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Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Lord Alone


Isaiah 2 speaks of the last days, 
     of the Lord's exaltation at that time, 
          and the judgement of men.
He finishes saying "the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day" (vs. 11 and 17).

When God is exalted all else is humbled.
     This is a truth desperately needed.  

"The Lord alone" is a totally exclusive declaration, not even the tiniest thing can come alongside Him.
For us to find God, all that we are, and all that we think we possess,
must bow down.

How much seeking for answers in our spiritual lives is frustrated at this point?
How many of the "closed doors" come from a lack of "utterness" in our seeking?

There is something so beautiful when the sun rises in a morning without clouds, and all is made luminous and clear.
And there is something so beautiful when the Lord is seen without hindrance, or earthly impediments.

This has always been God's aim ...
"Thou shalt have no other God's before Me." (Ex. 20.3)

"Let us lay aside every weight" says the apostle. (Heb.12.1)
It is the same thing - God alone as the focus of life.
     This is where our eyes see clearly. 
          This is the vision of transcendent beauty.

"How great is His goodness, and how great is His beauty." (Zec. 9.17)
              


Monday, September 16, 2019

The New Thing


Isaiah 45.19 God says: "I will do a new thing."

Time after time we hear of God doing a new thing.
I wonder: Do we know what we are talking about?

     Is "New" what we see around us?
          Is "New" what we already know?
               Is "New what we have experienced?

The truth of salvation by faith was seen New by Martin Luther
Sanctification was seen New by Wesley.
Missions was seen New by William Carey.
The Pentecostal experience was New at the beginning of last century,
and broke through to the mainline churches in the  1950s.
A New revelation sweeps all before it:

More than half a century has passed since the last general move of God, 
and the chaos in the secular and religious worlds brings with it a pain and a darkness which cries for a new manifestation of the Kingdom of God.

And yet:
Woe to us if in our looking to the future we see only the possibility of a repeat of the past moves of God.
Woe to us if our prayers are limited to a reliving of the old.
Woe to us if we pray from the place of our experience - and prophesy from there.

Jesus' last words were, "I am with you." (Mt. 28.20)
This is the vision which God would set before us today -
     a Vision of One.

It is God Himself coming in our midst, in a Glory beyond all we have experienced or read about.

It will be a Coming of Life beyond all we have ever known...     
     It will be Light beyond light, 
          It will be Faith beyond faith, 
               It will be Anointing  beyond anointing...

                               Is not this the New Thing?

  

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

In Earth ... In Heaven


I wonder how we see the relationship between earth and heaven?
I wonder how God sees the relationship between earth and heaven?

What did Jesus mean when He taught His disciples to pray,
 "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven"? (Mat. 6.10)
Was it principally about the restoring of the right relation between earth and heaven?
I think it was - 
whatever it means for us as individuals and our own particular circumstances,
     and whatever it means for a church, or a nation,
         these are only parts of a greater whole.

Creation groans, the universe groans, for something which has been broken.
And this will never be restored until the Kingdom of God comes in earth as in heaven.
The prayer is for the manifestation of the glory of God; that once again the earth be "filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." (Hab. 2.14)
Someone once said that he would wish, even just once before he died, to pray  the Lord's prayer as it really is.
I see what he meant ... to be able to understand and add his voice to that prayer.

 For beyond the wrong and the hurt, 
     is the yearning for the rightness,
          the completion, the restoration.
               It is the bringing again of all which has been lost.
                    it is the glory of a creation - where all is made new, 
                         and imperfections never enter more.

This is what God sets before us also: 
     to feel within ourselves the weight of the hurt of the wrong of this 
     world which surrounds us,
          and to bear this weight, with Him,
               until the glory comes and fills this empty hurting space.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

How Much Can You Lose?



 I am remembering now a phrase:
"How much can you lose without losing your faith in God?"
The reference is to the story of Micah. (Judges 18.24)
"And he said, Ye have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest
... and what have I more?"

We live surrounded by an infinite world of things trivial:
What is left when all that surrounds us is taken away?
     How much of what we are is external?
          How much of who we are, is external?

There is a beautiful verse in Isaiah 26.3.
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee."
     Perfect peace is beyond the reach of the world around,
          it can never be found in any of the things about us.
               It is not built upon anything visible.
                    It doesn't depend upon things which are tangible.
                         It is beyond all earthly things.
     
