The Incalculable Wisdom

Dear Ones:

In Isaiah’s great chapter concerning the comfort and consolation of God as it applies to the return of Israel from the exile, there is one message that rings loud and clear:  “…the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.” (Is. 40:5)  What does this mean?  It means that God will reveal Himself, that men will see and KNOW that He is God.  Nothing could be so impossible as the return of the people of Israel after seventy years of captivity.  But in several of the minor prophets, we discover the promise that the temple and the city of Jerusalem will be rebuilt. When we delve deeply into what the Lord promises with regard to this return, and what He will do, there is no doubt that His glory will be revealed…and it was.

Now, let us fast-forward to the birth, life, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.  The same message of this “voice of him that crieth in the wilderness” mentioned in Isaiah, is that which would immediately precede the appearing of Christ in His ministry.  Here again, the glory of God is revealed, and this in the most remarkable measure.  When the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D. (Jesus declared beforehand to his disciples that this would happen…), Israel would cease to be a nation, the people would be scattered over the face of the earth.  In 1948, a monumental historical “act” occurred again.  Israel, for the first time in almost two thousand years, became again a nation with a defined territory.  Again, the glory of God is revealed.  But what about our experience, personal experience of “seeing the glory of the Lord?”  Does He truly reveal Himself to our individual hearts, or are we limited only by the great historical facts of His intervention?

The great message of Isaiah which shows us the way is this:  “All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field.” (Is. 40:6)  “…surely this people is grass…the grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the word of our God shall stand forever.” (vs. 6-8)  The point is this, there is NO comparison between that which is of man, and the expressed design and will of the Creator and Redeemer.  As G. Campbell Morgan wrote, “God rides best in His own chariot,” and that chariot is the word of God.  Until we come to grips with the “scales of time (and eternity),” weighing in the balance the “wisdom and philosophies of men,” as opposed to the eternal word of God, we shall not SEE His glory.  God reveals Himself only according to the truth of His word.  His word is NEVER  a contradiction to His person.  What does this practically mean?  It is written of Sarah, Abraham’s wife, that “…she judged Him (God) faithful who had promised.”  In other words, she staked all on Him according to His word, His revealed will.  The result, she saw the glory of God.  Those who returned from the exiled were armed with the promises of God in the face of impossibilities.  Those who were waiting for the “Consolation of Israel,” saw it in Christ…all based on a promise, the promise of His coming.  We will see the glory of God as we trust Him wholly according to His word.

Dear Father, give us grace to defer fully to Thine incalculable wisdom in Christ, for Thou hast made and redeemed us.  Indeed, all wisdom dwells IN Thy Son.  Grant that we become active beneficiaries of the wisdom of Christ by taking Thee at Thy word, “standing on the promises,” and waiting with expectation to SEE the glory of God.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

A Taste Of Heaven

Dear Ones:

The Apostle Paul writes that with regard to the true appearance of Christ, that “face to face” meeting which we will have, that we “…NOW see through a glass, darkly.” (1 Cor. 13:12)  Not only is His glory shielded from our eyes, but in essence, we barely see, or perceive Him.  The Lord told Moses with respect to the revelation of His glory, “…Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.” (Ex. 33:20)  This is simply because for the unbeliever the sight of God in His holiness cannot be endured for fear of judgement.  For the believer, he has not the intellectual or emotional capacity to contain the revelation of the perfect beauty, and goodness of God.  It is simply too much.  So, what does God do for Moses…and in some respects, do for us…”I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by.” (v.22)  Our vision of God is darkness compared to the brightness of His revealed glory.  What did Moses see?  “And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.”(34:6)  In doing this He made “all His goodness” to pass before him.  Moses tasted of heaven that day, for he tasted of the goodness and mercy of God…howbeit, through a glass darkly.

