Love’s Resounding Call

Dear Ones:

It has been said that, “Life reduced to fellowship with Christ makes the complicated simple.”  This is true.  But what of the priority within that fellowship, that supreme motive and power for living?  It is simply, the love of God.  The whole plan, and realization of the work of redemption, “…from the creation of the world,” was brought to pass ultimately because of one thing…the love of God.  “For God SO LOVED that He gave His only begotten Son…” (Jn. 3:16)  When we look at Sodom and Gomorrah, and see the destruction of these towns, we discover that there is no love there…no manifested, selfless love of God.  The contrary is true.  The whole of that society was consumed by self-love, and the satisfaction of self-centered, selfish desire.   Jesus, in speaking of the last days, and the consequent judgement, “…and because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall grow cold.” (Matt. 24:12)  It seems that as true, selfless love diminishes in a society, judgment is not far off.  So, how important is love?  And how do we know that we truly love?

It is an amazing scene where Jesus is eating a meal with his disciples on the edge of the Sea of Galilee, and this, after the resurrection.  Jesus specifically turns and addresses Peter who had denied Him three times.  There is no rebuke in his address, no chastisement.  But there is a very poignant question asked that goes to the heart of life’s main consideration:  “Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me more than these?” (Jn. 21:15)  The first thing to note  here is that Jesus addresses Peter in a very singular manner.  He calls Peter by his name.  Secondly, Jesus speaks of “love” as being the primary and most important subject to be considered.  Now, it must be noted that the verb for love here that Jesus uses is that used when speaking of the love of God, something Peter knew and felt, but which was foreign to his personal experience and practice.  The Apostle Paul uses this same verb in speaking of love in 1 Corinthians 13.  He declares, that in the absence of this experiential love of God, one’s words, whether they be of men or angels, are “….as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.”  He goes on to say that one can have the gifts of prophecy, understand all mysteries and have all knowledge, …even having the faith to remove mountains, but not have this love, the declaring,”…I am NOTHING.”  Even the act of offering all to feed the poor, and giving one’s body to be burned in the sacrifice for one’s faith and service, “…and not have love, “…it profits me NOTHING.”  (v.1-3)  What must we grasp in the consideration of this matter of love?

First, we must come to grips with the fact that Love is the greatest manifestation of the holy, and blessed character and nature of God.  John says, “God IS love.” (1 Jn. 4:8)  There is no moment when He is not love.  Every vestige of human love on this earth is the result of a Higher Love, which has revealed itself in one way or another in and through creation, but primarily in the sacrifice of Christ, and the cost to the Father.  So, it follows that Love is the first thing.  Secondly, the whole of redemption was accomplished so that humanity should not only know ABOUT this love, but know the experience of it.  The man who is most like Christ is the one who loves most by His love, by His Spirit.  Peter had risen about as high as one could rise in human, natural love and affection for someone, for he did love Christ.  He declared it.  But he could not rise to the standard of Christ’s calling.  He had to learn that that was only possible BY THE SPIRIT, for the fruit of the Spirit, the very evidence of His life in our own, is the imparting of that love.

Dear Father, give us to see the priority of Love, and cause it to ABOUND in our hearts in all wisdom and knowledge, that we may approve things that are excellent.  And Lord, enable us to follow Thee out of love for Thee.  May our highest aspiration, and motive, be to love Thee by the Spirit, and in turn, to love those around us in like manner.  “Love through me, Love of God; There is no love in me; O Fire of love, light Thou the love, that burns perpetually.”  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

The Friend of God

Dear Ones:

There is a wonderful verse in Isaiah, which makes a most remarkable declaration.  “But thou Israel, art my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham MY FRIEND.” (Is. 41:8)  God calls Abraham His friend.  What a most extraordinary reality, that a man could be the friend of the Eternal God.  You will remember that Moses had such a relationship with God also.  “The Lord spake unto Moses, face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.” (Ex. 33:11)  Now, we might think that this matter of being the friend of God belongs to the few great saints throughout history, but let’s look at what Jesus said to His disciples:  “…Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you.” (Jn. 15:15)  Christ called His disciples “friends.”  Has God changed since He spoke to Isaiah concerning Abraham, and then made reference to Moses in the context of friendship?  Has He changed since Jesus looked at His disciples, common, ordinary men, and declared them to be His friends?  He has not changed.  What is needful is for us to grasp what it means to BE the friend of God, and primarily to discover how the Lord Jesus is the perfect Friend.

