Saturday, November 30, 2019

“All For One, and One For All”

Please read what is in the two boxes, and skim/read what is in between to get the point. It's not as long as it first appears. 

What stands out in reading Ephesians 1-3 is how often Paul repeats the pronouns, “us”, “we”, “our” and the plurals of “you” and “your”, along with nouns, verbs and adjectives that are plural. I have also noted in Green that “the church” is singular, meaning it is one assembly. This calls us to the mindset of the kingdom that, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ” (I Corinthians 12:12).

It is optional whether to read all three chapters of the first half of Ephesians, however, the thing I’m asking is that everyone skim through just to see how clearly the plurality of our identity is made clear (meaning all of us are equally involved), and the singularity of the church/kingdom (meaning we all have the same singular place to fully live who we are in Christ).

Ephesians 1


1.   Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of       God, To the saints who are in Ephesus,

2.   and are faithful in Christ Jesus:

3.   Grace to you

4.   and peace from God our Father and the Lord       Jesus Christ.

5.   Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

6.   who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

7.   even as he chose us in him before the                foundation of the world,

8.   that we should be holy and blameless before      him.

9.   In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ,

10. according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed   us in the Beloved.

11. In him we have redemption through his blood,

12. the forgiveness of our trespasses,

13. according to the riches of his grace, which he      lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight         making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

14. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

15. so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

16. In him you also,

17. when you heard the word of truth,

18. the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him,

19. were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance

20. until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

21. For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints,

22. I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,

23. that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,

24. may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,

25. having the eyes of your hearts enlightened,

26. that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you,

27. what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,

28. and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

29. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,

30. which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Ephesians 2

31. And you were dead in the trespasses and sins

32. in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—

33. among whom we all once lived

34. in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

35. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,

36. even when we were dead in our trespasses,

37. made us alive together with Christ—

38. by grace you have been saved—

39. and raised us up with him

40. and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

41. so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

42. For by grace you have been saved through faith.

43. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

44. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand,

45. that we should walk in them.

46. Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—

47. remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

48. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

49. For he himself is our peace,

50. who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances,

51. that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,

52. and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

53. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off

54. and peace to those who were near.

55. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

56. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,

57. but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,

58. in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.

59. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Ephesians 3

60. For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles

61. assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you,

62. how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly.

63. When you read this,

64. you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.

65. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs,

66. members of the same body (“same-bodied),

67. and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

68. Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God's grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints,

69. this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,

70. and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things,

71. so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,

72. in whom we have boldness and access with confidence

73. through our faith in him.

74. So I ask you not to lose heart

75. over what I am suffering for you,

76. which is your glory.

77. For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

78. so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—

79. that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

80. may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,

81. and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

82. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think,

83. according to the power at work within us,

84. to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Paul continues into Ephesians 4 with this challenge:
1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4)

It is clear that we are all bound to give the same earnestness in living this out with one another as everyone else in both the kingdom and the church. Which is why Paul clarifies next:

4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. (Ephesians 4)

We were all called to the same thing. Let’s join God in that work.

© 2019 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8


Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

Friday, November 22, 2019

Seeking a Kingdom Where God Still Works

For a very long time, I have been conscious of this over-riding prime directive: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”[1] Since “first” means “first”, there cannot be any higher purpose in life but to seek everything it means to live in the kingdom and righteousness of our Creator.

Yesterday morning, I began looking at this directive in partnership with something amazing that Jesus said to explain his ministry. When challenged about how he would dare to “work” on the Sabbath by healing someone, Jesus went straight to the heart of the matter: “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”[2]

When that Scripture was first drawn to my heart’s notice back in 1992 (as best I recall), my first interest was filled with a delightful hope. Was it really possible that what Jesus said then was still in effect now? Can the disciple of Jesus say that the reason we do what we do in ministry is because God is working until now and that explains why and how we are working?

The first clue to the answer comes from what else Jesus said in this confrontation. “So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.’”[3]

It did not take long to recognize that this is absolutely reiterated in the way Jesus described our relationship to him. As Jesus could “do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing,” guess what he told his disciples!