What of us?  We are not Moses.  On this side of the Cross, and Pentecost, we have what Paul writes to give us direction:  “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love Him.  But God hath revealed them UNTO US by His Spirit….we have received the Spirit which is of God, that we might KNOW the things that are freely given to us of God.” (1 Cor. 2:9,10,12)  We have within our hearts that “…Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (Christ).” (Eph. 1:17)  Why is it that Christ is not a greater reality to our hearts, and the revelation of heaven’s glory an overwhelming delight of our souls?  Maybe it is because we do not seek, truly seek the Lord.  When God gave to Israel the Tabernacle, it was so that any individual could come and seek the Lord, the Lord’s way, for His glory.  In speaking of the continual burnt offering, the mercy-seat of the altar, and the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, He said, “…and there I will meet with the children of Israel…” (Ex. 29:43)  As for the individual, and the personal seeking of the Lord, Moses wrote:  “….And it came to pass, that EVERY ONE which sought the Lord went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation…” (33:7)  God made provision for the revelation of Himself to the seeking and worshipful heart.  This reality has not changed since that day, only it has been magnified.’

The Spirit of God has been given to us in Pentecostal power, to reveal the things of Christ to us.  Paul instructs us to “…seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” (Col. 3:1)  If it were not possible to “ascend” by faith, to that throne of Grace, then why would we be instructed to SEEK?  The promise is that if we seek, we shall find.  Find what?  We shall find Christ, the highest blessing of heaven.  We shall taste and see that he is altogether good, and there is none like Him…Indeed, He far exceeds in His beauty, His holiness and goodness, all that we could ever imagine on earth.  It is by the Spirit that, as we worship in Spirit and truth, we discover afresh every day something of heaven, for we discover something of Christ.

Dear Father, grant us this Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Thy Son.  Enable us to taste and see that the Lord is good, by seeing His (Thy) glory.  And even though our sight is so small, and the eyes of our hearts so dim, reveal to us the things of Christ, and strengthen our hearts to receive them, that His Life and love will be known through us, as we worship and serve Thee on this earth.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Love, Dad

Chosen To Be A Soldier

Dear Ones:

It is one thing to enlist in the armed services.  It is another to be chosen by God to serve as His soldier in the spiritual conflict concerning the coming of His kingdom on this earth, “…as it is in heaven.”  Though there are certain principles that govern both “services,” they are decidedly different in their nature, and in particular, with regard to their Commander.  For the terrestrial conflict, there are employed the strategies of men’s minds and hearts.  The authority that reigns in this particular theater is a created one.  It is only as powerful as is the ingenuity and resources of those who control it.  Thus, the  authority that is exercised in the conflict is imperfect, incomplete, and limited.  History bears this out.  However, the authority of that which is spiritual emanates from the very throne of God, is endless, and all-powerful.  It has its foundation and essence in the eternal, perfect Nature of God, His power, and His declared sovereignty over all.  It is for this reason, that His soldier is called to trust Him implicitly, and with quiet, unabated resolve, to serve Him, please Him, by the doing of the will of God in the face of opposition, and conflict.  In light of these realities, what is the “soldier” of Christ to be?  And how is he to BE this?

The Christian Soldier is first of all called “…to BECOME what he IS.”  What does this mean? The Christian soldier is IN Jesus Christ, for he has been placed in living union with the Son of God, to live by, for, and unto Him.  He is a new creation, primarily spiritual in nature.  We must always begin the consideration of this matter with the finished work of Christ.  The outworking of the Christian soldier in becoming what he IS, is only possible as one grasps that Christ IS his life.  If he will be what he has been called to be, then he must derive his life, and all his resources from Christ.

It logically follows that as the Christian soldier is primarily a spiritual creation in Christ, the conflict in which he has been called to live and serve is predominantly spiritual in nature. “…We do not war after (or according to…) the flesh.” Essential to the effectiveness of the soldier in this conflict is the need to grasp the truths, and principles, and objectives of God in this conflict.  Paul writes that our weapons “…are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.”  What are these strongholds?  “…Casting down imaginations (reasonings) , and every high thing that exalteth itself against the KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, bringing into captivity every THOUGHT to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:3,4,5)  The Christian soldier’s task is to be God’s instrument, in the place and capacity of His calling, to be a witness to the truth, and the Life of Christ.  Strongholds in minds and hearts will never come down unless the truth is proclaimed, declared by the life and power of the Spirit.

The “good soldier” will patiently endure hardness, difficulty, and resistance.  And he is one that is “untangled” by the affairs of this life.  Wherever Christ has put him, in whatever capacity or career, the soldier is a “free” man, whose life is not encumbered, and entangled by the cares and things of this life.  He is first and foremost a lover of Christ, living for Him, by His power, seeking to always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within him, “in season and out of season.”

