Tuesday, January 29, 2019

When I Awake

"I shall be satisfied when I awake with Thy likeness." (Ps 17.15) 

We have been presented with a false picture of life,
     a picture tinted with Triumphalism,
          and facile achievement, 
               and a type of "jingoism" of invincibility. 

Maybe it is a type of "Christian Socialism" where all is easy, and all ends well.

It is a dream from which the Christian must awake ...
There is a different and more real picture.

Let me refer to an old poem written about the poet Cowper to try to illustrate.
Cowper was an English poet of the eighteenth century -
a friend of John Newton -  
whose whole life was a battle,
whose faith found only moments of a beautiful clarity.

It was he who wrote, among other hymns, "There is a fountain filled with blood."

Cowper battled throughout his life with madness.
The clouds of this affliction swept over his days.
And he felt at times deserted of God -
"Discord on the music fell," says the poem
"and darkness on the glory."

Through it all God watched and worked -
and "suffered ... the madness-cloud to His own love to blind him,
but gently led the blind along..."

The poem draws to an end with the picture of a child who in fever does not feel the presence of his mother, but then awakes to see her eyes, her face bending over him.
And the poet then expresses the insufficiency of the picture to describe Cowper's awaking in heaven.

"Thus? Oh, not thus! No type on earth could image that awaking,"
     it was an experience where he scarcely heard the angels, 
           or felt his new immortal body,
               "but felt Those Eyes alone, and knew, 'My Saviour! not deserted!'"

The child of God is forever deserted, as far as this world's ability to satisfy, 
and there is a lot of Cowper in all of us ...
not the madness perhaps, 
but the intrusion of earth's shadows and the darkness of earth's valleys.

There are places where light is not to be seen, 
     and illumination is the gift of God to the soul;
          places where the soul ceases to seek earthly panacea to cure,
               and finds an infinite realm in its Creator.

There is  "a light which baffles mortal sight." 
And it all leads to God's "vast world above." 

In that world there will be no shadows, only limitless eternal Light and Life.
We will awake there, but we can awake here to that same triumphant Light, in which is no darkness.
This is God's gift to us.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Fulness ... Waters to Swim In

I want to stay with our theme of these days.
The call to Fullness is the incessant call of the Spirit of God to His own.
This is the destination where we meet with Him.

The process is always the same:
We Seek and God Reveals.

"This is Life eternal, that they might know Thee." (Jn 17.3)
"Eternal" - that dimension of God which is as broad, and as deep as it is long - infinite in all its dimensions ...

"Waters to swim in" says Ezekiel (47.5)
Maybe as we look at the old writers speaking of their "experiences" we somehow limit the revelation - they seem to write of milestones on their spiritual journey, and yet, somehow, it is greater than this.

It is a coming into new life beyond the measure of yesterday's dreams.
It is a quickening  like that of the caterpillar being transformed into a butterfly.
It is something beyond my power to describe. 

It is the end of a journey of seeking.
It is the fulfillment of a spiritual instinct that drives us to the unknown, 
as the instinct of the bird which leaves its nest to fly through time and space to another place, another land.

The nature of the seeking is not important, but the intensity is.
     It may be with words or without words, but it will certainly be with tears.
         It will lead through impenetrable shades of darkness.
              It will be a climb that takes the outpouring of our strength.
                   It will be a battle, blow by blow, and day by day.

Time after time I remember Job, 
the man who plumbed all the depths.

In the midst of his struggle Job looked at God's power displayed and said, "Lo, these are parts of His ways; but how little a portion is heard of Him?" (26.1)

But at the end of it all he came to the place where he could say, 
"Now mine eye seeth Thee." (Job 42.5)

Keep on seeking, child of God - He who planted the longing in your soul will be faithful to lead through all that surrounds, through all that impedes, and will surely complete the work He has begun.

Job again, believing in his troubles, 
"He performeth the thing that is appointed for me." (23.14)
Or David, "The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me." (Ps 138.8) 

God did it for Job, 
     and he did it for David.
                                He will do it for us.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

In the Fulness ... part 3

My mind and heart again go back to "Fullness."

