Friday, January 24, 2020

The Task

I'm stuck. There is a word we use here, and I can't find an exact translation.
The word is "Tramite." 
"Tramite" is the procedure necessary in order to attain to a result.

I was impressed today with the fact that in my facing of the challenges of life the result has not to do with the visible things themselves 
          but with the invisible barriers which hinder accomplishment.

And so my task (tramite) has to do with the One Who disposes all things in heaven and earth.
     Nothing more and nothing less.

But it is not merely today's challenges which find their solution in God,
it is all the battles, all the wearing trials, of all my life.

In every circumstance of every day of my life, throughout the years,
     God holds the key, God disposes the results.
          All my dealings are with God

In short: All life's Answers are found in God.

The first verse of an old hymn says:
     Pray always pray;
     the Holy Spirit pleads
     within thee all thy daily,
     hourly needs.

And the last verse says:
     All earthly things  
     with earth 
     shall fade away;
     pray, always pray.

All that is earthly is but for a moment,
and only as we are able to see beyond that which surrounds us 
can we understand the true value of things,
can we begin to understand the heavenly realm.

"We wrestle not against flesh and blood" says the apostle. (Eph 6.12)
     And so all through our years, 
           we find life in the measure in which we find of God.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

That Which is to Come

One thing about the word "greater" ... when it refers to God, 
     it refers to something far beyond the ability of our minds to grasp.

Even if we look at created things (which is the smallest part of God's working)
     Someone has estimated the number of stars at          1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. 
     At the other end of the scale there are perhaps 
  43,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms in a grain of sand - 
God put all those atoms in a grain of sand ... 
so how many atoms are there in the universe???

Now, as the chorus says, "How great is God?"
How great distance which His condescension led Him to stoop to man?

God calls us to Himself. How great is that call?
How great is the power which works to make it possible?
How great is the Love, the Mercy, the Tenderness of God's seeking?
How unfailing the undergirding which comes with this call to our hearts?

With God nothing is impossible. (Lk. 1.37)
     If our hearts reach out then
          God's gift of faith will meet us.

As a church we have gone back from the time when the streams of Salvation, Healing, and Holy Ghost baptism met at the beginning of the twentieth century.

The Glory, the Freshness and the Power of those days are no longer amongst us.
God Himself is no longer the All in All in our midst,
as He was for those who experienced the outpouring of the Spirit of God 
those years ago.

Someone told me of those early days, "We KNEW that God would come and manifest Himself every time we were in a meeting."
Today? Where are we today?

Today we are structured and bound by our conventions.
Today we have substituted programs for vision.
Today we have taken our eyes off God and are looking for men to guide us.

We think we know when we know nothing.
Man looks for the "latest and greatest" 
     but God desires that we humble ourselves 
          that He might do His work.

Isaiah 2 speaks of that which will be in the Last Days,
     the days when man's pride will be humbled and God alone exalted,
          the days when God's Call to man will Culminate in Fulfillment.

It is a time to cease to try to understand the future through the eyes of the past.
     It is a time to seek the Lord alone.
          It is a time to go up to the mountain of the Lord,
               to the place where He will teach us of His ways,
                    where we will walk in His paths. (vs 3)


Monday, January 13, 2020

Hearing for Life

I had wanted to write about Psalm 78,
and the theme of the Word and the Works of God.

But there is something which arrests me as the psalm begins:
     The first verse of the Psalm says "Give ear ... incline thine ear."

Sometimes the mind lags behind the understanding ... 
     and here there is a world of difference 
          between "hearing" and "inclining the ear."

To hear is to understand the meaning of the words.

But to hear with an ear which bows before the words, 
     is to grasp the significance of the message, 
          and to absorb it, at the deepest level of our being.
It is to give that message a place of preeminence -
     above all that we knew before.
It is to replace every other thing which our understanding and our experience has taught us - 
     with the new Word from the lips of God.
It is to allow that Word to expand and fill our whole awareness, 
     and to change us according to its message.

In the world of mankind, a language is never truly possessed, at the very deepest level, when it has not been learned in the first five years of life.

So also, when we come to the things of God unless there is a true work of new creation we cannot truly know the things of God.
We may hear, and think we perceive, but full understanding escapes us ... 

1Cor. 2.12 shows us the only way, "Now we have received, ... the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." 
     God's Word makes all things new, 
          and only as we embrace that New Creation can we really hear,
               and find our lives Complete.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

A World Lit by God

"I am the Way." said Jesus. (Jn. 14.6)

Lifting one's eyes to the One Who is above, above and above all,
     one sees Him inhabiting an eternal world of order,
          and purpose and fulfillment.

It is a world so different from the chaotic world of humankind.
     Man puts his world together with pieces,
          and it is always incomplete.

And yet there is within the soul of man a calling to find God's perfect world,
to find the fulfillment, the completion, of that world.
 In our world there is something which first saw light in the garden of Eden -
     an ignorance and insufferable pride,
          of man thinking he is capable of understanding God,
               of finding the way, 
                    of knowing the answers.

Men both in the world and in the church,
     get incredibly stupid ideas - 
          about how everything works,
               about what everything means. 

There are very few who sit down to question:
     Do I really know anything?
          Do I hear anything?
               Do I see anything?

Zacharias, the father of John Baptist says,
"The Dayspring from on high hath visited us." (Lk. 1.78) 
     Here is Light.
          Here is Life.
               Here is the Way.