Lord Jesus, grant that we may, by Thy immeasureable grace, become in experience what we ARE in Christ.  Enable us to be those who are overcomers, unentangled, ready share Thy truth and love to a lost and dying world.  Grant that the walls and fortresses of man’s false reasoning, imaginations, and speculations, will fall at the proclamation of Thy truth.  And many will come to a saving knowledge of Thee.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Dad

 

 

Much More…In Christ

Dear Ones:

It has been said that in the contrast of things, there is great refreshment.  Perhaps no where in Scripture do we see in so few words the eternal perspective of God concerning sin and death, righteousness and life, than in the fifth chapter of Romans when Paul uses the two words, “…much more,” several times.  What a contrast, and what a refreshing revelation…and what a call to believe God for His highest and best.

The first mention of the words “much more,” is found in verse 9:  “Much more then, being NOW justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”  Look at the contrast, and consider that the magnitude of the blessing far exceeds the destructiveness of sin.  “Justified by His blood,” rises above every consideration and implication of the “wrath of God” as it applies to sin, and this exceedingly.  This is important for us to grasp, for if we would appropriate this “full salvation” to which we are called, then our vision of Christ’s work must rise above the consideration of the sin and death of this world, to the heights and magnitude of the goodness and glory of God.

The second mention of “much more” is found in verse 10:  “…much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”  Again, what a contrast!  The context is us being “enemies” of God, and yet becoming reconciled with God.  Enemies…reconciled…MUCH MORE…saved by His life.  How MUCH does God desire to reveal in us the greatness of His salvation?

The third mention of “much more” is found in verse 15:  “…For if through the offence of one many be dead, MUCH MORE the grace of God and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath ABOUNDED unto many.” Again, the contrast is extraordinary.  On the one hand we are faced with death, the result of Adam’s sin, and then Life, this “gift of grace,” because of the obedience and sacrifice of Christ,  which hath abounded unto many.  Please note the word “abounded.”  According to Christ’s own words, He came that we might have life, and that we might have it more abundantly. (Jn. 10:10)  Can we trust Him for His fulness?

In two other verses we find mention of the “much more.”  In verse 17, we read that the “much more” pertains to receiving “…abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness,” and then reigning in life as a result.  In verse 20, we read, “…where sin abounded, grace did MUCH MORE abound.”  Again, we come face to face with the immeasurable contrast between life and death, wrath and grace.  All that pertains to the work of Christ is characterized by “MUCH MORE,” not only in the incalculable and perfectly complete work of Christ on the cross, but the work by the Holy Spirit in us.

Dear Father, open our eyes to see and grasp the enormity of Christ’s work on the cross, and how the magnitude of it just swallows up all that is not of Thee.  And grant to us to grasp Thy hand of grace, and the gift of Grace in Christ by the Spirit, that we might live in the abundance of Thy life, reigning in life, and giving Christ’s life by the Spirit to others.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Love, Dad

Two Effective Visions

Dear Ones:

What is a vision but a perception of things that are, or will be.  In our consideration of them, we put them into two categories, those that are from heaven, and those which come from the hearts and minds of men.  We shall deal with the heavenly type, as those are the ones which have eternal consequences and blessings.

The Apostle Paul had several visions that were given to him by Christ.  We shall mention but two.   The first, and so very important, is that vision of which he speaks in Galatians 1:15-16:  “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, TO REVEAL HIS SON IN ME, that I might preach Him among the heathen…”  God, by the Holy Spirit…by that “Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (Christ),” unveiled to Paul the remarkable truth of his calling, but more so, of his union with Christ, that Christ by the Spirit did indeed dwell in His heart.  The more Paul reflected, meditated upon, and prayed over this truth, the more he discovered the life-changing effects of it.  Having ALL in Christ, there is NO difficulty without or within that Christ cannot meet, and respond to.  Paul, in a way, became invincible in the will of God by the provision of God, until that moment when he would be called home to be with Christ forever.  This was the great truth that was associated to his calling, a calling that stretched back into time, to the moment of his birth.  The effectiveness of the calling becomes possible by the knowledge of this vision of this truth.

