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.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Lord Alone

Isaiah 2 speaks of the last days, 
     of the Lord's exaltation at that time, 
          and the judgement of men.
He finishes saying "the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day" (vs. 11 and 17).

When God is exalted all else is humbled.
     This is a truth desperately needed.  

"The Lord alone" is a totally exclusive declaration, not even the tiniest thing can come alongside Him.
For us to find God, all that we are, and all that we think we possess,
must bow down.

How much seeking for answers in our spiritual lives is frustrated at this point?
How many of the "closed doors" come from a lack of "utterness" in our seeking?

There is something so beautiful when the sun rises in a morning without clouds, and all is made luminous and clear.
And there is something so beautiful when the Lord is seen without hindrance, or earthly impediments.

This has always been God's aim ...
"Thou shalt have no other God's before Me." (Ex. 20.3)

"Let us lay aside every weight" says the apostle. (Heb.12.1)
It is the same thing - God alone as the focus of life.
     This is where our eyes see clearly. 
          This is the vision of transcendent beauty.

"How great is His goodness, and how great is His beauty." (Zec. 9.17)

Monday, September 16, 2019

The New Thing

Isaiah 45.19 God says: "I will do a new thing."

Time after time we hear of God doing a new thing.
I wonder: Do we know what we are talking about?

     Is "New" what we see around us?
          Is "New" what we already know?
               Is "New what we have experienced?

The truth of salvation by faith was seen New by Martin Luther
Sanctification was seen New by Wesley.
Missions was seen New by William Carey.
The Pentecostal experience was New at the beginning of last century,
and broke through to the mainline churches in the  1950s.
A New revelation sweeps all before it:

More than half a century has passed since the last general move of God, 
and the chaos in the secular and religious worlds brings with it a pain and a darkness which cries for a new manifestation of the Kingdom of God.

And yet:
Woe to us if in our looking to the future we see only the possibility of a repeat of the past moves of God.
Woe to us if our prayers are limited to a reliving of the old.
Woe to us if we pray from the place of our experience - and prophesy from there.

Jesus' last words were, "I am with you." (Mt. 28.20)
This is the vision which God would set before us today -
     a Vision of One.

It is God Himself coming in our midst, in a Glory beyond all we have experienced or read about.

It will be a Coming of Life beyond all we have ever known...     
     It will be Light beyond light, 
          It will be Faith beyond faith, 
               It will be Anointing  beyond anointing...

                               Is not this the New Thing?


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

In Earth ... In Heaven

I wonder how we see the relationship between earth and heaven?
I wonder how God sees the relationship between earth and heaven?

What did Jesus mean when He taught His disciples to pray,
 "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven"? (Mat. 6.10)
Was it principally about the restoring of the right relation between earth and heaven?
I think it was - 
whatever it means for us as individuals and our own particular circumstances,
     and whatever it means for a church, or a nation,
         these are only parts of a greater whole.

Creation groans, the universe groans, for something which has been broken.
And this will never be restored until the Kingdom of God comes in earth as in heaven.
The prayer is for the manifestation of the glory of God; that once again the earth be "filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." (Hab. 2.14)
Someone once said that he would wish, even just once before he died, to pray  the Lord's prayer as it really is.
I see what he meant ... to be able to understand and add his voice to that prayer.

 For beyond the wrong and the hurt, 
     is the yearning for the rightness,
          the completion, the restoration.
               It is the bringing again of all which has been lost.
                    it is the glory of a creation - where all is made new, 
                         and imperfections never enter more.

This is what God sets before us also: 
     to feel within ourselves the weight of the hurt of the wrong of this 
     world which surrounds us,
          and to bear this weight, with Him,
               until the glory comes and fills this empty hurting space.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

How Much Can You Lose?

 I am remembering now a phrase:
"How much can you lose without losing your faith in God?"
The reference is to the story of Micah. (Judges 18.24)
"And he said, Ye have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest
... and what have I more?"

We live surrounded by an infinite world of things trivial:
What is left when all that surrounds us is taken away?
     How much of what we are is external?
          How much of who we are, is external?

There is a beautiful verse in Isaiah 26.3.
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee."
     Perfect peace is beyond the reach of the world around,
          it can never be found in any of the things about us.
               It is not built upon anything visible.
                    It doesn't depend upon things which are tangible.
                         It is beyond all earthly things.
 "There is a place of quiet rest, 
           near to the heart of God."
                It is to this place that God invites us.
                This is the place which He has prepared for us.
All the work of the enemy is to get us to believe to the contrary,
     to separate us from the Source of Life.
          to separate us from the rest and the security of that place prepared.
The apostle Paul lived, "as having nothing, and yet possessing all things."
       Our God is the same God, 
          His promises are certain to us also.
               Let us find, and let us live this Life.