Perhaps the best place to begin in the consideration of friendship, from God’s perspective, is to hear Jesus’ words:  “…Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (Jn. 15:13)  Immediately, we are catapulted into the center of the main issue of friendship…and it is love for the other person, but a love that is selfless.  Love, the love of God, is the basis and essence of true friendship.  Secondly, and perhaps more specific and tangible is the aspect of this love which expresses itself in “devotion.”  “Ye are my friends, if you DO whatsoever I command you.” (15:14)  The true friend lives for the other person.  From Jesus’ standpoint, it is living according to His instructions, will, and way…His word.  The proof of devotion is the tangible commitment of one individual to another.  The third revelation to us of what friendship is that of communion…the sharing of Life, and the vision of that which is good.  Jesus called the disciples friends because He shared with them what the Father had revealed to Him of truth and Life, and the will of God.  In other words, there is the sharing of all that is high, good, and wholesome.  The friend communicates the deepest things of his heart and soul to the one who is truly a friend, not for selfish benefit, but for the blessing and enrichment of the other.  Three things characterize true friendship:  Love, Devotion, and Communion.

It is not hard to say that Jesus was/is the perfect Friend, as He is wholly true, faithful, and absolutely selfless.  But when we compare ourselves with Him, how can we say that we are “friends of God?”  He is our faithful Friend, for He has laid down His life for us.  But are we His friends, proving such, by laying down our lives for Him, and this, by living for Him according to His commandments?  So, what is the origin of this vision of what we should BE, and how is it to be realized, lived?

When Paul wrote his letter to the Colossians, he wrote a short, but very significant phrase:  “…but the body is of Christ.” (Col. 2:17)  The composite essence of all that is good, holy, and of God is found IN Christ.  This means that He is the answer to the matter of friendship, both as the example of true friendship, but also, by His enabling power, His devotion, His communion.  We can be His friends as we believe Him, trust Him to be such in our hearts by the Spirit.  “We love because He first loved us.”  We are friends of God and men because He was/is first our Friend.

Dear Father, we thank Thee for the example of Thy Son as the true Friend, the perfect Friend.  We thank Thee also for thy Spirit, the Spirit of Thy Son, who is in us to BE a friend to others.  Enable us to be Thy friends, with all that this means in love, devotion, and communion.  So that, out of such a relationship, others might know that Thou art God, their Friend…unfailing and true.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

 

The Wise Man’s Time (Ps. 90:12)

Dear Ones:

“Time” is finite…has limits, length, and is a gift.  Also, it must be said that “time” belongs to the living.  As such, the “living” should have a very clear assessment of the value of time, and the opportunity that it affords us.

Isaiah writes:  “…surely this people is GRASS.  The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever.” (40:8)  The contrast between “grass,” the flower that fadeth, and the Word of God is poignant.  The one is a creation of time, the other is forever.  So, how does the time-bound creation partake, and become an effectual part of that which is eternal?  It is by REDEMPTION.  It begins with the redemption of the soul by the work and effective power of Christ, but it has its out working in the REDEMPTION of time, the effectual use of the gift of time.  How does one “redeem the time?” (Eph. 5:16)

In every consideration and study of the Word of God to find God’s answers to life and actual living, we ALWAYS begin with Person of Christ.  He is the essence and the out working of all that is true in the objective Word of God.  When He declares Himself to be the Alpha the Omega, the Beginning and the End, He is revealing to us that if we would know HOW to live this life, and to live it well, using the time that we have been given, then we must begin with Him.  He is the beginning point of our consideration.

The first thing we need to grasp is that all is BY the Spirit.  Christ was born by the Holy Spirit.  He was filled with the Spirit from a baby boy, throughout His sojourn on this earth.  Even at the Jordan River, the day when He was baptized, He was anointed in a special way by the Spirit for the ministry before Him.  So, we must begin by seeing the utter necessity of being absolutely dependent upon the Spirit of God.

Secondly, when we see Jesus in the wilderness being tempted by the devil, we find that He is always referring to the written Word of God to combat the lies and deception of the enemy.  I have mentioned before that in Geneva, Switzerland, at the Wall of the Reformation, there are four, twelve-foot high figures of some of the “great” reformers.  They stand very solemnly in the characteristic garb of that time (16th century), but each of these men have a Bible in their hands.  This IS the book, the objective truth of God, that they have chosen to study and live by.  Can we do otherwise and redeem the time?

