The Disciple’s Discipline

Dear Ones:

In heaven there is no change with respect to God, His nature and character.  And as we glimpse something of the immutable, perfect work of Christ, we see that there is not only ALWAYS a fountain that is open for sin and uncleanness, but there is an unchanging, living (ever fresh) way to God that Christ has opened, and maintains.  He is the very Guardian and Minister of that new and living way.  The access to the throne of God, this throne of Grace, is also immutable, unalterable.  Every day, every second of every day…it remains intact and divinely viable.  What does change though is our attitude of heart, grasp of the truth, and appropriation of the blessing by faith, with respect to this reality.  If the “blessing of God” in Christ is always there, and in tact, then how is it that we are such feeble beneficiaries of it?  The answer begins with the knowledge of the truth, the vision of things AS THEY ARE from heaven’s standpoint.  The second aspect of the answer has to do with the disciplined appropriation of the blessing by faith.  It is one thing to come to Christ.  It is another to live, abiding in Him, deriving all from Him, and this, in an ever-increasing manner.

I have mentioned before the book, “Practicing the Promises,” by H. Moule.  He brings out the importance of grasping three concepts which need to be considered in our walk with Christ in this world.  The first has to do with AIMS.  Aims are those aspirations, hopes, desires, and the setting of the will, to pursue a certain objective.  Now, if we would align our minds and hearts with that of Christ, then we must aim at perfection.  Christ preached perfection consistently, as He preached only that which was aboslute.  God, because He is God, cannot demand less than perfection.  So, every promise, commandment, and truth in the word of God is to be aimed at with perfection in mind.  The second aspect which Moule elaborates on has to do with LIMITS.  How can an imperfect creature, even a sinner, attain to the perfection of God?  This was only possible by Christ, and this because He had a perfect faith, able to appropriate fully the blessing of God, and accomplish His work.  Unlike Christ, our limits reveal themselves by our weakness, sinfulness, and/or faithlessness.  In essence, our limits are “limits of faith.”  We do not possess perfect, consistent faith. The faith that we have is often in fierce conflict with the world, flesh, and the devil…hence, we discover our “littleness of faith,”  doubt, and fear at times.  Our limits of faith become very evident at times. This being said, we come to the last point mentioned by Moule, and it is POSSIBILITIES.  Because of the living Christ within the heart, and the truths of our union with Him, and our access to the Father by Him, the possibilities of believing God, even for the impossible from a human standpoint, are exceptional.  “Unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above ALL that we can ask or think according to the power that worketh in us…” (Eph. 3:20)   As Wesley put it, “All things are possible to Christ, the power of Christ in me.  Lord I no more blasmpheme, I can, I do believe in Thee.”

Finally, we come to the matter of consistency…how do we live like this consistently?  When the Apostle Paul wrote to his “son” Timothy, concerning the way forward and the fulfilling of his ministry, he declared:  “…for God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7)  We have in this verse everything that we need for living consistently…in a disciplined manner, with eyes heavenward, and the truth in our hearts.  We see clearly that any “spirit of fear” does NOT belong to us.  On the contrary, the Spirit of God is our very power, love, and “soundness of mind,” or self-control.  It is as we learn to depend upon the Spirit of God for everything, that we begin to appropriate the Lord Jesus more consistently.  Godly men and women are those who are such, not because of some natural capacity.  They are such because they have learned that there is only ONE source for all blessing, and it is in Christ…ever in Christ.  And there they have learned to go, and drink of Him consistently.

Dear Lord Jesus, enable us to KNOW the truth of our union with Thee, and to grasp something of this immutable work of Thine which is the basis of being able to come to the Father at any minute of any day or night.  Enable us to drink from this constant STREAM which is Thyself, deriving from Thee all that we need.  Give us this blessed Spirit of discipline whereby we learn to, and do drink of Thee more consistently every day.  We thank Thee for Thy marvelous provision for us, and the most wonderful revelation of the “possibilities” that are ours by the Spirit.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Love, Dad

 

 

Stand Upon Thy Feet

Dear Ones:

Ezekiel tells us that he saw “…the likeness of the glory of the Lord.” (Ez. 1:28)  When you read the passage and meditate on what he saw, you can understand his reaction:  “…And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard of one that spake.” Following this revelation, as he meditated on it and the words that the Lord had spoken to him, Scripture says that he “…sat where they sat, and remained there astonished (overwhelmed) for seven days.” (3:16)  One of the great values, and blessings of God, when we worship, is that by the Spirit we begin to see God for who He is.  It is certain that we cannot grasp now the eternal as one day we shall, but God is able to give to us what we need to see of His glory, so that we truly take our rightful place before Him to give Him all the praise and glory.  What happens after this revelation to Ezekiel is very important also, for the Lord commands him to STAND UPON HIS FEET, “…and I will speak unto thee.”  Why does he tell him to stand?

