Building Bridges between God and Man
WALKING WITH JESUS / REIGNING WITH CHRIST
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Greetings
GREETINGS to the sons of God throughout the earth! Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight! In love, he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will, to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
We’re so glad!!!
The story I am about to unfold could have had its beginning on the day I became concerned about a young family and the plight that seemed about to overtake them. Living in a motel, both parents ravaged with epilepsy, and two precious darlings, 17 and 7, they had literally had the bajeebees kicked out of them. But this story didn’t really begin that day. It started several months earlier when the word “SUFFERING” exploded within my spirit. Of course, I’ve heard the word suffering before and of course I had studied about suffering in the scriptures, but this time when I heard it from within, it was so loud it was as if a bomb went off.
Up until this time, my experience in “WALKING WITH JESUS”, had taught me to “pay attention, don’t be stupid”. So, after hearing the word suffering in such a manner as this, I said “WHAT IS IT LORD”? He replied, “WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE THAT IS NOT TRUE”.... (Now, there is something about my personal walk with Jesus I would like you to understand: Years ago, I heard Fran Lance say it is a good idea to always ask the Lord this question: What do I believe that is not true? I really liked that concept, so through the years, I have made it a practice to ask Him this on a regular basis. This has proven to be very effective in keeping my walk with Him real!) ....and now, here He is, using these same words on me and I realize, oh, oh, I am about to learn something I don’t know. Little did I understand, though, that God was about to do something major in my life (and my husband’s life) that would forever change our path in becoming mature sons, with the vision of “REIGNING WITH CHRIST”.
Paying rapt attention, I heard the Spirit of God speak again. He said, “Jesus is the example”. I thought; Yes, I know that Lord. Again, He said, “Jesus is the example”. I was still thinking, Yes, I know that Lord... only if it be possible, I guess this time I was thinking it a little louder, because I no more than thought this again and His thundering voice said to me, “JESUS IS THE EXAMPLE”. “Oh, I understand Lord; you want me to study the example on suffering”. I could almost see Him wiping the sweat off His brow as I said: “Ok, I will”. Let’s go on! As our story unfolds, we will be connecting what He taught us with the experience that followed. In this order, we are confident in what God has taught and done.
Chapter Two: Grasslands
THE LESSON on THE GRASSLANDS:
For the purpose of our story we will pick up the life of Christ at the temptation in the GRASSLANDS. It is important to note that Jesus had just been baptized in water and the Spirit had descended upon him. At once, the Spirit sent him into the grasslands (wilderness or desert) to be tempted by Satan. And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. And immediately the spirit driveth him into the grasslands. (Mark 1:9-12)
We call this temptation, the Adamic temptation. The first Adam entered into thistemptation, but the last Adam (Jesus) did not. Remember, Jesus is the example! His life is the pattern in becoming a mature son of God. Not the first Adam! The temptation Jesus faced was the same as the first Adam. The temptation was to believe someone other than God; to believe a lie! The word “tempt” in Strongs # 3985 points out that this temptation was motivated by the devil, with a focus on causing Jesus to fail God’s standard of faith and so sin. Jesus was sent by God into the grasslands, but tempted by the devil. God is never motivated to tempt and cause believers to fail.
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God. James 1:13a But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. James 1:14 Remember also, that this was just before Jesus was to step into his ministry.
Jesus faced one temptation in particular, which we want to point out. The devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. Satan tried to get Jesus to worship him and promised to give him that which he claimed to own. All the tangible glitz of this world could not budge Jesus. I have often thought to myself that Satan really didn’t own what he claimed to own. This world really didn’t belong to him. In the Garden of Eden, God didn’t say... oops, now he owns everything. No, God cursed him. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. Satan is only temporarily the (little g) god of this world. So, the temptation here, involved, not only trying to get Jesus to believe he should worship him, but also to believe the lie that Jesus would never own the kingdoms of this world if he didn’t bow down to him.
Example #1: Jesus suffered, being tempted. Hebrews 2:18
Jesus resisted the temptations of Satan! Now, he is ready to use the goods he has been given from the Father.