Thirdly, Jesus was a man of prayer.  He was first of all a man of prayer in aloneness with His Father before He was such in the crowd.  He never forsook prayer, often rising a great time before daybreak to be alone to pray.  After one session with His Father, he returned to the disciples, KNOWING that He it was time to leave the present place of ministry, to go to other villages and towns to preach the Gospel.  His guidance came while He prayed.

Lastly, Christ LIVED in expectancy.  At the occasion of the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead, the Lord Jesus prayed this:  “Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard me.  And I knew that Thou hearest me always.” (Jn. 11:41-42)  Here is a man who lived in the wholehearted confidence, assurance, and conviction, that he was received of the Father, the Father heard him, and the Father answered him.  He lived not in some haphazard possibility that God would answer His prayer, but in the certainty that all was before the Father, and the Father was faithful to respond.

How do we redeem the time?  BY CHRIST.  He will guide by His Spirit.  He will speak through His word.  He will reveal to us His will if, and while we pray.  And He will give wisdom to the one who truly waits on Him, living in the expectancy of His intervention.

Dear Lord, teach us thy ways, for Thy ways begin and end in Thee.  Strengthen us daily to place all of our trust in Thee, live by the objective word of God, praying as we go (…in aloneness, and in the crowd), and living in the joyful expectancy of Thy provision, guidance, and strength.  Grant that our lives shall truly count for eternity, as we trust Thee for TODAY, and one day at a time.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

“AND BE YE THANKFUL…”

Dear Ones:

In this life of faith in Christ, there is a most essential act and attitude of faith that we must be careful to practice and live, a life of thankfulness.  The Psalmist tells us that we are to, “…enter His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.” (Ps. 100:4)  Why does he say this?  For one reason, it is because it is an acknowledgement of God as our Creator and Sustainer in life, who “causes His rain to fall on the good and the evil,” and is the “…Giver of every good and perfect gift.” In other words, it is by Him that we live, move, and have our being.  Without Him we would not exist, much less live by His Life.  The man or woman of faith realizes this, and on a daily basis, is cognizant of this reality.  One of the consistent expressions of his faith is his thankful heart.

The subject of the giving of thanks is further exemplified in Paul’s epistle to the Romans.  He is addressing the issue of the ungodliness and unrighteousness of man, and the consequent manifestation of the wrath of God.  He writes:  “…when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, NEITHER WERE THANKFUL…” (Romans 1:21)  Why would he interject this phrase into this subject?  It is because thankfulness is an integral part of faith, the very expression of recognizing God as the Creator and Sustainer in life.  It is the profession of our dependence upon Him for all that is good.  The ungodly and unrighteous person has refused to adhere to this reality.  Indeed, he or she has rejected the entire notion of who God is, and what He does.  Not so with the believer.  The more the believer discovers who God is, the more thankful he or she becomes.

So, for the Christian, the disciple of Christ, what is he called to be, and to do?   “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thess. 5:18)  Since God never changes, ALWAYS our Creator and Sustainer (…and Redeemer), there is not a moment in our lives when we are not to be thankful.  To walk by faith is to BE thankful.

Thanksgiving is also tied to the matter of prayer, for again, it is an expression of faith.  “Be careful (anxious) for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, WITH THANKSGIVING, let your requests be made known unto God.” (Phil. 4:6)  The man who believes God answers prayer is the man who is thankful that he is heard of God, and that God is faithful to answer according to His will in His way and time.  Thankfulness is acceptance by faith.

Lastly, thankfulness is associated with the peace of God.  Paul writes to the Colossians:  “…And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body: BE YE THANKFUL.” (3:15)  The man or woman who is walking by faith is prayerfully believing in the God of peace,  and the consequent peace given by the Spirit.   The believer seeks to remain in an attitude of thankfulness, ever believing in the Sovereign God who has set His love upon him or her.