When John the apostle saw Jesus in his glory, he “…fell at his feet as dead.” (Rev. 1:17)  As in the case of Ezekiel, the vision of the glory of God was the precursor for God revealing His will to them, what they were to trust Him for as they went forward.  For Ezekiel, the vision of God was not the end of the matter, but the beginning, for then his mission would be described, and the commission given.  The vision was given not only to increase the faith of Ezekiel, but to impress upon him the divine nature of the calling.  But now, as in the case of Isaiah, the “out working” of the vision comes into view, and for this, Ezekiel must STAND…be in that position, not only to hear, but to go forward.  Immediately after the revelation of God to Isaiah, the words came:  “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?  Then said I, send me.” (Is. 6:8)  If we look at the experience of the Apostle Paul, we find the parallels of revelation and commission:  “…a light from heaven…I am Jesus whom thou persecutest….Go thy way, for he is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles.” (Acts 9:3-4,15)  We might ask the question, “What does this have to do with me?  I am not an Isaiah, Ezekiel, or an Apostle Paul.”  This is true.  But you are, we are, worshippers of Jesus Christ, like they were.  Out of that worship came the revelation of Christ by the Spirit to their hearts of Who He is, and what His calling is.  The great question then becomes:  “Do I truly sit at His feet (even fall at His feet) to worship Him, and then do I stand up to hear what He will say unto me?”

Habakkuk wrote:  “I will STAND upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what He (the Lord) will say unto me…” (Hab. 2:1)  He will go on to write:  “…And the Lord answered me…” (2:2)  When Jeremiah was in prison, and the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar was being laid against it, he wrote that, “…the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the second time…’Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and might things which thou knowest not.'” (Jer. 33:1-3)  How many of us, out of a life of worship, STAND to hear the word of God to our hearts, and to believe and obey Him?  How many of us “call” with the certainty that God WILL answer us, and reveal to us that which we need to see and know?  The revelation of His glory is given to arrest our attention, and to bring us to the proper perspective of who He is and what we are.  The command to “STAND” is given to bring us to attention, and look attentively to Him to see what He will say to us.  In God’s purpose and provision, He desires to reveal to all us individually, and together, the direction we are to take…and this with assurance, and clarity.

Dear Father, God of clarity and peace, God of glory and power, give to us in this hour “to PROVE the sweet omnipotence of Thy love.”  Enable us to worship Thee in Spirit and in truth, trusting Thee to grant to us “…the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Thee, …strengthening us in the inner man to believe Thee.”  And fill us all with the knowledge of Thy will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, that we might choose that which is excellent, and KNOW Thy leading, guidance, and care..for Thy glory.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Love, Dad

 

An Access Like No Other

Dear Ones:

The Gospel is a Christ centered, heaven oriented message of truth concerning God’s dealings with man, His ways and perspective, and His objectives.  When we consider this Gospel, we always begin with the “Savior of the world.”  There is no one like Him, and certainly no one who was able to accomplish a perfect work to secure for us a perfect salvation from sin and death.  Part of the objective for that “once for all sacrifice,” and the shedding of His blood, was to open heaven to us, not only as a concept, but as a morning by morning, all-day reality.  From the words “…seated with Him in heavenly places,” to the declaration, “…let us come boldly unto the throne of grace,” we are confronted with this:  “…seek those things which are above where Christ is seated on the right hand of God.” (Col. 3:1).  Complimentary to these words are those that follow:  “Set your affection (mind) on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Col. 3:2)  All this is possible, and provided for because Christ’s work has declared that “…ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (v.3)  What do these truths declare to us, and how do they apply to where we live?

