The Timing Of God

Dear Ones:

If ever there was a subject that needs to be studied, it is the matter of God’s timing.  At the outset of such a consideration, we must again come back to the fact of our limitations to truly understand it.   Jeremiah wrote the following:  “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” (Jer. 10:23)  If we are so limited as human beings, so that we are not capable of truly knowing the way in which we should go, and actually walking in that way, then how can we know the timing of God?  Indeed, it is only possible as He reveals it to us.

God called Abraham to leave Ur of the Chaldees before he was 75 year old.  Armed with the promises of God, he arrives in Canaan and lives there until he is 99 years old, at which time God will tell him that he will have a son, an heir of promise.  What can be said of God’s timing in this circumstance?  Was He on time or not?  Paul writes of Abraham, and this experience and timing, by saying the following:  “…It is of faith, that it might be by grace….before Him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.  Who (Abraham) against hope, believed in hope…He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief…being fully persuaded that what He had promised, He was able to perform.” (Romans 4:16,17-18,20-21)  There is no doubt that God’s timing is impeccable, for if Abraham would become the man of faith that God intended, God would need to put the realization of His promises beyond the capacity of Abraham to bring them to pass.  God’s intention  was to make a man of faith of Abraham…and this He did.

What about us and God’s timing?  We know that the promises of God are “yea and amen,” meaning that they WILL be fulfilled, and come to pass in God’s time.  But why does He not move more quickly, or according to OUR time?  Simply, He is determined to make men and women of faith of us all.  Waiting wholly upon Him, and Him alone, is part of that process.

Habakkuk’s words are so applicable here:  “For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie:  though it tarry, WAIT FOR IT; because it will SURELY come, it will not tarry.” (Hab. 2:3)  Faith is often tried by waiting…but holding firm.  And sometimes the waiting is not an issue of just enduring the trials of a day or month.  Sometimes, in certain circumstances, it is an issue of waiting moment by moment.  How then will we know that God’s timing has come?  Most certainly, when all of our hope and expectation is in Him, and we have surrendered “time” into His hands.  We are called to walk by faith, and this steadfastly.

One encouraging word:  “I had fainted unless I had believed to SEE the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord.” (Ps. 27:13-14)  Waiting is the act and attitude of believing God to accomplish His work in His time, and in His way.  “Wait on the Lord, and keep His way, and He shall exalt thee to inherit the land.” (Ps. 37:34)

Love, Dad

 

 

Convincing Evidence

Dear Ones:

The Lord Jesus Christ is the great Teacher, Guide, and Counselor.  He is also the One who, “…confirmeth the word of his servant.” (Is. 44:26)  Generally speaking, this means that He brings to pass in a very demostrative manner, what He has declared.  But, it may also mean, what I call, “…a moment of reassurance, or confirmation.”  Such was the case in the life of Gideon, for though the Lord had said, “…get the down unto the host (the Midianites); for I have delivered it into thine hand.” (Judges 7:9)  And yet, he was “staggering in his faith,” as he compared his small band of soldiers who were to confront the multitude of Midianites.  It was at this time that the Lord instructed Gideon to stealthily approach the camp, and listen to what the Midianite soldiers were saying.  In the conversation, the victory by Gideon was mentioned…coming from the mouths of his enemies.  Such was a “reassurance or confirmation” moment.

Jesus Christ, by His Spirit, being our Counselor, not only confirms what He has declared, but often opens our eyes to see down the corridor of time, giving us a glimpse of what He will do, and is in process of doing.  Again, such was the case of Abram.  The Lord had told Abram, “…I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.” (Gen. 15:7)  It must have been an overwhelming thought to even begin to grasp the reality of such a statement.  Hence, the question by Abram, “…whereby shall I KNOW that I shall inherit it?” (v. 7)  In answer to this question, the Lord will in essence, take Abram by the hand, and lead him down this corridor of time.  After arranging the meat to be a burnt offering to God, the first thing that happens to this man of faith, a man who is looking for confirmation of God’s word, “…the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away.” (v.11)  This must have been disconcerting.  But then, Abram falls into a deep sleep, and, “…an horror of great darkness fell upon him.” (v.12)  It would be that out of this experience, the GREAT COUNSELOR will take Abram by the hand, and give him an understanding of the reality of His promise to give the land to Abram and his descendents.  After the explanation of the revelation was given, we find that the Lord answers Abrams request to KNOW by causing a “smoking furnace” to pass between the pieces.”  (v.17)  Not only would the Lord give to Abram a glimpse of the enormity of the promise, but also, would give him the present confirmation, and assurance that he needed to go forward in faith, receiving, believing, and obeying.

