Monday, December 31, 2018

In the Beginning ... God breathed

Man's story began with the Breath of God. (Gen. 2.7)

The breath of God transmitted life, 
brought the dawning of man's creation, 
the beginning of his awareness, 
the opening of his eyes to see, 
his heart to feel, 
his mind to comprehend.

It is still so, as we see a new year stretching before us.
We stray from the Way when we try by other means to attain to anything in the Kingdom of God.

Perhaps never in the history of the world has man been so intent in applying his knowledge, aided by the power of computers, to optimize his understanding of how everything functions in this world.
And never before in history has information been so broken down and rearranged in the service of efficiency.

erhaps also, there has never been in the history of the church so much searching for forms and formulas  to optimize spiritual experience.
Programs and methods have proliferated until the fresh and vital role of the Spirit of God has been left by the wayside.

Paul speaks of the Greeks following wisdom, and the world through wisdom losing God. ( 1Cor. 1)

Woe to us when the Greek mentality enters the church and takes our attention away from the dimension of the Spirit of God.
Woe to us when God, the Creator, is upstaged by man the organizer.
Woe when God ceases to hold the center of our lives, and we fail to see that all man-generated activity is totally unable to bring life.

God's call to us is from death unto Life, from the dust of the world to the breath of the Spirit - a fleeing from, and a fleeing to...

The Truth is sublimely simple: 

That which God has breathed upon lives, 
but that which has not been breathed upon by God is dead.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

At the End of the Year ... at the Beginning of the Year

"I am with you." (Is. 41.10)

When Adam sinned, in an instant, the peace and rest of Eden was exchanged for fear and uncertainty.
A separation from God had taken place, 
and Adam's first confession after his disobedience was, "I was afraid." (Gen. 3.10)

For the first time Adam felt dread.
     An impalpable fear covered everything, 
          the future stretched before him as a menacing darkness, 
               and peace was no more.

The intimacy of Eden was destroyed for Adam and for all mankind, 
and together with him we entered the darkness.

As we come to the end of one year and enter into the next, the word from Isaiah (41.10) fills the air with an unshakable surety.
The promise "I am with you" fills all the void that sin has brought and gives us an undergirding for all our coming days.
All we have inherited from the Adam's fall,
all the weight of darkness,
all the unknown,
all the uncertain,
all that weighs upon us from without and within,
is covered by that Promise.

The Prince of Peace came to restore what Adam lost.     
     No matter what the challenges,
     no matter what the battles,
     no matter what the storms,
     no matter what the days may bring,
          they can never alter this fact.

Here we can rest, and find our strength and faith renewed from an Unfailing Source, ... "I am with you."
     This is our confidence,
          our sure hope,
               our eternal foundation.

The word of the prophet is still the Never-Failing, Ever-Availing, promise, 
the Light and Life for our lives as we step into the coming days.
                                               I am with you.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

A Body, a Time, a Life ... Prepared

"A body hast Thou prepared me..." (Heb. 10.5)

The words speak primarily of Jesus' coming to this world, and of His birth among men.
But they are true of every life which breathes the air of this earth.

A body, and by extension, a Life, is given of God.
   It is prepared in the plans of  God.
        It is formed by  the hands of God.
              It is given into our hands to steer through the years of our lives.

"A body prepared..."
The phrase covers all our existence,
     all our abilities,
          all our time, 
               all our circumstances.

There is Nothing which has to do with our life here on earth which is excluded  - God has prepared all.

At all times and in all places, the enemy is insistent in his attempts to destroy this sublime God-given gift of life - it is the focus of all his attacks.
     He seeks to infiltrate our feelings.
     He seeks to confuse out thoughts.
     He seeks to blind our eyes to the World which is given us by God.
As we think of Jesus coming to earth we do well to think also of that which is God-given in our lives, 
     Days to seek, to believe, to possess and fill with purpose.
     The task will test our surrender, our obedience and our faith.
       The path may lead through loneliness and suffering, but the end will be glorious.

It is attributed to Ugo Bassi, (who was Garibaldi's chaplain before he was captured, tortured and executed,) to have once touched upon this theme of our earthly purpose when he said (speaking of the area of suffering):

But if, impatient, thou let slip thy cross,        
Thou wilt not find it in this world again,
Nor in another; here, and here alone
Is given thee to suffer for God’s sake.
In other worlds we shall more perfectly
Serve Him and love Him, praise Him, work for Him,        
Grow near and nearer Him with all delight;
But then we shall not any more be called
To suffer, which is our appointment here.
Canst thou not suffer then one hour,—or two?
If He should call thee from thy cross to-day,        
Saying, It is finished!—that hard cross of thine
From which thou prayest for deliverance,
Thinkest thou not some passion of regret
Would overcome thee? Thou wouldst say, “So soon!
Let me go back, and suffer yet awhile        
More patiently;—I have not yet praised God.”

