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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Quarantine - a Waiting in Mercy, a Time to Repent?


1 Chronicles 12.32  speaks of men who knew, who discerned.

There are things we can only truly know by the Spirit -
truth known in a realm beyond emotion, instinct or thought.

If we are not illuminated by the Spirit of God, 

we are inevitably mistaken in our judgement of the world around us. 

We live amidst a profusion of voices.

     We cannot know the times in which we live, 
          if we only depend on others who profess to hear.
We cannot trust any voice except that which comes to us from God.

I hear so many affirmations of the great work which God is about to do in the not too distant future, and I am disturbed.
     What is the measure of our searching, 

          our surrender and our obedience to God?
Is what we hear about us "revelation" or is it not much more than fanciful thinking?

We always think that there is a tomorrow when things will be again as they are today - or perhaps better.
     Maybe we need to ask the basic question, will there even be a tomorrow as 

          we imagine?

Voices from the past are stilled:
     for years God has had His messengers preaching words of warning -
          I think of David Wilkerson and my father pouring out their heart's     

          in a burning cry.
But that time is past.

After Noah had preached righteousness and built the ark for one hundred and twenty years.,
God brought judgement to the earth.
The ark was finished ... but God waited seven more days before the door was closed.


Heb 3:15 says: "To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts."
There had been one hundred and twenty years of Noah's preaching righteousness,
and yet after all these years God gave yet seven more days for mercy, for repentance.

I wonder if we are not in the time of the "seven days";
I wonder if this time of quarantine is not a time in which God still waits
- waits for our response before pouring out destruction.
I wonder if time is more advanced than we think.
I wonder if our way of life is at an end, except for the short days of mercy.

The verse of Hebrews 3.15 comes to mind:
"To day if ye will hear his voice,
harden not your hearts, as in the provocation."
Mercy calls us, and God awaits our reaction.

"The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him." (Ps. 25.14)
     Do we fear Him?
          Do we know His secret?

God's ear is ever open to the cries of His own and they will not be forsaken.
     Let us fear God alone,
          and let us seek God alone.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Rest



If there is one thing which characterizes our human world it is the absence of rest.
 

There is a painting which shows a seashore in the midst of a storm.
     There, among the crashing waves, is a great rock
          and in the cranny of the rock a little bird sitting upon its nest...
               at rest, unafraid and unaffected by the crash of the elements.

How easily the world impinges upon the lives of mankind.
     How easily the problems of the world outside become our own.
          How easily we lose our peace in the storm.

A song says:
     "There is no life - no life without its hunger;
     Each restless heart beats so imperfectly."
It is true in the imperfection of our lives,
and in an imperfect world there is no security - no rest.

Revelation 6.4 speaks of peace being taken from the earth .
     Does that seem to be what is unleashed in a measure even now?
          Where do we go when there is nowhere to go?

Jesus in John 16,22 speaks of joy which no man may take away.

It is a part of the world which God opens to His own -
     where peace, assurance and rest are ever-flowing.

Hebrews 4.11 says, "Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest."
There is a rest which is beyond anything which this earth can touch,
but it is not a superficial, automatic thing.
     It is reached at the end of a pathway of searching.
          It is found beyond the limits of our own strength and understanding.

              As we, with all our strength, 

              take hold of God alone,
              we will find in Him 
              a perfect peace - a perfect rest which is not of this earth.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Following to a Destiny



Abraham, spent his life searching.

We hear much about his travels and trials,
    and the years of his pilgrimage.
We hear about his encounters with God,
    and we draw our lessons from them.

What we don't seem to hear much about is the final end of Abraham's search -
    the thing that motivated him to leave the wealth and comfort of Ur
.

What was it that caused Abraham,
    like a migrating bird leaving its nest,
        to uproot his home and step out into the unknown?

In Hebrews 11.8 we read that:
    he had a Call,
        he had Promise ... a land to inherit.
Above all He had a Vision of a City not of earth,
    a city built and fashioned by God.

Abraham's journey was not so much from Ur to Canaan,
    as it was from Earth to Heaven,
        from the seen to the Unseen,
            from the temporal to the Eternal,
                from the dwellings of man to the dwelling of God.