OUR EXPERIENCE of THE GRASSLANDS:
Needless to say, the concern for this precious family I mentioned in the first chapter, did not go away. In fact, it developed into a full fledged burden and I groaned within as I saw so much struggle that seemed so unfair. I besought the favor of God for them and after a period of time, to my surprise and wonderment, I heard the Spirit of God say ... “Well, do something about it then!” In sheer amazement, I said, “well what could we do about it? Their needs are way beyond our means.” (Now, if you don’t think God has an emotional side, then the left side of your brain needs to start working.) I heard Him say, in a very chuckling manner, “Well, then why would I tell you to do something about it?” I thought, oh, now what does He know that I don’t know. This family needs a home and we don’t have the money to provide it! Or did we? Oh my, we were about to find out that we did, and didn’t know it. Then, of course, here comes the tempter to deal with! The temptation came... Wouldn’t it be nice to have a swimming pool....and what about that shop for the man of the house! This world’s goods are always there in your thinking whenever there is someone who needs your help. Maturity requires even the flesh to discern good and evil.
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps. 1st Peter 2:21
We suffered, being tempted. We resisted the temptation of Satan! Now, we are ready to use the goods we have been given from the Father.
Chapter Three: Goods
THE LESSON on GOODS:
We call this the principle of “first....God”. God first loved us. God gave first. Jesus did what he saw his Father do! He always had what was needed to serve the people. No one was turned away who came to him. Before God tells us to do something, He has already made the way for it to be accomplished. He makes the way first! We can count on it. Isaiah 45:2: I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight. If ever we hear God say: “GIVE”, we get excited because He will make the way for it to happen. What He begins, He finishes! Here is where we can get into trouble with our giving: We are to be led by the Spirit. We are to let the flow of His wisdom work out what He tells us to do. Giving is not a dead letter doctrine. Giving is a relationship! This was a powerful lesson! It is not a portion of our money that is God’s. It is all God’s! He is not a one day a week God. He is a 7 day a week relationship, in every area of our life. When God brings people to us, we have the goods! WOW!
Example #2: Jesus came not to be served, but to serve. Matthew 20:28 Jesus had the GOODS!
OUR EXPERIENCE of THE GOODS:
The phone rang! It was John, our Senior Tax Advisor. He said he had a proposal concerning our IRA that he wanted us to consider. So, we made an appointment to see him the next day.
We want to point out that we couldn’t have made our phone ring and we could not have known how God would use this man to open a door for the provision needed to carry out His mandate. We could have figured and figured until our brains fell out but we could never have figured out how to obey the words that he had spoken: “Well, do something about it then”.
The next day John told us he would like to switch our IRA to another company. The market was situated in such a way that if we moved the IRA now, the new company would pay the penalty for the transfer, and they would also give us a bonus, so we would make some money. There were 2 other benefits to making this transfer, but I couldn’t explain it if I tried. This is all taking place during a year when the market is depressed and everyone else is losing ½ of their retirement. Could there be any doubt that this is God’s handiwork.
The bonus the new company was willing to pay us wasn’t much, but our IRA was transferred, the money had to run through our personal checking account.
Now, I’d like to say the Lord gave me the next step in His plan because it was brilliant, but He didn’t. He told my husband what to do next. Rats! Just kidding! Anyway, John (not the Senior Tax Advisor, but my husband John) said, well Bonnie, when they put the money in our bank account, let’s take enough off the top to purchase this house and let these kids buy it for a price they can afford. Let’s let them buy it for less than rent with no down payment. This way they will own their own home, we will obey God and He will prosper all of us. So, we told this precious family to go pick out a house they wanted and we would sign a contract to buy it. So they did and we did!
Now, this would have been a good ending right here, but we were about to experience the walk that Jesus walked in it’s completeness, all the way from the grasslands to the gift. Halleluyah!
We desired to serve.
We had the goods!
Chapter Four: Gethsemane’s Garden
THE LESSON on GETHSEMANE’S GARDEN:
After 3 years of service to the people, Jesus must now face his Gethsemane. He had understood his first mission in the earth. It was a time of great power and authority. He could command the winds, heal the sick, deliver the demoniac and raise the dead. But now he is faced with another step in obeying God and it is not going to be at all glamorous. He goes to Gethsemane to pray and to seek God.