For all who would be clear and assured, let us be sure of this:  He gives wisdom to those who ask Him, and confirms to the heart, by His Spirit that which is His will.  The question is, are we  willing to ASK Him in faith, and be willing to be taught, even if there is darkness for a time?  The assurance will come…and it will be confirmed by His peace.

Love, Dad

Delays Are Not Denials

Dear Ones:

When it comes to faith in Christ, we begin the journey of learning to think outside the box.  I remember that my Dad would say, “You cannot put God in a box.”  In other words, you cannot fit Him into your concepts, vision, and perspective.  He is so much greater and more wonderful than we can comprehend, that even the Apostle Paul could not refrain himself from declaring, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out.” (Romans 11:33)  It is for this reason that we must ALWAYS defer to His wisdom and knowledge, especially when it has to do with what He desires to do and when He will do it.

In Psalm 37:5, the Psalmist writes:  “…Commit your way unto the Lord; trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.”  Please note that faith here is very deliberate and specific.  It is the committal of all responsibility in a certain situation or person(s), and this concerning all of the unknowns and “variables.”  It means submitting oneself to the authority of Christ, to believe Him as Lord to BE just that, LORD, GOD, and KING.  This “faith” also means that, not only is there a position taken with respect to that which is prayed, and committed to Him, but that the position is kept, maintained, by a persevering attitude…patient endurance.  And lastly, this faith lives in the expectation of the working of God, ACCORDING TO HIS WORD.  The man who has committed the matter to God, and maintains that attitude, is the man who looks expectantly for God to work in His way, His time, for His glory.  He WILL do it, for He said it.

In the story of the raising Lazarus from the dead, I am sure that, not only he, but also, Martha and Mary, had committed all that they were and had to Christ.  They loved Him, and had taken Him to be their Lord.  But though their faith was sincere and true, they needed to taught faith must never limit the Lord in what He intends to do, or when He will  do it.  Lazarus dies, and Jesus waits four days to come on the scene.  He deliberately delayed.  Why?  It is quite evident by the reaction of Mary and Martha at His return, that they did NOT understand the delay.  “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” (Jn. 11:21)  But the delay was necessary, even though the sorrow known during the delay was great.  Christ will use this circumstance, in speaking of the resurrection, to reveal to Martha one of the most extraordinary, and far-reaching truths in the Bible:  “I AM the resurrection and the life; He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”  The “delay” was necessary to enforce this.

When Jesus went to the tomb, Jesus said to Martha, “Take ye away the stone.” (v. 39)  If ever there was a “thinking outside of the box, ” it was revealed at this moment.  Martha stayed within the box.  “Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.”  It is at this point that the Lord Jesus, in a manner of speaking, takes Martha by the hand in order to lead her in her faith beyond “…what she can ask or think, ” into the realm of the glory of God, and that which is only possible to God.  “If thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God.” (v. 40)

God’s delays are sometimes not God’s denials.  And one thing we can be certain of…what we commit to Him must be with faith that gives Him the liberty to act in His time, for His purposes, as it will most certainly exceed “what we can ask of think.”  It was Samuel Rutherford who wrote, “…God (always) purposeth a crop.”  In other words, God is always purpose-oriented, with intentions and objectives beyond our own, and this, in order to reveal to us, and to those around us, that He is God.  So, let us not put God in a box, by our little concepts and limited thinking.  Let us give Him the “open field, ” to do all that is in His heart, in His time, for His glory.  He will not fail.