"That ye might be filled with all the fullness of God." (Eph. 3.19) 
The verse brings us to an ocean which stretches away in infinite abundance -
waters upon never ending waters.

Here we reach the "beyond measure" realm of Mark 7.37 - and our understanding cannot  absorb what our eyes have seen.
     Our minds have passed their limit.
          Here is where the cup overflows. (Ps. 23.5)
               Here we must see with the eyes of the spirit.
Geoffrey Bull speaks of the 'rag-time and plastic Christianity' of the valley and asks, "but where is he who has seen the risen Christ?"
     This is our call: To see Him as He is,
          to see Him without the clutter of man's ideas.

Heathen man forms an image to define his god.
But the concept we draw with our words and ideas,
is as bad as an image of stone.

Reality is always infinite, and all man's endeavors to teach and educate us into a full understanding of the ways of God, must forever fall short.

How can we mortals ever understand the Infinite?
     Revelation is of the heart, and hence the saying of Pascal,
     "The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing."

The heart quickened by God perceives horizons undreamed of by other men.

 Let us earnestly desire the quickening which reveals God's fulness,
 and let us pray,   
              "Draw me, we will run after Thee." (Song. 1.4)

Friday, January 25, 2019

In the Fulness ... part 2

Let me return for a moment to the subject of the last blog and look at Paul's word "Fullness."

What is fullness?

The thought of Fullness brings me to God.
Fullness is everything which is God's.

Fullness is the life of abundance.
Fullness is the cup overflowing.

The thought of fullness leads me to those lives in the history of the church which were touched by heaven,
     those who carried heaven with them,
          those lives which were "Saviours on mount Zion." (Ob. 1.21)

These were the appointed and anointed ones who lived in a different realm than those around them.
These were the seers (see-ers) to whom the heavenly realm was clear.
These were the ones who knew Reality.

I write all this because I feel there is an intense yearning in God to bring this generation of His people into their inheritance.
In a time when all around us man's answers are mere illusions, God waits for a people who will awake to seize hold on that which longs to bestow. 

God desires to give revelation of the transcendent dimension of the realm of His Spirit.
He longs for us to know the place where His fullness flows as a mighty river,
     and His grace extends as a limitless ocean,
          while all the hurt of earthly bonds are carried far away.

He would bring our lives into a place of rest and certainty in Himself,
     our strivings of frustration forgotten (Heb 4.10),
          His Life and His Resources our portion.


Thursday, January 24, 2019

In the Fulness

"When I come … I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ" (Rom. 15.29)

Paul's life was built upon God's certainties, 
     and his steps were ordered by his faith.
He looked and he saw Fulness.
      He had no doubt about God's will, 
           or God's Promise, 
                or God's Provision.

For each life there is a pathway through the years,
and to each life there is given a choice of how to navigate his path.

There are Challenges we will all confront,
it is not "if," but "when," the challenge will arise.

The question is "How will the moment of challenge find us?"
How does life find us:
     when we stand before the good, and when we stand before the bad,
          when we confront the easy, and the difficult,
               the things we have longed for, and the things we have dreaded?

It all comes down to our vision of God.

The cry of the desert is always "Can God?" (Ps. 78.19)

The challenge all through life  is this -
"Is thy God … able to deliver?" (Dan. 6.20)

Amy Carmichael said, "God trusts us to trust Him."
Another has said, "Faith steps upon the void, and finds the solid rock beneath."

May we, as Paul, see Fulness as we gaze Godward.
May we reach out, that our faith may, "Stand … in the power of God." (1Cor. 2.5)

Let us declare as we face each situation: 
                          "I shall come in the Fulness."

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Lifting Up

"I will lift up mine eyes." (Ps.101.1)

Lifting is always an effort.
Lifting always involves a weight -
an overcoming of the law of gravity.

Some lives carry burdens which seem beyond endurance, 
burdens for which earth can never find an answer.

