Wednesday, December 11, 2019

There is an Above and Beyond

The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. (Gen.49.26)

It is a wonderful thing to go beyond what has been given to us by others.
It is a wonderful thing to find new possessions in the spiritual realm.

Jacob had fought and connived for the blessings inherited from Abraham and Isaac, but in the end he had found a place in God which was uniquely his own.
When Jacob came before Pharaoh, unlike Abraham, he was unafraid.
He did not have to dissimulate but was able, in total dominion, to extend a blessing to Pharaoh.
     He went beyond - he "prevailed above."

How amazing that God could take this twisted deceiver and transform him unto a "Prince with God." (Gen.. 32.28)
How amazing that this man, who was willing and able to deceive,
could be brought to a place where God could speak through him,
where God could use him as He willed.
     The years of his pilgrimage, the journeyings, trials and sorrows, had brought him to a place: 
     where he could readily allow God to choose the way for him to tread,
          where he could stand before the king of Egypt unafraid
               knowing that God in Whose Presence he dwelt was the only Omnipotent One.

Having learnt of God he could see the nations as dust, 
     and their rulers as insignificant in their power.

Having learnt of God Jacob was more than conqueror.

                          If we learn, so will we be also.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Finding a World

"The hearing ear ... the Lord hath made." (Prov. 20.12)

A baby, as it grows, develops its innate capacities -
eyesight, tact, and motor skills grow in proficiency.
But there is one area impossible to attain on one's own - the area of speech,
and the ability to hear and understand.

In order to attain this understanding there must always be another involved.
It is usually the mother who serves as a bridge 
between the lack of knowledge in the child, 
and the capacity of speech which names and interprets the world around.

Those born deaf, who have never met a teacher,
           live in a world, to us incomprehensible, and impenetrable.
               A world of utter, forever uninterrupted, silence.
                    A world where the meaning of things is lost.
A world filled with a consciousness of "lostness" in every minute of every day.
     When a person finds words the world is not only observed, 
          but it is "possessed."
 As the ear is able to interpret sound, understanding is made plain,
               and one finds one's own self in the process.
                    The world "belongs" to the ones who "hear."
As in the natural world so also in the spiritual world.     
     "The hearing ear" speaks of an ear which perceives,
           an ear which interprets the significance of what it hears.

We cannot find that world on our own.
Unless we are near enough to hear God speaking to us we will be forever ignorant of the spiritual world.

     Without the living Word,
          Without the Spirit quickened Word,
               there is no life for the Christian.
We may be "saved" and yet "lost" to the significance of salvation.

If we have received but tiny doses of truth at scattered times 
     we are like those who cannot hear - 
          prisoners deprived of our birthright.
The child must be with the mother in order to learn her language,
and the child of God must be with God in order to hear, understand and know Him.
          The road to spiritual perception has never changed,
          and all through the Bible God invites us to "Come."

"Come unto me ... and I will give" (Mt. 11.28) is a never failing promise.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The Light that Shineth ...

How can one explain what light is?
How can we avoid the scientific terminology and yet understand?

And how can we analyze what spiritual light is?

I don't know!

It seems that we are asking the wrong question ...
     What is needed is not an explanation of light, 
          but an experience of light -
               only this will quiet the seeking of the mind.

The only way to know spiritual light is to experience it.
    And to really understand we must see it - 
          only this will satisfy the seeking of the heart.
             This Light has meaning only when we find it present in our lives.

God is the Source of Light and it is to Him we must look.
     Light is, because God is. 
          If we want to be illuminated in our understanding we need only to look to Him.

One thing is certain in the Word of God:
     Light and the darkness don't mix.
From whence then comes this madness of pushing the limits of what is acceptable in the Christian faith?
What is this insane rushing to go to the absolute limit of the "permissible" in the pew and in the pulpit, in order to facilitate our own plans and purposes?
     The Light of God flees from all such things.

If we look at a source of light, all else is dark and shadowy.

If we embrace the way the earthly realm operates does it not say to us that we have never really seen the Light "as it is in Christ Jesus."
     To enter into such derangement is to enter realms of obscurity ...
          and the simple and glorious gospel becomes lost in darkness.

Can we cut ourselves free from the things which bind mankind - 
     the fear of man, the greed of ambition, and all other self interest?
          Can we turn to the Light to behold "with open face," 
               until the brightness of His person illuminates all within,
                    and the darkness is no more?

