It is instructive to look at the origen of men God called in the Bible.
In so many of them there was a total lack of things which would seem basic for the fulfillment of their appointed task.
Moses, for example, outstanding among the Old Testament prophets,
was born in Egypt, raised in the pagan household of Pharoah
and then found himself cast away in the desert for forty years herding sheep.
After entering Pharoah's household we read of none of the influences of God's people in his upbringing,
and yet this was the man God chose to lead all the rest of His people,
the man trusted to lead them through the wilderness to a land of promise.
Paul, in the New Testament, a leader among the apostles, and yet:
he was born outside of Israel, in Asia Minor, in the city of Tarsus,
he was born a Roman citizen, familiar with Roman ways.
His spiritual birth was not in the church at Jerusalem,
but was the result of God's sovereign intervention
outside of Israel, on the road to Damascus.
After his conversion and early witness he was forced to flee,
and then spent three years in the Arabia
before he even met the saints in Jerusalem.
What does all this mean?
It means that God is not limited to the ones who men would have chosen.
In a day when there is so much emphasis on "correct" interpretation,
and correct forms in our worship,
we need to consider hard the fact that spiritual truth comes
not through the mind but through the heart.
Like Lydia by the riverside,
it is those whose heart God opens (Acts 16.14)
that form the human foundation of His church.
It is so easy to get it all wrong.
It is so easy to rely on human qualifications,
but God is Spirit and only that which is imparted by Him has any value in life.
His church is a Spirit born church,
and His true ministers minister by the Spirit of God.
How is it for all God's children?
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." (Rom. 8.14)
There is a way for man to rise
To That sublime Abode;
An Offering and a Sacrifice,
A Holy Spirit’s energies,
An Advocate with God:
Again, for all of us, in all our life:
"As many as are led by the Spirit of God,
they are the sons of God."
Friday, October 30, 2020
Men God Chooses
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
Searching for Life
The apostle Paul, when he was Overcome by Light,
heard a Voice - and the infinite distance between
God's eternity and man's passing earthly world was bridged.
With the Voice came Paul's response - Paul questioned,
with a question wrenched from the depths of his being.
It was Paul's first question,
and he spent the rest of his life learning the answer.
Paul's first word in response to God's divine intervention was "Who art Thou Lord?"
The recognition of the One Who came in Light was instantaneous -
here is One greater than all that Paul ever experienced,
here is One Whose title must be Lord.
Paul saw that all his learning and tradition must be laid down,
and he saw that he must learn everything anew at the feet of the Lord of all.
Now all Paul's aim is to discover who is this Lord?
Paul's life depended on his finding the answer to this question.
The "Who" that fell from Paul's lips that day on the road to Damascus
was a cry of longing that was to be with him everyday for the rest of his life.
The "Who" was the substance and the meaning behind the encounter.
the greatness of the dimension behind it all.
the meaning which would make sense of it all.
Upon hearing the answer, "I am Jesus"
Paul was overcome and trembled, "astounded."
The One speaking to Paul is the "Who" who overshadows all our days,
and all our ways.
If anything at all in life is to have real meaning,
we must find the One who is behind all of life.
Man has a tendency to gather the fragments of earthly existence and try to make sense of it all,
to try to interpret existence as life.
Life is beyond all our knowledge and beyond all our experience.
Life is a gift, and we need to know the Giver if we are to know life.
Paul's life was an ever unfolding vision of the One who met him on the road to Damascus.
Down through the years, and the endless miles of his journeys,
Paul pursued, and found, an ever greater and clearer vision of the One who gave him life.
At times Paul seems at a loss for words as he tries to express what he has found.
He piles adjective upon adjective to try to encompass the infinite greatness,
the infinite richness of the life which has been given to him,
and the measureless nature of the One who gave that life.
Paul counted all things but loss for the excellency of the One Who met him on the road.
May we see the same vision and make the same commitment.