There is groaning and sweating because, in this moment, he needs to understand what his Father wants him to do. One can quite imagine what those moments were like for him. He’s praying and probably meditating the scriptures. He remembers Isaiah 50 verse 6: I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. As he muses, the Holy Spirit whispers to him, “you, you’re that one”. (He learned who he was by meditating the scriptures and who he was in them. He grew in wisdom and stature.) As he hears the Spirit remind him that he is the one of whom the scriptures speaks, he prays: “Father if it be possible, take this> cup from me, yet not my will, but yours”. Most people would have thought (I know I would have) ... well, this isn’t fair. I haven’t done anything to deserve this. He didn’t say this! He was interested in only one thing: The Father’s will. As he lingers now, in the presence of the Holy Spirit, he becomes completely convinced of his Father’s will. He must lay down the last vestige of his own will in lieu of obeying his Father. He is to leave the garden and offer the gift of His life on the cross. He must forgive humanity for their sins. Now, this is great vision. There is joy set before him. His spirit is full of hope as he seizes this powerful moment of oneness with his Father and faces what is required of him. He will endure (suffer)! This experience, unlike the temptation in the grasslands, was a trial of his faith and it originated with God. This kind of testing proves the word that is in you, and there is no focus on making you fail. Strongs #3985
Example #3: His soul was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. He suffered this grief in his heart and overcame it. He learned obedience through the things that he suffered. Hebrews 5:8
Gethsemane is over. He would obey. Now on to Golgotha!
OUR EXPERIENCE of GETHSEMANE’S GARDEN:
The purchase of a house involves signing a contract and a wait of 1 month to 6 weeks for it to close. The first 6 weeks passed and we were informed the lender wanted us to sign a new contract and an extension. They discovered they had made an illegal contract with us. They were uninformed about a new government law that changed the rules concerning how much of the closing costs a bank could assume. Instead of paying all of them according to our first contract, they now had to charge us $3,000 of the closing costs. We discovered the government stimulus package of 2009 helped the banks, but not the consumer. This meant that this family of 4 would have to continue to pay for the terribly cramped quarters of a motel room. This grieved our hearts and to have to tell them the closing couldn’t happen right now was horrible. This was not right!
So, a 2nd closing date was set for 2 weeks. This time came and went. The bankers decided to have another extension because they wanted some work done on the house before they would allow it to close. So we signed another extension.
These 2 weeks passed. We were ready to sign the closing papers and the bankers decided they wanted another extension. The excuse they used this time was so they could get the carpets cleaned. Only it was a little different this time. This time they demanded that we pay for it. Whoever heard of such a thing! Our real estate lady (whom by the way, was a God connection for us; a nice Christian woman who was honest and helpful) and the mortgage broker were totally appalled by this audacity. They decided they would pay for the carpet cleaning.
So, a 3rd closing date was set for another 2 weeks. This time came and went. The carpet did not get cleaned.
(Every morning I spend a couple of quiet hours sipping coffee, meditating, praying and or reading the scriptures. The morning before the 3rd closing date, I heard the Lord tell me to call my health insurance salesman and tell him that my health insurance was too high and I wanted a different policy. I obeyed! The salesman said I was in luck (hardly)... his company had just created a new policy that he thought would work well for me. Turns out, it is the same policy with just a little higher deductible. It saved me $1,650 over 18 months. I mention this because of what happened next.)
The bankers asked for a 4th extension. The roof needs repaired.
Now, this was a problem for us. The roof was on the first order of repairs. If this wasn’t bad enough; they demanded that we pay ½ the costs. How did this make us feel? VIOLATED! They were trying to “take” money from us. We were giving in response to God’s will and they were taking what we hadn’t offered. You see, giving is a heart thing with us. If we can’t give out of our heart, then we don’t give.
We had a decision to make and it had to be made quickly. What was the Father’s will? How far was he expecting us to go? How could we do this with the feeling of injustice in our hearts? The $1,650 we saved on my health insurance! Hmmm! Is this the reaper overtaking the plowing? Aren’t the sellers supposed to pay for the repairs? All these questions! This was not easy to go through. We were not ready to give this. We said the same thing Jesus said. “Father if it be possible, let this cup pass, yet not our will, but yours.”
Then God spoke! “FORGIVE THEM! BE AS PRIESTS IN THIS SITUATION!” Forgive the bankers and suffer the debt? We said, God, help us to do this! He did! We forgave! All feelings of injustice left and a oneness with Him became incredible. There was no wrath in our hearts towards the bankers. We knew what do. We knew our Father’s will.
So, a 4th closing date was set. At this point, it became obvious to us that God was walking us through the things he had taught us about suffering. Realizing this, we became very attentive to each moment taking place in this experience. We see now that laying down the last vestige of our will for His, is a priestly requirement. Priesthood is all about serving God and others.