Paul saw the Light and  said, "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord:  (Phil. 3.8)
     There was no limit,
          no compromise,
               no half-way commitment.
There was only a walking in that Light which "shineth more and more unto the perfect day." (Pr. 4.18)
     - a walking step by step, without rest or stopping places.

          This is the same pathway God sets before us ..."let us run."


Monday, November 25, 2019

I'm Weary

Bear with me today ...
We speak of heaven and of earth,
of things Eternal, and of things of man's dwelling place.

As I look heavenward, the surpassing Beauty and Wonder of The Holy One 
and His realm overwhelms me.
But as I look at earth, I see God's Name being dragged through the dust, 
both in the world and also in the church.

I am weary of the same old errors being perpetrated upon the children of God.

Weary of the "teachers" who have never known the realm of the Spirit of God
dogmatically laying down their interpretations of things they know nothing about.
Weary of them telling what is, and what is not, in realms they have never experienced.

Weary of "prophetic" ministries holding conferences to gull the gullible with generic "words" - 
     words of an imminent tsunami of blessing which at the point of release.
Weary of those who come with a "radical" message which is just radical enough to produce a knee-jerk reaction - such as a doctor produces by a tiny tap on the nerve.
Weary of those words which are not strong enough to produce any lasting difference in the lives of those who hear.

Weary of those who profess to have been given a ministry to the church, 
and then charge for access to their meetings, selling their CDs, and flash drives,
selling "partnerships" in their ministries.
Weary of the shameless promotions which seem copies of the hucksters who sell their wares on TV and the internet. 
Weary of all that smells so much like a money grabbing scheme. 

Weary of "worship leaders" who can work the crowd but have no idea of what it is to minister in the Spirit ...
     who have never found the way to God in music,
          and can therefore never transmit it.

"The zeal of Thine house hath eaten me up" (Ps. 69.9 and Jn. 2.17)
     These ministers seem to be the eaters rather than the eaten.
          These are the ones who eat the people of God for their own benefit.

 It is an awful thing that the people be deceived and used.
      It is an awful thing when the people "love to have it so." (Jer. 5:31) 

I am weary of the band playing on while the Titanic which is our civilization settles beneath the waves.
A wise observer told me years ago, "a nation is sunk when it believes its own propaganda,"
- how much more true is this when speaking of a church.
We are all responsible for our own spiritual lives.
After speaking of prophesying Paul says,
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." (1 Thess. 5.21)

If we would but look, the Spirit of God would quicken us
     to know the difference between the precious and the vile, 
          His Word alone would become our necessary food, 
               and we would not be deceived with facile words and empty phrases.

We would seek, and we would find the God on Whom we can deposit all our weaknesses and all our needs.

           As we depend on God we will be "taught of God," 
                and not be led astray 
                     but find fullness of Life in Him.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Relentless Passion

There have been lives whose singleness of purpose,
     whose intensity of relentless passion, 
          can be summed up in a single phrase.

The life of Elijah can be summed up in two words: "he prayed." (Jas. 5.17)

Of Abraham, we need say no more than "he looked for a city." (Heb. 11.10)

When Abraham heard a Voice calling him he left his city,
     a city which had been by far the most populous in the world,
          a place which invented wheeled vehicles, 
               writing, irrigation, the potter's wheel.
A civilization with houses built to confront the intense heat,
     homes with indoor bathrooms.
People who, unlike others, had a wealthy middle class.
We could perhaps call it the the New York City of its day.

Around the time of the fall of this, the world's first great civilization,
    God called, ... and Abraham left,

There have been about twenty such self sufficient,
     and self assured, civilizations which have fallen since Abraham's time.
And today our world heads down the same road

     of man's inability to find the order lost in Eden.
          Again we step off the cliff, 
               and collapse into Chaos.

Abraham left all the order and prosperity of the city to live in a tent -
     not because he loved austerity, 
          but because he sought Another City.
He sought not the people and things which characterized the earthly cities,
     but the abundance of a city made by God.
He sought a place whose reason of being was not to advance the human,
     but a city whose existence was to show the One Who dwelt there -
          The God of Order, Purpose and Fulfillment.

Abraham is among those heroes of Hebrews chapter eleven,
     who could have returned to that which was known and established -
          but didn't.

The passion of the Call,
     and the passion of his seeking,
          knew no relenting.

Abraham was the father of those who believe.
     All God's children must leave the earthly when they catch a Heavenly Vision.
          All God's children are Abraham.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Last and First

In Luke 24 we have: 
     the last incident of Jesus earthly ministry,
          the last meeting of human need -
 A man who typified all mankind's response to God -
     a thief!
Here is a man fastened to a cross,
     next to another thief, and next to the Savior,
          a man whose freedom is at an end,
               whose days are at an end.