It takes strength and courage,
     to question everything we see around us,
          to judge all things by the Bible alone,
               and to bring our own selves to the judgement bar.
                    It is far easier to live an unquestioning existence.

It takes strength to leave behind all that is unreal,
     to let go of all that is mere words and emotion -

Let us lift our eyes to a world lightened only by the Light of God.

    And there we will find the quickening life which flows from God.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Blessing of Choice

At the beginning of the book of Deuteronomy Moses calls on Israel to
"remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee." (Deut. 8.2)

Now at the end in Deuteronomy (chapter 30) Moses stood before Israel
     with another word of God,
          the word of the Omnipotent,
               the ever present, 
                    "I am."

Israel stood poised at a place
     between a journey of forty years,
          and a future of conquest and possession.

Today we stand between a passing year and one about to be born.
There is a similarity between Israel's situation and our own.
And I believe God's word to Israel is applicable to ourselves.

A new world was opening before Israel,
a land of their own was awaiting,
places of dwelling and places to possess.

It was a New Time,
     and Israel was called to choose.

The decision to be faced was of the heart
not of the mind or even the "will,"
for these are never enough to hold up in the battles of life.
Defeat and judgement awaited '"if thine heart turn away." (vs. 17)
The fate of the future does not just "happen,"
     It is the result of a Decision.
There had to be a choice and a Commitment.
     There had to be a forsaking of a way of life,
          and a taking up of new responsibilities. 

So for us: as we enter into a new year.
God says to us, "My son, give me thine heart." (prov 23.26)
     There is a land of opportunity which God sets before us  
          a land which extends as far as we are willing to possess it.

We face a choice.
     It is a time to examine what we are looking for,
          a time to examine what we are aiming for.
     It is a time of counting the cost.
     It is a time of decision.

     What do we seek in this New Year?
          What do we set before us?
               And what must we leave behind? 
                    What does the New Commitment ask of us?

Moses made it very clear to Israel -
     "I have set before you life and death."
It is always so with God:
     the choice is always between Life and Death,
          there is no middle ground.

Life is an active choice -
     but Death comes unbidden if we fail to make that choice.

Moses includes another element,
     another commandment -
"I command thee this day to Love the Lord thy God." (vs. 16)
     Here is a commandment which reaches beyond the power of reasoning,
          and beyond our ability to measure.

This commitment rises high above all other commitments.
 This will hold when all else fails.
Love never passes away, but endures to the end.
"Love is strong as death." (Songs 8.6)

This is the way forward for this coming year,
     and for all the days of our lives.

          When our love meets God's Love, 
          nothing can destroy what He has determined for us.

                          In Him we conquer.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Jesus Came

Jesus CAME...

He was here - fully present in a time and a space, 
     after emptying Himself of His place in heaven.
He was here present as a servant - until His final rejection and crucifixion at the hands of those to whom He came.

He fully took this place of earth and made it His place 
     to live, 
          to minister, 
               to give and give again,  
                    and to die.

What a contrast with man living in his own unawareness.
There is a human escapism, and we think that the real self
     is not here where the body is.
It is hard to say, Today, here and now, is my home,
     today is where I must sow and where I must harvest ...
It is hard to face the fact that, "Now is the day of Salvation" (2Cor. 6.2)
     We need no other time or place to find fulfillment.
We see our dreams and our work elsewhere,
     tomorrow seems to offer so much more,
          and it is so easy to live in the fantasy land of tomorrow's horizons.
               It is so easy to see tomorrow as the place where I will flourish,
                    and to see today without responsibility or reward.
                         It is so easy to know our body here, 
                              while our real self is off in "greener pastures and wider horizons."

Tomorrow cannot be touched from where we are -      no matter how we try.   
Thoreau had it right when he said:
     "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."

Jesus Came ... let us come
     to the Time, the Place and the Task He has set before us.

Let this be our gift to Him at this time.
     Here is where God dwells.
          Here is where life's Completion is found.

               "I delight to do thy will, O my God." (Ps. 40.8)

Friday, December 20, 2019

God's Giving

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, 
how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Rom. 8.32)

"Delivered up" ... "give" ... what do the words mean to us?
     God takes His own, 
          and gives Him to us,
               to be our own.
That which is given is irrevocably gone. 
It is now possessed by the recipient of the gift.

I wonder how much self-gratification there is in most of what we call giving?
How much somehow returns to us in one form or another?
I wonder how much self gratification there is in most of what we "give" to God?
     Maybe it is not the "losing" which pleases us?
          but the return in direct, or indirect, ways.

God's giving ... true giving ... is different - there is no measuring of return,
     no careful calculating the measure of the gift.
Can we give to him in the same way?
Don't we tend to give enough and no more?
     Man asks the question, "how much do I need to give?"
          What is meant is, "how little can I give?"

At this time of year we remember, and think of God's gift.
     I wonder, can we begin to understand the measure of that Gift?
          God gave His Son and freely gave all else beside.

Again, let us respond to that great Gift,
So let us extend ourselves to the abundance of the "all things" which He longs to give us,
     things which as yet we have not seen,
          things which go beyond all our limits of vision and experience -
                an abundance which is of the eternal realm of God.

"For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
And ye are complete in him." (Colossians 2: 9,10)
     God's Fulness for our Emptiness - 
          this is the measure of God's gift.

Part of a hymn by Francis Ridley Havergal comes to mind:
     "I gave, I gave My life for thee,
      What hast thou giv'n for Me?"

Let us worship -

                     Let us give back to Him the life we owe Him.