Love, Dad

For Freedom

Dear Ones:

When Joseph was sold as a slave to Egyptians, it was written of him, “…whose feet they hurt with fetters; he was laid in iron.” (Ps. 105:18)   There is no doubt that the psalmist was referring to physical fetters and iron.  But what of fetters and shackles of the mind?  What of bonds that tie us down, and bring us into slavery, a slavery of the heart and mind?  The Bible declares that the Lord Jesus came to “…set the captive free.”  And that, using the TRUTH, God sets the heart and mind free.

In reading Matthew 7:13-14, we read of a “strait gate,” and “narrow way,” as opposed to the “wide gate,” and the “broad way.”  One leads to life, and the other to death.  What is the Lord Jesus speaking about here?  It is not only that He IS that way, but that the way is according to his Word, the truth.  There is NO way to know God except by the truth.  And there is certainly no way to be delivered from the bondage of lies and deception, except by the truth of the Word of God.  If we have not made the Word of God to be the dominant factor in determining how we will live and think, then we are swimming in the broad river of all the philosophies and  concepts of men, whose thoughts will pass away, and with them, the false “hopes” in the face of eternity.  We are thus, living in bondage to a series of lies.

In the book of Proverbs, we read, “…as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”  We are what we think.  If I fill my mind with that which is of men, and not of God, I will BE what I think.  The contrary is true…if I “mind” heavenly things, and “have this mind in us(me) which was IN Christ Jesus,” I will be, we will be, living in the eternal certainty that my feet are indeed planted upon the Rock of All Ages.  To not give oneself to the study, and meditation of the Word of God (in the measure that it is possible…), is to court the possibility of being conformed to this world in its thinking and perception.

In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he begins by writing, “…I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel.” (1:6)  What had happened here?  The Galatians had come to a knowledge of the truth, and an experience of the living Christ.  But then, false concepts and ideas crept in through the teaching of certain “religious” preachers and teachers.  In laying aside the truth, and beginning to believe that which was NOT the truth, the blessing of God, and the moving of the Spirit, was hindered.  God does NOT bless that which is not true.  He is NO respecter of persons in this manner.  Paul will take great pains to bring again before the eyes of the Galatian Christians the truths of the Gospel, the very basis of the blessing and moving of the Spirit.  After all, if the Spirit of God is not in it, it is worthless.  It is only where the Spirit IS, and has free reign according to the truth, that there is true LIBERTY.

“Brethren…ye have been called unto liberty…Walk in the Spirit…”  He goes on to say that, “…If ye be LED of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” (5:18)  His point is simple.  If we are living according to the truth, walking by the Spirit, being led by Him, then we know the liberty to which God has called us.  It is then that we are FREE to love God, and our fellow man.

So, today, may we live in this liberty, by adhering to the Word of God in all things, knowing that God is faithful to honor His Word, and those who honor His word. He is faithful to empower us by the Spirit to live it.  We are called to a liberty of mind, heart, soul, as well as body.  May we live it, and love by faith.

Love, Dad

 

The Lesson of Not Looking Back

Dear Ones:

If ever there was a story, an illustration, and declared necessity of learning the lesson of not looking back, it was in the life of Joseph.  We find evidence of this all through his time as a slave, having been sold as such into Egypt, but particularly after he became “prime minister” of Egypt.  Scripture tells us concerning his sons, that “…Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: ‘For God, ‘ he said, ‘hath made me FORGET all my toil, and all my father’s house.'” (Gen. 41:51)  But he does not stop there.  He goes on to write, that “…the name of the second (son) he called Ephraim: ‘For God hath caused me to be FRUITFUL in the land of my affliction.'” (v.52)  Here is a man, the favorite son of his father Jacob, who at the age of seventeen, being despised by his brothers, was uprooted from his family, culture, and language group, to be plunged into a society completely foreign, and dominant.  For thirteen years, he would know what it was to be “lost” to all that he knew, or had known and loved.  And during those years, he would always be a slave, though at times living with great success, perhaps in the hope of returning to his family.  It was not to be.  At the pinnacle of hope and “blessing,” he would be cast into a prison, there to again learn the lesson of “hope.”  But this time, he would be brought to the very end of every resource with regard to his past.  God would not allow him to go back, only to go forward.  It would be his family, who one day, would come to him.