That’s right! Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”[4]

The concept of Jesus not being able to do anything on his own, but only what he saw his Father doing, is identical to Jesus’ instructions that we cannot bear fruit apart from him, but abiding in him we can bear “much fruit”.

For someone who grew up handicapped by the “orphan mindset,”[5] the consideration that Jesus wants his disciples to have the same working-fellowship with him as he shared with the Father has been absolutely mind-boggling.

At first it was like a joyful shock of having difficulty believing such a wonderful thing could be true since it clashed with everything I had learned about myself as a worthless street rat. Then it turned into a settled agreement with God’s word that it was indisputably true because God is the one who breathed-out the words he wanted me to live by.[6]

And then I found an exhortation in God’s word that brought this to a wonderful conclusion for me. Our brother Paul, wrote, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”[7]

It is the second half of this sentence that describes the way our working attaches to God’s working. Although our part is listed first, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” the “for” that is given as the reason for what we do is, “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

In other words, parallel to what Jesus said about how he knew what work he should do, is that there is a work that God himself is doing in us, and that work is to draw us to have the same “will” as he has, and do the same “work” as he is doing.

Now, notice that there is something God is working on in his children that is measured by what he calls “his good pleasure.” This does not mean that he selfishly demands that we do what makes him happy instead of what makes us happy, but that we join him in working out the very things that the perfect experiencer of “good pleasure” has in mind.

This is why our growing fellowship with the Holy Spirit may squash some of our dreams or goals. This is why we may find that our increasing understanding of what God is working in us feels more like a journey into the Beatitudinal Valley than anything resembling a genie granting us whatever we desire.[8] Our Father has the highest and best understanding of “good pleasure” working for our good, so everything he is working us to will and work is toward our experience of his joy.

Our part in this relationship is to do what Jesus did. We “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling,” because we live in a world that argues against everything God is doing. Our own flesh (sarks) despises the idea of us working out the things that another person is working into us. It cannot understand the wonder of such a liberating relationship.

But the new heart of the child of God knows something that is hidden from the world, the flesh, and the devil, so that they cannot appreciate it no matter how well they comprehend teachings of God’s Book. God’s word says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”[9]

It is a unanimous encouragement among God’s children that our Father is always working things together for good, which means to restore us to the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. However, our greatest experience of the Father’s work is when we ourselves are working with him in the things he is working into us. As we work out the issues of our salvation with fear and trembling, we find things happening in us that only the Father could work in us to will and to work for his good pleasure.

And, when we join our Father in what he is doing, it makes us all the more like Jesus who has always related to his Father in just that way.

© 2019 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8


Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

[1] Matthew 6:33
[2] John 5:17 (context is John 5:1-47)
[3] John 5:19
[4] John 15:4-5
[5] The Orphan Mindset is how I describe something I learned about myself back in my 30’s. As I began exploring my own need for freedom in Christ, I discovered that I was hindered by this strong inner belief that I was a worthless orphan that no one had ever wanted. When I began addressing God about that, both pouring out my orphan-minded soul to him with all the pain it contained, and embracing all the fatherly love he was pouring into my heart through the Holy Spirit whom he had given us (I loved finding that in Romans 5:5!), a very real transformation did its work.
[6] II Timothy 3:16-17 make it clear that all Scripture is “breathed-out by God”, and Matthew 4:4 reminds us that Jesus set as top priority that we “live… by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
[7] Philippians 2:12-13
[8] I have long seen Jesus’ description of the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12 as a valley that first humbles us until we are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and then transforms us into joyful peacekeepers who cannot be stopped even by persecution. Here is one blog post where I explain this: You can do a search of my blog for others if you would like to ponder it more deeply.
[9] Romans 8:28, explained in the immediate context of Romans 8:28-30, and the larger context of Romans 8:1-39

Friday, November 15, 2019

Songs for the Journey: A Choir Singing For the Lamb

During my morning prayer time one day, I found myself starting to sing words of praise to Jesus and realized that they were from a section of Scripture to which I had written music. [1] I looked up the video on Youtube and enjoyed singing along with the accompaniment.