For us too, this world and this time, is all we have.
May it be a time of Vision for us, and the coming year be a year of new and greater horizons, as we step into that which is prepared for us.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

At the End of Time

The ending of a year marks the ending of a cycle of time, and we do well to take these moments to evaluate our progress in the onward march of our years.

There must be for all of us, things which we have desired and things which we have sought.
The question comes: will these things ever see the light of Reality?
Will the direction we are taking bring us to Reality?

Is our progress marked by Passion or by Apathy?

Are we hoping for something "at the end of the rainbow"?
Or do we know where we are going?

God spoke to Jeremiah (33.3) saying "call unto Me"
There is an exclusivity here - Me and Nothing Else.
     All the Plea is directed there.
     All the Hope is deposited there. 
     All the expectation is from there. 

The Calling is for today, and tomorrow and tomorrow - 
a Call which is Unrelenting, Undeviating, Unwavering, 
going on and on, until the answer comes.

It is a Call which holds us prisoner, 
     a Call born from an insistent need within,
          a Call fed by a frustration with our surroundings.
               a Call fanned by an indignation with Mediocrity,
                    a Call driven by the knowledge of an Answer.

There is a Clarity  of vision which gives Sight in the midst of fog and shadows.

And there is a Call which knows there are great and hidden things awaiting.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Time ... What is it For?

We approach the end of yet another year,
and I wonder what we think of fleeting Time ...

The seconds tick by and gather with the past, gone forever.
Our lives are just a little shorter - even in the moments we are reading this page.
Does it matter?
Has time value?

The Garden of Eden was a garden of Life for mankind, 
until, in a moment, it became the garden of Death, as sin separated man from the Creator. 
Mankind has lived in the valley of the Shadow of Death ever since.

David seeing death around him asked for Life (Ps. 21.4)
There is an intensity there, it  is a sort of request/demand - 
a recognition that physical life is not enough, 
and that without the extra God-given Life, there is no real sense or purpose to our existence - all is empty and all is vain. 

In man's world superficiality is writ large over everything

     So easily our purpose in life becomes a perpetuating of existence, 
     even when it means nothing beyond a repetition of the sameness.

Only in God's Presence is there Life.
Only as we seek with intensity of longing are our eyes opened to really see.
"In Him dwelleth all the fulness" ... and we "are Complete in Him." (Col. 2.9,10)

God gifts us with Time that we might find Life.

May we find the intensity:
     that opens our eyes to see, 
          and our hearts to believe - 
there is yet a far greater realm in Him than all we have yet known.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Spiritual Discernment

The  greatest Loss in this world is the loss of Sight.

The enemy has taken away from mankind   
     the ability to see beyond the surface of things,   
          and to discern the underlying reality.

The world around thrusts things upon us, 
     and demands we take them at their face value.

It demands too that we accept without question our society's scale of values, 
     and that we repeat again what we have been taught to see.

Seeing only the obvious brings a loss of the greater essence of things.
We see without Seeing,
     the illusion never lifts,
          and the Truth is never made bare.

What do we look for as believers?
     What will satisfy the heart?

Do we ever sense something beyond the visible - 
     something which our minds cannot explain?

The true essence of things never lies on the surface - 
     and under the superficial lies the true dimension of life.

If we approach the Word of God, and the things of God, through the medium of our minds we will never approach true spiritual understanding.
This is the reason why so much of what we hear spoken from the pulpit never satisfies the heart.
"The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God … they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor. 2,14)

In all our living in this fallen world,
may our hearts quicken the truth to us, 
and may our seeking lead us to places in God where the mind can never enter.
"Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord." (Hos. 6.3)

Tuesday, November 27, 2018


"As of a Rushing mighty wind" (Acts 2.2)

"Rushing" - it is a word connected with God's working in the Old Testament and in the New, from the whirlwind which Ezekiel saw, to the descent of the Spirit at Pentecost.

The word speaks of an Urgency of Accomplishment,
of a Prevailing and Overwhelming of obstacles.
of an Establishment of God's purpose beyond earth's frustrations.

When the time comes, when the conditions are ready, delay is never in the plans of God.
Jesus taught His disciples to pray "Thy kingdom come" as God's supreme objective. 
To this end all creation moves, and to this end is all the working of God in the earth, and in the lives of men.