Now, why is it that God would allow such suffering, loneliness, and dejection?  It was because, as Michael Angelo declared, gazing upon a very odd piece of marble which he chose to sculpt:  “I see an angel inside, and I MUST get him out.”  And so, though Joseph at one time had a coat of many colors, the favorite son of his father, he was in actuality an unusual, though unique, piece of marble, and God by His wisdom and ways was determined “to get the angel out.”  How did He do this?  By teaching Joseph to look forward, never behind, wholly trusting the God who revealed Himself to him, who was with him in the present, who never forsook him.

It is interesting to note, that when Joseph became Prime Minister, there is no mention that he tried to return to his family.  It seems that he had indeed “accepted the circumstances” of God’s choice.  He is now in a place of waiting wholly on God…and because of this, he is a free man, a man to whom the Lord is free to reveal Himself, His ways, and His objectives.

There was one other issue in Joseph’s life, which would cause him to look back.  It was unforgiveness for his brothers who had sold him into slavery.  If he does not forgive, then he will never be free.  But freedom he chose.  We see this at the moment when he revealed his identity to his brothers: “I am Joseph, doth my father live? …I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt.  Now therefore, be not grieved nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send be before you to preserve life.” (Gen. 45:3,5)  Joseph could have had his brothers destroyed…such was his power and authority,  But he did not.  He was a free man from the injustices, and injuries, of the past.  He  was looking forward with regard to God’s purpose and plan.

It was the Apostle Paul who said, “…Christ Jesus my Lord for whom I have SUFFERED THE LOSS OF ALL THINGS.” (Phil. 3:8)  He goes on to say, “…but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (v.13-14)  And how do we know that he had made great progress in this endeavor?  Because, he could say, as Joseph most certainly learned, “…I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.  I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound.”  Here is a free man, a fulfilled man, a man who is not dominated by his circumstances, but is pressing on in the present moment, and not looking back.  May God give us grace, as we see the Lord Jesus in Scripture going forward in this manner, “…to follow in His train.”

Love, Dad

The Ministry of Fire

Dear Ones:

In the Biblical message of God’s dealings with man, fire has always played a very significant role, in its meaning, and in its application to the lives of men.  We see this revealed in the Genesis account of God’s dealings with Abraham, his sacrifice, where there was, “…a smoking furnace, and A BURNING LAMP that passed between those pieces…” (v.17). In the Exodus account of the deliverance of the Israelites, again we are confronted with the issue of fire:  “…And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud to lead them the way,: and by night in A PILLAR OF FIRE, to give them light: to go by day and night.” (13:21). We begin to see unfolding the revelation of God, of His nature, and thus, his dealings with men.  It will come about during the ministry of Elijah, when the children of Israel were gathered, along with the prophets of Baal, to Mount Carmel, that Elijah would make a most extraordinary statement:  “…and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth BY FIRE, let Him be God.” (1 Kings 18:24)  He would go on to pray, “Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that Thou hast turned their heart back again.  Then, THE FIRE OF THE LORD FELL, and consumed the burnt-sacrifice.” (v. 37-38)  What we begin to see by these examples of God, and specifically, the fire of God, is that He reveals Himself as a “consuming fire.”  Scripture tells us that Moses saw a burning bush (on fire), but was not consumed.  We are told also that, “…the Lord, my God, maketh his angels spirits, His ministers A FLAMING FIRE. (Ps. 104:4)

Now, we might think that a study on the nature, and revelation of God, by fire, just belongs to the Old Testament, in these accounts and many others.  But, let us remember that on the day of Pentecost, when Christ sent the Holy Spirit in His power and authority, “…there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the room where they were sitting, and there appeared unto them cloven tongues LIKE AS OF FIRE…they were filled with the Holy Spirit.”  (Acts 2:8) Lastly, in John’s vision of Christ in Revelation 1:14 (remember that the vision was destined for all the churches to know…), he writes “…His eyes were as a FLAME OF FIRE…”  Why then is there this revelation of God BY FIRE?  It is so that we may understand, and grasp the reality,  that He is holy, and that we must, as Moses was commanded, to  “…put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” (Ex. 3:5)  We are called upon to recognize and to live in the reality that God holy, and that this same “FIRE” is in us by the Spirit.  We are to BE holy BY HIM.  Christ IS our holiness.