Friday, October 16, 2020
Finding the Pathway
Paul expressed his heart's longing in the words,
"that I may know Him." (Phil. 3.10)
Job, in the record of his pilgrimage toward God, declares,
"I know that ...I shall see God," (19.26)
and at the end of his journey he declares,
"now mine eye seeth Thee." (42.5)
This is always the aim and longing of the true child of God.
It is easy to find things to believe,
things to experience,
things to do -
and then find that at the end of it all we have a "Christianity"
without possessing the Life of God.
We can get excited about transmitting the correct doctrine.
We can emphasize the correct experiences.
And somehow miss the fact that God Himself desires to
fill all our vision,
and be all our Life.
The Holy Spirit has been the agent of God's work ever since the first man was conscious of life.
Throughout the history of the generations of the Bible, and since, God has never left Himself without a witness.
Daniel says, "the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits." (11.32)
Real, intimate, spiritual knowledge of God is Life and Light and Strength for all our pathway - there is need for nothing else.
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
"He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces;
and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth." Isa 25:8
There is coming a day … when all will be changed,
when God alone will be glorified,
and our tears will be dried.
Would that God might give us a vision of that which He desires to do;
of that which He will do in future days.
We are in danger of interpreting the future by the things of the past,
in danger of depending on our minds when we should rely on our spirits,
in building on our thinking instead of on God's revelation.
God has promised a new thing, and He doesn’t mean a new work built out of the old materials.
We have heard many times that God will do a new work and that no man will get glory out of it.
But do we really realize what this means?
It means we will get no glory because we will have nothing to do with it.
We may seek but it is God Who comes in answer to our seeking,
rather than our efforts finding Him.
There is a rebuke, a reproach, over the people of God
and the reason is that they are so unlike what God would have them be.
Human reasoning, human arguments, human techniques,
have taken the place of Spirit breathed inspiration.
Can we be the people of God when God is not in the midst?
Can we call ourselves the people of God when it is we who plan and act and not He
- when He is not seen or exalted in the work?
The reproach will be taken away when God is victorious over the death in the church.
We think of the phrase “He will swallow up death in victory,”
It is easy to apply it to physical death, and the glory of eternal life,
but I think we can find a wider application .
God would give us to live a life free from the works of death,
free from the darkness that shadows all in this world. -
God wills for us a life where the death-portion of
things which refuse to let us go, things of
Guilt, and Condemnation, Fear, and Confusion of Darkness,
have been “swallowed up” in the glory of His work in our lives.
When this takes place the church will no longer be "Irrelevant,
and thought to be disconnected with present needs.
But it will be the creative expression of God, the Creator.
God fills when He is all in the lives of His own.
then death is swallowed up in victory
and the reproach is forever taken away.
Friday, October 2, 2020
Words change their meaning as the years pass.
The word "Freedom" to the early settlers in North America meant
liberty to worship and obey God without restriction.
Today "Freedom" is taken to mean liberty to do whatever I want without restriction.
The word "Revival" seems also to mean less today than in past years.
We think of conversions, enlarged churches and more people like ourselves.
Perhaps a simple definition of revival would be "a Visitation of God which manifests the Glory of God."
When Acts 4.31 says "the place was shaken" maybe it represents something more than the building.
Maybe it represents a coming of the Spirit of God which also shook every life which was in the building.
Maybe within lives things were displaced and rearranged in that shaking,
and through the shaking lives were prepared and the Holy Spirit was outpoured.
Our tendency is to make everything simpler and less costly than God intends,
with the result that we will be satisfied with a poor imitation of the real thing.
Do we have a true idea of what is meant by "Salvation"?
or Surrender, Dedication, or Prayer?
or Praise, or Worship?
or Testimony, Service, or Ministry?
Our minds are conditioned by the definitions we attach to words,
and in order to truly understand the words we read, hear and speak,
we need an illumination which only God can bestow.
Would God we could forget our supposed knowledge of all that surrounds us,
and seek with all the intensity of our being
the Light which alone illuminates the soul of man.
Would we could find the intensity to pray
until the darkness would lift and all be filled with Light.
in order to see and know the things of God as He would have us see.