Delay is a master tactic of the enemy.
He seeks, 
     to dampen our faith,
          to discourage our hearts,
               to confuse our thinking,
                    to blind our eyes to the promises of God.

Today is the day of salvation … it is every day. 
Jesus said "My father worketh." (Jn. 5.17)
There is no room for hesitation or delay in the plans of God, and no cessation of His work.

May the Lord give speed to our hearts as we reach out, beyond all that would hold us in our world, to His world and to  Himself.

Monday, November 19, 2018

What is Meant to Be.

There is a verse in 1 Peter 1:12 which is echoing in my mind...
Peter speaks of the gospel preached "with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven."

This is the way it was meant to be.
Here is a truth for all believers, at all times, and in all places.

In sunshine and in rain, 
      in strength and in weariness,
               in joys and in sorrows,
                    in all life's deserts,
                         in all of life's battles,
                              in every step of our earthly pilgrimage, 

our privilege and our responsibility is to live in the dimension of "the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven."

Perhaps this day in our journey we stand unaware, at the border of the promised land.
Perhaps today is the day we can cease from desert wanderings.
Perhaps today we can leave the emptiness behind, and cross over into the land of sufficiency.

We can't do it alone.
We can't do it in our own strength.
Only God's Presence, only God's Spirit, can carry us and give us the Light and the Strength we need to overcome.

There is a land of promise for each one,
     a place where God gives His fulness in place of human emptiness,
          where God gives His Light in place of earth's darkness,
               and strength in place of  all our weakness.

The Son of God came as the Dayspring to unveil a New Day: 
     the beginning of a New Creation.
                       May we enter into its Glory... "with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven."

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Unseen Foundation

All that is seen depends upon the unseen.
Everything visible is built on an unperceived foundation.

John among the gospel writers, and Ezekiel among the prophets, stand apart.
While other writers speak of workings, invitations and warnings, they look upon the eternal foundation on which all else is built.

John starts his gospel account with a focus not on Jesus birth, nor even his genealogy, but with the words, "In the beginning."
Ezekiel as he begins to write, states, "I saw visions of God."

Both visions are overwhelming.
     Ezekiel is smitten with amazement at the awesome earth-transcending  splendor of the approaching cloud of fire and glory.
          John sees back before time and the existence of all created things, to the  Eternal alone filling all.

I remember my father speaking repeatedly of the need to be "Eternity conscious."
How much more imperative is the need today, as we stand in the flowing stream of time and see the building blocks of our civilization carried away with the waters.
We find ourselves in a world where chaos prevails, and destruction has taken the place of building.

Today only God, and that which is God-engendered, will endure.

Whatever the passing years may bring to our lives, 
may we find on our lips the prayer, 
"Lord, open my eyes to see the Eternal."

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

A Surety for Life

Near the end of the book of Revelation (Rev. 19.11) John is granted a revelation of God's being.

It is a  threefold revelation in three names of God.
     It is a complete revelation of three aspects of God.

The first revelation seen by John was of God as Faithful and True.
In the midst of the turmoil of John's surroundings,
in the midst of his time as a prisoner on Patmos,
in the midst of the enemy's working,
in the midst of Rome's dominion,
John is given this transcendental revelation.

the Shaking,
beyond the Destruction of Foundations,
God asserts Himself; God shows Himself.

John sees that beyond it all, there is a God Who never ceases to be as He has always been: Faithful and True.

"Truth" is a statement of Unchangeableness.
     Beyond the ravages of time, and the machinations of man, 
          stands One Who is Eternal,
              stands One Whose commitment to His own is unalterable.

Today, in the midst of Decay and Disillusionment, God stands.

There is a Stability which man has always sought, down through succeeding generations, and across the frontiers of nations, only to see his hopes Collapse in Chaos.
This Stability which man has sought in vain is to be found in God.
     The enemy tears down, in all places and on all levels, 
          but God still builds His church, 
               God still cares for His own with everlasting mercy.

When our faith meets God's faithfulness the gates of hell cannot prevail against us. 

Amy Carmichael said many years ago, "God trusts us to trust Him."
Let our Faith hold fast to His Faithfulness in the midst of all that surrounds us, as our lives move forward to our heavenly goal.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Vital Difference

My father used to tell that in a time during his ministry as a pastor, one of the saints in the prayer meetings used to pray time after time:
     "Lord, teach us what is flesh and what is Spirit."
This must have been over seventy years ago but how much greater is our need to be taught this separation today.