So, in light of such a brief treatment of such a vast subject, what are we to do?  What is to be our reaction?  How are we to pray?  I can think of no greater, and applicable prayer, than that of Wesley who wrote:  “Come Jesus, Lord, with holy fire, Come, and my quickened heart inspire, cleansed in Thy precious blood:  NOW to my soul Thyself reveal, Thy mighty working let me feel, since I am born of God.”

The measure in which we are truly earnest in praying this prayer, may very well be the measure of God’s intervention in the heart and life. I say, may very well be, since He often does the exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think. Has He not promised that for those who seek, they will find?  Indeed, Jeremiah writes, “…And ye shall seek Me, AND FIND ME, when ye search for Me with all your heart.  And I WILL be found of you.” (Jer. 29:13-14)

Love, Dad

Mesmerized By Christ

Dear Ones:

What makes a person desire Christ?  Sometimes it is the difficulty of circumstances, or the consciousness of need.  But there is a higher, greater, and more life-changing reason, and we find it with regard to Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus.

In Luke’s gospel, chapter 10:38-42, we find that Jesus entered a certain village, and was received into the home of Martha.  While He was there, He began to teach, no doubt expounding the truths of Scripture.  There was something mesmerizing in His voice, His demeanor, and in the message He was giving.  In Matthew 7:28, we find that when Jesus spoke, “…the people were astonished at his doctrine (teaching): for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” (v. 29) Most certainly, when Mary heard Jesus, there was the captivating self-control, and graciousness of His demeanor.  But there was also a quiet, profound authority and power which was communicated through His voice and words.  There was something of Heaven in His words, something eternal.  They were true, and Mary knew it.

The effect of Jesus’ presence and power moved Mary to “sit at Jesus’ feet,” where she, “…heard His word.”  Not only was Mary captivated and intrigued by the person and message of this Man, but she took the place of teachableness, of willingness to be taught.  In doing so, though her sister was busy serving those in the house, all seemed secondary to hearing these words of Christ.  The heavenliness of the words, brought before the eternalness of the opportunity.

Mary’s sister, Martha, at this point, complained to the Lord Jesus that perhaps He did not care that Mary had left her to do all the serving, or work at hand.  There is no question that Martha was doing a noble and needed service, but according to Jesus, it certainly was not the highest, and best.  “Martha, Martha, thou art careful (anxious) and troubled about many things:  But ONE thing is needful.” (v.42)  What is it that Mary saw in Jesus that Martha did not?  Perhaps it was a glimpse of who He truly was…so like all of us, and yet so very different…and good.  Jesus would continue to say to Martha, “…Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (v.42)  In so speaking, Jesus makes clear that there is indeed a difference between the temporal, and the eternal.  Though serving others has eternal repercussions, and blessings, yet, there is in the hearing of the Word of God life-giving potential.  There is a communication of God with man, and the call to the heart to respond.  Mary was thirsting after God, the eternal…and she knew it.  Hence, she took her place at Jesus’ feet to hear His words, eternal words.

The word, “Mesmerized,” means that one is gripped by what one sees, feels, or understands.  One is captivated to the point of decisions being made, and positions taken.  If we have “seen” who Christ is, and see the eternal nature of His words, spoken in the power and authority of God, then most certainly, we too will choose to sit at His feet every day, for we shall want more than all else to commune with God, to know Him.

It was said by the son of Hudson Taylor, when he and his father were travelling through China, and staying in one-room public inns, that his father would always awaken about 5 am.  He would then pull out a candle and the means to light it.  Then he would pour over the Scriptures.  Why?  Because he was mesmerized by Christ…gripped by the eternal.  Indeed, he had chosen that better part, which would not be taken away from him.