Gracious Lord, grant to us Thy blessed Spirit of thankfulness, that we might always be thankful.  Enable us to choose to be thankful at all times, and in every circumstance, rejoicing in Thy goodness and mercy…well pleasing in Thy sight.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

 

 

Cyrus and Timothy: The Mission

Dear Ones:

It was over five hundred years between the coming of Cyrus, the King of Persia, on the historical scene, and the arrival of Timothy, the Apostle Paul’s “son in the faith.”  Cyrus was a man who had not only a sense of “destiny,” but the conviction that God had intervened in history in bringing him to be where he was, with the power and authority that he had, to accomplish His purposes.  Listen to his words:  “Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah’.” (Ezra 1:2)  Here is a man of whom Isaiah wrote two hundred years before his birth:  “I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the Lord of hosts.” (45:13)   What do we learn from this man, Cyrus?  First, God is the author of history.  He is sovereign and Almighty.  Secondly, God uses men in His design of history.  Cyrus was chosen, prepared, equipped, and given the power and authority to do the will of God.  Scripture tells us that “The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia…” (Ez. 1:1)  God is the great Initiator, and His design is for the unveiling of his glory, and the consequent blessing of men.  In this case, it would be in and through the nation of Israel, a nation that had spent seventy years in exile because of her rejection of the sovereign will and gracious purpose of God.

How does Timothy compare with Paul?  He was certainly no ruler, nor man of “great” human resource.  We even gather that though this man was a lover of Jesus Christ, possessing a most sincere faith, and knowledge of God, he had the tendency to be timid, hesitant, probably reserved…even fearful.  (2 Tim. 1:7)  He certainly did not have the same enormous vision of the world as Cyrus, neither did he possess the magnitude of his power and authority.  BUT…Timothy resembles Cyrus in this: both men were called by God for a task, a purpose…a purpose that had it origin and realization in Christ.  Both men were “equipped” for the task and purpose at hand. (Is. 45, 2 Tim. 1:6, 7)  Both men were men for their particular times, fulfilling the specific purpose given to them from heaven.  And both men were successful, though both faced very real foes and opposition.  Lastly, both men lived and ministered on the basis of a promise.  Cyrus had a mandate from God.  He knew it, and he knew that all had been provided for it.. (Is. 45)  Timothy had a mandate.  Paul made sure that he knew it!!!  “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (2 Tim. 4:2)  He knew that God had given him the Spirit, that spiritual gifts and capacities had been given to him.  Now, it was time to believe and obey.   The same was true of Cyrus.  Two men at two times, with two missions…but one Origin and Means…Christ.

Lord Jesus, enable us to truly trust Thee in the present time, to understand Thy purpose for our lives.  Grant that we may truly grasp and understand the “calling” that Thou hast given us, and the gifts which Thou hast provided.  May Thine indwelling Spirit ever stir us up to seek Thee, and strengthen us to truly believe Thee for the realization of Thy perfect will.  Make the crooked places straight and the rough places smooth.  In Thy name, Amen.

Love, Dad

Going Forward: Full Assurance

Dear Ones:

Is it possible to go forth in the full assurance of God’s guidance and provision?  The author of the book of Hebrews wrote, with regard to our drawing near to God, that we were to do so with “a true heart, in FULL ASSURANCE OF FAITH.” (10:22)  How can this be?  How are we to KNOW that He is leading, guiding, providing?

In every consideration of all that pertains to this life IN CHRIST, we always begin with the Beginning, with Him.  Every aspect and concept that is applicable to this “life” has its origin, accomplishment, and realization in Him because of what/who He IS, and what He has declared.  He speaks, and worlds are made.  He proclaims the truth as it is in and by Christ, and He confirms it to us through His word.  He alone has the power and the authority, the absolute commitment to DO exactly, and completely, as He says.

The Psalms are filled with the truth that God will and does lead those who will truly trust in Him, yielding all to Him.  “Good and upright is the Lord: therefore, He will teach sinners in the way.  The meek will He guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach His way…What man is he that feareth the Lord?  Him shall he teach IN THE WAY that he shall choose.” (Ps. 25:8-9,12)  Not only is David here declaring to us the character of God, but the will of God concerning guidance, His willingness and capability to guide, to teach, to lead.  Beyond the objective truth of God’s commitment to guide sheep like we are, what is the “confirmation” that He gives to us by His Spirit, that we are following Him?