We suffered this grief in our hearts and overcame it.
Gethsemane is over. We would obey. Now on to Golgotha!
Chapter Five: Golgotha’s Gift
THE LESSON on GOLGOTHA’S GIFT:
One would think after Gethsemane, the suffering would end. After all, Jesus said he would do the Father’s will. Oh, you mean you must not only be willing but you must fulfill the calling to serve! Ouch, this lesson isn’t fun. Jesus’ journey took him to Golgotha where he suffered at the hands of the Romans. He was beaten and hung on a cross and just as his life was about to be snuffed out, he said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”. At the cross, God reconciled the world to Himself, not counting men’s sins against them. This was the judgment of this world; this was the time that the prince of this world was driven out. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. The world needs to hear: God is not mad! You are forgiven!
It is the devil’s wrath in the earth today, not God’s. The devil is the one who is mad. His time is short. The devil is come down unto you, having GREAT wrath because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. Rev. 12:12b We forgive! We do not agree with the devil’s wrath! Why would we covenant with death? We agree with God!
Example #4: Jesus followed through with the will of God. To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the message of reconciliation. 2nd Cor.5:19 When he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously. 1st Peter 2:23
The gift is given. On to Governing
OUR EXPERIENCE of GOLGOTHA’S GIFT:
We readily admit that this experience is minor compared to the beating that Jesus suffered physically, but it is, in fact, very similar to that which he experienced on the inside of him, in his heart. He is our example!
So, after the 4th extension, the roof gets fixed and now it is 2 days before closing. We are informed that the air conditioning in the house is not working. The bank didn’t know it, so they would be expecting us to sign the papers for the purchase. There is no way that John, nor I, will buy a house if we do not know how much a repair on it will cost. It was also completely unacceptable to us, to move this young family in without air conditioning. We live in Arizona and it was now the beginning of summer. We have one more day and I made a suggestion that we all sleep on it.
The next morning during my quiet time an idea came to me concerning our IRA The Lord showed me how to use it to save $25,000 over the next 5 years. Blew my mind! God’s ability is beyond words! After a short pause, I thought, oh, oh, what’s coming!
Waiting on the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, I heard this: “You have a contract with Desert Valley Aire for your own house, call them and ask them to do a free estimate on the air conditioning on the house you want to buy, and ask them to do it today. I did! They agreed to wave their $55 service charge and come that very day. A man named Brian made the service call. God sent His best! Brian is an evangelist who pastors a church and his ministry is reaching out to people on the streets. He testified of how God used him to heal the sick and that he had even seen the dead raised back to life. There was an instant God connection. John and I had an evangelistic outreach in the 80’s where we rented 5 homes and took in whoever came by. We preached the gospel, fed and housed those in need and helped people on their way. Today, we are experiencing the truth of the scripture that says when you give up lands for the sake of the gospel, He will repay 100 fold. During the 80’s we gave up our home to do the work of the gospel. I remember thinking: this is no big deal and I heard the Lord say, “That’s the point!”! Now if you understand what He was saying to me, you either, already have a relationship with Him concerning your finances, or you are about to. Anyway, Brian was full of stories and so were we, so we spent a few moments sharing and then got to the business of the air conditioner. It had been poorly serviced and had a bad motor! We had shared with Brian what was going on in this situation and he made a donation to help with the bill.
We were able to finish this course with joy, as, again, the Holy Spirit directed our footsteps. He spoke to my heart” “Now, is the time for the gift”. “Oh, I get it, I responded. This is the cross after Gethsemane, and we get to forgive the seller for not fixing it and give this motor as a gift.” The motor represented power. So, we decided to make the princes of this world understand that they should not have knocked on the door of this house. We absorbed the cost of the motor ourselves and bought a 5 year service contract for the air conditioner. This spoke to us of knowing that the power of God will reign in this house! We hope every time Brian comes to service this equipment, a Holy Ghost party will take place. Before Brian left, we prayed together and the anointing rose as he prayed powerfully for a blessing upon the house and its’ occupants. It would not be a surprise to see this young couple receive their physical healing while living here. There is definitely a witness of a new beginning for them.
We were ready to sign those closing documents.... Just in time too, because the next day was the closing date!