Love, Dad

The Quiet Reality

Dear Ones:

When the temple was built, and the high priest entered once a year into the Holy of Holies, I wonder how quiet it was?  There this man found himself in utter silence, standing in the presence of the Almighty, being that singular mediator between God and man.  I’m sure that the experience had a resounding effect on him, and the effect continued to affect his life as he exited the temple.  You see, it is often when we are the quietest that the effect of the presence of the Lord, and specifically, the word of God, have their most profound, life-changing effect upon us.  This “quietness” of heart, and soul, are essential to the restoring of the soul (Ps. 23).  It also is essential, so that the impressions of the Spirit of God, by the Word of God, become convictions in everyday life.  Those quiet convictions are essential to keep us steady, and unmovable in a world of turmoil and dissonance.

David understood the essential of quietness before God, in order to worship Him.  Remember that in Psalm 27, he wrote that he wanted just one thing, and this he would seek after, “…that I may dwell IN THE HOUSE of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and enquire in His temple.” (v.4)  It is in that “secret place” (the closet…Matt. 6:6), that is also a quiet place, that prayer is to be made.  The promise is:  “…and thy Father, who seeth in secret, shall reward thee OPENLY.”  We are so apt to forget how essential it is to be alone, and quiet before God, with His word in hand, and trusting the Spirit to worship, and receive from Him what is needful.

It must be noted that aloneness with God is NOT an easy matter to realize.  David said that not only did he desire it, but that he SOUGHT after it.  It must be pursued.  Jesus went up into the mountain to pray…alone.  Why?  Even though He was the Son of God, in his human flesh, He too needed to be quiet, to hear the voice of His Father, and commune with Him.  I believe that we can safely say that the deepest impressions are made when the soul is the quietest.  Please note that quietness does not mean passivity.   Quietness is singularly, and restfully, and trustingly, gazing upon Christ, waiting upon Him for all things.  It is active, responsive, and teachable.

How does this translate into our living?  We must ask ourselves how it is that the Psalmists were able to write such things as, “…God is our refuge, and strength, a very PRESENT help in trouble,” (Ps. 46:1) and know the quiet, dominant reality of it?  Another example would be, “I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” (Ps. 16:8) These were men who lived in the very quiet, and yet, dominant presence of God, for whom God was a reality to them…a dominant reality.  Thus, they lived in the ever-changing world, even a noisy world of confusion, and yet, knew the peace of God in a very real, tangible, though inexplicable way.  “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength…” (Is. 30:15)  What an outward testimony of an inward experience!

So, today, let us trust the Lord to show us how we can be alone with Him, and learn to live in the quietness of His dominant presence.  Then we too will know the reality of His peace, rest, even in the midst of the occupations and responsibilities of life.

“Jesus, I am resting, resting, in the joy of what Thou art;  I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart.” (J.S. Pigott)

Love, Dad

The Principle of Life

Dear Ones:

The “word pictures,” or illustrations, that the Lord used in instructing His disciples, are remarkable in that He takes real world facts and truths, and applies them in such a way that we can easily grasp them.  Such is the case of “the corn of wheat” that falls into the ground and dies. (John 12:24)  The application and main point is this:  “…If it (the corn of wheat) die, it bringeth forth MUCH FRUIT.  We find this concept of “much fruit” mentioned again in John 15, when it is a question of abiding in the Lord Jesus, and Him, abiding in us.  But in order to get to “much fruit,” we must first look at the condition(s) that must be met.  What does it mean for the corn of wheat falling into the ground and dying?

In all of our interpretation of Scripture, we always find our application of the truth revealed to us and applied in the life of the Lord Jesus on this earth.  He is the “expression,” the “declaration” of the truth, of reality.  The corn of wheat speaks of His life…which is not His own, but given, yielded to the Father.  When it falls into the ground and dies, it most certainly speaks of His death.  But where did that concept of His death begin?  I venture to say that the day Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan, He accepted the sentence of death upon His life.  But what does this mean, for He did not physically die that day?

