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Friday, October 16, 2020

Finding the Pathway


Paul expressed his heart's longing in the words,
    "that I may know Him." (Phil. 3.10)

Job, in the record of his pilgrimage toward God, declares,
    "I know that ...I shall see God," (19.26)
        and at the end of his journey he declares,
            "now mine eye seeth Thee." (42.5)

This is always the aim and longing of the true child of God.
It is easy to find things to believe,
    things to experience,
        things to do -
             and then find that at the end of it all we have a "Christianity"
                 without possessing the Life of God.

We can get excited about transmitting the correct doctrine.
    We can emphasize the correct experiences.
And somehow miss the fact that God Himself desires to
    fill all our vision,
        and be all our Life.

The Holy Spirit has been the agent of God's work ever since the first man was conscious of life.
Throughout the history of the generations of the Bible, and since, God has never left Himself without a witness.

Daniel says, "the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits."  (11.32)

Real, intimate, spiritual knowledge of God is Life and Light and Strength for all our pathway - there is need for nothing else.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Swallowed Up


"He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces;
and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth." Isa 25:8     

There is coming a day … when all will be changed,
    when God alone will be glorified,
        and our tears will be dried.
Would that God might give us a vision of that which He desires to do;
    of that which He will do in future days.

We are in danger of interpreting the future by the things of the past,
    in danger of depending on our minds when we should rely on our spirits,
        in building on our thinking instead of on God's revelation.

God has promised  a new thing, and He doesn’t mean a new work built out of the old materials.
We have heard many times that God will do a new work and that no man will get glory out of it.
    But do we really realize what this means?
It means we will get no glory because we will have nothing to do with it.
    We may seek but it is God Who comes in answer to our seeking,
        rather than our efforts finding Him.

There is a rebuke, a reproach, over the people of God
    and the reason is that they are so unlike what God would have them be.
Human reasoning, human arguments, human techniques,
    have taken the place of Spirit breathed inspiration.
Can we be the people of God when God is not in the midst?
Can we call ourselves the people of God when it is we who plan and act and not He
    - when He is not seen or exalted in the work?
The reproach will be taken away when God is victorious over the death in the church.

We think of the phrase “He will swallow up death in victory,”
It is easy to apply it to physical death, and the glory of eternal life,
but I think we can find a wider application .
 
God would give us to live a life free from the works of death,
    free from the darkness that shadows all in this world. -
God wills for us a life where the death-portion of
    things which refuse to let us go, things of
        Guilt, and Condemnation, Fear, and Confusion of Darkness,
            have been “swallowed up” in the glory of His work in our lives.
When this takes place the church will no longer be "Irrelevant,
    and thought to be disconnected with present needs.
        But it will be the creative expression of God, the Creator.


God fills when He is all in the lives of His own.
    then death is swallowed up in victory
        and the reproach is forever taken away.






Friday, October 2, 2020

Revival

 
Words change their meaning as the years pass.
    The word "Freedom" to the early settlers in North America meant
        liberty to worship and obey God without restriction.
Today "Freedom" is taken to mean liberty to do whatever I want without restriction.


The word "Revival" seems also to mean less today than in past years.
    We think of conversions, enlarged churches and more people like ourselves.
Perhaps a simple definition of revival would be "a Visitation of God which manifests the Glory of God."

When Acts 4.31 says "the place was shaken" maybe it represents something more than the building.
    Maybe it represents a coming of the Spirit of God which also shook every life which was in the building.
        Maybe within lives things were displaced and rearranged in that shaking,
            and through the shaking lives were prepared and the Holy Spirit was outpoured.

Our tendency is to make everything simpler and less costly than God intends,
with the result that we will be satisfied with a poor imitation of the real thing.
Do we have a true idea of what is meant by "Salvation"?
    or Surrender, Dedication, or Prayer?
        or Praise, or Worship?
            or Testimony, Service, or Ministry?