The second vision is found in Acts 26:16, where Paul is sharing his experience of meeting Christ on the road to Damascus, with Agrippa the King.  He recounts that Jesus told him:  “…Rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee FOR THIS PURPOSE, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee.”  We know the story, how that Paul is plunged into darkness, as he loses his eyesight in the brightness of the Lord’s glory.  He eats, nor drinks for three days, until a disciple named Ananias comes and puts his hands upon him.  He then receives his sight, and eats.  The vision has left an indelible impression on Paul’s heart, mind, his entire soul.  He will never be the same. This vision will put Paul on the course of his life’s work, and the realization of his purpose.   It was a divine purpose from heaven, with eternal ramifications…and though Paul grasped a little of the significance, he had no idea of the effects through the ages and in eternity, that his writings and ministry, by the Holy Spirit would have upon humanity.

The application to our own lives with regard to “visions” is this…, God has given to us the “Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.”  It is the same Spirit that filled the Apostle Paul.  The Lord desires to bring us ALL into conformity with His perfect will, His eternal purposes for His glory, and the blessing of others.  And this He will do, if we trust Him for it.  He is a God of clarity, and peace, who confirms to our hearts that which is of Him…if we will but trust him.  There are no two callings which are alike, for God does not use a mold to shape us.  There are no photocopies in the kingdom of God, only masterpieces.   So, let us trust Him to lead us all individually, in His way, for His purposes, for His glory.

“Speak, Thy servant heareth, Be not silent, Lord; Waits my soul upon Thee for the quickening word.  Fill me (us) with the knowledge of Thy glorious will;  All Thine own good pleasure in Thy child fulfill.”

Love, Dad

 

With Wings As Eagles

Dear Ones:

Mighty and very real are the wings of the eagle.  They have been given for flight, but not only for low-level cruising, but for the heights…for soaring.  And here the Christian is called to live…in the heights…by the power of God, believing that He who gave the eagle his wings for the heights, also gives wings to the heart to rise…to reign.

It was when the Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul, that the promise was fulfilled:   “…and shalt be turned into another man.” (1 Sam. 10:6)  When David was called to become the king of Israel, Samuel anointed him with oil, and “…the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.” (1 Sam. 17:13)  He would become the slayer of Goliath, and the eventual King of Israel.  Jesus told His disciples to “…wait for the promise of the Father.” (Acts. 1:5)  It would be on the day of Pentecost that the same Holy Spirit would not only come on one or two people, but upon ALL the disciples (men and women…) in the upper room.  That day they would all be changed.  Why?  Because when the Holy Spirit moves, when He works mightily in the heart, there is change…there is altitude gained.  There is the rising up and going forth in the Lord’s victory.  But then comes the question, “How is this to be?”  “Is it possible in our lives?”  Or, as Nicodemus put it:  “How can these things be?” (Jn. 3:9)  Jesus’ answer brings Nicodemus face to face with his unbelief:  “Art thou a master (teacher) of Israel, and knowest not these things?” (v.10)  Here is a very learned man, face to face with Christ.  He believes that Jesus is a “teacher come from God.” (v.2)  But, like the Samaritan woman, he does not believe as yet that Jesus IS the Messiah, the Son of the living God.  His vision, like hers, is too low, too small.  The smallness of their vision has limited them to “little faith,” when the Lord would have them to rise, soar, and reign.  To the Samaritan woman, the Lord Jesus would declare, “I am He (the Messiah).”  To Nicodemus, He would say, “…If I told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” (v.12)  Here is the Almighty, the Alpha and Omega, in the flesh, and Nicodemus cannot believe in the working of the Holy Spirit to give spiritual birth because he cannot believe that the Christ in front of him is the Messiah, the only one able, yet willing, to give the Holy Spirit.  The smallness of the vision does indeed limit the miracle…the moving of the Spirit.