In the book of Ephesians, we read:  “For through Him, we both have ACCESS by one Spirit unto the Father.” (2:18)  Now, what does this mean?  It means that regardless of our “infirmities”, weaknesses and failures, with all our faults and inconsistencies, there is, as the hymn writer penned:  “…a way to rise to that sublime abode, an offering and a sacrifice, a Holy Spirit’s energies, and Advocate with God.”  When Christ said the words, “…It is finished,” and the veil of the temple was torn in two, heaven’s door was forever opened for all men, principally for all that would truly believe in Him.  It meant that access was given to enter the very throne room of heaven, and there appear before the Father and the Son, by the Spirit.  In light of such privilege, responsibility, and the overwhelming greatness of the presence of God, we are called to come (by faith) BOLDLY (not rashly), “…unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16)  The believer is to come worshipfully into the very presence of God, realizing that it is only by the mercy of God that he is there, but also, that God is waiting to minister to his heart and mind, his soul and body, in a very real and concrete manner, as he trusts him “…in time of need.”

One last thought.  It is as we spend time “in heaven,” in the Lord’s presence, that we begin to learn His ways of prayer and faith.  We begin to find that it is possible to know in a very real way what His will is, and see His provision for it.  The more we see this marvelous “access” we have to the Father through the Son, by the Spirit, the more we will come to know Him, His ways, and His provision…”on earth as it is in heaven.” The marvelous and assured access that is provided to the throne of grace has for its primary objective, communion with God.  Out of that communion is born the fruits of heaven on earth, the fruit of the Spirit, the very life of Christ in our hearts, and through our lives.

Father, please open our eyes to see the enormous privilege and certainty of this access into heaven itself.  Enable us to grasp the significance of coming “boldly” unto this throne of grace, to worship, and to receive, that we may be able to give in every “time of need.”  And grant us grace to grasp something of the cost to Thee, “… to make a sinner whole,” and to create such an eternal access to Thyself, so that, forever, our hearts shall be grateful, …ever grateful.

Love, Dad

 

Bedrock Faith

Dear Ones:

“Bedrock” is by definition, “… that solid rock that underlies soil and alluvium.”  One of the characteristics of bedrock is that, because of its nature and consistency, it is able to support a tremendous amount of weight, and pressure.  It is thus considered stable, relatively unmovable, with the quality of longevity or endurance.  Now, how can we categorize faith as being “bedrock faith?”  Is there such a thing?

On the campus of the University of Geneva, in Geneva, Switzerland, there is a massive wall, a commemorative tribute to the “Protestant Reformation,” which in a very real way, changed the course of history of the world.  In front of that wall are four sculpted figures standing approximately twelve feet tall.  These were men who played a major role in the beginning and expansion of the reformation.  Each of the men, clothed in the garb of that time…the long robes, have each one a Bible in his hand.  Their attitude towards the Scriptures was that it was the basis of all life and purpose, for in it was revealed the design and destiny of men, as declared by God.  In those pages are unveiled for all men to see, the objective revelation of the nature, character, and ways of the Eternal God, and His personal, individual intervention in the affairs of men.  The truths revealed in the Bible will become the directional basis for faith in God.  The objective truth in the Scriptures directs us to the truth concerning the nature, character, …person of God.  It is that foundation of truth that leads to bedrock faith in the faithfulness of God.

In Joshua 1, when Joshua had been commissioned to lead the people of Israel into the promised land, the Lord specifically instructed him:  “…This book of the law shall  not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to DO according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Josh. 1:8)  In Psalm 1, we find the psalmist writing concerning the righteous man:  “…His delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (Ps. 1:2)  Both men saw that the knowledge of the truth, as revealed in the Scriptures, was essential to faith.  Again, faith is directional, as it ultimately has its object in God, in Christ alone.  But the knowledge of the truth, directs us in HOW to apply that faith.  Faith in its application is specific.  We trust for the specific thing, whether large or small.  The Object of that faith is Christ alone, and this, only according to His Person as revealed to us in the truths of Scripture.

Jesus told His disciples concerning the Holy Spirit that they were to receive at Pentecost:  “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and BRING ALL THINGS TO YOUR REMEMBRANCE, WHATSOEVER I HAVE SAID UNTO YOU.” (Jn. 14:26)  Part of the ministry of the Spirit of God is not only to teach us, but to bring to our remembrance what Christ has said in His word.  This is very important, as God’s word is applicable to every circumstance and need.  But, what if we do not have the word of God in our minds and hearts?  What if I do not remember what He said, or not remember clearly?  First of all, the Holy Spirit will only reveal to us that which is true.  A knowledge of the TRUTH, as it is revealed in Scripture, is essential. Secondly, the Holy Spirit knows WHICH specific word (truth) is applicable to the circumstance at hand.  If we are to walk by faith, then we must put our feet firmly upon the immovable truth.   It is that truth that gives us the direction we need to put all of our trust specifically in Christ.  All of our hope and expectation then rests wholly upon Him.  This is bedrock faith, for it is founded upon the immutable word of God, the expression of the immutable faithfulness, nature and character of God.