Here are the words of the song using the 1984 NIV:

"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth
and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!
“To him who sits on the throne
and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory
and power, for ever and ever!”
“Worthy is the Lamb!
“Worthy is the Lamb!
"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain.”

My problem is that, every time I have sung this song, I have known it needed a lot more (and better) voices than my own. I have a group-voice, which means I can help a group of singers sound okay, but not so much on my own.  

Since we are a tiny home church group, we do not have the means of sounding like a large group. So, I present a solution that some of you may be able to help me achieve. 

I know that there is technology that would enable us to compile multiple vocal recordings into one collection to make it sound as though they were all singing together. This means that people could record their vocals to a song in a variety of groups to combine into the sound of a much larger group, and individuals could record their solo contributions to bring together and enhance the sound all the more. 

Below is the song video I created in 2012. If anyone feels like their voice is good enough to enhance a group music project, and that you have a testimony of knowing and loving the Lord Jesus Christ as the words of Revelation 5 express, please record your singing of the song into an audio track and send it to me. And, if anyone knows how to do the technical side of compiling the tracks into a project, I would love help with that as well.

For now, here is the sing-along video I have had on Youtube for the last seven years. If you have a voice that would make it sound better, sing along and see how it sounds. If you are like me and just enjoy making a joyful noise unto the Lord, sing along as well and enjoy the wonders of singing the worth of the Lamb.

© 2019 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8


[1] Revelation 5:12-13 in the context of Revelation 5:1-14

Monday, November 11, 2019

Improving Our Soul-Health

Our home church operates on the philosophy of ministry:

“Bringing the Soul Condition of the people

to the Soul Provision of Christ

through the Soul Care of the body of Christ.”[1]

With that in mind, this is me trying to bring your Soul Condition to the Soul Provision of Christ through My Soul Care ministry to you. The aim is to lead you/us to freedom in Christ so we can all experience God in the real and personal ways he is offering us.[2]

The following diagram shows how we are body, soul and spirit, and that the soul part of us is where the mind, heart and will reside. The heart is the pump that sends through our soul whatever our mind thinks and feels. Our will acts on what the heart gives it. Whatever our minds treasure, that is what we will find our hearts pumping through our souls, and all our decisions will be made accordingly.[3]

What suddenly hit me this was that there are Scriptures that make it clear that our overall soul-health is conditioned by what we think. There are also indications that our bodies are affected by these things as well,[4] but right now I want to focus on how our souls are doing, and how we could improve our Soul-Condition simply by changing our minds (and helping one another to do so).

The Scripture that jumped into my head was this:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.[5]

What this tells me is that, if we let our minds think and feel whatever anxieties the world, the flesh and the devil present, there will be a very different picture from the one Paul paints if we fill our minds with rejoicing, prayer and thanksgiving.

This is a familiar passage, so I have known the sense of it for a long time. However, in light of how our minds think and feel the things our hearts pump through our souls, and our wills are basically captive to whatever the heart gives it to work with, the promise that the right focus of our hearts and minds brings the peace of God to our hearts and minds stands out today.

Even with all the limitations of cyberspace bringing you this post, I hope you see that God is at work for his people to work together for our joy in these things.[6]

The way Paul continues his letter magnifies the importance of guiding our minds to think and feel what is good in order that our hearts will pump that goodness[7] through our souls for the health of our whole being and the clarification of what our wills ought to do.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.[8]

I know that many of God’s children have wounds that need healing. I know there are WoLVeS packs needing to be dismantled and demolished.[9] I know that right now this could sound different to some of you than it sounds to me because the self-protection mine-field I’m stepping on is designed to feed negative thoughts and flood the brain with cortisol to make this feel like a bad thing so you will never let it work.[10]

However, we who have confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior have resources at our disposal that the world doesn’t even know exists. Faith comes from hearing, and hearing comes from the words of Christ, so make sure that hearing from Jesus is your ultimate source of information for your mind to think and feel.[11] Then add your puzzle piece to your fellowship with other believers and encourage everyone else to do the same so we can pump through the soul of our churches the most uplifting, encouraging, liberating and maturing thoughts and feelings.