What does it take to have “eagle wings,” to be able to believe God for the wonderful thing?  In the context of the prophetic declaration of the return from exile, and the impossibility of it all, Isaiah writes: “He (God) giveth power to the faint; and to them that have NO might, He increaseth strength.” (Is. 40:29)  Is God willing to give strength to the faint, the weary, the helpless?  Yes.  Unequivocally, yes.  What is the key to have this strength to believe the impossible?  “But they that wait (utterly depend upon, and hope in…) upon the Lord, shall renew their strength; THEY SHALL MOUNT UP WITH WINGS AS EAGLES…” (v.29,31)  The Apostle Paul prays the same thing for the church at Ephesus:  “… the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…that He would GRANT you…to be strengthened with MIGHT BY HIS SPIRIT…in the inner man.” (Eph. 3:14,16)  Why does he pray this?  Because if we the believers at Ephesus are to believe God for the “impossible,” God’s highest and best, then HE must strengthen them to do so.  Will He?  Yes, unequivocally yes.  But He will not do so, until their vision is trained upon Him, and Him alone.

Dear Lord, strengthen our “wings” of faith, that we should believe Thee wholly.  Cause not only strength to pour into our wings, but lift us up by the current of Thy Wind.  Strengthen our faith to rise, to soar, the realities of the Eternal, that which Thou doest desire to do, and declare,  for Thy glory.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Love, Dad

Singular Devotion

Dear Ones:

One of the great characteristics of this Life to which we are called to live is that it is eternal.  What does this mean to us?  Certainly, we come face to face with that which will endure, last, never grow old, or fade in its essence or purpose.  Now, contrast that with the temporal…that which is passing away, growing old, turning to dust, and will not continue to exist.  The soul of us all is eternal, for it will forever live on.  But we must ask ourselves the question, “What about the soul’s purpose, the reason for its existence?’  And here, we have no other answer than to look at the living Christ, and pray, “What is Thy mind, Thy will…May Thy will be done in earth (in us) as it is in heaven.” The will of God stands paramount in the design, and purpose of God.  John wrote:  “….and the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 Jn. 2:17)  So that, we are all confronted with this consideration:  “What is the will of God for my life, this life which He has given me, and this LIFE to which I (we) have been called to know?”

Jesus spoke concerning a “wide gate,” and a “broad way,” which most people are engaged upon. (Matt. 7:13)  He later used the illustration of different types of soils (conditions of heart…) upon which the “seed” of the Word of God is sown.  One of the soils is shallow.  Another has a lot of obstructive stones.  Another is overgrown with thorns.  But there is one that He declares “good.”  The good soil is not dominated by what the dictates of the “world” (the world system where man is at the center of all…).  The cares of the world have been cast aside, along with the deceitfulness of things, possessions, and riches. The good soil receives the word, and understands it because it is willing to believe and obey it.  The result is fruitfulness…eternal fruit.  The more we believe and obey the Christ of the Word, the more fruit is born…and it will last.

If we attend a large sporting event like a football game, the number of ideas in each one’s mind will be as numerous as the individuals present at the game.  But there is one IDEA that will certainly last, and it is the knowledge of the will of our Maker and Redeemer. After the resurrection, Jesus, for a third time revealed Himself to the disciples on the shore of Galilee.  In this encounter, He addresses Himself to Peter, and asks him one question three times: “Do you love Me?”  Why does Christ do this?  Some say it was because Peter denied him three times.  Others say that it was because the Lord wanted to make the point to Peter that in and of himself, he could not love Him.  But let’s look at His question on the merit of the fact that He asked it THREE times.  Why?  If we take the whole testimony of Scripture, we find that love is paramount to all else.  Indeed, it is the key to “following Christ,” even if it means doing so alone.  It is also the key with regard to singular devotion in a world of distraction and obstruction…a world where most folk are not following Him, and where the humanistic world system is not favorable to the things of God.  So, what does all this boil down to?

It means that, we too have to answer the question that was posed to Peter, “Do you love Me?”  There is a simple answer, and a simple commitment.  But it is a singular one, one that touches our whole existence.  It is an eternal one.

Again, David Livingstone’s words are so applicable to this subject:  “…I want my life to count for Christ, what’s done BY Him will last.”