In Isaiah 55, the Lord  reveals to us His WAY to be His voice, His word: “So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth…” (v.11)  This declaration is followed by the promise, “…It shall not return unto Me void (…or, without effect).”  As we KNOW the will of God, as revealed to us through and in His word, there comes the confirmation by the Spirit as it applies to our lives:  “For ye shall go out with JOY, and be led forth with PEACE.” (v.12)  This is that same peace that Jesus declares to be a gift of God by the Spirit.  He gives us HIS peace.  It is also that peace which acts as an “umpire” in our hearts, to confirm the way in which we should go.  Now, it must be said at this point, that “guidance” may not come immediately concerning a certain matter.  Sometimes there must be a working through a matter in prayer before we are brought to peace.  If peace does not come to confirm, then we are either off base in discerning the will of God, or we need to wait until the Lord reveals to us what we need to know and understand.  His delays are not necessarily His denials.

“Full assurance…” How can it be?  Only by the conformity to the truth of God’s word, based upon His character and nature, and then, the confirmation  by the Spirit, His peace which passeth all understanding.

Dear Father, grant us to worship Thee in Spirit and truth this day, and reveal to us the truth of Thy will as it pertains to us where we are, as we serve Thee.  Grant us Thy peace in the way in which we should go, and keep us in that peace.  Then, we shall walk before Thee in the full assurance of Thy presence and provision.   We thank Thee for the Living Word, the objective word, and the Spirit, which confirms the word to our hearts.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Love, Dad

 

True Surrender

Dear Ones:

Is it difficult to surrender one’s life to Christ?  No.  It is impossible…that is, without the grace and intervention of God.  This is why Nicodemus was so astounded at the declaration by Jesus, that a man must be born again, born of the Spirit, to enter the kingdom of God.  No amount of learning, even religious teaching, or any “resource,” capacity, or credentials of man, can get him into heaven.  Only by an act of God can one come to Christ, and surrender to Him.  What then does it mean to believe in Christ, to surrender to Him?

In one of Frances Ridley Havergal’s hymns, she writes:,  “Take my life, and let it be, consecrated, Lord, to Thee.”  In one of the great French hymns, we read:  “Accepte mon offrande, Bien-aime Fils de Dieu.  Et que sur moi descende, la Flame du saint lieu.”  The translation:   “Accept my offering, beloved Son of God.  And may there descend upon me the flame (the Holy Spirit) from the holy place.”  In both of these hymns, the same concept is revealed to us, that of appealing to God to “take,” and “accept” me as I am.  It is the appeal of the heart to BE Christ’s, and this forever.  For this, there must be the true, and sincere cry of the heart to God.  But also, the belief that the Lord Jesus is waiting to respond, and that He will.  Paul wrote:  “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

The evidence of faith in Christ is the surrender of the heart and life to Him.  In that surrender, there is the opening up of the heart to the sunshine of Christ’s light.  There is the trusting Him to thoroughly forgive and cleanse from all sin.  And there is the trusting in Him to literally, by the Spirit, come into the heart. (Rev. 3:20)  Havergal and the French composer, were like so very many through the years, who have come just as they were to Christ.  They were empty, lost, without resource.  They only knew that their need could  be met solely by God, and they were willing to call upon Him with their whole heart to that end.

You will remember in the gospels that there is the story of a woman who had been very ill, and had spent all of her money on physicians, but to no avail.  She was at the end of “her” resources. There came a day when a crowd was surrounding Jesus, certainly a good many of them were touching Jesus.  But this woman was particular.  Because of what she had heard of Christ, perhaps even after hearing Him speak, she KNEW that if she could quietly slip through the crowd unnoticed, and just touch the hem of his garment, she would be healed.  She did, and she was.  Jesus’ response to her was this:  “Daughter, thy faith hath made whole; go in peace, and be whole (healed ) of thy plague.” (Mark 5:34)  Such is an example of a single heart, who in the midst of a crowd, meant to meet God, to touch the very hem of His garment.  She, that day, surrendered all to Him, for all of her hope was in that moment of meeting.

Lord Jesus, Thou who dost take us as we are, wherever we may be,  cleanse our hearts and fill us with Thy Spirit.  Grant that this day, we may, in a very real way, touch the hem of Thy garment, perhaps for the first time.  And may we hear Thy voice saying, “Thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.”  In Thy name, Amen.