Our home church has been blessed to have so much help from mentors who have often been introduced to us at the same time as we have faced the very problems they are already helping people address. However, whatever methods or resources they contribute are still only helps to get us letting the words of Christ dwell in us richly.[12] When the words of Christ live in our minds and are pumped through our souls by our hearts, everything feels so much better (our brains help our bodies feel that as well), and our wills feel peace about making seeking-first-the-kingdom decisions.[13]

Here is a fitting conclusion to what I have shared:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[14]

Operating in the self-protective systems of the flesh/sark is the way the world does things because they do not have the good news, the Lord Jesus Christ, the breathed-out words of God, or the Holy Spirit’s ministry in their hearts.

On the other hand, letting our new mind in Christ[15] pump new thoughts and feelings through the new heart Jesus has given us[16] is guaranteed to transform us more and more into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ from one degree of glory to another.[17]

And, if you need any help with anything that came up in reading this, please stop and ask your heavenly Father to provide the help you need, go to someone in your church that you know is already seeking the Lord in his word and prayer, and meet with one of two other believers to pray and seek God about these things.[18] When the poor in spirit come together in Jesus’ name with a hunger and thirst for the righteousness of being like Jesus more than ever, God promises to satisfy that hunger.[19]  

© 2019 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8


Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

[1] I have attempted to explain this in a number of my blogposts. Here is one for your consideration:
[2] This is based on our purpose statement of: “Leading people to freedom in Christ so we can experience God in a real and personal way.”
[3] Matthew 6:21
[4] Psalm 32:3-4
[5] Philippians 4:4-7
[6] II Corinthians 1:24
[7] I accidentally typed “goodnews” there and it made me smile. The “gospel” actually means “good news” after all!
[8] Philippians 4:8-9
[9] “WoLVeS” is an acrostic for “wounds, lies, vows and strongholds”, referring to the way we are affected by “Wounds” to the heart (often of the childhood-trauma variety), attacked by Satan’s “Lies” that often attach to our minds before we know how to recognize them for what they are, which causes our flesh/sarks to make “Vows” of self-protection in an immature and childish effort to keep our wounded hearts safe, which then creates a “Stronghold” within us because, from then on, we will always react to threatening situations in a self-protective and damaging way. Our thanks to Marcus Warner of Deeper Walk International for this helpful way of understanding the things that often hold us back in our relationship with God and his people.
[10] While our soul is the central aspect of our “human being”, it is clear that God designed our body to mirror whatever is going on in our soul. When our soul is happy, our brain secrets dopamine to help us with the party. When our soul experiences something painful, our brain secrets cortisol to help us never do that again. Negative and painful childhood experiences can have such a debilitating effect on us because, as a loving church family tries to help us find freedom in Christ so we can experience God in a real and personal way, our fear-based reaction to the help misinterprets the love and ministry as a scary thing, sends cortisol rushing through our brains, telling us that it is not a good thing to let people help us because that means getting hurt again. This is a simplistic understanding, I know, but it shows why the church must pursue the agapè(love) that is the only way we can stay together in the difficulties of fear-based relationships to overcome the damage the WoLVeS have done to far too many of God’s children.
[11] Romans 10:17
[12] Colossians 3:16 describes the effect of a church letting the words of Christ dwell in us richly. While our fear-based souls may fear such fellowship so much that our cortisol-reactions make it almost impossible to see this as a good thing, there are always going to be some believers around us who are growing in these things, and will find the word of God helping them show the agapè and patience that will give us room to find our freedom in Christ so we can experience God in the same ways.
[13] What Jesus taught in Matthew 6:33 regarding seeking first the kingdom and righteousness of God while trusting him for all our earthly needs is central to our worldview. It is a huge clash with the typical sark-centered and works-oriented view of Christianity that so many church folk are living by, but it is the only way we can keep in step with the Holy Spirit’s work of making our lives about the righteousness, peace and joy of the kingdom (Romans 14:17).
[14] Romans 12:2
[15] I Corinthians 2:16
[16] Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26
[17] II Corinthians 3:18
[18] Matthew 18:20
[19] This is based on the first four Beatitudes of Matthew 5:2-6 in the context of Matthew 5:1-12.