Love, Dad

 

 

 

Faith’s Simplicity

Dear Ones:

How simple is faith?   Someone has said that the Gospel of John is so deep that an elephant can bathe in it, and shallow, safe enough for a child to play in its shallows.  Is this not the case with faith?  We find children in the old testament and the new who had true, vital faith…and experienced the reality of Christ, His life in their hearts.  They may not have understood the deep things of Christ, but they reveled to play, and live in the shallows of His love.  Then we look at older believers, and we examine their faith.  We find that they were not perfect people, but, according to their calling, they exercised faith.  And it seems that the farther they went in their walk, with the increasing knowledge of Christ, the more simple their faith became.  It has been related that when Charles Spurgeon, the “prince of preachers,” lay dying, that someone asked him concerning his theology.   You would think that, with all the knowledge he had of Christ, the Bible, and things to come, he would have mustered up his last amount of strength to expound on the great truths of Scripture.  And this he did, but in a surprising manner.  His answer to the inquiry was that his theology had become very simple, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”  And so it is…all of His hope was in one Person, one who had always loved him…”for the Bible tells him so.”  This is simplicity.

How did Spurgeon come to this place in his faith, a faith that was so simple?  It is because, as was the case of believers that preceded him, he learned that truth was absolute, and that all truth led to Christ, the absolutely faithful One.  It is at this point that a choice is made. How much is one to trust, believe?  We are all creatures of “sight,” rather than truth.  But when the light of the truth of/in Christ begins to fill our hearts, we are brought face to face again and again with the aforementioned question..”How much is one to trust Christ?”  In the case of Spurgeon, he not only put his foot on the bedrock of truth, but the weight of his whole being.  He rested WHOLLY upon the Rock of All Ages, Everlasting Love.  He had learned the reality of the old hymn which says, “They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.”

What is the testimony of those who trust Him wholly?  The answer again is very simple.  Isaiah writes, “…Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end.” (Is. 9:7)  Or as the hymn writer puts it, “…And as His kingdom doth increase, so does His everlasting peace.”  Spurgeon knew the peace of God because He trusted wholly in Christ, His love, His power, His resurrection.  What a testimony to the grace and goodness of God!

Dear Lord Jesus, be our King this day.  Strengthen our hearts to trust Thee wholly, to find increasingly that Thou art wholly true.   May we know Thy peace in an ever-increasing manner as we put the whole weight of our existence upon Thy shoulders, to find that Thou art truly the Rock of ALL Ages, our peace in the storm, and comfort for time and eternity.  In Thy name, Amen.

Love, Dad

The Shepherd’s Call

Dear Ones:

What was the purpose of the Lord giving to David the 23rd Psalm?  Was it not to reveal to us through the insight and experience of David how we can KNOW God?  Throughout Scripture, the Lord in His goodness reveals to us pictures of what it means to know Him, to experience Him.  If there is one thing that true Christianity is NOT, it is not a piece of paper on which is written just truth.  Christianity is an experience of life, Eternal Life, that of Christ.  In giving the 23rd Psalm to us, and accompanied by the teaching by Jesus on “Good Shepherd,” and His relationship with His sheep (John 10), we are brought face to face with HOW the Lord Jesus desires to reveal Himself to our hearts, and through our lives.

As is the case in all of God’s dealings with us, He begins by telling us truth.  He always lays out the basis for our relationship with Him, and then reveals to us what the out working of that fellowship looks like.  In Psalm 23, He begins with a declaration.  Or rather, David begins by the declaration of the discovery concerning a FACT.  “The Lord IS my Shepherd; I shall not want.” (Ps. 23:1)  He begins with “the Lord,”  Maker of heaven and earth, the first and the last, beginning and the end…Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God…Everlasting Father…Prince of Peace.  This is the One who is dealing with us, and with whom “…we have to do.”  Then, marvel of marvels, this Lord, …Almighty God, has chosen, even willed, that we could, and should, know Him as our Shepherd.  What does this mean?  First, we have to look at the issue of comparison.  What is a sheep compared to a shepherd?  What are the capacities of the sheep in comparison with the shepherd?  The answer is simply that the difference between the two is so great, that it cannot be measured.  Can we measure the difference between the Creator and the Created?  No.