Our challenge is to Look,
and the looking must always be "beyond" - 
     beyond everything that weighs down, 
          and everything which is impossible.

It must be beyond the weight of my burden,
     and beyond my tears,

          and beyond my strength, 
               and beyond my experience.

The looking must be to God alone, 
     to the place of His presence, 
          the place of His mercy, 
               the place of His grace.

Impossibility is writ large over all else.
There can be no change except it be given by God.

The God-quickened "looking" can see beyond the obstacle to the Other Side.
     The Look of Faith brings that which is There, to Here. 
          And God's dimension brings the Answer.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Something for Jesus

Have you ever heard a voice within yourself saying, "Something for Jesus"?

It happened to me and it took me by surprise.
What is He looking for if all my human capacities are as nothing?
What do I have to give to Him?
What is the "something" which has value for Him?
What is the "something" man can give?

All through the Bible, man gives back to God that which God gives to Him 
- in Adam God looked for the confidence to give his free will to God, and Adam failed.
Ever since man has failed time after time in his trust in God.

"He that cometh to God must believe," (Heb. 11.6)
This is what God looks for from us in all the days of our lives.
A basic part of the life of the believer must be faith 
- and the enemy centers his attack on our faith.

  "Through faith they subdued kingdoms." (Heb. 11.33)
Interesting the word used, "subdued" ... not "conquered," not "overcome."
        "Subdued" - took away their power,
                          rendered them ineffective.

Can we lift our eyes above the earthly, and believe that all God's sowing from the time we first met Him is now at a harvest?

Can we believe that in the "now" of our days, the kingdoms, powers and circumstances that surround us be subdued under His kingship?
All other offerings we bring are empty if we cannot bring faith.
Can we offer Him faith?

All through our journey, as we travel, 'today and tonight, and tomorrow, 
and on through the months and the years,' may this be our constant offering:

                                   "Lord I believe."

Thursday, January 10, 2019

His Name

"His name is called, The Word of God." (Rev. 19.13)

In the three fold revelation given to John, Jesus is revealed as
Faithful and True.
The Word of God. 
King of Kings, and Lord of lords.

"Faithful and True," is His nature, this is Who He is.
Because of this, we will never be alone nor forsaken.

The last revelation is of Jesus as "King of Kings, and Lord of Lords."
This is His position, His authority, His place in the universe.
Because of this, His purpose in the lives of His own is certain.

The second name John heard is "The Word of God."
This is His working … the working of His Faithfulness and His Power.
This is the operation of His purpose throughout all the ages.
This is how His faithfulness is shown.
This is how His kingdom is established.

As the Word, He speaks Life where there is death,
Light where there is darkness,
Peace where there is torment,
Strength where there is weakness,

This is the place where our faith must be exercised.
This is the place God would meet with us in all the passing days of our lives.

Just as "the moving finger writes; and having writ, moves on" and cannot be erased, so also, He speaks and that which is spoken is forever.
That which He has spoken must unfailingly come to pass.

Peter speaks  of "exceeding great and precious promises."(2Pet. 1.4)
John, says "Ye are strong, and the Word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome." (1Jn. 2.4)

Agur, after all the proverbs of Solomon, cries out, "What is His Name, and what is His Son's Name?" (Prov 30.4)
Basically he is crying out to know the Answer  to all things existing, and to his own need.

This is the Answer … "His Name is the Word of God."
Here is all sufficiency - for all need, and for all time. 

This is the revelation beyond all this world contains.
     This is the Creative Power which accompanies all our paths.
          This is Life for all our days.

Monday, January 7, 2019

A New Thing

"I will do a new thing". (Is. 43.19)

This is followed by, "a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert."

So this is the new thing - 
a way, a path, and an end to the tracklessness of the wastelands.
     It is an end to the frustration of lostness, and purposelessness.
     It is an end to the days without horizon or hope.
     It is an end to the progression of time without progress in life.