Here is a man awaiting the falling of the final curtain on his life.
     His only possession now is a cross,
          his only tomorrow is the time it takes for life to abandon his body.

The here and now was all he possessed,
and yet, somehow in the midst of his anguish,
he caught a Glimpse of a dimension he had never known.

His eyes were opened, 
     and he saw himself.
          He saw his Lord,
               and he saw a Kingdom.

Somehow this condemned man, rejected by society for his sin,
     and disqualified from a place among the living,
            Saw ...

He saw what the studiously religious Jews around the cross could not see,
     He saw what the disciples who had traveled with Jesus for three years could not see.
          What he saw at that moment,
          not another single person on earth could see.

He alone on that day saw with open eyes a Realm beyond the Visible.
     He alone Understood.

He comes with the simplest of words -
     a confession and a recognition, "Lord."
Other lords had exercised dominion over his life but now he sees only one Lord.
     and to this Lord he surrenders what is left to him - his own free will.
He sees the Lord of a Kingdom,
and he turns from the earthly to that Kingdom.
There is a recognition, and there is a faith.
He no longer seeks anything on earth below;
nothing except that wondrous Kingdom which somehow is made real to him.

The fig tree failed to recognize Jesus - and died.
This man recognized Him and entered into Life beyond all the power of death.

This man was the forerunner of all through the ages have said ... 
                           "Lord ..... remember me."


Thursday, November 7, 2019

Knowing ... Certainty

"That I may know," said the apostle. (Phil. 3.10)

What an infinite world is in these words.
True knowledge is always absolute.
     In as far as we know,
          in as far as we have seen,
                we are beyond the realm of doubt.
"That which we have seen," declares John. (1Jn. 1.7)

Like a man exploring a new continent -
     there may be much territory unseen, unexplored, and unknown,
          but as far as that which has been seen, there can be no doubt.

Paul says also, "we know in part." (1Cor. 13.9)
Paul knew absolutely what he knew,
and yet he also knew that there was much more to be known 
in the realm of God.

The Unknown in God is forever calling
     for us to know,
          for us to experience.
The call of God is to the Infinite,
"To comprehend ... the breadth, and length, and depth, and height." (Eph. 3.18)

The call of God is to the world of the Spirit,
           and only God is seen.

We leave behind the good and the bad of our own lives,
and exchange it all for a total dependency on God.

How much has been said about the safety/covering of the church
as if this were a mechanical thing.
How many have looked to the covering of the church for safety,
     and for the formation of their children -
          only to find out, too late, 
               that the safety of the child of God cannot be in any place outside of God Himself.
If the Everlasting Arms are not what carry us nothing else will avail.

Again: the call is to know ...
     to know the God Who is the Fountain and the Fullness of all.

"Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD." says Hosea (6.3)

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Have I Tasted?

Psalm 34.8 says:

     "O taste and see that the LORD is good:
          blessed is the man that trusteth in Him."
Have we really tasted?
     As Shakespeare would say:
          "That is the question."

It is possible to come to the things of God,
and to study the things of God and yet not taste those things.
There are famous "defenders of the gospel" who affirm that the only thing we should do as the days of our lives pass by is to study the scriptures.

But there is the Word of God - and there is the God of the Word.
There have been leaders with huge followings,
     who have built a ministry around forming Christians lives 
          through the practical applications of the teachings of the Bible,
               only to find that the Word without the Spirit is dead.
 And to find themselves in their moment of need,
      utterly defeated by the temptations of life.

We can learn of God through the Word, 
but beyond this - we can only know him by the Spirit.

If we were to spend as much time and effort seeking to know God, 
     as we spend studying the Bible, 
          and what men have interpreted of what is written, 
               we would be far, far more spiritual than we are today,
                    and far more useful to the Kingdom of God.

David's word to Solomon was, "my son know thou the God of thy father." 
(1Chron. 28.9)

Listen to the words of Jesus:

"This is life eternal, that they might know Thee." (Jn. 17.3)
Knowledge of God is Life.
     And the increase of our life in God,
          relates to our knowledge of Him.

This is the simplicity of the gospel - hidden from the wise but revealed to babes.
(Mat. 11.25)

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Obtaining Deliverance

There is a very simple and yet a very profound story in Matthew 15.

As I try to fathom its lesson for myself, and for us all,
it shocks, and leaves me gasping,
It is the story of the Savior and a woman with a need.