Our minds are conditioned by the definitions we attach to words,
    and in order to truly understand the words we read, hear and speak,
        we need an illumination which only God can bestow.
        
Would God we could forget our supposed knowledge of all that surrounds us,
    and seek with all the intensity of our being
            the Light which alone illuminates the soul of man.
Would we could find the intensity to pray
    until the darkness would lift and all be filled with Light.
        in order to see and know the things of God as He would have us see.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Set my Spirit Free



Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Thy name. (Ps. 142,

I cannot praise if my soul is in prison,
    because praise, in its simplest definition,
        is the expression of what I recognize in God,
            and I cannot recognize Who He is until I am loosed from what binds me.

God is only to be known by those who have been freed from things which cover the soul.
What we usually call Praise is a poor imitation of the real thing.
 

There are many things around us which would imprison us.
    Apart from God every soul in this earth is in a prison.
        The world exerts its pressures in many ways in order to enslave us,
            and the view from prison is always twisted and always speaks despair.
 

The way of "easy believism" is not enough.
    Freedom always comes at a price.
        The past is always present until the birth of the New.
            And the birth many times comes through much seeking and much pain.

Some of those who were enslaved in the Soviet gulag said that
    it was there that they, for the first time, found freedom -
        a freedom of spirit,
            a freedom which had nothing to do with outward circumstances,
                a freedom which was inextinguishable by any earthly power.

"Set my spirit free" says an old chorus.
    How wonderful it would be if every child of God could pray this prayer,
        and pray it until freedom should flood the soul like the dawning light.


Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Thy name. (Ps. 142,

I cannot praise if my soul is in prison,
    because to praise, in its simplest definition,
        is to express what I recognize in God,
            and I cannot recognize Who He is until I am loosed from what binds me.

God is only to be known by those who have been freed from things which cover the soul.
Praise is a poor imitation of the real thing until the soul is free.

Some of those who were enslaved in the Soviet gulag said that
    it was there that they, for the first time, found freedom -
        a freedom of spirit,
            a freedom which had nothing to do with outward circumstances,
                a freedom which was inextinguishable by any earthly power.

We are not where they were but still may be imprisoned.
There are may things around us which would imprison us.
    Apart from God every soul in this earth is in a prison.
        The world exerts its pressures in many ways in order to enslave us,
            and the view from prison is always twisted and always speaks despair.

Perhaps more important than the freedom from earthly prison
    is the freedom from the prisons within -
        the prisons which we have built with our own beliefs, our own fears,
            our own concepts and interpretations of the things of God.

Maybe we have seen other lives expressing this freedom
    and felt the pressure of the prison around us -
        be assured God wants us all to be free,
            and there is a path to freedom for us all.

"Set my spirit free" says an old chorus.
    How wonderful it would be if every child of God could pray this prayer,
        and pray it until limitless freedom should flood the soul like the dawning light.


 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

God in the Valley of Death - and Life




"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me." (Ps. 23.4)

Behind every shadow there is a substance,

     and in the Valley of the Shadow there is death.

Somehow, as with the healing power in Peter's shadow,
     the shadow itself has power.
The Shadow of Death also transmits a portion of death and destruction.
     All shadow blocks out the light of the sun,
          and transmits a colder measure of darkness.

Where there is life there are shadows -
     and valleys are an experience common to all men.
Today we live in a shadowed world
     and the shadow is the same - death.
     It is a shadow which threatens all kinds of disorder and chaos.
          a shadow which threatens unknown calamity.
                The shadow would shut down life as we know it,
                      and fasten a portion of death on our days.

We like the comfort of Psalm 23
     but we need to see that the highest point of the Psalm
          is in the Valley of Death -

               In the Valley of Death there is Life.
          It is here that the psalmist finds the Presence of God
               and declares "Thou art with me."
(vs.4)

The Shepherd leads and provides in the first three verses,
     but He is closer in the valley,
          and it is here His sheep find something more than food.

               It is here we find God closer than the shadow. 