Love, Dad

 

Abiding In The Love Of Heaven

Dear Ones:

Where do we live?  I do not refer to a physical address.  There is a old hymn, written by A.I. Waring, in which he writes:  “In heav’nly love abiding, no change my heart shall fear; And safe is such confiding, for nothing changes here.”  The Psalmist wrote:  “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” (Ps. 91:1)  Both authors speak of abiding, remaining, living in the reality of certain truths.  Both men speak of learning to live in the presence of God, one with respect to the love of God, the other in regard to His protection and power.

Jesus spoke in like manner to His disciples, though more specifically and personally.  “As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you: continue ye in My love.  If ye keep My commandments, ye shall ABIDE in my love.” (Jn. 15:9-10)  What is He saying, and how can it be realized in our lives?

The first thing that we must grasp is that, all that Jesus says and commands us to be and to do is founded in the TRUTH.  This truth, as well as the One who IS truth, is the bedrock of all true Christian experience. So, He begins with the declared message, truth, concerning His love:  “For God so loved the world…I have loved thee with an everlasting love…nothing shall separate us from the love of God IN Christ Jesus.”  Because of our union with Christ, there is NO separation with Him in regard to His love.  It is ever constant, unchanging, never absent, always all-encompassing.  The question is whether we live IN it or not?  Jesus goes on to say, “….If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love.”  (v.10)  What does He mean by this?  The means by which we will know, and experience the love of God, is by walking with Him.  The person who would abide in His love, live in the reality of that love, and consequently KNOW that Love, is that one who is pursuing Christ according to His word.  He lives to walk and to commune with Christ.  It is to this one that His love will be revealed.

Specifically, how do we abide in Him, and in His love?  We begin by laying hold on the fact and truth of our union with Him, we in Him, and He in us by the Spirit.  Secondly, we, by an act of faith, set our lives in Him, and seek to derive all from Him by that inward aspiration of faith.  Thirdly, we seek Christ to strengthen us by His Spirit in the inner man that He may dwell in our hearts by faith.  All true experience is by faith, in the faithfulness of God.  The writer of the hymn came to grips with the possibility of living in “heavenly love.”  The psalmist came to see the blessed privilege and possibility of abiding, dwelling in the presence of God.  Then Jesus comes to reveal to all that would see, that on this side of Pentecost, the possibilities of abiding in Him, dwelling in Him, and thus abiding in His love, are enormous BY THE SPIRIT.

Dear Father, grant us this day to live by the faith of the Son of God, enabling us more and more to abide in Him, and abide in His everlasting, unceasing love.  Fill us with love Divine, heavenly love, that others may see and know that Thou art God, blessed forever, and be drawn to Thee.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Love, Dad

 

The Winds of Change

Dear Ones:

As far as I know, there has been but one Pentecost, when the Spirit came, and the prophecy of Joel was fulfilled.   On that day, there was a “sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind.” (Acts 2:2)  In John’s gospel, the Lord Jesus speaks of the wind:  “The wind bloweth where it will, 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)  In both of these passages we are confronted with the principle of “cause and effect.”  The “cause” is the Spirit, and the “effect” is the visible ramifications in the life, and in the church.  There is a definite change in the lives in which the “wind” of the Spirit blows.

Question:  How does this “wind” blow?  What is the measure and nature of that change?  To answer these questions, and trust the Lord to apply the truth to our lives, we must look at the nature, or essence of the Wind.  When Elijah was hiding in a cave on Mount Horeb (…you will remember that he had fled there from Jezebel….), “…the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; BUT THE LORD WAS NOT IN THE WIND.” (1 Kings 19:11) There is a great difference between the wind as a creation of God, and the Creator as the Wind.  (…the Spirit moved upon the face of the waters…).  The one will affect a physical change in the elements as we know them.  The other will affect a spiritual work in the hearts and minds in which He blows.  How?  We do not know.  We only know the nature of the Source, Christ by the Spirit.

