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)