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Thursday, May 21, 2020

What do we Know?


Jesus spoke earth shaking words to the woman at the well in Samaria:

"If thou knewest the gift of God,
     and Who it is that saith ...
          thou wouldst have asked of Him" (Jn. 4.10)

Three simple things:
     the Gift,
          the Giver,
               and the Response.
And all are dependent on the knowing ... "if thou knewest."

They are words which shake me today,
     and render my life naked before God.

How much do I really know of that which God gives?
     How much do I really have of that which God gives?
Beyond all the trappings of conventional Christianity,
     and beyond the religious explanations, 
beyond my plans and human based endeavors,
     how much of that within me is gifted by God

If Life is to know Him,
     then life is measured by the amount of my knowledge of Him.
          And the question is how much do I possess of Life?

Does my knowledge come from what is Revealed to me?

Do our churches operate through Light within,
      or do they follow the forms of the world's presentation.
           Is it too hard to break with this world's structures of expression, 
                its musical forms, 
                     its stage and light effects?

At the end of the day we do well to remember the words, "If thou knewest,"
      -and measure ourselves by this word.
 So also at all of the endings in life...
     at the end of our prayer and our worship,
          at the end of a hymn, of a meeting,
               at the end of our reading of the Scriptures,
                    do we know the reality of it all?

If we really know the Gift there will be things we do,
     and also things we cannot do.
The things we do will be in harmony with the Spirit of the Giver,
and all that is not in harmony will be cast aside.

God is infinite - there is always more to know of Him.
Paul writes after many years of service, "that I may know Him." (Phil 3.10)

The Psalmist expresses, "deep calleth unto deep." (Ps. 42.7)
I don't know how much each of us knows - but the Call of God's depths is eternal.

Isaiah speaks of the requirement (44.3) 
     "I will pour water on him that is thirsty."

Let us come with thirst, and look to God alone,
     for the Gift which He alone can bestow.
          Here is Life, abundant and eternal.

 

Friday, May 15, 2020

The Affront to the Kingdom


Here is a very simple truth:
     That which, on earth, is not of the Kingdom of God 
          is an Affront to the kingdom of God.

Everything that was damaged through the sin of Adam in the garden
is a continual hurt in God's kingdom.
 
Our living on earth is a battle between two kingdoms,
     the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the enemy.

Every day, and every decision of our lives, bears upon these kingdoms,
and somehow, as time passes, God causes His own to see that
our thoughts and our words, and all that our life expresses,
works either for or against the rule and purpose of God.

Far beyond all the things for which we pray,
     the result of our prayer is working for the advancement, 
          or the detriment of the Kingdom of God.

Our prayer on earth, is affecting things which are eternal.
And we carry some of the weight of God's eternal kingdom on our shoulders. 

As we pray we come before the King of all.
     Let us be conscious of the place which we fill.
          Let us be conscious of the reach of our prayers.
               Let us be serious, and lay aside all that would weigh us down.
                    Let us fill the place in which God has put us, and "Stand."

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Way to Dominion




Thinking of God's processes in the life of Adam.

God's plan for man was to have Dominion.
God offered Adam Dominion over all creation, 
and yet there was a process.

We could say that Adam was born (when created) but he was not yet fully formed, because man is formed through the decisions of his life.

Did God really need to put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden ... and then allow Adam a choice?
Adam was born innocent but his character was not yet formed nor revealed -
only testing could do that.

Maybe we can call the naming of the animals Adam's first test.
      He stood at that time together with God,
and discerning the nature of each animal he gave them their names - 
     names which expressed what God had bestowed when He gave them life.

Now Adam is faced with a second test
- this time he is alone when making the decision.
     This time the decision has to do not with his mind, 
          but with his heart,
               it is not measuring his understanding, 
                    but with the measure of his commitment to the One Who revealed His will about the fruit of the tree.

All must go through this process if they would become a man.
Jesus "learned obedience" ...do we ever think of that?
      ...that obedience is only learned through the act of obeying?
When Paul says that Jesus "became obedient" (Phil. 2.8) 
     does it not mean that obedience became His life?
         Jesus' declaration was, "Lo I come to do Thy will O God."(Heb 10.9)

1 Tim. 2.14 says that, "Adam was not deceived." 
He knew what the fruit meant.
He knew the enemy was not to be trusted, 
but he chose to follow Eve in her partaking of the fruit.