Love, Dad

Preparing For Glory

Dear Ones:

In the book of Isaiah, we have revealed to us the coming of John the Baptist, the one who is to proceed Christ, preparing the way for Him, and this, in the strength and power of Elijah.  In the four gospels, we have mention of John the Baptist as the one preceding and preparing the way for the glory of God to be revealed in the most extraordinary manner possible in this world.  Why the preparation?  And what did it consist of?  Lastly, what effect will the knowledge of this preparation have upon us?

In Isaiah 40, we read:  “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:  And the glory of the Lord SHALL BE REVEALED…AND ALL FLESH SHALL SEE IT TOGETHER.” (v. 3-5)  In Mark’s gospel we read that John was God’s messenger, sent “before Thy face, which shall prepare Thy way before Thee.” (v.2)  This was his mission.  His message:  “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.” (v.3) Luke tells us that John the Baptist was sent “…to prepare His ways; to give KNOWLEDGE of salvation…” (v.76-77)  John himself would declare that he was the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah concerning this “…voice of one crying in the wilderness.” (Jn. 1:23)  Why is he mentioned as such in the Old Testament, and confirmed in the New Testament, by all of the Gospel writers?  It is because of his message.  He had come to give a knowledge of the Lord’s ways, so that “…the King of Glory” would come into the hearts and lives of those who believed.  What then was the essence of his message?

When Nicodemus came to the Lord by night, the Lord of necessity had to confront him with the TRUTH of who the Christ was…the One in front of him.  When Jesus confronted the woman at the well, He of necessity had to bring her to see the TRUTH that He was the Messiah.  On the day of the miraculous catch of fish, when Peter would fall at Jesus’ feet and say, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man,” He was revealing to Peter His true identity.  This would eventually lead to Peter’s declaration, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matt. 16:16)  And lastly, He confronts Thomas in the upper room, after the resurrection, and says to him, “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands…be not faithless, but believing.” (Jn. 20:27)  The result is the declaration by Thomas:  “My Lord and my God.” (v. 28)  In every instance here there is the revelation of the TRUTH of Christ, which is so very necessary for faith to lay hold on the reality of His person.

When we think of “mountains, or hills” needing to be made low, we can see that the Lord must deal with “…every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God.” (2 Cor. 10:5)  John the Baptist came to pull down strongholds in the minds and hearts of his hearers, casting down imaginations, speculations, and lies concerning Christ.  He came to elevate the great truths of Christ, remove the distortions of the knowledge of Him, so that, according to the simple, and yet, powerful TRUTH, God could forgive the people of their sins, and they know new life.  It is then that the King of Glory reveals Himself to the heart, when one grasps the truth of Who and What Christ is.  God’s blessing is always according to the TRUTH of who He is, never according to, or in association with, a lie.

How does this affect us?  John told the people to “Prepare the way of the Lord….”  How?  By searching  for the truth, being willing to see and grasp it, and live according to it.  Then the basis is laid for the blessing, the intervention of God in the heart. When the people aligned themselves with the truth of Christ, then the blessing of heaven began to flow, the glory began to be revealed.  And so it is with us.  It is as we grasp the truth of Christ, His work , His ways, and His Person, then He begins to reveal Himself to us in wonderful ways.  He will do so only according to truth.  Let us be through with foolish speculations and imaginations, in order to plant our feet afresh every day upon the bedrock truth of His Person and work.  Then we too shall “…see the glory of the Lord,” for the Lord will command the blessing.

Love, Dad

The Daily Portion

Dear Ones:

It is so easy to pray the “Lord’s Prayer.” (Matt. 6:9-15)  It is quite another thing to truly believe what we pray.  For example, “…Give us THIS DAY our daily bread.”  There is no doubt that the Lord is referring to physical food, for it is essential for our existence.  But there is another “bread,” and it is that from heaven.  We might call it heavenly manna, but it is spiritual food…it is the very word of God by the Spirit to our hearts.  How much are we trusting God to SPEAK to our hearts through His word, according to our need, and this, on a daily basis?