It is a pathway which leaves the old behind,
and gives a sure access to the new.
     It is direction and purpose.
     It is the way to new horizons and new habitations.
     It is the way to the place prepared - on earth and in heaven.

Rivers - it is the unmeasurable and ever-renewed supply which transforms the desert. 
     It is the full and overflowing measure of God's provision.
     It is the certainty of sufficiency for all the days of our lives.

God says, "I will do it."
Notice the word "even" - even a path, even rivers … 
     obstacles cleared away,
          provision unhindered.

How much greater than all the resources of the desert world around us.
How much greater than a suffering through, and scraping by, in the desert places.

"I will do a New Thing."

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Our Place

This year has only just come to birth, and there are still 360 days left till the year's end.
What possibilities does this year hold for the child of God?

It wasn't a new year when Moses stood before the Red Sea, 
but it was a new stage of life which lay before him and the children of Israel.

After leaving the bondage of Egypt the road ahead was now totally blocked by the waters of the sea.
Humanly speaking they had reached the end.
Their journey had finished as soon as it had begun, and there was no way forward.

A journey lay behind him,
from the ark in the waters of the Nile,
to the court of pharaoh,
to the exile in the desert,
to the return to Egypt.

And a journey lay before him.
A journey to an unknown land,
through unknown challenges of unknown days.

It was at this juncture that God spoke.

     It was here that Moses both heard and obeyed,
          and stretched his hand over the impossible waters.

Think of Moses stretching forth his hand over the sea … 
     What an authority he took from the very hand of God. 
     What a place to enter with God!
     What a step to take before the presence of all Israel.
     What a challenge to the forces of nature.

That last step out of Egypt must have marked a turning point in Moses' life in his relation to the realm of God.
          He took his step alone without human support,
               and entered his place as a son of God.

I feel that this is a time that we are all being challenged to find a new realm in God,
     in the presence of all that surrounds us,
          standing before all that seems impossible,
               and all that would deny us a way forward.

In the days of this year stretching before us let us take our place, and find the fulness of God's purpose for our lives.
Let us step beyond the known, and find God as our sufficiency in the unexplored days which lie ahead.

Here is God's promise:
"Call unto Me, and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." (Jer. 33.3)

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Getting Serious

I recently happened to hear a recording of a choir singing one of Charles Wesley's hymns.

I heard the words and I heard the music, but I missed the Spirit of God in the interpretation.
The thought flashed through my mind, "What must it have been to be present at the moment when that hymn was sung the best it was ever sung on earth?"

What must it have been when the atmosphere was pregnant with the Presence of God
- when the words captivated the spirit of those present,
- when the singers forgot everything earthly, 
- when beyond trials and travails they lifted their voice to God alone?

What to live for a moment beyond time and space and touch Eternity?

There must have been a glory in that place, a touch of the measurelessness of God's world.

There was a time when I used to ride my bike to school … seven miles through winding road, uphill and downhill, and through the town.
Not liking school I would set off late, and then after school try to get away home as fast as possible.
My aim on those rides was to set a new best time every time I rode, and this meant forgetting yesterday's ride, ignoring all around, and concentrating on pushing the limits day after day.

I don't know the worth of those morning and evening rides, but my mind jumps to the spiritual realm.
Are the things we declare important, really important to us?
Should there not be a similar:
"forgetting those things which are behind, 
and reaching forth to those things which are before"?(Phil. 3.13)

Should there not be an awareness,
a reaching past changeable things to the Unchangeable,
a reaching from the things of time to Things Eternal, 
a going beyond the earthly to the Heavenly?

Should there not be an intensity, a fleeing from the area of our comfortable existence amidst earthly things to the places where God Himself is both our Way and our Destiny?

John (1.11) says, "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not," - a terrible indictment.
As He comes day by day to our lives, the only thing which is ours to give Him is an intensity of response.

As we come into a New Year, 
everyday is a world on its own, 
and the present day is all we have.

Can we go beyond our obstacles today?
Can we go beyond our apathy today?

The day is ours, for us to seek with all our strength that He might fill it.