebrews where this is found that we can discount the tradition of tithes.

l believe that Jesus received tithes to support His ministries throughout the land. l believe that we still have an implied incumbency to give our tithes to the work of God. It really is a matter of heart and how deeply we wish to honor the Lord in all our ways. Won't we give unto the Lord of our resources and time to please Him and receive His promises of prosperity?

V. Byington 4/17/2003

"Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee? is thy counsellor perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail. Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies." - Micah four nine & ten.
This is an apt picture of how a saint of the Most High needs to intercede before the Lord for our loved ones, be they close relatives or those whom we don't know as well and are concerned for. We, in the power of the Holy Spirit, cry out to the Lord, either in the midst of the need or hopefully before it. When we are in this travail it seems like there is no king, no ruler of our souls to guide us through, to know which path to take, to get this case heard at the court of heaven and getting a work release order to go on with our lives. It seems like the counsellor has gone away and we cannot find Him. We are taken with pangs and pains of travail and we agonize over the one whom we have the burden for. We cry, ruwa (7321), shout, raise a sound, cry out, give a blast. As I've said, pangs is defined (2427) as pain, agony, sorrow, a writhing (as in a fear), anguish. When this travail is upon us, it is as if we are bound to it, taken away from any other concern, as when a woman giving birth is only concerned with and having her whole attention on getting that baby delivered. So it is with us and we are fully locked into the task of delivering the burden on our heart. It is a distress that we must totally and fully walk out, going outside our usual surroundings, outside our city and into the field of battle or waging war in the heavenlies to accomplish our deliverance. Even in this banishment, this turning out, the Lord has given us a promise which is emphatic: He shall deliver us out of the hands of our enemies! Hallelujah, He is the king we are to contact within us and get hold of Him like the bulldog and worry that thing until the Master comes and takes it from our teeth.
Van Byington, 2/25/2003

To be covered with a mantle seems to be a thing that is sought after in Christendom of late. It may be a sign of how we run after the loaves and fishes like Jesus' disciples, trying to look important, hoping to be accepted and thought of more highly. A mantle from God is an evident thing in someone's ministry and can not be imitated, contrived nor copied. It is an imparted gift from God. Remember Elisha? He was out plowing in the field with oxen when Elijah the prophet came by and cast his mantle on him - no more, no less. This mantle is 'addereth (155) glory, splendour, magnificence (of a vine or a shepherd); a cloak made of fine material or fur; a prophet's garment. The context is most interesting there in First Kings nineteen as it was after the prophet had prayed for God to consume the sacrifice on the altar thereby proving that He is the Most High God over all idols of Baal. Elijah had then ran off to hide in a cave after being threatened by an upset Jezebel. When the Lord found him, He spoke to him in a still small voice after the great wind which rent the mountains, the earthquake and the fire. Then he went out, obeying the Lord who had told him to go before all His manifestations occurred, and wrapped his face with his mantle. Then the Lord spoke to him, as he was covered up in his mantle. This is where we get the precedence for being covered when we are not prophesying (1 Cor. 11:4). This is why it was such a big thing to Elisha when Elijah cast his mantle on him. He thought that Elijah wanted him to follow after him when Elijah was only passing this cloak of authority onto Elisha. At any rate, this is how Elisha came to have a double portion because he already had one of Elijah's mantles. The other one came to him as he watched his mentor, the prophet, being taken up in the clouds. How many mantles do we need to go forth and preach the Glad Tidings of Peace? What must the Lord do after calling us out to stand upon the mount before the Lord? Must we seek the double anointing for our sensibilities to be content? We need to go forth as Elisha did when he crossed back over the Jordan, smiting the waters and speaking "Where the Lord God of Elijah?" with the expectation that the waters will part and give way for you to cross on dry. Van Byington 2-18-2003


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