RIVERBED (MAN) + “LIVING WATERS” (HOLY SPIRIT) = BULA MAN-RIVER – BY KIANG P LEE

Greetings Precious Friends,

I hope my last post about the meaning of “obedience” in the life of the Bula man-river*has brought you peace of mind and joy in your life. In this post, I will try to explain man’s relationship with God, and how this relationship is made to exist properly in God’s Triune Love so that the miraculous life God wants you to live becomes a personal reality with those of your loved ones, your neighbor and community. My sincere desire is that it will bring you an energizing joy which only the Spirit can give.

My Book, “Bula man-river – The Miracle of Triune Living,” was written to explain this very question. It sees this divine/human relationship through the metaphor of the river. Jesus gave many parables likening things of natural occurances in nature to spiritual realities. “He (Jesus) did not say anything to them without using a parable” (Mark 4:34). Through this parabolic imagery of the river, the Book  explain man’s authentic relationship with the Triune God in the life of the Bula man-river. In my previous posts I have explained the nature of God as Trinitarian in the Father, Son (Logos), and the Holy Spirit. This is the starting block in man’s relationship with God where he relates with Him in who He is in His true nature. God is not solitary, but Triune. (Read my posts “Life Begins Where Our Concept of God Takes Root – The God Who Is Trinitarian, Pts. 1,2 & 3.” For a more expanded explanation, please read my Book)

Man is a Spiritual “Riverbed” for Holy Spirit (Wiki Commons)

The Bula man-river, as the title above explains – “Riverbed (Man) + “Living Waters” (Spirit) = Bula man-river” – is the authentic union of man with the Triune God through the Spirit. The Bula man-river is the true child of God for he is the union of man with the Triune God in Jesus Christ who took our humanity into the Godhead, and in our present human form, takes us into the divine existence in the power and activity of the Holy Spirit.

In this post, I would like to explain how a believer actually takes his or her stand in this relationship with the Triune God. By understanding this, we will know what our authentic human response entails as we live in His constant presence through the Holy Spirit. Jesus explains why it is vital we understand this so we may experience this bona fide relationship with God. He said, “God is Spirit, and those who worship (relate with) Him must worship (relate) in Spirit and in Truth” (John 4:24). 

This understanding of relating with God on His “Spirit/Truth” terms is vital to our well-being, because as humans it is natural to dictate a relationship on man’s “solitary” terms. When we discover how this relationship ought to work on God’s “Trinitarian” terms, we could grow and experience Him more authentically. (2 Pet.3:18) On that basis, man’s functional relationship with God ought to encourage him to make a type of comparative analysis and evaluation of human life as it relates with our Maker. We evaluate His “Trinitarian worldview,” as opposed to man’s “solitary worldview.” First, God is divine and Triune, and sustains the universe and all life. He is a God with whom nothing is impossible. He is omniscient, all powerful, all-wise, and all-Loving in His Triune nature. He knows you better than you know yourself. He bestows gifts upon us so we can find purpose and meaning in life. He shapes our past, lives with us in the present, and orchestartes our future destiny.

Now, think about man, he is physical and from the day he is born, his days are numbered. He is “solitary” by nature, while God is “Triune.” He has no clue or adequate explanation how this world works and who sustains it. He cannot control his future, let alone know how it will work out. At any moment, in any number of ways, his life could be snuffed out, without his concurrence. In my Book, I said, “Man is perplexed by the dilemma of human existence. Having emerged from nothing without our concurrence, with consciousness of self, thoughts, and deep inner feelings, to live a life of vibrancy for self-expression, never satisfied but ever exploring, and then to die is disconcerting to say the least. Physical life is fragile, as much as it is perplexing. He fails to realize that his “solitary-driven” life is the underlying trigger for his quandary. Nonetheless, deep in our consciousness we question if there’s something larger than life itself – something bigger that can conquer death, man’s greatest enemy. Yet, in the Bible we come to see that God promises man immortality. (Rom.6:23) So, there has to be something greater than we can understand as humans, which overrides our knowledge and beliefs about ourselves.” (Bula man-river, Pg.34, emphasis added)

Now, from this comparative analysis we see our human “solitary” existence in all its obvious frail, limited, and malevolent  expression. Then, we see God’s divine “Triune” existence, perfect, and completely harmonious and Loving in all His expression. He is the Source of life, wisdom and power. From this standpoint, we perceive why Jesus said we are to relate (worship) with God by seeking His spiritual reality (truth) as our priority. To believers and non-believers alike, our human reality is plain to see – it cannot sustain a life of superabundance** we seek in our hearts. The barrenness of our “solitary” human reality stares us in the face. We cannot ignore this, nor can we escape it.