This, says Hebrews, was what he sought.
    He sought through the days, months and years in which he was a pilgrim.
        Even when he reached the promised land he dwelt there as a stranger.
For him there was no settled place of rest.
    For him all of earth was but another step in the journey to a better land.

It is easy to lose sight of the preeminence of the spiritual element in the lives of the men of the Bible -
    easy to see the revelations and events of their lives,
        their meetings with God and their faith
            to see things brought to pass.
But it is hard to see beyond all the earthly realm of their existence,
    and to somehow capture in our spirits what they felt burning as a vision within.

Enoch "walked with God." (Gen. 5.22)
    Abraham was called "the Friend of God" (Jas. 2.23)
        And on through the Old Testament God's servants saw Him above all earthly things.
        Their earthly journey only had value in as much as it related to the Heavenly.

As time passes and darkness descends upon our generation
    the need is ever more imperative for the children of God to look
        beyond the cloudy realms of earth to the Ever-Shining Light.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Darkness and Light.


Job cries:
"Where is the way where light dwelleth?
and as for darkness, where is the place thereof?" (Job 38.19)

When God created the world the first thing He put in place was light.
When man sinned he lost his inner spiritual light, and entered into a world of darkness.
    And ever since that fatal day man walks with uncertain steps,
        surrounded by the depths of darkness.

Job's cry is the cry of every seeking soul of man,
    a cry for sight, for clarity,
        for the sureness of the knowledge ,which only sight can give.
God's work in the lives of His own parallels His work in the physical creation.
    He is Light, and His promise to His own is that they
        "shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (Jn. 8.12)

Just as we advance from faith to faith
    so also is there an advancing from light to light.
It is a sad fact that throughout the church of God there are so many,
    in whose lives, in whose experience, there is so little light.

If we are to find God in the dimension which He desires to show us, Job's cry must find an echo in our hearts...
    "Where is the way?"
        "Where is the Light?'
When man sinned he lost his inner spiritual light, and entered into a world of darkness.
    Since that fatal day man walks with uncertain steps,
        surrounded by the depths of darkness.

It is a wondrous thing when Light fills the being within,
    and a wondrous thing when that Light finds an open door
        allowing it to flow out to this world around.

God does not want for us to be
"A garden inclosed ... a spring shut up, a fountain sealed." (Sngs 4.12)

When He does His work of enlightening within,
and opens the life's doors, then all is changed.

Here is Life in abundance within and without.
    Here is our ministry, to Him and to others.
        There is no other way.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Awake ... Take Hold





Can we see what is going on around us? 
     There are so many voices.
          There are so many explanations,
          so many dreams, "revelations" and "prophecies."

There is so much talk that is superficial,
     so much that is trivial.
The unchangeable purposes and workings of God
     seem somehow to have been lost in the search for "relevance"
     and immediacy
So much seems to be about "communication" -
     only seeking a response from the hearers,
          the "method" has usurped the "message" 
          and the Voice has been lost.

The blind are unaware when their leader is also blind. 
The Voice in the desert proclaiming the Unchangeable is hardly heard among us.
The Word  has been replaced by the media as we look for meaning.

Some may be satisfied in hearing and talking about the superficial or the trivial.
Some may be like the Athenians ever searching for some new thing,
     but others, in sincerity, are searching for answers,
          and unsatisfied, search on to find a meaning for this hour.
 

Jeremiah laments, (2.13) "my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

Isaiah declares (64.7) "There is none that calleth upon Thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of Thee: for Thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities."
     This the failing today -
     a forsaking of that which is living,
     and a digging that which is flawed

Lay hold on Life - it is not an easy thing, nor passive...(we are accustomed to think it is...)
     It is about waking up from our sleep.
     It is about Faith.
     It is about taking hold the One we Know.
     It is about looking unto Him.
"O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto Thee?" (Ps.89.8)

In these uncertain times, "God is our Refuge,"
     our Strength, our Hiding Place, our Life, our Peace,
          and looking unto Him we are changed.
Then, with clear vision, the earthly is transcended
     and the sure abode of the heavenly is known -
          earth's uncertainties are replaced by heaven's certainties.
              The shaking and fears of earth are swallowed up 
                   in the Unchangeable Kingdom of God.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Today - an Ending and a Beginning


Our minds play tricks with us -
we see something and isolate the parts we like,
and ignore the rest of the context.