Now to the question of, “How does this wind blow?”  Perhaps we should first ask the question:  “Will it blow?” And, “Will it certainly blow on us, on me?”  The Great Comforter of our souls has said, “I will pour water on him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground.  I will pour MY SPIRIT upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring.” (Is. 44:3)  Jesus would stand and cry out to the crowds:  “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink.  He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  But this spake He of the Spirit.” (Jn. 7:37-39)  “How much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” (Luke 11:13)  The point is this:  When the “wind of Pentecost” came, a promise was fulfilled which pertained “to all flesh.”  The potential of every man, woman, and child, to be affected by the “wind” was made possible.  Since that day, the promise has remained in tact, and the wind has been blowing.  How does this wind blow?  It blows in answer to “thirst,” personal and corporate (the church), and “prayer”, the prayer of faith.  And for the most part, though there can be major, blessed repercussions of His working, it is done by the Spirit in quietness, in the solemnity of the heart alone with God.

After Elijah had seen the effects of the mighty wind, an earthquake, and fire, we are told that there was a “still small voice.” (1 Kings 19:12)  It is then, in that quiet context, that “there came a voice unto him, and said, ‘What doest thou here, Elijah?'” (v.13)  The wind of the Spirit might certainly blow to get our attention, and this by some outward working.  But the intent, and profound working is in the recesses of the heart, where “Christ is heard to speak; where Jesus reigns alone.”  The wind blows quietly.  The peace of God is known.  The blessed assurance is given of His presence.  And in that place of certain good, He works in us both the willing and doing of His good pleasure.  The change is revealed as the working of the Spirit is manifested.

Father, we thank Thee for the blessed Wind of the Spirit, which blows powerfully, and yet, quietly in our hearts.  Fill us with Thy Spirit, and keep us filled.  Enable us, even in the mundane things of life, to be living in the quiet, but certain reality of Thy presence and sufficiency.  Accomplish in and through us all Thy desire and will.   Then Thou shalt be glorified, and Thy Son exalted.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Love, Dad

Absolute Goodness

Dear Ones:

How little, and clouded, is our vision of the goodness of God.  It is very difficult for us who look towards heaven “…through a glass darkly,” to perceive the greatness of the goodness of God.  And yet, when the Lord created the world, all that He did was declared to be good…even “very good.”  What we see here is the unblemished grandeur of the glory of God, and specifically as it pertains to His goodness.  Nothing was created that was not good.

If we fast-forward to our day, we are almost slapped in the face by the revelation of all that is NOT good.  The context in which we live is not of the Garden of Eden, but sometimes borderline Sodom and Gomorrah.  Because of the curse upon creation (Gen. 3:17, Romans 8:22), and specifically, the manifest results and consequences of sin (…man going his own way…Is. 53:6), most of what we see, and are occupied with, is tainted with the effects of sin.  We have a difficult time in seeing the “good.”  It is at this point, in this context of our blindness to the greatness, glory, and goodness of God, that the Father interjected the Son into this creation.  The God of Goodness, who manifested that goodness in the creation, sends the Son of His goodness, “…the express image of His person..(Heb. 1:2), into this darkness to again reveal to us what true goodness is.  The God of Creation spoke His goodness into existence.  The God of Redemption spoke the Living Word into existence, our existence, to bring us back to a true concept and apprehension of His goodness.  All that Christ was, was good, for God alone is good.  All that He did was good, for He went about doing only that which was good.  But, even in knowing this blessed reality, we are faced with the need of KNOWING His goodness in our existence, our lives, and believing Him to reveal that goodness to others.  How can it be?

It was J. Hart who wrote the following:  “How good is the God we adore, our faithful unchangeable Friend; His love is as great as His power.  And knows neither measure or end.  ‘Tis Jesus the first and the last, whose Spirit shall guide us safe home; We’ll praise Him for all that is past, We’ll trust Him for all that is to come.”  How do we KNOW this goodness of God?   The answer begins with the worship of Him who is good!!  It is as we worship Christ in the Spirit, according to the truth of His word, that He becomes a reality to us.  God’s way is first and foremost “…in the sanctuary.”  (Ps. 77:13)  Paul writes to the Corinthians, “But we all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, ARE CHANGED into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor. 3:18)  This is the same Spirit that moved upon the face of the waters at creation, and brought about the revelation of the great goodness of God in creation!!  Changed by beholding…Christ.

Dear Father, make us true worshippers of Christ, by the Spirit and in truth.  Cleanse our hearts and minds thoroughly, and fill us afresh with Thy Spirit, so that we may behold the Son, full of thy goodness.  Fill us with this goodness from on high, and may others in this “darkness” see Thee, and be drawn to Thee.  Blessed God of goodness, this day, fill us with Thyself.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Love, Dad