 

Waters of River Represent Holy Spirit (Wiki Commons)

This analysis gives us the reality (truth) about man’s “solitary” existence and his dilemma. None of us asked to be born into the human race. Nevertheless, we are here not by choice but by a greater design of the Creator. This ought to humble us to ask questions about life, more than we are ordinarily hasty to affirm what we may not understand about it. Because we are made in God’s Triune image, it affirms for us a future more glorious than our feeble minds dare to believe. Without Christ’s living faith, it is impossible to live this authentic Trinitarian life of God. (Heb.11:6)

Malevolence of Man

In his impetuosity, man follows a “solitary” path that seems right to him. Even as believers, we act and live as “solitary” beings, failing to understand what it means to live the Christian life in the  “Triune” existence of God. He is still caught in the quagmire of religion which dictates its legalistic demands. So instead of being “Triune” persons, and wise observers, we are still groping in the dark about things we don’t understand. We fail to comprehend our place in God’s plans for humanity, and our personal destinies in Christ. We fail to live miraculous lives.

So, we see man living life, and doing things that’s not his rightful place to do, and wonders why he fails miserably at it. Without proper evaluation, man does his own thing, and inadvertently do what rightly belongs to God. Ignorance gets the better of him. Man does not exist on a knowledge-based existence for nothing. We are to use our minds, make evaluations and comparative analysis about life, which should give us the understanding to make informed decisions. This exercise in self-evaluation is something we will do for the remainder of our human life. Quite simple, if we are perceptive, we will see that the chasm that separates us from God is the “solitary” life we espouse and refuse to give up for the “Triune” life in Christ, which our heavenly Father offers freely.

We draw a lesson of this principle from the life the ancient Israelite King Saul. He took something sacrosanct and desecrated it. He did not know, or if he knew, he failed to acknowledge his place in God’s scheme of things. (1Sam.13) Through man’s malevolence he lives like there is nothing sacrosanct anymore. He knows no better for he lacks the inquisitive mind to constantly evaluate his own humanity, and the repercussion his “solitary” thoughtless actions is brought to bear upon his life. Observe how a “believer,” for Saul was an Israelite and its king, imposes his “solitary” will upon a situation that requires a “Trinitarian” or collaborative response. It cannot work. Let’s continue to make this self-evaluations about ourselves, and see if we are indeed having an authentic relationship with God in His Triunity.

Man was Made to be Sacrosanct

In His Word, God makes a clear delineation what is sacrosanct and is under His sovereign prerogative. One of this is the temple responsibilities and how it is administered, which King Saul violated. Now, the temple is the dwelling place of God. But God does not dwell in physical temples made by human hands, but a temple that is spiritual, which He has prepared for Himself. (Acts 7:48; 17:24; 1 Pet. 2:4-5)  Because of that, the temple is primarily a place for “Triune” living, where man takes his place in Christ’s glorified humanity. Our human “solitary” life cannot breathe nor live in this environment. This temple is man. Man is the spiritual temple God created in which He lives and walks. (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19-20) The temple is the place sacrifices are made. It continues to be made today, but not in the mode of animal sacrifices of the Old Covenant, but the New Covenant sacrifice in Christ. Listen to how this activity is done in the temple under the New Covenant: “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking around life, and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you as the best thing you can do for Him.” (Rom.12:1 MSG)

Paul is here depicting the collaborative “Triune life” of God in man. The “Triune life” we live is an act of sacrifice because we are exchanging the natural “solitary” life of man for the divine “Triune” life of God. Jesus, who existed in Triunty with the Father and the Spirit from eternity, said, “I can do nothing on my own initiative: as I as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not true” (John 5:30:31, NASB). It’s in this bodily temple environment that the “Triune life” is lived and experienced in all its miraculous wonder, and where God meets with us and we relate with Him in His Triune Being. The “solitary” life cannot exist in this environment.