In John 15:13, the Lord Jesus says, “Greater love hath no man that this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  Ye are my friends, if ye DO whatsoever I command you.”  When Jesus speaks of dying, He most certainly means dying to ourselves to live for Him.  The man or woman who has died to his, or her,  life in this world, has chosen to live FOR Him, according to “His commands.”  It is a life laid down to live for Another.

Note that there is an “act” of dying, followed by an “attitude.”  There is the initial denying to oneself, and the taking up of one’s cross to follow Christ.  But this is followed by an attitude, of “daily” doing so.  It must be noted equally that when we die to ourselves, not only do we yield to the will of Another, but we leave behind the “resources” of the self-oriented life in the grave.  There becomes available to us, all that is IN Jesus Christ to enable us to follow Him.  It is very important to see that dying is only a gateway to Life, and the appropriation of Christ’s life for every need.

The act of the corn of wheat falling into the ground and dying, is followed by a process of learning God’s ways, and knowing increasingly the reality of Christ’s indwelling by His Spirit.  J.C. Lavater put it very well: “O Jesus Christ, grow Thou in me, and all things else recede: My heart be daily nearer Thee, From sin be daily freed.”

Dear Lord, grant that today this shall be so.

Love, Dad

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wars and Rumors of Wars

Dear Ones:

If there is one thing that the Bible does, among so many others, it is to reveal to us the truth, or reality of the great issues of our existence.  Indeed, without a doubt, it brings us face to face with the true nature of man, the evidence of sin, the supreme principle and power of love, all of these and more.  And perhaps nowhere is the reality of our plight so revealed as in Jesus’ words concerning the last days, when there will be, among other things, “…wars and rumors of war.”  In the course of human history after the sin of Adam, there has never been a time of perfect peace, nor will be, until the Lord Jesus sets up His kingdom on earth.  In fact, we see the crescendo of violence, godlessness, and the expression of what is truly in the heart, “war.”  And yet, even with a backdrop so dire and dark, there is a remarkable statement that comes from Jesus’ heart:  “…see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass.” (Matt. 24:6)  Why does he say such a thing?  How can we be not troubled, or anxious, in such a time as this?

All through Scripture, we see a struggle, in the hearts and minds of men and women, who profess faith in Christ.  It is what the Apostle Paul calls the, “…fight of faith.”  And at the center of this struggle against the powers of darkness, our sinful natures, and the world, there is the supreme issue of love.  What a remarkable contrast to “wars and rumors of wars.”  And yet, there it stands in all of its power and glory, that edifice of truth, the Word of God, declaring that our highest calling is to love God and to love one another.

Jesus, in speaking to his disciples, as recorded in John 14:15, said:  “If ye LOVE Me…”  He goes on to broaden that thought in v. 23, “…if a man (anyone) LOVE Me, he will keep my commandments…”  When confronting Peter after his denial of the Lord, He asked Peter three times:  “Do you LOVE Me?” (Jn. 21:15,16,17)  In speaking to the Ephesian church in Rev. 2:4, He declares, “…You have left your first LOVE…”  There is no question that our highest calling, in the context of communion with Christ, is LOVE FOR CHRIST.  And nothing is to dissuade or deter us from this highest of all objectives, even “wars and rumors of wars.”  Indeed, if we would be most useful and fruitful in such a context, then love must be our aim.

It is a remarkable observation and reality, that after the Apostle Paul had prayed for the Ephesian church with regard to the Spirit of Revelation (Eph. 1:), that he would then pray for them to be strengthened in their faith, TO LOVE, “…strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in the heart by faith, that ye being rooted and grounded in love…to KNOW the LOVE of Christ.” (Eph. 3:16-17, 19)

So, today, let us not be deterred by the context in which we find ourselves.  Let us look up and pray this prayer of the Apostle, believing Him, “…to do the exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that worketh in us.”  Let us trust Christ, by His Spirit, to enable us to truly love Him, and out of such love, to serve Him, to love others.

Love, Dad