Facing the greatest decision of his life,
     Adam chose Time over Eternity,
          Adam chose his own will.
               Adam chose to Get and not to Give.

In taking the fruit he lost everything else,
spiritual life,
     communion with God,
          the promised dominion,
               the garden of provision,
                    the blessed state of earthly creation.

In taking the fruit he found a realm he had never known before,
     death,
          alienation from God,
               sickness and pain,
                    a mind exposed to all the tortures of uncertainty,
                         and all the fears of the unknown future.

Instead of a future of Dominion over all, he found a future of being overcome.
     A place where there was no dominion -
          rather daily exposure to destruction by an enemy greater than himself.
     And he carried the weight of the fallen world -
          which he himself had destroyed.

When we think of the salvation which God has brought to us,
let us think in view of this Fall, this Loss.

To mankind under the sentence of death,
Jesus came to bring Life ...
     "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature,
          old things are passed away;
               behold all things are become new."

As we have seen and experienced a world of loss,
     let us gaze with open eyes at the  new creation which our salvation brings.

          How can we do less than obey?
               How can we do less than worship, 
                    and give Him our all?

























Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The Secret of Praise, Prayer, and Worship


Sometimes words are very easy to put together -
but it is very difficult to fully transmit what is meant....

The secret to Praise, Prayer and Worship is simply in knowing God.
     A life will reflect what it knows,
          and express what it knows -
               it can do no more,
                    and it will do no less.
The question is do I really know Him?

What do we call "praise?"
As I listen to what passes for Praise today, 
I see in the leaders, and in the led, a total unawareness of the spiritual dimension of the activity.

God speaks to Israel in the book of Amos (5-23) saying of Israel's praise,
"Take thou away from Me the noise of thy songs,
for I will not hear..."
As Amos says again (6. 5) they "chant to the sound of the viol..."
another translation says "at the bidding of..."
     It is the music that calls - not God.
          How much singing is born of human flesh ?
               How many...how few...sing from their spirit to a God they know in spirit?
  
Romans 8.8 ... "They that are in the flesh cannot please God."

Or, yet again, Luke 16.15 ..."But God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God."

How much of the church's activity is useless and contrary to God's intention?

What is it we call "prayer?"
"Praying in the Holy Ghost" ...
Do we know the meaning of the phrase,
or is our prayer the mere exercise of our mind and lips? 

Some day in heaven God will gather all in a perfect kingdom.
Can we see God's consummation?
Are our activities born of ourselves, or are they born of God? 
Does our praise reach heaven?
And can our faith reach to heaven for an answer to our prayer?

God longs to reveal Himself -
and when we see God in the depths of our spirits 
     everything takes place a different dimension -
the limitations of earthly reasoning are overwhelmed with a greater knowledge,
          the enchainment of all human thoughts and fears is vanquished.
The realm of freedom which stretches before us is as vast as God.

Like Lazarus coming from the grave, there is a tremendous frustration when the child of God is not free.
Jesus' word on that occasion was "loose him, and let him go" (Jn. 11.44)
I wonder how many have not yet heard those words,
and yet think they are free because they are no longer in the grave?

We live in a day of superficiality, 
     where life has been made easy,
          and there is a rebellion against anything which demands effort.
This mentality has invaded pulpits and pews,
     and we embrace the easy, 
          and prefer not to look at the commission given to Paul,
"I will show him how great things he must suffer for My sake." (Acts 19.17)

The measure of love, is the measure of love's giving.
Giving is the price love pays to the one loved.
If we could only understand this how different our lives would be.

As we give to God we find the measure of His giving to us.
Without this giving there is only an eternal babyhood; -
     "an infant crying in the night,
          an infant crying for the light."

Leaving all we know, and all we are,
     and beholding Him,
          we "are changed into the same image from glory to glory,
               even as by the Spirit of the Lord."  (2Cor. 3.18)

In this place Praise and Prayer and Worship flow in a spontaneity as effortless and natural as the air we breathe.










 !

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Today ... "This is the day which the Lord hath made."


"This is the day which the Lord hath made." (Ps. 118.24)

What a certainty is here ... 
in the midst of the uncertainty around,
and the clamor of voices,
and while we look to an unknown future.