The RIVERBED

How do we, in our fallen and depraved state of being, with an outlook that’s “solitary” and ends in death, live this  “Triune” life which brings superabundance? Our physical earthly place in this Godly relationship is to be viewed from the position and perspective of the RIVERBED. You are the RIVERBED. The Bula man-river’s life is inherently Triune – there’s the RIVERBED (you), there’s Jesus and Herald (Spirit), both of whom interpenetrates the “living waters” which flow in the RIVERBED. The RIVERBED gives us a succinct depiction of the Triune life of God in man. When a person receives Jesus as Savior, he is immersed in the “living waters” (Spirit – John 7:38). In ancient times, as it was in Jesus’ day, people were baptized (immersed) in a river, like the Jordan River. This immersion symbolizes the death and burial of the “solitary” (old) unbelieving self. (Gal.2:20) So, rising out from the baptismal waters signifies the birth of the “Triune” (new) believing self into the Trinitarian life of God in the power of the Spirit. Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but Spirit gives birth to spirit” (John 3:5-6).

Paul says we become this new Triune being of faith only because Christ’s miraculous resurrection is continuously being reenacted in believers today. This resurrection (incarnation) into the Triune life of God is one of many miracles which God, in His grace, gives to man. If we are resurrected, then consequentially we are also miraculously ascended with Him into the very presence of the Triune life of God. (read Eph.2:4-7) The resurrection and the ascension go hand-in-hand. Just as man is being eternally forgiven because of Christ’s unbroken sacrifice and mediation for all time (eternity), so man is being continuously resurrected and ascended through Christ’s faith in man. The forgiveness (cross), resurrection, and ascension, is one movement in the act of salvation Christ brings to man.

God’s Reality of Believing Man

Realize this: this is the reality God sees in you, the believer: “God raised us up with Christ (resurrection) and seated us with Him in heavenly realms in Christ Jesus (ascension)” (Eph. 2:6). Man’s dilemma seems to be that he does not see, let alone believe, the same reality which God sees in man in His Son. This is the most awesome reality that can enter the mind and life of man. The reality of man burying his “solitary life” in the watery grave of baptism, then rising to take up his place in the new “Triune life” in Christ in heaven. This is the awe-inspiring expression of God’s grace toward man. The real “believing-you” resides in heaven in Christ. This is a life of faith. To live this life requires the Personal living faith of Christ, not man’s faith. The provision of divine faith, as in every other aspect of life, is a Loving act of giving within the Triune life of Christ. Man’s faith is “solitary” and inadequate, Christ’s faith is Triune and takes us where no human faith can. Only the living faith of Jesus steps into our place and moves God to give us the grace to live this reality – this is the loving activity that exists within the Triune life. So, we see that even in this matter of faith, it requires the collaborative life within the Triune Godhead, to supply it. Christ’s faith is a gift of God to the believer through the Spirit. (Gal. 2:16, 20, KJV). God says to us, “Without (Christ’s) faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb.11:6, emphasis added).

If God sees the real incarnated you as present with Him through Christ in heaven, how does He see the reality of your physical life on earth? Jesus said, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing” (John 6:63). So, the physical “solitary” earthly life “counts-for-nothing.” That’s to say, whatever we can do in our “solitary” physical effort, which we may boast about, all “count for nothing,” for man’s salvation rests entirely upon the finished work of Christ, which brings to us the Triune life of God. This, Herald continues to manifest in the believer. “The blessings of the Lord, it makes rich, and our toil adds nothing to it” (Prov. 10:22, JPS emphasis added). We are saved by the Triune grace, not our “solitary” works. (Eph. 2:8-9)  Therefore, in the life of the Bula man-river (you), this “count-for-nothing” “solitary” life is depicted in the imagery of the RIVERBED. The RIVERBED imagery properly fits man’s “count-for-nothing” physical life that’s now overwhelmed by the Spirit’s activity of Love.