In the story, Jesus, Who had come with a message to the house of Israel,
moves outside the geography of Israel to a gentile nation.

There we read of no ministry except for the story of this woman,
It is as if the purpose for his travel away from Israel 
were only to meet the need of this one woman.
And yet He gives the impression of not having that interest.

There is a piercing Reality in the incident - 
in her moving from a life Destroyed to a life Fulfilled.

She came to find that she lacked qualification.
     She came to Jesus' refusal to hear her petition.
          And yet the intensity of her Love drove her beyond rejection,
and she found a way.
(We speak of intensity, and I wonder if we have the slightest idea what it is.)
She saw in Jesus the Answer, and was willing to do whatever it took and go all the way to reach her answer.

She came all, all alone with her need.
     She came naked of pretenses and ready to admit that she was undeserving.
          She came naked but ready to plead, to cling, to continue, 
until she obtained an answer.

Jesus presented His reason for refusal: 
'I am not sent except to Israel'.
Her reply was not to justify her people, 
but to present herself as one solitary needy child.

It is as if she were saying:
"I don't know about the ministry to the nation, but look on ME.
Look on one who suffers - on one who comes to Thee as her only hope."
"Help ME."

     She came to the One Who hears the cry of the afflicted. (Job. 34.28)
          She came to a promise wider than the limits of the tribes of Israel.               
               She sets herself before Him -
                    as if at that moment she were the only one in creation.

In her coming, it was as if all creation was crying to its Maker;
crying for Mercy. 

Her story is a lesson for life:
     He went to her city with a purpose -
          He found her,
               and she found Him.
She shows us a way - 
     through her faith ,and the intensity of her naked pleading.

     May we not cease until we too, find a need-meeting fullness in Him.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Can I See ... Fulness?

"I saw in the way,
     a light from heaven, 
          above the brightness of the sun." (Acts 26.13)

The life changing intensity of Paul's encounter is reflected in the words:
"above the brightness of the sun."

No earthly light could compare with that Light!
     No earthly experience could compare with the impact of that Encounter.
Paul sees a Realm Unknown,
     meets a Reality which he had never met before.
The experience is cataclysmal, like a lightning strike.

Paul was rendered blind to the world around him after seeing that Light.
This was the moment Paul's allegiance shifted, and his question that day,
     "what wouldst Thou have me to do?"
          marked the course of the rest of his days.
He was forever after obedient to the heavenly vision.
     Forever after it was "this one thing I do." 
          And he did it with every ounce of his energy,
               and every moment of his time.

Things change when we change ...
If we could only find intensity in our spiritual lives everything about us would be different.

How desperately the church of God needs to awake to the failure 
     to take hold of Life, 
          to take hold of God.

Listen to the prophet Isaiah:
"And 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." (Is. 64,7)

 As we make a move toward God, His intensity meets and empowers our own.
     Mediocrity is done away,
          frustrations disappear,
               and life becomes meaningful beyond our dreams.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Taking Hold

We live, and touch two worlds,
     one Real and eternal,  built upon a sure foundation,
          one unreal, built upon passing things.

We live in the midst of death and call it life. 
     We see the entrance to Life and call it death.
      The unreal world robs us of the Real.

When we awake to that Life above there will be no shadows,
     but there is a Call to us, 
          even Now, even Here, 
               to Awake -
"Awake thou that sleepest ... and Christ shall give thee Light." (Eph. 5.14)

This is God's gift to us, 
     Light in the midst of darkness,
          Life in the midst of death,
               the gift of a Life without shadows.

God calls us to a walk of faith.
It is a scary thing to think of a life which is mere emptiness piled upon more emptiness.
It is scary to think of our days following one another - 
     cut off by the advancing hours and falling into the pile of days gone by,
          without any evidence of the fruits of a battle of prayer and faith.

 Samson spoke of losing his God-given gift and becoming "like any other man." (Judges 16.17)
If we lose God in the living of our days, then they too become like any other day in the life of any other man.
     We have a Calling, to Believe, to Possess, to Live.
          Let us leave the passing, and the unreal, and let us chose Life.

Luke says (16.16) The door to the Kingdom of God is open - 
     to those who will press into it.
          God offers - it is for us to possess.


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

A Greater Experience

Maybe we could call the book of Ephesians "The Book of Unveiling."

Here, Paul takes us from the seen to the Unseen,
     from this world to the one above.
And here he shows us Eternal Purposes,
     Eternal Powers, and Eternal Promises.