 "There is a place of quiet rest, 
           near to the heart of God."
                It is to this place that God invites us.
                This is the place which He has prepared for us.
All the work of the enemy is to get us to believe to the contrary,
     to separate us from the Source of Life.
          to separate us from the rest and the security of that place prepared.
  
The apostle Paul lived, "as having nothing, and yet possessing all things."
       Our God is the same God, 
          His promises are certain to us also.
               Let us find, and let us live this Life.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Vision



In heaven we will see with a clarity which we have never known on earth.

Here on our physical earth, the dust and the reflection of earthly lights impede our ability to see the stars.
And yet, in places far from civilization, we sometimes get a glimpse of different  skies.
We see a realm of more transparent clarity,
     a place where the empty places are filled with points of light -
          a place where what we knew before is seen as pitifully limited. 

So it is with that heaven where God dwells.
     Our earthly eyes are blind to the fullness of that spiritual dimension.
          We see so many empty spaces -
               places where our lack is more evident than God's fullness.

And yet, even as we live in the earthly sphere, we are surrounded by the dimensions of a Heavenly Kingdom.

Creation cries to be delivered from the bondage of its fallen state -
     and the cry of the heart of a child of God is for open eyes, 
          to see the fullness which exists in Him.

Man is never complete until the work of God's salvation is complete in him.
     It is so until we turn from earth, and walk in the illumination of heaven's Light.
          There shadows grow thin and disappear,

               there the earthly dimness which surrounds us,
                    is replaced with the Light which is not born of earth.

As the Christian looks Godward,
    He sees a New Creation -
          "all things have become New." (2Cor.5.17)
         

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Looking


"Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith." (Heb. 12.2)

It is a very simple statement; easy to be understood, 
but hard to put into practice.

Life offers us so many other places to look,
     proffers us so many pathways to walk,
          offers so many "solutions" for our needs,
               dizzies us with so many choices.

David declared, "My heart is fixed." (Ps. 57.7)
Wonderful place to be - a heart fixed "looking unto Jesus." 
Again, Spurgeon's testimony, "I could have almost looked my eyes away."
     What a decision, what a determination,
          what a conviction that in Christ was the answer. 

Fallen mankind has a fixation with trying to understand in order to experience.
     Looking is a far simpler process.
     In looking that which is seen enters the life  far more directly.
     To see, is to absorb what is seen in all its essence,
     without any need of "interpretation."
We say 'now I see,' when the import of a thing becomes clear,
and doubts and misunderstanding fade away.

So how do we find faith, and all the life which God offers us?
The answer is simply by Looking,
     simply letting all our longings find their focus in Jesus,
          simply lifting our eyes to look beyond all our fears, 
               simply gazing beyond whatever tries to stamp itself on our vision.
It is a returning again and again, to the One Who brought us to spiritual birth.
It is a determination not to allow one single thing to claim any place beside Him.

The looking is far from merely seeking that we might comprehend.
In our look, we gaze upon the Source of Life.
We see the fountain flowing out toward us.
We feel the quickening in all our being, of ever-increasing, all-overcoming, 
eternal Life.

                             There is no other Author of Life, 
                     no other sustenance of Life than Jesus.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

What is Lost


Comes to mind the song "The Lost Chord," whose music was written a hundred and fifty years ago by Arthur Sullivan.
The song speaks of the joy of finding a chord of unknown heavenly music,
and the frustration at losing it again.

The music is merely the symbol, illustrating something greater and more essential.
The song speaks of the human condition.
It speaks of the frustration of vainly trying to find that which has been lost
- a something deep within, inexplicable in words, and incomprehensible to the mind.

What mankind cannot find is Life;
     and there is a yearning, 
         an unsatisfied longing which never passes, 
              but rather takes ever deeper root throughout the passing years. 

As worship, which must be in spirit (Jn. 4.24), so with our seeking and finding any part of the spiritual realm.
          The mind merely follows on where the heart has gone.
"Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name." (Ps. 142.7)
As the Jews to whom Jesus spoke, we may think we are free and yet be bound by so many things. (Jn. 8.33,34)

Freedom and Life is ours, as we lift our eyes and our hearts above all that surrounds,
and leave all our being - our hopes, longings, and fears - at the feet of the Master.