When we apply this approach to scripture we easily lose meaning and purpose. 

Isaiah's picture of the desert transformed (Is. 35) is beautiful, 
But it is easy to ignore the preceding chapter which tells us when the desert will be transformed.
It is easy to forget that the transformation will be after the "day of the Lord's vengeance." (34.8)

It is easy to forget that "all her princes shall be nothing." (34.12)
     The rulers and  the leaders will be incapable of leadership.
It is easy to forget that the palaces and fortresses shall be forsaken. (34.13)
     The places of the government will be void of meaning, of resource.

It is easy to forget that all man built society is collapsed when God comes.
It is easy to refuse to look around ourselves and ask if at this present time 
this is not the state of the world in which we live?

How bad do things have to get before we realize the events around us 
are not  merely a speed bump on the highway of life?
     We hear that "All these things will soon be over and life will resume?" ...   
     Really?
          God told you that? ...Really?
               Really ... when governments, churches and individuals are bent on
               leaving God behind, or trying to "contemporise" Him?
How much more has to collapse before we realize that we are incapable,
     and only God has the answers?
          How much longer until we come to the end of our striving to make it 
          all work?

In Chapter 35.1 Starts with the desert,
     the empty places where only the beasts are found -
          the earth as it was before man was ever created.

It is to this place God comes -
this place to which man's own governance has finally brought him.
     "The wilderness...the solitary place...and the desert,"
     three similar terms express the death and the emptiness.
          Gladness, rejoicing and blossom in the same verse -
          three expressions of response toward God.

Verse 2 is an amplification of verse 1 -abundant blossom ... joy and singing
... glory.
     Man has no more place, God Himself is taking over.
          Transformation is now the rule of the desert.
               "Old things are passed away;
                    ... all things are become new." (2Cor 5.17)

The rest of the chapter enlarges this theme -
the things that take place when God comes and controls.

And the chapter ends with a highway through the desert.
The desert gloriously transformed is the mere scenery, 
through which God has built a road,
to the city of God - the place where God Himself dwells with His own.

Here, with overflowing joy, His own return to restoration, -
"joy and happiness in their grasp now."
     They return to the place where the Presence of God is in the midst,
     and the joy is everlasting.




 

Monday, June 22, 2020

"I Believe God"


"I believe God." (Acts 27.25)

Faith is the first thing we bring in our recognition of God.
We could say that faith is the only essential thing in our recognition.

If we have faith all else will come under its shadow.
     When we truly Believe we will surrender,
          we will see the pathway of obedience,
               we will find the way of love,
                    indeed we will find opened to us all the paths of Life.

Paul's experience in the storm is such a picture of life.
He was on a journey, with a God ordained purpose.
     A ship was found, and wind to carry it.
And yet the unforeseen took over and battered all plans
     until all was lost and even life was seen to be at an end.
"All hope"... how absolute ... 
     "all hope that we should be saved was taken away."

How it shows life's processes:
man alone cannot prevail,
our hopes and resources are shredded by reality.
The spiritual lies beyond the natural,
and nothing changes until all hope is gone.

God's message came to Paul, and he said to the sailors,
"wherefore" - because of this, "be of good cheer."

And Paul furthered his explanation saying
"I believe God, that it shall be."

This is always the secret.
     We are always safe in the Word of God.
Faith in that which God has spoken always makes a way,
     through all the storms,
          through all the darkness,
               through all the need, 
                    and through all the fears.

God had spoken before the journey ever began,
"Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome." (Acts 23.11)
     Now Paul repeated the words to those around him, "be of good cheer."

What a picture - "Paul stood forth in the midst of them" -
     stood to proclaim in the midst of the winds and the waves,
          stood to proclaim when all others had abandoned hope.
How the words must have filled the space, "I BELIEVE GOD."
     The waves had no more power to destroy for God had ordained otherwise.
     All ship and cargo may be lost but not one life. 

God is the giver of life, and the enemy cannot take it from God's children.
     "My times are in Thy hand" ...says Psalm 31.13.
          All our times...all the things which make up our lives,
               are secure in His keeping.

               And God will bring us also, safe through the storm.