“Hide” IN Christ – Man’s Purpose

So, what is your role and mine in this activity of the Spirit in our lives? Very simply, we are “to hide in Christ.” Nothing more, nothing less. This is what the essence of the Trinitarian life means – “hiding” in Jesus. The Bula man-river is the human being “hiding” in the form of the RIVERBED covered in the full-flowing “living waters” of Jesus through the Spirit. All he sees as he looks up and out is this covering Love of Christ in the “living waters” of the Spirit. “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3; Ps. 17:6-9). We read earlier from Romans 12, “Embracing what God has done for you as the best thing you can do for Him.” The best act the Father has done for man is to give us His Son as the stronghold to “hide” us from the enemy – and that is the best we can do for God, to continuously “hide” in Jesus. The Psalmist affirms, “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance” (Ps. 32:7). No one comes to the river to see the RIVERBED (you); they can’t, for the RIVERBED is hidden from view by the “living waters” (Spirit) that cover it. They see and interact with Jesus who covers and “hides” you in the “living waters” of the Spirit, or they see the devil and his wickedness as your mantle – the Bulu man-river.***

In my Book I said this: “To “hide in Jesus” means we heed the warning to live and “not quench the living waters of the Spirit” (1 Thess. 5:19).  Instead, we are to fill our lives like the river covers its banks. If the waters subside enough, it will expose the RIVERBED with all its unsightly attributes, and we will no longer be hidden in Christ. The flesh will gain greater influence in the Bula man-river, and Jesus’ inspiration will diminish. Hence we are told to “wake up from our slumber and be zealous…” (Rev. 2:4-5; 3:3, 18-19). The deathly Bulu man-river was “flushed out” and is gone forever. Our response is to see that we remain hidden in Christ, for our completeness is in Him, not in our actions—no matter how good they may be. Never invert the priority. As much as Jesus is filled to the top in the Bula man-river, everything else will fall into place like a miracle. Indeed, it’s a miraculous life that we live.” (“Bula man-river –  The Miracle of Triune Living,” Pg.73)

I hope the imagery of the Bula man-river helps us to see the reality God sees in us – both this “believing Spirit-life” of you in heaven, and this “count-for-nothing” physical life here on earth, as Jesus portrayed for us. (John 6:63) The Bula man-river’s physical earthly life is the RIVERBED at the bottom of the river, covered with the “living waters” of the Spirit who now shares His life with you, the believer. This imagery of the RIVERBED depicting your human life in the Spirit, and your new believing life in Christ in heaven, is the reality God wants to see in man, and what God wants man to see in himself. 

The river’s course through the valleys and communities is the person’s calling to “water” those he comes in contact daily. (Prov. 11:25 KJV) The “living waters” with which we water people are the fruits of Love as we live our calling and destiny in the Spirit’s life unified in man’s life. We must allow the Spirit to live in us and orchestrate our circumstances through the faith of Jesus. The people of our valleys through which we flow will be attracted to us through the “living waters” (work of the Spirit) that will bring them life and abundance – the RIVERBED is not seen, for he or she is hidden and cloaked in the “living waters” in Christ in heaven. (Col.3:3) The RIVERBED is constantly drinking of the “living waters” (Spirit) which overflows him, and the Spirit is now the full flowing expression of Love in the believer’s life. The ocean of God’s Love in which we “hide” is what gives us the ability to swim in life.  

The RIVERBED portrays for us a spiritually healthy depiction of how to live our physical life on earth filled to the full with the Spirit’s Love and goodness, making the Triune life possible. He has been given to be with us “forever.” (John 14:16) It enables man to respond authentically in his physical response to God’s calling and destiny in Christ. This is the reality of the Triune God for man. Let us make it our reality too.

Until the next time, live the Triune life of the Bula man-river, and let the Spirit flow in you and create wonders to behold and be inspired.

Kiang (Your Servant in Christ) 

** Superabundance means God in all His magnanimous love and the expression of His grace toward man, which includes both his physical and spiritual well-being. Material wealth alone without a sound spiritual base is not the abundance implied.

 

*** Bulu man-river is the union of man with his fallen, unsaved self who lives under the deception and sway of the devil.

* The “Bula man-river” is the metaphor describing the union of man with the Love of the Triune God flowing in humans, making possible the “Triune Life” – the source of the miraculous life in man. To read the many facets of life of the Bula man-river, go to my website www.bulamanriver.com where you can order a copy of my Book. Thank you for your support.

All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise

Note: Any information obtained from this website that is used for publication should be acknowledged by citing the website address, date of acquisition and information pertinent to original authorship. For general guidelines regarding web citations see The Guide for Citing Electronic Information

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