It is in the valley alone the palmist speaks of Comfort.
 

I can't explain Comfort - it goes beyond words.
    It is rest and renewal and security and Life.
        It is the absence of hurt, and pain, and all that may destroy.
            It is the flow of a New Life, fresh from the hand of God.


    Here in the midst of death God comes to and abides with His Own.
              
                        Here is Heaven begun on earth.


Thursday, September 10, 2020

Life amidst the Death



"Thou wilt show me the path of life." (Ps. 21.4)


The sun is setting on a time of purpose - and anarchy is loosed.
Those who observe society see the end of an age and a setting sun.

We live at a turning point in our civilization.
     No one has the answer for the avalanche of change.

The common purpose and common values which unite a people, a nation, has been lost.
     In its place we have a mistaken affirmation on the individual's "rights" 

     and "freedom."
          Instead of us owing something to the world of mankind around us
               we feel that the world owes us happiness and fulfillment.

It would seem that the ones who should discern the situation and guide,
     the pastors and the politicians,
     are the only ones who are mistaking the sunset for the sunrise -
     proclaiming that greater and better things are just around the corner.
These are the ones unable or unwilling to free their minds from yesterday's world and accept the fact that we will never go back to the world of yesterday.

There cannot be a simplistic, triumphal mindset which would lead us to believe
that we will be untouched by that which surrounds us.
     There will be difficult days of uncertainty and shadow around -
          days unlike what we have experienced in time past.

We can't take lightly a scripture like Psalm 91 and use it as a talisman,
as though the mere repetition of Scripture has spiritual value to save.
     There will be times in which faith will be tested
     and only a real faith and communion with God will see us through in victory.

In the midst of all the darkness and confusion, the last word is God's.
     Fear and destruction are not the portion of those born of God.

In the lives of those who lay hold of God and His Word the enemy cannot prevail

      -There is "another King, one Jesus." (Acts 17.7)

This is the bedrock on which God builds.
     This is what God would show us.
          God Himself is the Way.
               God Himself is the Path of Life.

God always bears His own through the storm.


                 "Ye have seen ... how I bare you on eagles' wings, 

                  and brought you unto Myself." (Exo. 19.4)

Friday, September 4, 2020

Asking for Life



Psalm 21.4 "He asked life of Thee, and Thou gavest it him."
    What a  statement -

     so concise,
          so worth looking at with attention.

We place things in our lives in the order of their importance to us,
    and yet somehow we do not give much attention to discovering what life itself is.

     What is it that God sets before us as we travel through the years?
     How do the Earthly and the Heavenly realms meet and interact?

When we leave this earth and the things of this earth behind us,
    then what will we take with us?
The easy answer is to say that we take nothing with us,
    but in reality we take much with us.

All the days and hours of our lives are slots of time. 

These we fill one way or another, with things which we will carry with us when we leave.
There are things we have done,
    there are longings of our heart,

          there are things "which we have heard, 
               which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, 
                    and our hands have handled, of the Word of life." (1 Jn.1.1)

These are the measures of revelation, to which our response will be rewarded or judged, in that Sphere beyond the one we now inhabit.

David "asked life" - only God can give it, because only God is the Author.
    Only God can give it, because that Life is beyond the reach of man.
The wisest man who ever lived expressed his frustration in searching through all of human experience.
    Finally finding that ultimate satisfaction was to be found nowhere he

declared "all is vanity." (Ecc. 12.8)

Life is given to those who seek,
    those who are not held by the things which hold most men,
        the fears, and  the formulas which surround us all.


Life is found when we realize that leaving our own world is essential 
if we are to find the world of God. 

That which is not Life is Death,
and the question is, 'how much Life do we carry with us'?

Yes, Life is given freely to all who value and seek it.
     Paul says in Philippians 3.7: "What things were gain to me, those I   
counted loss for Christ."
          Jesus said, "Seek and ye shall find." (Mat.7.7)