The Lord is My Banner

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The Lord is My Banner and On It Is Written “Christ and Him Crucified”.

In everything I share in the writings about the “right way” to worship God there is an overriding and underlying reality for me.  The reality is “Christ and Him Crucified”.  Take a few minutes to read what Paul says when he uses this phrase.  He is addressing a wayward church and this led Paul to a strong determination in his interactions with the Corinthian church.  He determined to know nothing among them except “Christ and Him Crucified” (See 1 Cor 2:1-4)

This is also my determination in communicating with each of you.  Christ and Him Crucified is my testimony and it is the Banner of His love for me which I am raising up to share with each of you.  I am not just talking about Christ and His death and resurrection 2000 years ago.  I am talking about the ever-present reality of Him in my life now.  I am talking about taking up my cross and following Him today.  Taking up my cross allows me to enter the fellowship of His sufferings and to allow the crucified life to bring forth fruit in me and in others.  I have fallen way short of full success in this, but as I keep walking forward and keep getting back up again, I enter in (little by little) by God’s grace, God’s mercy and God’s supply through the Holy Spirit in the person of Jesus Christ in my life.

This isn’t an idea.  It isn’t a concept you can take hold of in your mind and then apply it.  It is a reality you experience in relationship with Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.  If you try to take hold of in any other way than in “spirit and truth” (John 4:24) you will not be able to grasp it.  Stop trying any other way and just start fellowshipping and asking for it as a gift from God.  Expect to obey with His help and expect that you will find yourself incapable of many things.  Expect to ask for help in both the willing and doing of many things.

In other words, expect Christ in you to work it out as you relate to Him alone.  Expect the cross of Christ in your life but do not look upon this with a wrong view.  The “death” you experience according to the will of God in Christ Jesus leads to ONLY ONE THING – victory and resurrection!

None of this is concept for me.  It is my reality.  It is my testimony.  It doesn’t matter how damaged you are by life.  It doesn’t matter how much you have sinned.  It doesn’t matter if you can’t figure out how to overcome your besetting sin(s).  It doesn’t matter if Satan almost destroyed you as a child.  It doesn’t matter if you are full of many wrong thoughts and feelings.  It doesn’t matter if you are loaded to the brim with anger.  It doesn’t matter if you are proud and arrogant in the eyes of others.  It doesn’t matter if almost everything in your life is bad.  It doesn’t matter if you are sick and going to die at a young age.  It doesn’t matter if you have insurmountable problems that you cannot solve.  It doesn’t matter if you have a bad family or family situation.  It doesn’t matter if your parents end their relationship with you.  It doesn’t matter if people steal from you in various ways.  It doesn’t matter if you walk alone.

The reality of Christ and Him Crucified in your life overcomes every issue.  I know because the previous list is mine over the course of time.  He has overcome all these things and works now to overcome even more things.

So, what did God do for me?  He helped me in every way I needed.  He became everything I was missing.  He healed every wound (and continues to do so).  But He didn’t stop there.  He strengthened me and built me up.  For every lacking, Christ was/is my supply.  For every loss, He has given me something unexpected and even greater after waiting on Him.  For every ongoing struggle and challenge, He gives me the one thing I need.  He gives me Himself.

One day years ago, I asked him, “How shall I serve you?”.  He answered, “You cannot serve Me until you have been fully served by Me”.  I said “okay”.  So, He served me.

Almost 30 years later after much service by Him, He asked me, “Do you want to serve me?”  He only asked this after setting me free from many things and building me up in many ways.  He emphasized that I was under no obligation to serve Him.  I answered “yes, I want to serve You”, but I knew I was truly free to choose any way I wanted.  I knew He only wanted my service if it was out of love.  After my answer, He said nothing else.

A few years later, I told the Lord, “I’m ready”.  It was something that came up inside of me one day without anything I know of prompting it.  I knew it was connected to those two previous interactions with Him spread across 30 years.  He accepted my offer.

So, my fellow priests of God who are just like me with your own list…  Maybe God has served you too and set you free.  Maybe you know that He will accept your service if you want to give it.  Maybe you still need help and to be served.  Maybe you have been trying to serve, but some of it is out of a sense of obligation.  It can be any of these or any other reasons.

Today, I encourage you in various ways.  Open your hands and ask God to take everything away that is not necessary.  Give God permission to deal with you in every way that is off-track whether you see it or not.  Ask Him to give you sight to see and willingness to repent.  Ask God to heal and strengthen you.  Ask God to help you to walk with Him the right way, but not in your own strength or ability (rather, In Him).  Ask for Christ in you to be your full supply (both willing and doing) and to give you the willingness and the support of others to get your cross in place and be put on your cross to die with Him in any area God sees it is needed.  There will be times you cannot bear it alone.  The cross of Christ in your life never fails.  It hurts, but it releases the power of God and through it there Is victory over the enemy for more than just you.  It is victory for the Body of Christ.

It does not matter what anyone else thinks about you.  It does not matter if you have any credentials, position, and/or recognition from anyone other than God.  Your daily walk and talk with God will lead you into everything He has planned for your life.  If you do have credentials, position and/or recognition from others in serving the Lord then ask Him to purify you so that all your work would be gold, silver, and precious jewels.  And remember, credit will be given when the time is right in His eyes.  Before then, let anyone who takes it, have it.

In summary, ask for whatever you think you need and ask for His service in all things.  After you do these things, do nothing except look to and wait on Him.  Wait for Him to take the next step.

— A. Layman

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