Scripture declares to us that the JUST man is one who lives by faith.  Faith is directional.  It is based on truth, and has its foundation in the character, the faithfulness of God.  This is why the apostle Paul writes:  “…my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:  that your FAITH should not rest in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” (1 Cor. 2:5)  Essential to faith is the truth of God, of Christ.  And faith in Christ according to that truth leads to the experience of His power.  Is this not what Paul wanted to know, as he expressed it in Philippians 3:10, “…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection?”

So, what are we trusting the Lord for TODAY…and daily?  Are we believing Him to not only give us that which our bodies need, but in the same and very real way, give us what our souls need to LIVE?  Are we believing Him for His specific word of truth to our hearts, by which He would have us believe Him, and to thus KNOW Him, and the power of His resurrection? Christ gave to us this prayer to pray, and to pray in faith, believing, receiving, …to know Him.

One last thought…the Holy Spirit is the key to understanding the word of God, for He has been given to us to BE our teacher.  “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26)  Have we made Him, or rather, deliberately taken Him to be what He is…our teacher?”  John later writes in his first epistle:  “…But the anointing which ye have received abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him.” (1 Jn. 2:27)  Is John saying that we are not to listen and learn from preachers of the gospel, and teachers of the Word?  No.  What he IS saying is that beyond all human instruments, there is One who is the Sovereign Teacher.  He might speak through a brother or sister, or He may not.  The issue is that we are to place ALL of our trust in Him, believe Him to teach us and to speak individually to us through the word of God.  He alone can give to us OUR DAILY PORTION… and He will, if we trust Him.

Dear Lord, be our teacher this day, and give to us, not only our daily portion of physical food, but open up to us Thy word, that we may LIVE by what Thou dost reveal to us.  Thou hast the words of eternal life.  Enable us to hear Thy voice of truth, and strengthen our hearts to trust Thee according to that truth.  Then we shall be satisfied, and our hearts shall rejoice, as we live for Thee.  Amen.”

Love, Dad

P.S.  Write down what He shows you.  It always helpful in clarifying it in the mind, and confirming it to the heart.

The Sharpness of the Sword

Dear Ones:

Scripture tells us that the word of God is “the sword of the Spirit.” (Eph. 6:17)  In the book of Hebrews, we are taken further in our understanding of the “role” and “manner” of the word of God:  “For the word of God is quick (living), and powerful, and sharper than ANY two-edged sword, piercing even to  the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, of the joints and marrow, and is a DISCERNER of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (4:12)  Perfect examples of the use and the power of the sword are found in John’s gospel, first of all concerning Nicodemus.  The Lord’s word to him is:  “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (3:3)  The sword enters into the heart of Nicodemus, and immediately produces the effect of revealing where he is in his understanding of the ways of God, as opposed to the religious thought of his day.  Twice Nicodemus will ask the question:  “How?”  The sword has begun to discern the “thoughts.”  It is then that Christ confronts him with the contrast between the “heavenly” and the “earthly.”  And in this line of thought, He declares, “…NO man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” (v.13)  By the word of God, Jesus brings Nicodemus face to face with Christ’s “heavenliness,”  His Divinity, and thus, the truth that He IS the Messiah, and Savior of the world.  Not only did the word of God reveal that Nicodemus was not born of the Spirit, but also that he did NOT believe Christ to BE the Son of God, only “…a teacher come from God.” (v.2)  Nicodemus is brought before an unscalable wall reaching into heaven.  The only up and over it is “a new creation” by the Spirit, choosing to believe in Christ and Christ ALONE as the Messiah, and Son of God.  “…Whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”(3:16)

When Jesus, of necessity, had to pass through Samaria, he confronted a woman who came to draw water at a well.  Again, the word of God would be the discerner of the thoughts of her heart.  His word:  “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith unto thee, ‘Give me to drink: thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water.'” (4:10)  By the reaction of the woman, her thoughts are revealed.  She declares that she does not understand the nature or sources of this “living water.”  She then speaks of her own thirst, still not realizing of what Christ spoke.  But it will be when Jesus tells her to, “…Go, call thy husband, and come hither,” that the woman responds with the truth.  This will be the doorway for the word of God to further teach her of God’s gift, and the Giver.  Jesus will speak to her of true worship, and the fact that her concepts are false with regard to the nature of worship (“…in Spirit and truth…”), and the place of worship.  But then, like in the case of Nicodemus, Jesus confronts the woman with WHO He truly is.  The sword goes into the heart of this woman who is honestly willing to hear the truth.  “I that speak unto thee am He (the Messiah, the Christ.)” (v.26)  The word of God, this sword of the Spirit, will dispel the lies and misconceptions of the woman, along with many people in her village, and this to the point where they will declare:  “…Now WE believe, not because of thy saying: for WE HAVE HEARD HIM ourselves, and KNOW that this is indeed is the Christ, the SAVIOR OF THE WORLD.” (v.42)  How is it that these Samaritans can come to faith in Christ, and this, not knowing the ways of God (the gift of God), nor the Giver?  It is by the sword of the Spirit, which goes deep into the heart and discerns the thoughts and intentions.  There, in the heart’s depths, the truth dispels the darkness, and many come to the light, to live…even to the Fountain of Living Water.