Only, now we are presented with a 5th extension. They didn’t realize the closing date was the 22nd. They thought it was the 29th. We just laughed! We had definitely overcome. AND....Oh yeah... the carpet never did get cleaned. We followed through. The gift was given! On to Governing.
Chapter Six: Governing
THE LESSON on GOVERNING:
Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into his glory. Luke 24:26
As the song goes: Up from the grave he arose, with a mighty triumph o’er his foes.
Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted... Jesus is now both Lord and Christ. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Acts 2: 36 He is a priest forever after the order of Melchizedec: Hebrews 7:17 Kingship will always flow through priesthood. He ever lives to make intercession for us. Hebrews 7:25 At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right. Assemble yourselves and com; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: (out of man’s systems) they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save, Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? Who hath told it from that time? Have not I the Lord? And there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Savior; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that re incensed against him shall be ashamed. In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory. Isaiah 45: 19-25.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive! But every man in his own order! 1st Corinthians 15:22-23
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in (ALL) things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile (ALL) things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. Colossians 1:16-20
Example #5: Jesus is the example of how we are made in the image of God. Walking in his footsteps through the processing of our flesh, we become his nature. Beloved, now are we the sons of God (children: not mature yet), and it doth not yet appear (has not yet been revealed) what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, (be revealed) we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 1st John 3:2
CHRIST GOVERNS OVER ALL
OUR EXPERIENCE of GOVERNING:
Suffering the things Jesus suffered is directly tied to our service in God. There is a suffering that is of the flesh and not of the Spirit. This kind of suffering is caused by our own fleshly nature. Jesus never suffered because of any sinful action on his part. Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. 1st Peter 2:10 In everything we experience, we must discern the difference. This is easy: In each experience, we ask ourselves: What or who am I serving? Over the years, many times the answer was “our flesh”. Oops! But we always reminded ourselves to keep our focus on God’s ability to succor us. For in that he suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted! Hebrews 2:18 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 1 John 3:5 In his purity, he became a sin offering for us, even as we see in type, the Old Testament offering of pure lambs. Numbers 28:3 – 28:9 – 28:11 – 29:17 – etc.
Overcoming in the grasslands qualifies us to go past the temptation of the first Adam in the garden of Eden, and continue walking with Jesus to become mature sons of God. When we come to the end of this walk, we are ready to become a king and govern our country (flesh) in whatever area God is processing. This testimony is not about governing the world or owning our own planet. It is about reigning over our own land.
Becoming a king only happens through first becoming a priest. Forgiving our neighbor, forgiving the banks, forgiving the government, forgiving any natural authority releases the power of God unto kingship. It is the path to reigning with Christ.
Meditate upon this! If mature sons of God stood in the face of all the opposition that is in the earth today, in an attitude of forgiveness, what would God do?
It is walking in forgiveness that will win the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. May we ever press toward this mark and become governors, reigning in life through Christ.
After experiencing the walk that Jesus walked in our finances, we reign as kings with God’s resurrection power over them. They do not run us; we run them and God directs them however He wills.
IN FINANCES; WE GOVERN in CHRIST
***A note from the author: This has not been an exercise in intellectual prowess. It has been an intimate journey with the Spirit of God. I understand and respect what the Spirit said through Elaine Cook. (May 2009 newsletter) Quote: On April 25, the Spirit spoke to my heart, “How often My people approach Me in the coldness of their intellect when what I long for, is the warmth of their hearts, or the tenderness of their tears.
Jesus said, “My kingdom was of this world, if it were my servants would have fought so that I would not have been delivered to the Jews.” (For our understanding... they didn’t fight the way the world fights.)
May we not lose one opportunity to forgive...
Article #1: Walking with Jesus / Reigning with Christ
Carol Holstrom: I just finished your booklet. Wow, this is really powerful. I loved the introduction about Jesus (1st
John and Faye Flynn: Bonnie, Wow and double wow ... today we sat down and read this article carefully and through tears of joy - it was awesome. The Spirit of the Lord certainly wrote it using your hands and what a beautiful lesson for all of us in there. Also, glad the young family now have a home that they can call their own - Praise Him forever.
Renee Burleson: I kept reading, and reading, and reading until I was at the end. I'm not into reading, but I couldn't stop! I was really into it. I was meditating on every word and before I knew it, that was all she wrote. It was very interesting and obviously held my attention, even through kids and husband.