We see all man's systems crumbling and society blanked with confusion and finding no answers.

The hopelessness is compounded by a refusal to hear correction
As a whole we have become like a child I once knew who gave an immediate answer to her aunt trying to help her: "Don't teach me!"

Years ago a word from a pastor to a young person seemed to bring everything to a stop until it was understood and acted upon.
Now the inspired word seems to be taken and placed together with other words, past sermons, past readings and experiences and be left on a shelf.
The Light is mixed with darkness, the warmth is mixed with coldness, and lukewarmness continues to reign over all.

In the spiritual world there are no degrees of importance - everything is either yes or no.
Everything either pertains to the Kingdom of God and has value,
and is worth everything, 
or it is not of the Kingdom and is worth absolutely nothing.

When Adam sinned what he lost was not just a paradise,
not just his innocence -
he lost his living contact with the world of the Spirit
and was left with a fallen world, and the empty resources of his earthbound humanity.

This is the world that the prophets escaped as their eyes were opened to see the realm of God beyond the earthly.
This, above all  else, was what set Moses, Elijah, and all the prophets apart from the world which surrounded them.

Jesus expresses it clearly and compactly, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. (Jn. 3.6)

We have heard people comparing ministries, and stating that one minister would be more able to reach intellectuals because he is intellectual, or another more able to reach kids on drugs because he had been on drugs.
What these people failed to see is that it is the Spirit of God who draws and convicts and brings faith -
human capabilities are useless,
the only identification which matters is the preacher's identification with heaven,
and the only Light able to illuminate the soul is the heavenly.

Our prayers, our endeavors, have no effect unless they are filled with the Spirit of God.   
This is the aim, and the way to arrive to the goal is the way of intensity.
Spurgeon responding to the text which led him to salvation ("look unto Me..." Is. 45.22) expressed, "I looked until I could have almost looked my eyes away." 
and continued  "There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness rolled away, and that moment I saw the sun."

So for us; the intensity of our looking will be matched by the light of our vision of God.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Living in God's Kingdom on Earth

God's Kingdom on earth - a foretaste of the heavenly kingdom. 

Things combine against us, to cause us to forget that when we come to Him we come to a place beyond the reach of earth's Darkness and all of Earth's clouds.

Beyond all earthly kingdoms it is God's Kingdom that is as the "morning, cloudless, clear" (2Sam 23.4)

Our battle is against the shadows caused by earthly clouds,
     against the shadows of earthly Fears and Doubts,
          against the shadows of Apathy and Conformity,
               against the shadows of earthly Comforts and Ambitions.

Again, the cloudlessness of heaven is reflected in the Kingdom of God on earth.
The rest of heaven is there also,
and the certainties of heaven are all about us.

Somedays we will have to summon every bit of our strength, and extend every atom of our determination, to free ourselves from earthly influences.
But we must do it if we are not to lose our contact with 
     God's reality, 
          God's Life, 
               God's purpose.
Without God's working in and through our lives we are condemned to an existence bound forever to the painful limitations of earth.

Let us arise to seek and find day by day, 
     time after time - through all our times on earth, 
the Cloudlessness of God..

Friday, September 28, 2018

Belief which Creates

Thy lovingkindness is better than life. (Ps. 63.3)

Sometimes the simplest things are the most important, 
     and sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to grasp.

In life where troubles multiply and swarm around us like a cloud of flies, it is no small thing to take and to Affirm the Reality of a verse like this one, until one sees the Manifestation of that Reality.

Somehow in the Affirmation it is as though God invites us to repeat within   ourselves His own Creative Process.
God declared once and the worlds came into being.

The Reality which existed in His thought BECAME through His spoken word - 
and He allows, invites, and challenges us, to declare in His Presence our belief until we see it come to pass in Reality.

We may have to repeat the declaration again and again, until our faith rises above all obstacles and we Believe to see it come to pass.

(It is not a "formula for obtaining."
It is a truth which applies to things which have been quickened to us, things whose reality we have "seen" in the spiritual realm.)

The Lovingkindness is"!
     Greater than all our circumstances,
          Greater than all our feelings,
               Greater than all our needs,
                    Greater than all our understanding,
                         Greater than all we have been taught.
                              Greater than all our days,
                                   Greater than Life itself.

It is in an everlasting certainty ...                           
a Reality which extends into the fullness of God's Eternity...
One which finds a home in that Realm which swallows up all our measures, as motes lost in the immensity of Infinity.