Dear Lord, give us grace to seek Thee in Thy word, and this increasingly.  For as Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.”  Speak to our hearts and bring us increasingly to understand Thy ways, Thy Gift, and who Thou art.  Grant us grace to whole-heartedly believe in Thee, and to receive all that Thou does desire to give, even fullness of Life, Thy Life, forevermore.  Amen.

Love, Dad

 

Sowing In The Morning

Dear Ones:

There is great wisdom in the book of Ecclesiastes…a wisdom that is born out of deep and hard experience, even anguish of mind and heart.  But it is a wisdom that gives great hope and certainty, and the means for seeing that hope realized.

“Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.”  (Ecc. 11:1) One of the changeless laws of the harvest is that, if we sow, we shall reap.  It is also true that we reap that which we sow.  There are many commentaries on this verse in Ecclesiastes, and likewise, there are many interpretations.  But there is a message of hope and certainty in the words, for it declares to us that as we are led to give, to minister, and specifically, to spread the Word of God, there will be a “return on the investment.”  There will be fruit, there will be blessing, there will be a definite, definable result, which corresponds to the type of “bread” that is cast, but also, the nature of the result, and the amount.

In verse 6, we read:  “In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.”  Here we have another illustration concerning the laws of the harvest.  But this time, we are dealing not only with the act of “casting,” or “sowing,” we are dealing with the consistency of the action.  There is a discipline of faith being exerted here.  When Jesus was a boy of twelve years old, he was “lost” by his parents, who eventually found him in the temple discussing spiritual matters with the “doctors” of the law, “…hearing them, and asking them questions.” (Luke 2:47)  When asked by His parents about His absence, and their concern, He replied:  “…knew ye not that I MUST be about My Father’s business?” (v.49)  Here is Christ, as a twelve-year-old boy, fully engaged in His Father’s business…and this would remain so on earth, until He is taken up after the resurrection.  This is ever so clear when we read of His daily ministry…always in the business of His Father, sowing morning and evening, directed by the Spirit, with the certainty of many coming to a saving knowledge of Him.

The whole testimony of Scripture declares that when God speaks (sows the Word…), that there is a result, sooner of later, and it WILL be realized.  Isaiah 54 declares:  “…it (the Word of His mouth) will NOT return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please.”  There is certainty and hope in this truth.  And so it is, as we “cast our bread upon the waters…,” and as we “sow” in faith His word, morning and evening, that He WILL work, and accomplish His purposes and will for His glory.

Many years ago when we were preaching in the open air in a market in France, we could not see all the folk who were listening to the message.   A year later, in the village, after opening up a coffee bar/shop to receive young people, a young lady come in and told us that she had been hiding behind a truck the year before in the market where we were preaching.  She came to saving faith in Christ as a result, and we knew nothing of it until that day.  The point is this.  We may not “see” fully the fruit, the result of “casting bread, ” or “sowing the seed,” but when it is in faith, and in the will of God, there WILL be a harvest, a result.  It is the law of the harvest, and this, because of the faithfulness of God.

Father, give us grace not to be weary in well-doing.  Enable us to so walk with Thee by the Spirit, that we shall always be ready to give an answer for the hope within us.  And grant us grace to be faithful, to be about our Father’s business, ever sowing morning and evening, in faith, believing Thee to glorify Thy name by the word, the bread and the seed, cast forth and sown.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

 

 

Transforming Power

Dear Ones:

The Gospel is a message of power…a power that transforms, that emanates from God.  It is a power that is of God, by God, and in essence IS God.  What do we mean by this?  Power in the spiritual realm is not a thing, but a Person.  Just as Christ is our strength, so also is He our power.  When the Spirit of God came at Pentecost, power came.  When the Apostle Paul tells us to “Be strong…,” he qualifies it by adding “in the Lord, and in the power of HIS might.”  So, we walk with a Person who IS our power, for HE pours the power (His power) into us when we need it.

