Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Why has God Given?

In the book of Genesis we find a garden -
a garden of perfect provision 
and perfect beauty,
a garden which was lost when Adam chose sin.

In the book of Revelation we find a tree whose fruit is complete, 
and whose leaves are for healing of the nations.

In the book of Song of Solomon we find yet another garden -
     not of earthly substance like Eden,
          nor yet of heavenly fulfillment,
               but a garden of the Beloved,
                    the garden planted in the hearts of God's own.

The description is very complete: 
     the garden is almost like a renewal of Eden.
          There is an abundance of fruit,
               there are "all trees'"
                    there are "all chief spices."

There is an abundance of waters... constant and limitless.
     It is "a fountain of gardens,
          a well of living waters,
               and streams from Lebanon.

But all that was within the garden was enclosed;
     no one ate of the fruits,
          and not even the fragrance flowed out.

The bride realizes the garden has a greater purpose than mere existence,
     and cries out to the winds
          to blow upon the garden, 
               to shake the branches,
                    to flow among the leaves,
                         and to release abroad the fragrance.
She invites her beloved to come to the garden, 
and to eat of its fruit ...
     "pleasant fruit" giving satisfaction to the eater.

Chapter five starts, "I am come to My garden."
     She has given the garden to Him, the Beloved,
          given in such measure that the garden is no longer her own possession,
               it now belongs to the one to Whom she gave it.
                    He accepts the gift and calls it "My garden."

Now the Bride and the Bridegroom are one -
     what pertains to one pertains to both
          as she loses her will and self in Him.

The garden fulfills its purpose now in fruit and fragrance to the Creator of the garden - the Lover of the bride. 

Thursday, May 21, 2020

What do we Know?

Jesus spoke earth shaking words to the woman at the well in Samaria:

"If thou knewest the gift of God,
     and Who it is that saith ...
          thou wouldst have asked of Him" (Jn. 4.10)

Three simple things:
     the Gift,
          the Giver,
               and the Response.
And all are dependent on the knowing ... "if thou knewest."

They are words which shake me today,
     and render my life naked before God.

How much do I really know of that which God gives?
     How much do I really have of that which God gives?
Beyond all the trappings of conventional Christianity,
     and beyond the religious explanations, 
beyond my plans and human based endeavors,
     how much of that within me is gifted by God

If Life is to know Him,
     then life is measured by the amount of my knowledge of Him.
          And the question is how much do I possess of Life?

Does my knowledge come from what is Revealed to me?

Do our churches operate through Light within,
      or do they follow the forms of the world's presentation.
           Is it too hard to break with this world's structures of expression, 
                its musical forms, 
                     its stage and light effects?

At the end of the day we do well to remember the words, "If thou knewest,"
      -and measure ourselves by this word.
 So also at all of the endings in life...
     at the end of our prayer and our worship,
          at the end of a hymn, of a meeting,
               at the end of our reading of the Scriptures,
                    do we know the reality of it all?

If we really know the Gift there will be things we do,
     and also things we cannot do.
The things we do will be in harmony with the Spirit of the Giver,
and all that is not in harmony will be cast aside.

God is infinite - there is always more to know of Him.
Paul writes after many years of service, "that I may know Him." (Phil 3.10)

The Psalmist expresses, "deep calleth unto deep." (Ps. 42.7)
I don't know how much each of us knows - but the Call of God's depths is eternal.

Isaiah speaks of the requirement (44.3) 
     "I will pour water on him that is thirsty."

Let us come with thirst, and look to God alone,
     for the Gift which He alone can bestow.
          Here is Life, abundant and eternal.


Friday, May 15, 2020

The Affront to the Kingdom

Here is a very simple truth:
     That which, on earth, is not of the Kingdom of God 
          is an Affront to the kingdom of God.

Everything that was damaged through the sin of Adam in the garden
is a continual hurt in God's kingdom.
Our living on earth is a battle between two kingdoms,
     the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the enemy.

Every day, and every decision of our lives, bears upon these kingdoms,
and somehow, as time passes, God causes His own to see that
our thoughts and our words, and all that our life expresses,
works either for or against the rule and purpose of God.

Far beyond all the things for which we pray,
     the result of our prayer is working for the advancement, 
          or the detriment of the Kingdom of God.

Our prayer on earth, is affecting things which are eternal.
And we carry some of the weight of God's eternal kingdom on our shoulders. 

As we pray we come before the King of all.
     Let us be conscious of the place which we fill.
          Let us be conscious of the reach of our prayers.
               Let us be serious, and lay aside all that would weigh us down.
                    Let us fill the place in which God has put us, and "Stand."

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Way to Dominion

Thinking of God's processes in the life of Adam.

God's plan for man was to have Dominion.
God offered Adam Dominion over all creation, 
and yet there was a process.

We could say that Adam was born (when created) but he was not yet fully formed, because man is formed through the decisions of his life.

Did God really need to put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden ... and then allow Adam a choice?
Adam was born innocent but his character was not yet formed nor revealed -
only testing could do that.

Maybe we can call the naming of the animals Adam's first test.
      He stood at that time together with God,
and discerning the nature of each animal he gave them their names - 
     names which expressed what God had bestowed when He gave them life.

Now Adam is faced with a second test
- this time he is alone when making the decision.
     This time the decision has to do not with his mind, 
          but with his heart,
               it is not measuring his understanding, 
                    but with the measure of his commitment to the One Who revealed His will about the fruit of the tree.

All must go through this process if they would become a man.
Jesus "learned obedience" we ever think of that?
      ...that obedience is only learned through the act of obeying?
When Paul says that Jesus "became obedient" (Phil. 2.8) 
     does it not mean that obedience became His life?
         Jesus' declaration was, "Lo I come to do Thy will O God."(Heb 10.9)

1 Tim. 2.14 says that, "Adam was not deceived." 
He knew what the fruit meant.
He knew the enemy was not to be trusted, 
but he chose to follow Eve in her partaking of the fruit.

Facing the greatest decision of his life,
     Adam chose Time over Eternity,
          Adam chose his own will.
               Adam chose to Get and not to Give.

In taking the fruit he lost everything else,
spiritual life,
     communion with God,
          the promised dominion,
               the garden of provision,
                    the blessed state of earthly creation.

In taking the fruit he found a realm he had never known before,
          alienation from God,
               sickness and pain,
                    a mind exposed to all the tortures of uncertainty,
                         and all the fears of the unknown future.

Instead of a future of Dominion over all, he found a future of being overcome.
     A place where there was no dominion -
          rather daily exposure to destruction by an enemy greater than himself.
     And he carried the weight of the fallen world -
          which he himself had destroyed.

When we think of the salvation which God has brought to us,
let us think in view of this Fall, this Loss.

To mankind under the sentence of death,
Jesus came to bring Life ...
     "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature,
          old things are passed away;
               behold all things are become new."

As we have seen and experienced a world of loss,
     let us gaze with open eyes at the  new creation which our salvation brings.

          How can we do less than obey?
               How can we do less than worship, 
                    and give Him our all?