Here, he opens to us a realm which one day, in heaven, we will see in all its fullness.
Here, his desire is that on earth we may know the riches which are ours in God.
     - "all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." 
          "In Whom ... redemption." (1.7) 
               ... "an inheritance." (1.11)
                    ... our trust (1.13)
                         "in whom ... sealed with that holy Spirit of promise" (1.13)

Then, in verses eighteen and nineteen, Paul speaks of his unceasing prayer that God would give them to understand through the Spirit of Revelation:
     1. the hope of the calling,
          2. the riches of the glory of His inheritance,
               3. the greatness of His power. 

Again, there are things that we will only understand in fullness when we reach heaven -and yet Paul's yearning for the saints is a reflection of the yearning
of the Spirit of God over His children.

If we could understand these three things, 
     the Hope, the Inheritance, and the Power, 
          we would have little need for anything else.
Here we would find the answer to all our prayers for a greater knowledge, 
and a greater experience of the things of God.

This is the place of freedom without limit. 
This is where we exchange the earth-bound realm of our human limitations 
for the immeasurable dimension of the kingdom of God.

This is the reason for Paul's unceasing passion of prayer for the saints -
and this is what Paul would pray if he were here with us today.
     that they might Know ...
          that they might taste Life in all its Fullness.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

How to Come - How to Inherit

There is a story in Joshua chapter fifteen ...
and my imagination runs ahead, between the lines:

It is a story which starts years before:

There was a day when (perhaps as he was out gathering manna) 
     Caleb received the news, "it's a girl," 
          and he couldn't wait to see her.
There was the time when she started to toddle around the tent,
     a time when she was a cute little  five year old,
          a growing ten year old,
               a young lady in the making of fifteen years.

And all through the years she was "Daddy's little girl" -
Caleb's pride and joy.
But today she is married, and leaving to start her own home.

Her husband would have an inheritance from his family
     - but this little lady, endowed with the same spirit as her warrior father,
          cannot be satisfied with what satisfies everyone else.

She gets her husband to ask for land from her father,
     and then, still unsatisfied, asks for water springs. 
She looks to ensure the viability,
     and guarantee the productivity, of her gift.

The picture has words spoken, and words unspoken:
She is saying in effect, 
     "I am your daughter,
          you have given me life -
               now give me an inheritance." 

"Make my life meaningful.
     Give me something I can work with.
          Make my life count for something.
               Make your love to me tangible."

And she got the water,
     she got the upper springs, 
          and she got the lower springs,
Caleb is saying, "Take it all my child - it's all for you"

I look at the story, and I bring it down to today,
     I ask myself,
       What will satisfy me?     What will it take to make life complete for me?
     What gifts are there which await my asking?

What one human can give to another is limited.
But the spiritual realm has no limits.

              "My God shall supply all your need -
       according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4.19)

 Our Hopes, and the Longings born in Him, 
     are the Yearnings which He desires to give us ....
             God would say to us also, 
                  "Take it all my child, it's all for you."

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Bringing the Kingdom

For everything earthly, God's aim is that His Kingdom be established.

It is an awesome responsibility to pray, "Thy Kingdom come."
God must be greater than His creation,
and every created thing must be under His dominion.

If the whole of our lives is not subject to this Kingdom we are prisoners ... of our own unbelief.
We are bound ...  by our self-will,
our self sufficiency, and our pride.
We are held fast by our stubborn rebellion against submission.

We must leave the kingdom of our own making, 
if we are to enter into the Kingdom whose builder and maker is God.
Jesus' words to Nicodemus are true for all of us,
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh;
and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

These are words, not just for our first coming to the Kingdom of God
for forgiveness and cleansing.
They are words for every day of our lives -
words to keep us from returning to a dependence upon ourselves,
our plans and projects, our "resolutions" and dreams.

"That which is born of the Spirit" is eternal, 
is all-powerful and must prevail.
This is true of prayer -
Jude speaks of "praying in the Holy Ghost." (1.20)

"Lord teach us to pray." (Lk. 11.1)


Wednesday, October 2, 2019

A Picture of the True

"Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?" (Sng. 8.5)

The verse impacts me ... and my mind paints a picture of the scene.
(This apart from the literal contextual interpretation of the passage.)
I see a picture of just two people - and a desert,
and I see myself, and I see us all there.

I think of the desert - that place where death is loosed,
and where life cannot flourish -
a place representative of our human existence.
     Death is there,
surrounding in circumstances, in adversities, in challenges.
     And the desert is somehow also within,
           fears, confusion, ambition, and the "set will of the weak."