God not only controls the day, 
     but He made the day.
Time belongs to Him and no other can create it.

He knows and rules over all that time contains.
     Today, in this time and the place where we find ourselves,
     we can 'look up, and lift up our heads' (Lk. 21.28)
     because as the verse continues "your redemption draweth nigh."

How can one express the unshakeable certainty that this word brings?
     There is a knowledge within, deeper than any external thing,
          knowledge that although "heaven and earth shall pass away,"
               this word will never change.(Mt. 24.35)

God repeats His miracles, and creates new days again, and yet again,
     He has purpose for His people,
          and a portion for each day.

It is not hard to find God's purpose and God's portion 
     if we will but lift our eyes above the earthly.
The Light from above never dims, 
and the life from above is constantly renewed.

The portion of God's children is not that which earth gives,
     nor does it come from surrounding circumstances.
     
The portion of God's  children is that which His Love unceasingly bestows.


















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1Th 5:8
But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.


Monday, April 20, 2020

The Last Days


Isaiah chapter two,  verses 1 - 5, speaks of the last days,
.
This is the time when man's days, 
     the time when man did according to his own will, 
          are ended.
A time when the things which are done in God's Name,
     but of which He knows nothing are ended.

This is the time when God steps in and man's government on the earth is judged.
This is when the true is separated from the false.
This is when God's children respond to His call and "go up" from every earth born thing to be taught of God alone.

Creation groans (Rom 8.22) in its waiting.
God's true church groans also, unsatisfied with the smallness of the measure of God in the midst of those who think they know of the Kingdom.

But there is a certainty here: "it shall come to pass." 
We will be beyond uncertainty in that day.
It won't be man anymore, it will be God's day and God's working.

The nations "shall flow" to the Lord's house ... reminds me of a missionary who prayed for eight years that God would move.
God spoke to him of the animals entering the ark - God drew them,
and so He would bring people to His Kingdom.
Later multitudes came and lives were touched with the working of God.
It is not we who build the church, only God can do this.

Again, 
here we see an Exalted God, 
and a Responding people.

And there will be "Law and the Word of the Lord" (vs. 3) in that day and in that place.

Law is the defining rule of conduct .. nothing wishy washy, nor lax.
A clear way shall be there.

And a Word... a Creative Word, bestowing Life wherever it is heard.
 
And there will be Judgement there - a Separation of that which is Right from that which is not.
A separation of that which has Value from that which is without value.

And there shall be Peace, "neither shall they learn war anymore."  

Verse two starts with "the Lord's house," 
and verse five is an invitation to the house of Jacob,
(not Israel, but Jacob before he was called Israel - weak, deceitful and deceived.)

"Let us walk in the Light of the Lord."   This is the end,
and to this all things lead,
to walk again with God as it was in the beginning in Eden, 
before there was sin and death and sickness.

Let us be of those who respond today,
those who "go up"  to the mountain.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

"There is a God"


"There is a God."

This was Daniel's declaration when he stood before the king.
     After being taken captive, 
          the journey to Babylon, 
               the appointment to the king's court, 
Daniel stands under sentence of death when he declares, 
     as the solution to the king's problem, 
          as the solution to his own problem,
               "There is a God." (Dan 2.28)

This declaration of faith raised Daniel from the position of a mere captive 
to the position of ruler over the province of Babylon -
ruler over the place of man's defeat and confusion, 
the place of the building of its tower of Babel.
For Daniel there was no defeat or confusion for he believed:
"There is a God." 

It was a declaration that changed everything
It stood over, above, and beyond everything of earth.
It brought the God of heaven to the court of Nebuchadnezzar.

If only Adam could have met the temptation in Eden saying,
"There is a God."
If only the kings of Israel and Judah could have made the same declaration when confronting invading armies.
If only Israel could have said, "there is a God" when tempted to serve other gods.

If God's people today could stand on the ground of this declaration, 
     how different things would be in the church and in the world.

May God make it real to us, in the deepest depths of our soul.
     May we see this truth lifted up above every earthly power.
          May the Holy Spirit quicken us to take hold,
               and find the Life and Light of God,
                    as we say, 
                         "THERE IS A GOD."