The second thing we learn about this relationship with respect to how it reveals itself, is that Shepherd is committed to the care of His sheep.  David writes that it is the Shepherd who makes the sheep to lie down in green pastures, and who leads them beside still waters.  “He restores my soul…He leadeth me.” (v.2-3)  The Lord Jesus tells us in John 10 that He, as the Good Shepherd,  speaks to His sheep, calls them by name, and leads them forth.  The ultimate goal of the Shepherd is to give Life to the sheep, and this, in abundance. (v.10)  He knows His sheep and His sheep know Him.  He gives His life for the sheep. (v.11)  Now, what do we see here?  We see that the Lord Jesus, as the great Shepherd of the sheep, is totally committed in His power and authority, to the care and eternal provision for His sheep.  We find that this relationship with God is so very basic, and yet, profound, that He speaks to His sheep, calling them by name, and then leads them forth.  How it is that the Eternal God would bend down so low as to commit Himself to care for “sheep,” cannot be understood, unless…we see, and know, that He IS love.  Desiring the highest good and blessing for His sheep, He does not spare Himself in giving His life for the sheep.  The “giving of His life” did not stop, or end on the cross.  He ever LIVES to make intercession for them.  He is constantly GIVING, being committed to the sheep.  He is ever there to make them lie down, be still, and know that He is God.  He is ever there to lead, keep, protect…and provide.  Why?  Because, as David writes at the end of Psalm 23, “…SURELY goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Dear Lord, wonderful Shepherd, give us, with all of our limitations and weakness, to understand Who Thou art, and grasp something of this relationship to which we are called.  We thank Thee for the pictures in Thy word which reveal to us the wonderful possibilities of knowing Thee.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Love, Dad

The Continuing Miracle

Dear Ones:

Everything about the Christian life is a miracle, and this, because it has its origin, essence, and accomplishment in God.  He is the author, architect, builder, even the very essence of all accomplished in us that is “good.”  James tells us:  “Every good gift, and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (1:17)  If, as Paul writes, “…there is NONE that doeth good, no, not one…,” (Rom. 3:12), then we must realize that everything truly that we receive that is good, and are able to give, comes from God.  Why?  Because He ALONE is good, and this without ceasing, immutably so.  When the Lord draws us to Himself, by putting in us that desire to know Him, and to be right with Him, His work is “miraculous,” for it does not have its origin in anything that man can do or conceive.  It has its origin in the Alpha, and Omega, the Beginning and the End…It has its essence in heaven, in God, and this by the Spirit.  It is a miracle.  When we read about Samson, we find that after he was born, grew as a child and the Lord blessed him, that,  “… the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan.” (Judges 13:25)  This is how God works.  This is where the miracle begins.  He intervenes, and begins “to move us.”  We begin having a certain interest in God, in spiritual things.  And little bit by little bit, He draws out our hearts towards Him.  He then brings us to realize that He IS God, and that we must turn to Him for that necessary work in us of repentance and faith, that is so vital for time and eternity.  It is then that the miraculous work of the new birth is realized in us.  “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Rom. 10:13)  What about the continuing miracle?

When the Holy Spirit is present in the heart, Christ is in the heart.  Paul declares this by speaking of the Spirit of God (of Christ) “in you.”  (Rom. 8:9)  He then goes on to speak of “Christ …in you.” (v.10)  In Ephesians he declares that “Christ dwells in the heart by faith.” (3:17)  What is the miracle?  It is the life of Christ, by the Spirit, revealed in our hearts and lives.  Perhaps the greatest, and most practical passage in Scripture which reveals to us, not only the miracle of God, in Christ, by the Spirit living in our hearts, but also, the means by which we are to appropriate this miraculous life…this life of blessed goodness, is John 15.  We are IN Jesus Christ, n the Vine.  We are to live in Him BY FAITH.  When we come to Christ, He becomes not only the source for all things good and blessed, but the very MEANS by which all becomes available to us.  Hence, “ABIDE IN ME, AND I WILL ABIDE IN YOU.” (Jn. 15:4)  Do we really believe that He can live in our hearts, feel “perfectly at home” in our hearts….by faith?  If we are to know the continuing miracle, then we must come to grips with this reality, that we have ALL in Christ, and that we are to live by, for, and unto Him.  He IS the miracle…we are the participants of that miracle.  The more we learn to abide in Him, and He in us, the more others will taste and see that the Lord is Good.

Dear Lord, grant us grace to, “…set our lives in Thee, and derive all from Thee by that inward aspiration of faith.” (H. Moule)  Increase our capacity to appropriate Thy blessed, miraculous life, so that we may have the utmost “goodness” to share with others.  Then, they shall desire Thee.  And they too shall taste and see that Thou art good,” and turn to Thee.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Love, Dad