Nowhere is the power of God so  wondrously manifest as in the individual life.  When Jesus spoke to Nicodemus concerning the new birth, the spiritual birth BY THE SPIRIT, he used an illustration to reveal to us that there are definite EFFECTS of His power.  “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth:  SO IS EVERYONE THAT IS BORN OF THE SPIRIT.” (Jn. 3:8) When the Spirit of God works in the life, there is a power that changes the life from within.  For some it is a “slight” change in the beginning, but for others it is monumental.  The question then becomes, “How can I know this transforming power in my life…my whole life?”

We begin with a law.  Paul calls it “…the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 8:2)  This law declares that in the life of the believer, the Spirit of God (in His power) “…has made me free from the law of sin and death.”  That Spirit, by His power, according to the Gospel, has broken the bonds of sin resulting in death.  That Spirit also has “raised Jesus from the dead, ” and we are raised in Him…by His power.  But then comes the question:  “What about TODAY, where I live? How do I KNOW this transforming power?  Paul wrote to the Philippians that he counted all things as loss, and thus would not put any trust in anything, or anyone, other than Christ.  “I live by the faith of the Son of God.”  He lived by the principle of being “…determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (1 Cor. 2:2)  What does the “loss of all things,” and being determined to know Jesus Christ alone have in common?  The two ideas point to the fact that Christ is our power by the Spirit, and Him alone.  And that our faith  “…should not stand in the wisdom of men, but IN the power of God.” (v.5)  The man or woman who is crucified to his or her life in this world, is an individual who puts no trust in anything, or anyone, for his strength, and power, but in the Lord Jesus alone.

To conclude, let me read you parts of a hymn that Charles Wesley wrote:  “Other refuge have I none, hangs my helpless soul on Thee;  …ALL my trust on Thee is stay’d; ALL my help from Thee I bring; …Spring Thou up within my heart, Rise to all eternity.”  May we put all our hope and expectation in Christ because of the reality of His work, and the creation of the “law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.”  And let us believe Him, His person, who IS our power and strength, receiving from Him daily all that we need to live and reign in life.

Love, Dad

The Lion and the Lamb

Dear Ones:

Many are the thoughts, concepts, and “speculations” about the person of Christ.  But there are perhaps no greater truths that reveal His character than those represented by the words “the Lamb” and “the Lion.”  We know that John said of the Lord Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (Jn. 1:29)  Why call Him a “Lamb?”  How is it that something so fragile, so helpless, could represent the Savior of the world?  The answer is found in the word “sacrifice.”  Christ offered Himself freely, no resistance, as the helpless, innocent, spotless lamb of God.  It would be upon that sacrifice that the sins of the whole world, would be placed.   As the hymn writer put it:  “Mine, mine was the transgression, But Thine the deadly pain.”  Helplessness and innocency…without spot or blemish.   This was the Lamb.

In the book of Revelation, as John peers into heaven, he is overcome with sorrow, and weeps, because “…no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, and to loose the seals.” (Rev. 5:3) No man was found worthy!  It would be at this moment that an elder would say to John, “Weep not: behold the LION of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book…” (v. 5)  Here we have the character of the Lord Jesus represented as a Lion.  Why?  He represents power, authority, sovereignty, and dominion.  It is important to realize also that this lion “hath prevailed.”  When faced with all the forces of Hell, He not only defied them, but overwhelmingly conquered them, and this, in order to provide us with the perfect provision of His perfect righteousness.  It would take the LION to overcome insurmountable odds.  Not only would He not be turned aside, but He would not fail in His quest to obtain for us eternal redemption.

So, what should this do for us?  This knowledge should bring us to the crucified feet of the crucified Lord to worship.  We should appropriate His character as a lamb, for we are His sheep, and in our helplessness, depend upon Him fully, following the Lamb where ever He goes.  Secondly, we should appropriate His character of the Lion, the overcomer, the conqueror.  We have His meekness, and His strength by the Spirit.  May God give us grace to follow in His steps, as sheep who hear His voice and follow.  And then, overcome through Him as we face the challenges of life before us, nothing fearing, but conquering…ever conquering.

Love, Dad