Who would choose to go to the desert?
What caused this woman to go there?
     Was it rebellion, the pride of self sufficiency?
          Was it a way to try to escape her lot in life?
     Did she not know her own weakness,
          her own lack of direction ?
Were these the things that drove her to the place of death?

What were her feelings when she became aware that she was lost,
     and weak, and hopeless?
What when she realized the desert was claiming her life,
     and there was no way of escape?

What was it when she became aware of Another in the desert?
What when in the place of solitude she saw One Who walked through the desert,
sustained by a Life untouched by the dryness and the heat?
What must have been the emotion when He drew near?
     What when she saw Him more clearly, 
          and was overwhelmed by the awareness of His Love for her?

How was it that her self-will  and self-dependance, was overcome?
     How was it she surrendered her whole being to Him?

In that moment of surrender it ceased to be about herself anymore,
     it became about the One Who loved her,
          the One Who quickened Life within her.

The  the desert and all of its scarcity faded, 
and she found herself transformed in His Sufficiency.

She leaned, now supported by the One Who had become everything to her.
Seeing her transfigured brought a cry,
     "Who is this?" 
          "Who is this ...that cometh up ... from the wilderness ... 
               leaning upon her beloved?"

This is a picture of the True - 
He came "to seek and to save that which was lost." (Lk. 19.10)

He came to replace the consuming death of the desert with Life -
in ever increasing abundance ... "from glory to glory" - "even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2Cor. 3.18)


Saturday, September 28, 2019

Am I Made Yet?

Jn. 1.23  "I am the voice...crying in the wilderness."

My father used to say that the main thing lacking in the church is passion.

John the Baptist was passionate.
He not only transmitted the message - he was the message.
     Where there is passion there is identification.

Somehow, in the spiritual world when a man carries a burden to the point of complete identification, he becomes the thing he carries.
He cries not for himself, but for the burden he carries,
which has now become his burden..

The person carrying a weight does not have to be convinced that it is real.

"Moses said unto the LORD, ...  thou layest the burden of all this people upon me? (Num. 11.11)
It wasn't something theoretical, it was something real.

I can't really pray for something when I don't feel its dimension within.
     Identification is a vital thing in prayer.
          It is not just one more gimmick,
               or just one more way to leverage mediocrity.
And we soon run into the question: how far does our identification go?

How sad to find ourselves praying when  the doctors have given up hope for a life,
     and to realize that for us it is "somebody else's pain."
          How sad to know that the needy one will die -
               but that we will live on in our little spiritual world.

How far have we gone, how far can we go -
     in our appropriation of what we pray for?
Are we able to feel the pain, to sense the confusion, to measure the heavy burden?
     Are we able to feel it as our own? 
          Can we feel that we "are" the person we are praying for?
Jesus 'bore our griefs, and carried our sorrows.' (Is 53.4) 
He not only bore the burden, but was "made sin for us" (2 Cor. 5.12)
     "It is the way the Master went,
          should not the servant tread it still?"

Paul sums up his goal saying: 
"That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings..." (Phil. 3.10)
It is not just the Resurrection power, but the sharing of the Burden which Paul longs for.

The two things go together - and can we really know the one if we are ignorant of the other?

     We can be sure that if we find the fellowship of His suffering, of His burden,
          God will come in the power which answers the burden of our seeking.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

If ...

John 12.32 "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me."

Could we look at our verse in a little wider context than we usually do?
     "Men" is not specified in the verse. 
          One translator says "all creation" - all creation will be drawn.
He is the One to Whom  "every knee shall bow." (Is. 45.23)

 What does this mean for us?
     Ah, here is the secret of life.
If we can lift Him up over all else,
when we can lift Him up from the earth itself,
         we will find Him more near than all the troubles and responsibilities of life,
         we will find Him more present than all that crashes upon us from the world around.

The enemy would try to gain entrance into our lives.
     He would attack us from without, with his forces of destruction.
          He would attack us in our thoughts, our feelings, our confidence in God.

But the enemy's invading will always be overcome as we,
like David, are able to declare, "I have set the Lord always before me," 
(Ps. 16.8)

I am reminded of the words of Job, " how little a portion is heard of Him."  (Job 26.14). 
     How can we conceive of the Infinite?
          How can our eyes see, or our mind comprehend, that which has no limit?
               We cannot ... but, 'beholding we are changed.' (2 Cor. 3.18) - changed to be able to see and to believe.                   
                        This is our freedom.
                        This is the limitless Life God gives to His own.