God's Lovingkindness is Better than All, and Greater than all, an Unending Fullness.
May we Believe, and Declare it, until we see it come to pass ... in our lives.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Freedom or Security

Freedom opens horizons ...
Security closes doors ...

Years pass and changes come ...
     invade, and then totally change
           the way things are seen,
                 the way things are believed,
                      the way life is lived.

Our "freedoms" cease to be generated by our own decisions, 
and are replaced by an imposed imperative of "security" chosen for us by the society of the world which surrounds us.

The problem is that man is never able to provide absolute security, and 
     the search for security only leads to more uncertainty, 
          and ultimately to insecurity..

We, as Christians, are not of this world, and our life is from above.
Our freedom is to follow God, unfettered and undictated to.

An old hymn by Tersteegan expresses it best when he says,
   "My freedom is Thy grand control."

The psalmist says, "This is my rest forever; here will I dwell." (Ps 132.14)
     May we find that sure place of abode.
          His freedom is our security.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

To Live while we Live

Jesus promises Life abundant.
    David testifies of a “large place”(2Sam. 22.21)
         The book of Job declares a “broad place”(Job 36.16)

Our generation speaks of “quality of life” to distinguish between a life of sufficiency and a life of mere existence.
Quality of life diminishes when
      we have less health,
          or material provision,
               or security.

The spiritual realm is much more important than the natural realm and yet
   it is easy to ignore the quality of this life.
         It is easy to settle in a “small place.”

Maybe it is clearer in the book of Job … “a strait place” - a place of limitations where the horizons of life are obscured and the purposes of life are thwarted.

God is infinite, and God calls us to a place which He has prepared for us to live in,
just as surely as he prepared a garden for Adam.

It is a place where all expands, starting with the basic functions - our spiritual Seeing, Hearing and Feeling.
It is a place where from a heart “strangely warmed” Life springs forth and conquers.

Israel dug for themselves broken cisterns which could hold no water, and left the living waters of the Fountain. (Jer. 2.13)
It is so easy to do.

But it is easy also to come to the fountain and drink of its  all-sufficient abundance.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Eternity ... A Realm Beyond

The only thing that matters in this moment as I write, as you read, 
is that we are surrounded by Eternity.

We are surrounded by God's Reality.

We are surrounded by horizons which will never know a limit.

Spiritual things are spiritually discerned, 
     and the mind not only fails to see,
          but works to keep us from them,
               and spiritual vision seems to be the thing most lacking.

Amy Carmichael in one of her books spoke of the passing of one of the Indian believers who had come to the end of her journey.
And thinking of this one's entrance into the eternal realm, she asked what it must be like for one such as she to step through the portal and catch her first glimpse of heaven.

What a shock for one whose life on earth was a path of suffering, and whose ways were always cruelly limited, 
     to enter into a realm without limits,
          infinite and glorious, 
               beyond all her experience or anything she could imagine.

What must it be for such a one?
And what must it be for anyone of us to catch a glimpse ... 

What if today we could see the dimension of God around us
What must it be to see, even while dwelling on earth, a glimpse of the dimensions of Eternity?

A King ... and a Kingdom ... and time without end.

How much vision would God give to us now if we would look to Him for it?
     Beyond all that we can ask or even think ... things that God has            prepared ... ours ... to receive ... a kingdom set before us!
     Beyond ...  and beyond all our beyonds!

Things come and go,
     the things of time wax and wane.

          That which is of God endures.

Open my eyes,
     to the Immensity of  the Eternity around me, 
          to the God Who gives without measure ... 
               to the One Who would say to us, "All things are yours."

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Finding our Place, Seeing our Time

Jesus said to those surrounding Him, "... the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation."

Somehow it seems that to each generation, and to each life, there is given 
     all of the opportunities and all of the requirements,
          all of the promises and all of the responsibilities, 
that man was ever presented with.

In a sense we are not only made new creatures, but we are also presented with our new world which we are to bring into subjection to the Creator.

It is so easy to lose that world.
It is easy for our minds to take us captive; to lead us to a world of our own imaginings and of our own hopes and fears.
It is easy to come to a place where the world around us prints upon us its values and strictures.

It is easy to find ourselves in a place where illusions reign over reality, and where these illusions condition our existence.

It is easy to allow the clutter of this world's cares and values to guide the paths of our living, and to weigh upon our spirits.

It is easy, like Lazarus, to come into a new life and carry with us the grave clothes of the old life.

How greatly God desires that we might be free, 
     that nothing within us, or around us, dictate our existence,
          but that we, unfettered, may follow Him in new paths
                where faith lifts our life to soar in total freedom.